Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:23am

Nicholas Lemann will announce today that he is stepping down as the journalism dean at Columbia University, The New York Times reported. As dean, Lemann has been a prominent voice in discussions of the reform of journalism education, and has attracted new resources and faculty slots to his program. While he has been popular with many students, Columbia's journalism school (like many others) has seen fairly steady criticism from students over their difficult job prospects. Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia's president, plans to personally lead the search for a new dean.

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:27am

King's College, in Pennsylvania, recently announced layoffs that will eliminate 11 full-time non-faculty positions, with the goal of eliminating a deficit, Citizen's Voice reported. Officials said that tuition discounting through financial aid exceeded what the college could afford, forcing the cuts. (This language corrects an earlier version.)

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Texas Southern University, which has spent 16 of the past 20 years either on probation or in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, was cited Thursday with a lack of institutional control for, among other things, allowing 129 athletes in 13 sports to compete while academically ineligible.

Texas Southern will now add another five years’ probation to its record, suffer a postseason ban for the 2013 and 2014 football seasons and the 2012-13 men’s basketball season, and reduce its available scholarships and recruiting activities in those two sports. The NCAA also took the unusual steps of limiting Texas Southern’s competition while it’s on probation to only Football Championship Series teams, because of safety concerns related to the aforementioned reductions, and of requiring an in-person review and report of athletics policies and practices through the probation term (at the university’s expense). Finally, team records for all sports from the 2006-7 and 2009-10 academic years must be vacated, as well as the football and women’s soccer records from 2010-11.

The violations occurred over the course of seven years (2004-5 through 2010-11), and while the majority of the involved athletes were not meeting progress-to-degree or transfer requirements, they continued to receive athletic aid and travel expenses. Further, Texas Southern’s former head football coach “knowingly allowed” a booster to recruit for him, and the former men’s basketball gave the NCAA false or misleading information during the investigation. “The staff not only failed to dissuade the booster from making such contacts but also actively encouraged him,” the Committee on Infractions said in its summary of the case. The basketball team itself also got in trouble for failing to reduce its scholarships and athletic activity per previous NCAA violation citations. The public infractions report goes into greater detail about the committee's findings.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Robert J. Lefkowitz, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University Medical Center; and Brian K. Kobilka, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, were this morning named winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They were honored "for studies of G-protein–coupled receptors."

 

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Research released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that student performance on tests may be related not only to knowledge gained, but time between significant tasks. The new research -- by Ian Fillmore and Devin G. Pope of the University of Chicago -- examined student performance on Advanced Placement exams. The AP final exams are not always on the same schedule, so students who take more than one AP exam have varying amounts of time between the tests. The study found "strong evidence" that having shorter time periods between exams resulted in lower scores on the second exam. Students who take two exams with 10 days between them are 8 percent more likely to pass both exams than those who take the exams one day apart. An abstract of the study may be found here.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The marching band at Florida A&M University -- long a source of pride but more recently the subject of intense scrutiny because of a hazing death last year -- had serious academic problems, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Nearly 50 members of the 350 people in the band last year had grade-point averages below 2.0, the minimum required for participation in organizations such as the band. Twelve of those students had G.P.A.s of 1.0 or lower.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 4:16am

Jerry Sandusky, who will be sentenced today for 45 counts of childhood sexual abuse, maintained his innocence in a recording obtained by the student radio station at Pennsylvania State University, The Centre Daily Times reported. In the recording -- whose authenticity was confirmed by Sandusky's lawyers -- the former football coach blamed his accusers for his current situation. "I’m responding to the worst loss of my life. First, I looked at myself. Over and over, I asked why? Why didn’t we have a fair opportunity to prepare for trial? Why have so many people suffered as a result of false allegations? What’s the purpose?" he asked. He said that the only person he ever had sex with was his wife. And he said that one false accusation led to others. "A young man who was dramatic, a veteran accuser, and always sought attention, started everything. He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won," Sandusky said.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 4:18am

Faculty and staff members at Indiana University at Bloomington are signing petitions and protesting the idea of a long-term lease by the university of its parking facilities, the Associated Press reported. Ohio State University recently signed a deal to lease its parking facilities for 50 years -- earning Ohio State $483 million. Indiana officials want a similar deal, but employees say that they fear a loss of jobs and less control over the fees charged to those who park there.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland were this morning named winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for "ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems." Haroche is a physicist at the Collège de France and the École Normale Supérieure, both in Paris. Wineland conducts his research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Colorado, both in Boulder, Colo.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ernst de Mooij of the University of Toronto reveals how we can explore the atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system without ever leaving Earth. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

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