Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

A romantic physics paper was circulating online Sunday. Actually, it is a marriage proposal in the form of a physics paper. The full names of the enamored physicists aren't provided, but the proposal credits the University of Sydney "for facilitating the initial period of this research."

She said yes.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

Paid interns received salaries 2 percent higher in the summer of 2012 than they did in 2011, but the rate of increase slowed from the year before, when salaries rose 6.4 percent, according to a new survey by the research and consulting form Intern Bridge. The 2012 Intern Salary Report found that interns were paid on average $13.50 an hour, up from $13.25 an hour in 2011. Many industries paid less in 2012 than they did the year before, but Robert Shindell, vice president of Intern Bridge, said the losses were likely offset by bigger gains in business and engineering. The majors of students who saw the steepest wage declines were mechanic and repair technicians; science technologies; communications technologies; family and consumer sciences; and area, ethnic, cultural and gender studies. The Department of Labor requires companies who employ interns to either pay them or ensure they receive academic credit.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

Southern Methodist University and Texas Christian University on Friday announced that both are adding an "early decision" option to their admissions programs. Both institutions already have "early action" in which applications are evaluated early in the process. In early decision, applicants make a pledge to enroll if accepted. Both universities noted that early decision -- popular at colleges in the Northeast and the West -- is not common in Texas. Among private colleges in the state, only Rice and Trinity Universities had the options in place prior to Friday's announcement.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's executive committee on Friday expressed confidence in President Mark Emmert, even as some critics have called for his resignation in the face of the association's brutally embarrassing acknowledgment that its officials botched an investigation of rules violations at the University of Miami. Emmert was forced to concede last week that NCAA administrators had known about the association's improper hiring of a lawyer who manipulated bankruptcy proceedings to help the NCAA build a case, in contravention of the NCAA's procedures. Several top NCAA officials resigned, but two top aides to Emmert did not even though they acknowledged knowing about the improper conduct. When asked during a news conference last week whether he should take personal responsibility for the controversy, Emmert said it would be up to the executive committee to decide.

In its statement Friday, the panel, which is made up of college presidents, said that the association had significant work to do to ensure the credibility of its regulatory and enforcement processes. "Mark Emmert was hired to lead a major transformation of the NCAA.  Much has been accomplished without fanfare, such as academic reforms, enhanced fiscal accountability and organizational transparency," the panel said. "The Executive Committee and President Emmert recognize there is much yet to do and that the road to transformational change is often bumpy and occasionally controversial.  Therefore, on Friday the Executive Committee unanimously affirmed its confidence in Mark’s leadership as president and its support for his ongoing efforts to implement these essential and historic reforms.”

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who is a leading advocate of reduced government spending, discussed fish research Thursday night on Fox News. "In the military they have $5.2 million they spent on goldfish — studying goldfish to see how democratic they were and if we could learn about democracy from goldfish,” Paul said. "I would give the president the authority to go ahead and cut all $5 million in goldfish studies."

But Iain Couzin, who does research in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, and who is among those doing the work in question, said that Paul misrepresented it. For starters, Couzin told Politico that the study involves golden shiner fish, not goldfish. Further, Couzin said that Paul incorrectly described the point of the research. “Our work aims to understand the principles of collective control in animal groups and what this can inform us about collective robotics. It has nothing at all to do with human politics,” Couzin said.



Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Samer Hattar of Johns Hopkins University explains the negative effects of exposure to bright light during the night. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 4:25am

A new study documents the decline of physical education requirements in higher education. Brad Cardinal, a professor at Oregon State University, studied information from 354 randomly selected four-year colleges and universities. In 1920, 97 percent of the colleges required students to take physical education. Today, the figure is at an all-time low of 39 percent. The work appears in the new issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Central Florida announced last week that it is suspending most fraternity and sorority activities while an investigation proceeds into two Greek groups for alleged violation of rules against hazing and alcohol abuse, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Many students in the fraternity and sorority systems are complaining about the move, but university officials said it was necessary to send a message. In the last three years, the university has found violations of hazing rules three times and of alcohol rules 13 times.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 4:27am

The University of Pennsylvania will this week announce major gifts to support a new international strategy for the institution, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Penn plans to create a "world house" in 2015 through which world leaders and Penn faculty members will work to tackle major global problems. Each year, a new problem will be selected. While Penn does not plan to start branch campuses abroad, it is preparing to open a center in China for a range of activities, including faculty research and interviewing applicants.


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00am

Lincoln Memorial University last week told 13 faculty members, one of whom had taught at the university for 18 years, that their contracts would not be renewed after this academic year, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The job cuts are being made because of projected decreases in enrollment next year. The university's graduate education programs have enrolled many students from Georgia -- educators eligible for raises if they complete certain degrees. Georgia has changed its rules such that completing the programs at Lincoln Memorial will no longer make people eligible for raises. Lincoln Memorial does not have tenure, so faculty members work on year-to-year contracts.



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