Higher Education Quick Takes
The Organization of American Historians has become the latest group to issue a statement about the controversy over Mitch Daniels's efforts, while governor of Indiana, to prevent the teaching of the works of the late Howard Zinn.
"The OAH regards the current episode as a 'teachable moment' when instructors in American history at every level have the opportunity to convey to our students how historians debate ideas and assess the merit of each others’ written work. We invite members to contact us with their account of classroom exercises and discussion questions that they have used, or intend to use in class, to promote discussion of such issues. We promise to post as many of them as we can on our website to encourage open discussion," says the statement.
Barbara Vacarr, president of Goddard College, has announced that she will leave at the end of the year so she can focus on family issues, the Associated Press reported. The announcement follows reports that the college is facing serious financial difficulties, forcing pay cuts and the suspension of retirement contributions, among other measures.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling's Board of Directors has accepted the recommendations of a panel charged with evaluating the use of commissioned agents in international student recruiting. This is just one in a series of steps toward any possible changes in NACAC's standards: the board has asked the association's Admission Practices Committee to draft an amendment reflecting the commission's recommendations for consideration by the NACAC Assembly at the annual meeting in September.
In its report, NACAC's Commission on International Student Recruitment recommended that the association lift its existing ban on the use of commissioned agents in international recruiting while at the same time discouraging the practice. Specifically, the commission recommended that NACAC's "Standards of Principles of Good Practice" be revised to stipulate that members "should not" (but not "may not") engage in incentive-based recruiting overseas and calls upon NACAC to consider adopting mandatory practices in regards to issues of institutional accountability, integrity and transparency for those colleges that choose to work with commissioned agents regardless.
Anant Agarwal, president of edX, one of the major providers of massive open online courses, appeared on "The Colbert Report" this week, where he faced some questions on MOOCs that journalists had previously failed to ask him, at least not the Stephen Colbert way. After Agarwal explained the basic concept of MOOCs, Colbert asked if he was talking about the University of Phoenix. After Agarwal explained that MOOCs are free, Colbert said that if he owned a shoe store, and Agarwal was an employee and suggested giving away shoes for free, "I would fire you and throw shoes at your head."
Not many universities see their names in Google's bright lights. But on Thursday, the search giant celebrated (through its most visible icon, the daily-changing Doodle on its home page) Rosalind Franklin, after whom suburban Chicago's Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is named. Franklin played a significant (but underappreciated) role in the discovery and description of the double helix structure of DNA, through the use of x-ray diffraction. The university, formerly known as Chicago Hospital-College of Medicine, took Franklin's name in 2004, and its marketing department suggested that Google honor her with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 93rd birthday. She died in 1958.
Authorities have charged Robert Ferrante, a neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh, with killing his wife, Autumn Klein, a neurologist at the university, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The charges state that Ferrante killed his wife with cyanide that he had shipped to his lab. Ferrante's lawyer said that the charges were false.
The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a sexual assault complaint at Cedarville University, campus officials said in an unusually proactive acknowledgement. “As a Christ-centered university, Cedarville is committed to honoring the principles of the Bible that shape how we care for others,” President Thomas White said in a statement. The complaint -- one of many recently filed under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination -- alleges that the university lacked a Title IX coordinator and "prompt and equitable" procedures for resolving Title IX complaints on campus.
The statement said that Cedarville has been reviewing its sexual harassment policies since OCR’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter, which stated colleges must have the provisions the university is alleged to have lacked.
Leslie Berlowitz will resign as president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences next week, the organization announced Thursday. She will receive a one-time payment of $475,000, which an academy statement said reflected previously pledged retirement benefits. Berlowitz has been under fire -- and on paid leave -- since shortly after The Boston Globe revealed in June that she did not have a doctorate she claimed to have on various documents submitted by the academy in seeking grants. Subsequent Globe articles raised questions about her management of the organization, and allegations that she did not treat staff members well. In a letter published in the Globe Thursday, Berlowitz wrote that she was "tempted" to provide a response to all of the issues that have been raised in recent months, but opted not to do so. "I believe there is only one fact of consequence that bears mentioning: I always acted in good faith and with the best interests of the academy at heart," she wrote.