In today's Academic Minute, John Hatle of the University of North Florida explains his research using grasshoppers to understand why avoiding reproduction often increases an organism’s overall lifespan. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Cerritos Community College board has voted to change the way trustees are elected, moving from at-large seats to regional representation, the Associated Press reported. The move follows by a week a lawsuit by Latino citizens charging that the old system minimized their representation on the board.
Jack Conway, attorney general of Kentucky, has found that University Hospital is a public entity because it is controlled by the University of Louisville, The Courier-Journal reported. The ruling came in an open records dispute. But the finding could have a significant impact on the university's plan to merge the hospital with three others, including a Roman Catholic hospital that limits certain procedures that conflict with Catholic teachings. Some groups are challenging the merger plans, citing church-state concerns.
At least six university athletics directors have salaries of more than $1 million, according to a study by USA Today. The study also found that, since August 2010, at least 10 public universities have given their athletics directors raises of at least $75,000.
Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, has sent a letter to the American Bar Association, calling on it to take more meaningful steps to make sure that law schools report accurate statistics on job placement to prospective students. The ABA has said that it is moving on the issue and strengthening its rules. But citing lawsuits and media reports, Boxer wrote to the ABA that it was not doing enough.
"In a year when a number of lawsuits alleging consumer protection law violations have been filed against ABA law schools, when major newspapers have devoted thousands of words to problems with law school reporting practices, and when two United States senators have encouraged significant changes to your policies, it is surprising that the ABA is resorting to half measures instead of tackling a major problem head on," Boxer wrote.
She called for independent oversight and auditing of the statistics reported by law schools.
Education Management Corp. today asked a federal judge in Pittsburgh to throw out a whistleblower lawsuit in which the U.S. Justice Department has alleged that the company violated federal law by providing financial incentives for admissions officers. The department's complaint states that EDMC, a large for-profit college company, was ineligible for $11 billion in state and federal financial aid it received from students over eight years. The company, in its filing, said that the government's claims are "legally flawed and factually insufficient," and that the government is attempting to use "overblown criticism of lawful recruiting actions" to distract from those deficiencies.
Bonnie Campbell, a lawyer and former Iowa attorney general who represents the company, said in a written statement that the "narrow legal issue" in the case is whether the sole basis for compensating admissions officers was enrollment numbers.
"Federal regulations issued in 2002 expressly permitted companies to consider enrollment numbers when determining admission officer salaries, as long as compensation was not based solely on enrollment numbers," Campbell said. "The company’s compensation plan complied with the law by requiring the consideration of five quality factors along with enrollments to determine salaries, and the company took a number of steps to ensure that the compensation plan was properly followed."
Tomas Tranströmer, a Swedish poet, was this morning named winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was honored, the Nobel citation said, "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality." A list of his publications (including those in English translation) may be found here.
Brown University on Wednesday announced a new program in which doctoral students will receive an extra year of support to pursue a master's degree in a secondary field. While many Ph.D. students earn a master's degree in their own discipline, the aim of this program is to provide a broader experience for doctoral students. Funds for "Open Graduate Programs" -- as the effort is being called -- are coming from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.