Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Katie Monnin of the University of North Florida reveals how the use of graphic novels in the classroom can improve reading comprehension and attitudes about reading among young readers. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Notre Dame has agreed to a series of policy changes to resolve an inquiry by the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights into the university's handling of sexual assault charges. The OCR statement referenced a number of concrete changes that will assure those bring complaints of clear information about their options and a range of support, while also requiring prompt investigations by the university. Notre Dame's statement, in contrast, referred to "several minor modifications" it agreed to make in its policies. The Education Department inquiry followed a series of complaints about Notre Dame's handling of such allegations. In one case revealed by The Chicago Tribune, a new student at St. Mary's College (Notre Dame's neighbor) killed herself shortly after accusing a Notre Dame football player of sexual battery -- a charge that her family believes the university did not investigate adquately. The parents of Lizzy Seeberg, the St. Mary's students, told the Tribune on Friday: "Perhaps it will be her legacy that our daughters and granddaughters, our sisters and nieces, may one day soon walk their college campuses with the safety and freedom that they should expect and that the people should demand."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Ben Trachtenberg of the University of Missouri School of Law explains how economists value human life and why the lives of Americans are becoming more valuable. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Long Beach City College and the Los Angeles Community College District employed a manager of construction projects who had recently served jail time in Texas for paying bribes in school construction projects, The Los Angeles Times reported. One of the Texas prosecutors of Louis M. Cruz, the project manager, told the Times he was stunned about his ability to find work with similar responsibilities. "After he'd been to prison? That's incredible," said Cliff Herberg, first assistant district attorney in Bexar County, Texas. "Didn't they wonder where he was for two years?" Cruz could not be reached for comment. Cruz worked at Long Beach as an employee of a company that manages construction projects for the college. He was dismissed because of complaints he was causing delays, but officials said that they did not know of his Texas record while he was employed there.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 3:00am

North Korea has told its university students that they must spend the next 10 months working on construction projects and abandoning their studies, Reuters and University World News reported. North Korea is behind its targets on a massive construction campaign that leaders have said will leave it a "great and prosperous nation." Universities remain open, with instructors and foreign students continuing operations.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Two tenured faculty members in cognitive science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have received termination notices following a decision to end a doctoral program in their discipline. The Advertiser reported. In February, the University of Louisiana System enacted rules that make it easier than before to eliminate tenured jobs -- such eliminations are drawing fire from the American Association of University Professors, among others.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Harvard University's medical school and Massachusetts General Hospital have punished three professors -- including Joseph Biederman, for many years an influential child psychiatrist -- for conflicts of interest, The Boston Globe reported. Biederman and his colleagues -- Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens -- revealed the action in a letter to colleagues. The Harvard investigation was prompted by a Senate probe that questioned whether Biederman and others were reporting consulting fees they received from pharmaceutical companies at a time they were publishing articles about the use of various drugs. The letter from the three professors said that they had made "honest" mistakes but that they “now recognize that we should have devoted more time and attention to the detailed requirements of these policies and to their underlying objectives.’’

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 3:00am

A Virginia jury on Thursday ruled that 16 former students who sued Virginia Western Community College are entitled to more than $50,000 each, backing their claim that the college misled them about the accreditation of its nursing program, The Roanoke Times reported. The students were enrolled when the college had conditional accreditation from the National League for Nursing, but evidence presented at the trial suggested that the college did not revise materials such as its website when that group withdrew accreditation. The state is considering an appeal -- and more student suits are pending.

Friday, July 1, 2011 - 3:00am

The longtime former president of Hocking College and his wife -- also a former official at the Ohio institution -- were charged Thursday with violations of ethics and other laws related to actions while in office, The Columbus Dispatch reported. John Light, who presided over Hocking for nearly 40 years, was charged for failing to report college-paid travel, while Roxanne DuVivier, a former vice president at Hocking, faces several conflict of interest charges, the newspaper reported. Hocking's successor had a very short tenure, ousted last month after clashes with the board.

Friday, July 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Historically, the University of California's campuses have not recruited undergraduates (or enrolled very many) from out of state. This wasn't surprising, given the high demand to get into its institutions, and the state's demographics, which produced highly diverse enrollments of Californians. But in the last two years, the system has stepped up out-of-state recruitment, with officials saying that they need the higher tuition revenue paid by these students. The latest numbers, as reported in The Los Angeles Times, show that 12.3 percent of freshmen this fall will be from out of state, up from 8 percent last fall. The non-California proportion is highest at Berkeley, 30 percent, up from 23 percent.

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