Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has started a new fellowship for international graduate students, awarding funds to 48 individuals from 22 countries. The funds will support research in science and engineering during the third, fourth and fifth years of graduate school. The institute originally planned to award 35 fellowships (worth $43,000 a year) but upped the total due to the quality of applicants.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Unusually high numbers of Italian academics share the same last names, suggesting nepotism is widespread, according to a new study by Stefano Allesina, an assistant professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago. Allesina's work was prompted by Italian journalists' reports on apparent nepotism in academe, such as one university where nine relatives from three generations of a single family are in the economics department. Allesina examined a database with the names of 61,000 Italian academics, and found clusters of names in single departments most prevalent in industrial engineering, law, medicine, geography and pedagogy. The analysis of names found that nepotism was the least likely (names were closest to random in various fields) in linguistics, demography and psychology.The research is being published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

DeVry Inc. on Thursday announced its purchase of the American University of the Caribbean, which runs a medical school in St. Maarten. DeVry already owns the Ross University School of Medicine, in Dominica.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Rudolf Alexandrov, an adjunct mathematics professor at Chestnut Hill College, went to the second floor of a rotunda as his class was scheduled to begin on Wednesday, jumped off and killed himself in the fall, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. His students and staff members witnessed the death. Alexandrov was 71. The Philadelphia Daily News quoted a police official as saying that Alexandrov had a history of depression.

Friday, August 5, 2011 - 3:00am

The senior college commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has warned La Sierra University that it could face accreditation sanctions because of concerns that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has too much control over the institution, The Press-Enterprise reported. University officials say that they have discussed the warning, and are taking it seriously. La Sierra has faced scrutiny from the accreditor and some of its own students and faculty members over debates over the teaching of evolution (questioned by the church), and an incident in which a trustee, a vice president, a dean, and an adjunct professor were asked to resign over a recording made, purportedly by accident, of the four men talking informally about the church and university leadership.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Commerce released new data on Wednesday on the gender gap in science and technology fields -- stressing the economic impact on women. The study noted that women hold almost half of all jobs in the United States, but less than 25 percent of those in STEM fields. This trend continues even though women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more, on average, than do women in other fields. And the data show that of those who study STEM fields in college, women are less likely to seek out STEM jobs. Of men with a STEM degree, 40 percent work in science and technology fields, while only 26 percent of comparable women do so.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Paul Steinberg of Harvey Mudd College explains the unique position of the United States as a potential global leader on environmental issues. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Duquesne University has sued Highmark Inc., its insurer, saying that it has been reimbursing employees for some forms of birth control, despite a contract with the Roman Catholic college not to do so, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The company did not return calls seeking comment.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Phyllis M. Wise was on Wednesday named as the next chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Wise is currently provost at the University of Washington, where she also served as interim president. She is among a very small number of Asian-American academics named to the top position on an American campus.

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The Texas Workforce Commission has ordered ATI Enterprises not to enroll new students in 16 career schools in the state, the Associated Press reported. The move follows questions raised by WFAA-TV about the accuracy of the chain's job placement rates. A company official declined to comment, saying that ATI would respond on Friday. The blog Higher Ed Watch features a review of the criticism of ATI.

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