Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, January 16, 2012 - 4:08am

Washington and Lee University will hold classes today, over the objections of students who wanted classes called off to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, The Washington Post reported. Colleges' practices on calling off classes for the holiday vary. While some colleges observe the day without classes, many colleges hold classes on most federal holidays, not wanting to have fewer sessions held on Mondays than on other days. And many colleges have long January breaks, so that classes wouldn't be held today in any case. At Washington and Lee, the issue is complicated by the university's observance (later this week) of Founders' Day on the birthday of Robert E. Lee, one of those for whom the university is named. On that day, students have a shorter class schedule so that they can attend a convocation. A university spokesman said that the university honors King's memory with programs that show respect for the late civil rights leader's legacy. "We believe that canceling classes is not the only way, or even necessarily the most meaningful way, to demonstrate that respect," the spokesman said.

 

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Rebecca Murphy of Johns Hopkins University reveals how decades of pollution control efforts are paying off for the Chesapeake Bay. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 4:11am

The University of California Board of Regents this week will consider a proposal to fire a tenured professor, a rare event in the system, The Los Angeles Times reported. The university, citing privacy rules, says only that the faculty member is at the Riverside campus. But Sarkis Joseph Khoury, who teaches international finance, confirmed to the Times that he is the professor in question. He has clashed with the university over accusations that he received outside funds in inappropriate ways during sabbaticals. Khoury says that he is a victim of a witch hunt, and that the university is angry that he has defended himself in the sabbatical dispute. Further, he charges that he is being punished for a range of other issues, including Republican views, Lebanese heritage, and pushing for the hiring of more minority faculty members.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Scripps College named an art dealer, Frank Lloyd, as co-curator of an exhibit at the college's museum, despite art world ethics codes that generally bar art dealers from organizing exhibits at nonprofit museums, The Los Angeles Times reported. Lloyd is an expert in the pottery highlighted in the exhibit, but is also mounting a show in which 13 of the 24 works for sale are by artists who have other work in the Scripps exhibit. Scripps officials cited Lloyd's expertise as a reason to have him co-curate the exhibit at the college.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 4:16am

The American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, is starting a 15-month master of arts program in teaching to train earth science teachers, The New York Times reported. Tuition will be free and students will receive $30,000 stipends and health insurance.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Education ministers and academics from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have formed the Visegrad Group to promote improvements in their higher education systems, The New York Times reported. With increased student mobility in Europe, leading educators in the four countries want to make sure their graduates' credentials are well-respected elsewhere, and that their programs are competitive.

 

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

Behavioral and social sciences play a key role in health issues and need to play a key role in the medical school curriculum, according to a report released Thursday by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The report notes that behaviors and the social determinants of health -- such as smoking, diet, exercise, and socioeconomic status -- account for more than 50 percent of premature disease and death in the United States.

 

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 4:40am

Central Michigan University's faculty formally approved a three-year contract extension Thursday, the university announced, ending a long labor dispute that included a strike and a judge's order to return to work.

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 4:52am

Viruses on computers at City College of San Francisco have sent personal banking and other information from thousands of faculty members, administrators and others to hackers with ties to Russian and Chinese criminal networks for as long as a decade, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Campus officials identified the breaches weeks ago and are working to eliminate them. No cases of identity theft have been cited yet, though, the newspaper reported.

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, William Poulin-Deltour of Middlebury College explains how divergent cultural roots created different ideas of community in the United States and France. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

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