Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 3:00am

University students marched on the Greek parliament Wednesday as lawmakers moved ahead with controversial reform plans for higher education, The Financial Times reported. Government officials say that the reforms are needed because the problems at universities encourage many Greek students to go abroad for their educations. The reform plans, among other things, would limit students' role in governance, set time limits for degree completion, encourage ties of science programs to private businesses and allow non-academics to serve on university boards.

Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 3:00am

Cornell, Duke, Emory and Johns Hopkins University are the latest to make digitized "orphan works" -- those whose copyright holders are not known or reachable -- in their collections available to students, faculty, and authorized users on their campuses. They join the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Florida among universities that have opened up their orphan works under the auspices of the educational "fair use" exemption to U.S. copyright law. In the wake of Google's failed attempts to sell access to its massive cache of orphan works, a number of libraries have been working with each other and the Michigan-based HathiTrust Digital Library to identify orphans in their own digital collections and open them up to authorized users for research purposes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association came down hard Wednesday on Bruce Pearl, the former University of Tennessee men's basketball coach, but imposed no penalties on the other high-profile coach ensnared in the university's rule-breaking case, Lane Kiffin, now at the University of Southern California. (It hardly held up Kiffin as a paragon of virtue, however.) The association's Division I Committee on Infractions said Wednesday that it had concluded that the university had failed to monitor its men's basketball program, which under Pearl engaged in an array of recruiting and other violations of NCAA rules.

The infractions panel said it would largely embrace a set of penalties that Tennessee had earlier imposed on itself, adding only a two-year probation. But the committee said it would require any college that hires Pearl by 2014 to show why it should not have to impose a severe set of limitations on his duties, given that his most serious rule breaking involved misleading NCAA investigators and encouraging other parties in the case to do the same. Three of Pearl's former assistants received similar "show cause" orders.

The committee also found that the Tennessee football program broke numerous "secondary" rules during Kiffin's one-year stint there in 2009, but that they did not rise to a level requiring penalties against the coach. But while Kiffin and officials at USC told reporters that they were pleased that he would avoid sanctions, the infractions panel did not have kind words for him. His time there was "not a record of which to be proud," the panel said.

Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 3:00am

A law professor who is 73 has sued the University of Pittsburgh, charging that he was passed over for a tenure-track opening because of his age. The university declined to comment, but The National Law Journal noted that Pitt is the fourth law school recently hit with an age discrimination suit. The others are at Michigan State University, University of Baltimore and University of Iowa.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:00am

Facing a decline in student interest, Melbourne University may end or revamp its Australian studies program, The Australian reported. A review panel found that fewer students at Melbourne (and at other universities) are interested in courses built on "the national narrative.'' One idea under consideration is to focus more on Australian environmental history, a subject that relates to Aboriginal history and to historical geography.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Stanley Glick of Albany Medical College describes his work on a substance that could reduce cravings and clear a path to recovery for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:00am

Princeton University announced Tuesday that it is banning freshmen from participating in rush for fraternities and sororities. Princeton's Greek system is not recognized by the university, and students live in campus housing. Eating clubs (to which students belong as juniors and seniors) have been the source of much debate at Princeton over the years, but fraternities have gained popularity recently. President Shirley M. Tilghman, in a letter to new students, explained the rationale for the new policy. "[T]he decision to prohibit freshman year affiliation and recruitment is driven primarily by a conviction that social and residential life at Princeton should continue to revolve around the residential colleges, the eating clubs, and the shared experience of essentially all undergraduates living and dining on campus."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:00am

Bethany College in Kansas has suspended all 15 members of its men's golf team for three tournaments after learning that they had posed naked (with golf clubs covering certain body parts), The Wichita Eagle reported. (The photograph in question is visible with the link.) Jon Daniels, athletic director and golf coach, said: "I've been around a long time and I think this is a case of young people who just don't think beyond the moment and don't realize who they're hurting."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:00am

Authorities in Idaho reported that they found Ernesto A. Bustamante, who until last week was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Idaho, dead from an apparently self-inflicted wound. The Associated Press reported that he was the primary suspect in the murder of a graduate student in psychology. Officials did not say why Bustamante left the university or whether he knew the victim, Katy Benoit, who earned her undergraduate degree at Idaho last year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:00am

A $7.6 million bequest to the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has been made not in the name of the late donor, but in that of her late cat, KSBW News reported. Maxine Adler, the donor, brought Du Bee, her cat, to the veterinary college for treatment for cancer 10 years ago. The cat died, but Adler appreciated the care provided. Under the terms of the bequest, any cancer treatment developed with the funds must include "Du Bee" in its name. Also, a Du Bee award will be made every year to researchers who make advances in cancer treatment for pets.

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