Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 3, 2013

Mike Scott, a county sheriff in Florida, is criticizing Florida Gulf Coast University -- and specifically President Wilson Bradshaw -- for a planned concert for the fall featuring the hip-hop performers Ludacris and Kendrick Lamar. The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., obtained e-mail messages between Scott and Bradshaw about the event. Scott questioned why the sheriff's office should help with security and why the university would host an event featuring performers who use explicit language (including the n-word) that offends many people. And Scott specifically noted Bradshaw's race. "I can’t for the life of me begin to imagine why a black university president would sanction such vile content; especially so proximate to the golden anniversary of Dr. King’s speech."

Bradshaw responded by noting that the university had found that the performers had appeared without incident at more than 200 colleges, and that students selected them. "As a university president -- black or white -- periodically there are expressed views related to students and faculty that the president doesn’t personally or professionally sanction or share," Bradshaw responded. "In this case, our students indicated a strong interest in inviting these performers."

September 3, 2013

The University of Cambridge has ended the use of gender-specific rules for attire in graduation ceremonies, The Telegraph reported. Until now, men were required to wear suits, and women a dress or skirt. Now, all students have those options, and must also be neatly dressed. Students pushed for the changes, saying that the old rules were unfair to those who did not want to wear clothing associated with traditional gender identities.

 

September 3, 2013

A professor of psychology at Central Michigan University is on paid leave, facing embezzlement charges. Justin Dohoon Oh-Lee is accused of creating aliases to collect more than $35,000 in subject stipends from Parkinson’s disease research he oversaw, the Morning Sun reported. He allegedly used the funds to gamble at casinos across the country, including in Las Vegas. A senior university auditor found irregularities in Oh-Lee’s professional development account in April and contacted police, according to the report. Another university official noticed suspicious activity in an account related to Oh-Lee’s research in November 2012.

Oh-Lee is out on bail. He did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

In an e-mail, a university spokesman said the institution is aware of the charges against Oh-Lee, and is conducting an internal investigation as it continues to cooperate with outside legal authorities concerning the case.
 

September 3, 2013

Jennifer J. Raab, president of Hunter College of the City University of New York, has had considerable success with fund-raising and building projects, The New York Times reported. But she has also seen rapid turnover in key positions, especially in the College of Arts and Sciences. One assistant dean departed with a letter accusing her of "personal attacks and a culture of fear and mistrust." Raab defended her management of the college, and said that critics were outliers.

 

September 3, 2013

A survey of 3,700 scientists across disciplines has found large numbers reporting that their research and the way they spend their time have been severely affected by the across-the-board budget cuts ordered by Congress. The survey -- conducted by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular in collaboration with other science groups -- reported the following findings, among others:

  • 18 percent are considering continuing their research career in another country.
  • 64 percent report that they are having difficulty getting grant funding.
  • 45 percent have a colleague who has lost his or her job.
  • 80 percent report that the time they spend writing grant applications has increased.
  • 64 percent said that their grant funding has decreased.

 

September 3, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Anders Garm of the University of Copenhagen reveals what starfish vision can teach us about the evolution of more complex eyes. 

And if you missed Monday's Academic Minute because of the Labor Day holiday, you can catch up on it here.

Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 30, 2013

African-American studies in the United States is "alive and well," according to a new report issued by scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The report surveyed 1,777 colleges and universities and found that 76 percent have some type of black studies. While some college offer only a course or two, 20 percent of those surveyed have full departments or programs.

 

August 30, 2013

A student at St. Louis Community College was arrested Wednesday for a "violent" threat against the financial aid office, authorities said, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The Twitter message said that she was so frustrated with the financial aid office that she wanted to kill someone. The tweet didn't name an individual. College officials discovered the post through regular monitoring of social media about the college.

 

August 30, 2013

The board of the Educational Testing Service announced Thursday that Walt MacDonald will become the next president and CEO. MacDonald is currently executive vice president and chief operating officer of ETS. He will succeed Kurt M. Landgraf, who has been president since 2000.

August 30, 2013

Towson University has suspended its cheerleading squad from competing for the full academic year, citing an alleged incident of hazing, The Baltimore Sun reported. The Maryland university provided no details about the incident involving the team, which won a national championship award last year. But Towson's vice president for student affairs, Deb Moriarty, said in a statement that "hazing in any form will not be tolerated at Towson University. We hold high expectations for all of our students and their conduct as leaders, both on and off campus."

 

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