Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 3, 2013

College Measures, which produces state-by-state college performance data, has released a report of key takeaways about the earnings of college graduates in five states. Associate degrees and certificates often hold their own in the job market relative to bachelor's degrees, the report found. It also said the value of credentials in STEM fields are sometimes oversold by policy makers. And the discipline in which students earned a credential influences their wages more than which college they attended. College Measures, which is a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research and Matrix Knowledge Group, created the study based on data from Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

September 3, 2013

Mike Scott, a county sheriff in Florida, is criticizing Florida Gulf Coast University -- and specifically President Wilson Bradshaw -- for a planned concert for the fall featuring the hip-hop performers Ludacris and Kendrick Lamar. The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., obtained e-mail messages between Scott and Bradshaw about the event. Scott questioned why the sheriff's office should help with security and why the university would host an event featuring performers who use explicit language (including the n-word) that offends many people. And Scott specifically noted Bradshaw's race. "I can’t for the life of me begin to imagine why a black university president would sanction such vile content; especially so proximate to the golden anniversary of Dr. King’s speech."

Bradshaw responded by noting that the university had found that the performers had appeared without incident at more than 200 colleges, and that students selected them. "As a university president -- black or white -- periodically there are expressed views related to students and faculty that the president doesn’t personally or professionally sanction or share," Bradshaw responded. "In this case, our students indicated a strong interest in inviting these performers."

September 3, 2013

The University of Cambridge has ended the use of gender-specific rules for attire in graduation ceremonies, The Telegraph reported. Until now, men were required to wear suits, and women a dress or skirt. Now, all students have those options, and must also be neatly dressed. Students pushed for the changes, saying that the old rules were unfair to those who did not want to wear clothing associated with traditional gender identities.

 

September 3, 2013

A professor of psychology at Central Michigan University is on paid leave, facing embezzlement charges. Justin Dohoon Oh-Lee is accused of creating aliases to collect more than $35,000 in subject stipends from Parkinson’s disease research he oversaw, the Morning Sun reported. He allegedly used the funds to gamble at casinos across the country, including in Las Vegas. A senior university auditor found irregularities in Oh-Lee’s professional development account in April and contacted police, according to the report. Another university official noticed suspicious activity in an account related to Oh-Lee’s research in November 2012.

Oh-Lee is out on bail. He did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

In an e-mail, a university spokesman said the institution is aware of the charges against Oh-Lee, and is conducting an internal investigation as it continues to cooperate with outside legal authorities concerning the case.
 

September 3, 2013

Jennifer J. Raab, president of Hunter College of the City University of New York, has had considerable success with fund-raising and building projects, The New York Times reported. But she has also seen rapid turnover in key positions, especially in the College of Arts and Sciences. One assistant dean departed with a letter accusing her of "personal attacks and a culture of fear and mistrust." Raab defended her management of the college, and said that critics were outliers.

 

September 3, 2013

A survey of 3,700 scientists across disciplines has found large numbers reporting that their research and the way they spend their time have been severely affected by the across-the-board budget cuts ordered by Congress. The survey -- conducted by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular in collaboration with other science groups -- reported the following findings, among others:

  • 18 percent are considering continuing their research career in another country.
  • 64 percent report that they are having difficulty getting grant funding.
  • 45 percent have a colleague who has lost his or her job.
  • 80 percent report that the time they spend writing grant applications has increased.
  • 64 percent said that their grant funding has decreased.

 

September 3, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Anders Garm of the University of Copenhagen reveals what starfish vision can teach us about the evolution of more complex eyes. 

And if you missed Monday's Academic Minute because of the Labor Day holiday, you can catch up on it here.

Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 3, 2013

The trend of college newspapers shifting more editions from print to online is growing, Poynter reported. Publications are noting that they save money and that campus readers increasingly prefer to get information online, not in print. Among the publications that have recently announced shifts: The Daily Illini of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Maneater of the University of Missouri at Columbia and The Aztec of San Diego State University.

 

 

September 3, 2013

Geraldo Rivera, the media personality, took to Twitter last week to report that Duquesne University had revoked an invitation for him to participate in a symposium on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. "Just heard Duquesne Univ cancelled my appearance at JFK assassination panel because of 'selfie'. Fact I first aired Zapruder film less impt.," Rivera wrote. The "selfie" reference is to a naked photograph of himself (primarily of top half of his body) that he recently posted online (click here only if you want to view the photo). A spokeswoman for the university confirmed the report, and via e-mail cited the university's Roman Catholic heritage. "The administration felt that Mr. Rivera’s decision to post a nearly naked picture of himself on social media was inappropriate and inconsistent with who we are as a Catholic Spiritan university and therefore withdrew the invitation," she said.

The spokeswoman added: "We warn our students not to post questionable material on social media due to the possibility of negative consequences -- you could consider this teaching by example."

 

September 3, 2013

Utica College, in New York, has been punished by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for failing to monitor its Canadian International Student Award program, with the end result being that Canadian athletes -- ice hockey players, primarily -- received more financial aid than the general Canadian student body at the college. Utica created the award program in 2010 in order to make the cost of attendance roughly equivalent for Canadian and domestic students and thereby attract more Canadian students to under-enrolled majors. However, Utica suspended the scholarship program for incoming Canadian students for the 2012-13 academic year after discovering that the aid was disproportionately going to athletes, a violation of Division III rules.

“This was unintentional and Utica College and the NCAA agree it is,” Utica’s athletics director, Dave Fontaine, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. “Nonetheless, we have to be accountable. We take full responsibility. We self-reported it.” 

Sanctions for Utica include two years of probation and postseason bans for teams whose rosters include one or more athletes who received a Canadian International Student Award. Utica is not the first college to get in trouble with the NCAA for disproportionately awarding a scholarship intended for Canadian students in general to ice hockey players in particular:  Neumann College, in Pennsylvania, was similarly penalized in 2012. 

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