Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Humboldt University, Berlin's oldest university, announced Monday that Google is setting up a research institute there, the Associated Press reported. The research center will study the evolution of the Internet and its role in science, politics, economics and other parts of life. Other partners will be the Berlin University of Arts, the Social Science Research Center Berlin and the Hamburg Hans-Bredow-Institute

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 3:00am

An American Bar Association panel reviewing standards used to evaluate law schools is leaning toward requiring more job protection for clinical law instructors and others who work full time, but off the tenure track, The National Law Journal reported. Many such instructors currently work on year-to-year or semester-to-semester contracts, providing little job security. The plan gaining support would require law schools to have a system of "presumptively renewable long-term contracts" for such instructors. While that would fall short of tenure, it would represent improvements for many instructors, committee members believe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the right of the University of Minnesota to discipline a student in a mortuary sciences program who posted jokes about a cadaver on a Facebook page, Minnesota Public Radio reported. The student argued that the First Amendment protects the posts, but the appeals court found that the university could take action if it could "reasonably conclude" that the Facebook postings would "materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Vanderbilt University's Daniel Sharfstein examines the long history of racial assimilation in the United States and why racial categories prove ambiguous at best. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- A federal court today invalidated a recently implemented U.S. Education Department regulation that requires colleges and universities that operate online programs to seek approval from every state in which they enroll students in those programs. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities on behalf of its for-profit-college members, found that the Education Department had not given sufficient notice that it planned to include online programs in the requirement, which represented a major shift in its approach. The court upheld the other two regulations that the career college group challenged in its lawsuit: those that changed the rules governing incentive compensation for recruiters and misrepresentation of colleges' programs and results.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 3:00am

A big name in student finance is entering a market that has been populated mostly by under-the-radar players: the practice of providing insurance for students' payments for tuition and other college-related costs and risks. Sallie Mae, long the dominant player in a student loan player that was upended by the one-two punch of then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's scrutiny and the Obama administration's policy changes, announced Monday that it would join with Next Generation Insurance Group to offer products such as the "Student Protection Plan," "a package of tuition insurance, ID theft protection, emergency medical evacuation, and other services to meet the needs of a typical college student." Several other companies have dabbled in providing insurance to refund tuition to students who drop out for documented medical or other reasons, but Sallie Mae is by far the biggest and most visible entity to do so.

Monday, July 11, 2011 - 3:00am

Jason Liptow, an adjunct at Mid Michigan Community College, is charging that he was dismissed shortly after he announced he was going to try to form a union to provide job security for instructors, The Morning Sun reported. College officials said that Liptow violated confidentiality rules by posting a Facebook status update that said "Student emailed me wanting to know how he could pass the class, he hadn’t been there and failed three open-book tests." Liptow said that he did not violate confidentiality since he did not name the student.

Monday, July 11, 2011 - 3:00am

Yale University has rejected a call from the Middle East Studies Association for an independent inquiry into the university's decision not to offer a faculty position in 2006 to Juan Cole, a scholar at the University of Michigan who has a wide following for his blog, which is highly critical of U.S. foreign policy. The association called for such an investigation because of recent reports that the Bush administration was trying to undercut Cole's reputation at about the same time that Yale was considering and rejecting him for a position. A letter from Peter Salovey, provost at Yale, to the association, said: "I can assure you in the strongest possible terms that no member of the Bush Administration nor any other government official contacted the president, provost, or two deans involved in overseeing the appointments process in the case of Professor Cole, nor is there any evidence of inappropriate external interference or other impropriety in this appointment matter. We see no reason to compromise the confidentiality of a faculty deliberation on the merits of an appointment by constituting an external faculty committee to conduct an investigation."

Monday, July 11, 2011 - 3:00am

California Governor Jerry Brown filed a brief Friday backing a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the state's referendum banning the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions by the state's public colleges and universities, The Los Angeles Times reported. A federal appeals court recently ruled in a similar case that a Michigan referendum unconstitutionally took away the rights of minority citizens to influence admissions policy. While that decision is being appealed, advocates of affirmative action are hoping for a similar win over California's referendum.

Monday, July 11, 2011 - 3:00am

Scientists are increasingly treating addiction as a disease needing treatment. The New York Times noted a consequence of this trend: 10 medical schools have just introduced the first accredited residency programs in addiction medicine.

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