A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit by a Holocaust survivor against the University of Oklahoma over a painting in the university's gallery that was once stolen by the Nazis from its owner, The Associated Press reported. Oklahoma had the suit dismissed earlier because it was filed in New York rather than Oklahoma, but the appeals court found that the judge had the option of transferring the suit to Oklahoma rather than dismissing it. Oklahoma has been criticized by many for using legal technicalities to fight the suit, given that many experts believe it is undisputed that the plaintiff's family was the owner of the painting when it was seized by Nazis. The painting is "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep" (at right) by Camille Pissarro, currently part of the collection of the university's Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Faculty members of the main undergraduate college at Yeshiva University have voted no confidence in President Richard Joel, The Jewish Week reported. Yeshiva University has been facing severe financial problems. Faculty leaders say that cuts are being imposed that have a direct impact on the curriculum, and that a lack of information about which positions will be eliminated makes it difficult to plan. The university's board issued a statement affirming support of Joel and noting that "the Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for ensuring the university is able to move forward with excellence."
University of Akron police are seeking leads to find out who posted flyers on campus threatening to rape Kara Kvaran, a women's studies lecturer there, The Akron Beacon Journal reported. The women's studies department posted a statement on its Facebook page that said in part: "Rape threats were posted on a flyer in the Arts and Sciences building specifically targeting [a] women's studies teacher, Dr. Kara Kvaran. These hateful and pornographic flyers included her personal information and home address.... The threat of sexual violence has long been used to exert social control over women who speak out. We must not let this stop us. Our community and school [need] to move forward and let everyone know that this sort of terrorism will not be tolerated."
Boston-area colleges -- normally reluctant to declare snow days -- had no choice this year. Now they are figuring out how to make up all the missed time. WBUR reported on some of the strategies: Saturday sessions, online classes and extra material in each class.
Scholars in Hong Kong are concerned that the Chinese government is attacking their academic freedom in the aftermath of last year’s pro-democracy protests, The Washington Post reported. Concerned that the Chinese government is attempting to rein in critics, hundreds of academics have signed a petition raising concerns about “political intervention” in Hong Kong universities.
On the latest "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, Pima Community College's Lee D. Lambert and Stephen Katsinas of the University of Alabama join Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik and the moderator, Casey Green, to analyze Arizona's decision to end state funding for Pima and the Maricopa County Community College districts. In the other segment, Daniel Greenstein of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Claremont Graduate University's Scott Thomas discuss the major foundation's new higher education strategy. Sign up here to be notified of new "This Week" podcasts.
Many colleges are adding shooting teams, either for intercollegiate or club competitions, The Washington Post reported. Much of the money for these new teams comes from gun industry-supported groups, such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has awarded more than $1 million in grants since 2009, contributing to the launch of about 80 programs.
The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University -- two top institutions in Japan -- are making a major shift in admissions policies, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported. Traditionally admissions have been based solely on entrance exam scores and essays designed to test intelligence. But now each high school will be permitted to recommend one male and one female student, based on qualities that might not be apparent in the traditional system.
The nonprofit research organization Ithaka S+R is back with another look at the many studies that compare student outcomes from face-to-face and online or hybrid courses, and once again, the results show "no significant differences" between the two modes of delivery. Questions about the studies' methodology also remain. D. Derek Wu, an analyst at Ithaka, also noted that the "majority of studies still fall short in their efforts to fill in the gaps left by the prior literature -- particularly those related to the cost implications of online and hybrid delivery formats."
This year, Ithaka looked at 12 studies conducted in 2013 and 2014, but Wu found that many of them "are vulnerable to methodological limitations that endanger the robustness of their results." Wu suggested future research should focus on four areas: cost implications, individual features' impact on outcomes, online upper-level and humanities courses, and long-term results such as graduation and retention rates. Ithaka first began to track studies on student outcomes by delivery in 2012.