Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, August 8, 2011 - 3:00am

McGill University has formally reprimanded Barbara Sherwin, a professor of psychology, obstetrics and gynecology, for not revealing that a ghostwriter contributed to an article she published in 2000, The Montreal Gazette reported. The ghostwriter was hired by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Sherwin was listed as the paper's only author. Sherwin is continuing her work at McGill. After the use of the ghostwriter was revealed, she issued a statement in which she said it was "an error" to fail to make clear there was a second author on the paper, but she added that she believed the peer-reviewed article "represented sound and thorough scholarship, and in no way could be construed as promotion for any particular product or company."

Monday, August 8, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Memphis formally took over Lambuth University's campus on Friday, with plans to begin classes this month, The Jackson Sun reported. Lambuth, a private institution, closed in June. Memphis will be the first public four-year institution in the area.

Monday, August 8, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Young of the State University of New York at Geneseo explains
how modern technology has provided a more accurate history of the Grand Canyon. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The bookstore at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has stopped selling mints that poke fun at President Obama, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The mints feature an image similar to Obama's '08 campaign posters, with the tag line: "This is change? Disappoint/Mints." The mints were pulled from sale after State Representative Joe Armstrong complained about them. While Armstrong is a Democrat, he said he would have complained about mints mocking Republicans too. He told the News Sentinel that there were no First Amendment issues at play. "With a book or something of that nature, then fine, but that [the mints] is sort of a discretionary product they have," Armstrong said. "It wasn't viewpoint neutral. Very specifically insulting to the president."

Others disagree about the free speech issues. Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the university, said: "Let me make very clear, there is no candy exception to the First Amendment," he said. "Free speech is free speech. If you make fun of the president in a mint, it is just as much free speech as it is if you make fun of the president in a political cartoon."

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Peter Kelemen of Columbia University conducts a thought experiment
around the political economy of climate change. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has started a new fellowship for international graduate students, awarding funds to 48 individuals from 22 countries. The funds will support research in science and engineering during the third, fourth and fifth years of graduate school. The institute originally planned to award 35 fellowships (worth $43,000 a year) but upped the total due to the quality of applicants.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Unusually high numbers of Italian academics share the same last names, suggesting nepotism is widespread, according to a new study by Stefano Allesina, an assistant professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago. Allesina's work was prompted by Italian journalists' reports on apparent nepotism in academe, such as one university where nine relatives from three generations of a single family are in the economics department. Allesina examined a database with the names of 61,000 Italian academics, and found clusters of names in single departments most prevalent in industrial engineering, law, medicine, geography and pedagogy. The analysis of names found that nepotism was the least likely (names were closest to random in various fields) in linguistics, demography and psychology.The research is being published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

DeVry Inc. on Thursday announced its purchase of the American University of the Caribbean, which runs a medical school in St. Maarten. DeVry already owns the Ross University School of Medicine, in Dominica.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Rudolf Alexandrov, an adjunct mathematics professor at Chestnut Hill College, went to the second floor of a rotunda as his class was scheduled to begin on Wednesday, jumped off and killed himself in the fall, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. His students and staff members witnessed the death. Alexandrov was 71. The Philadelphia Daily News quoted a police official as saying that Alexandrov had a history of depression.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The senior college commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has warned La Sierra University that it could face accreditation sanctions because of concerns that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has too much control over the institution, The Press-Enterprise reported. University officials say that they have discussed the warning, and are taking it seriously. La Sierra has faced scrutiny from the accreditor and some of its own students and faculty members over debates over the teaching of evolution (questioned by the church), and an incident in which a trustee, a vice president, a dean, and an adjunct professor were asked to resign over a recording made, purportedly by accident, of the four men talking informally about the church and university leadership.

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