Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 15, 2015

The many different systems of handling article processing charges (APC) -- a fee used by many open-access journals -- are "fractured and inefficient" and threatens to undermine the progress of the open-access movement, according to the summary of a roundtable hosted by the Copyright Clearance Center last October. The event, held at University College London, brought together representatives of British universities, companies and publishers to discuss how to make open-access publishing simpler for authors, publishers and readers.

Participants at the roundtable focused specifically on the need to engage authors early on, collect metadata, simplify the billing process and adopt common standards to encourage data sharing. The roundtable also produced a "future narrative" to guide that work:

"We should work towards simplifying and standardizing processes to move towards a sustainable and scalable OA ecosystem which preserves academic freedom and author choice in publishing and makes the research as valuable as possible for the end user," the narrative reads.

January 15, 2015

Seton Hall University and the Hackensack University Health Network on Wednesday announced a plan to create a new school of medicine. The four-year school will be located on the campus of a former biomedical facility in Nutley and Clifton, New Jersey. The private university and the New Jersey-based health company said the school would be combined with Seton Hall's existing nursing and allied health programs. Hackensack's hospitals also will serve as Seton Hall's primary clinical teaching sites.

January 15, 2015

John Fitzsimmons is resigning as president of the Maine Community College System, saying that the governor's opposition to his continuing in the role makes it impossible to do so, The Portland Press Herald reported. Board members have backed Fitzsimmons and said he was doing an excellent job. But Fitzsimmons noted that Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, has not been proposing increases in funding for the system as he has grown unhappy with its leader. "I would prefer to stay and help the system. I also know that if the governor is going to punish the system because of me, that’s wrong," Fitzsimmons said. “And while his decision may be wrong, my decision to stay and hurt the system would also be wrong.”

January 15, 2015

Two fraternities at the University of Virginia have refused to sign a new agreement with the institution that was drafted amid the debate over a Rolling Stone article, since discredited, about an alleged gang rape in a fraternity, The Daily Progress of Charlottesville reported. The fraternities say that the new agreement is worse (not just for them but for students generally) than the one that has been in place. It is unclear what will happen if the university continues to insist that the Greek houses sign the agreement and these two refuse to do so.

 

January 15, 2015

The online learning platform Lynda.com has set an early tone for the ed-tech venture capital and equity market in 2015 with a $186 million investment. The private equity company TPG Capital led the investment, while firms Accel Partners, Meritech Capital Partners and Spectrum Equity -- as well as some of Lynda.com's earlier investors -- also participated. Lynda.com charges users between $250 to $375 a year to access content hosted on the platform, and will use the investment for acquisitions and growth, the company said in a press release.

January 15, 2015

In today's Academic Minute, Shirley Anne Warshaw, a political scientist at Gettysburg College, provides a historical analysis of the political process of executive orders. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

January 14, 2015

Ersula Ore, the assistant professor of English at Arizona State University who was body-slammed by campus police during a jaywalking-related arrest last year, filed a $2 million claim against the university, The Arizona Republic reported. The newspaper recently obtained, via an open records request, a notice of claim filed by Ore in November alleging that Stewart Ferrin, the officer who arrested her, used excessive force and violated her due process rights. Ore says she suffered financial, emotional and psychological damages, including post-traumatic stress, as a result of the incident, and that she continues to feel she is “not safe” in the presence of police. The university notified Ferrin this month that it intends to fire him, and he is appealing the decision. Ore’s lawyer, Daniel Ortega, said the claim will stand regardless of the outcome of Ferrin’s case. A spokesman for the university said its officials are reviewing the claim.

January 14, 2015

Students in edX's Entrepreneurship 101 and 102 courses have a new reason to tough out the 12 to 16 weeks it takes to complete the MOOCs -- $1,000 in Amazon Web Services credit. The $1,000 is the latest incentive used by the massive open online course provider to boost completion rates, which often linger in the single percentage points. Speaking to The Harvard Crimson, course instructor William K. Aulet said the credit -- awarded to students who earn a verified certificate -- is intended to help entrepreneurs host their startups on Amazon's cloud computing platform.

January 14, 2015

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit revived a lengthy First Amendment lawsuit against Valdosta State University on Monday, reversing a lower court's 2010 dismissal of the case. Hayden Barnes sued Valdosta State in 2008 after he was expelled for protesting the university's plan to build two parking garages with $30 million in student fees. The university said at the time that it considered a collage of images Barnes posted to his Facebook page, as well as a misinterpreted video contest slogan calling on students to "shoot it," to be a direct threat to the safety of Ronald Zaccari, the university's president. The collage featured photographs of a parking garage, Zaccari, and a bulldozer, as well as the words "No Blood for Oil."

Barnes was told that in order to return as a student, a non-university psychiatrist would have to certify that he was not a threat to himself or anyone else, and that he would receive "on-going therapy." After he appealed, with endorsements from a psychiatrist and a professor, the Georgia Board of Regents did not reverse the expulsion. Following the announcement of the lawsuit in 2008, the board changed its mind and reinstated Barnes. In 2013, Zaccari, who had since retired, was found personally liable for the student's expulsion and was required to pay Barnes $50,000 in damages.

“Once again, a federal appeals court has stepped in to ensure that college administrators can’t get away with trampling students’ well-established rights,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has advised Barnes on the case since 2007. “How much longer, and how many more lawsuits, will it take to get our nation’s colleges and universities out of the doomed business of unconstitutional censorship?”

January 14, 2015

An analysis of federal data by researchers at the Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University suggests that college students are at higher risk for stalking than are members of the general public. The data show that  4.3 percent of college students experienced stalking in the last year, compared to 2.2 percent of the general public. At the same time, the analysis found that only a quarter of college students who are stalked report the crime, compared to nearly a third of others who are stalked.

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