Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Bar Associations has announced that it will not accredit law schools outside the United States. Several panels of the ABA have studied the issue. An association statement said that reviewing foreign law schools would "divert the [legal education] section's attention and resources at a time of significant strain on its finances and personnel." At the same time, the ABA said that there was a "need to identify and establish appropriate standards and procedures for the licensing of foreign lawyers who would like to practice in this country." The impetus for the review was a request for accreditation from the Peking University School of Transnational Law, which offers students both a Chinese-style law degree and a J.D. program based on American law school curriculums.I have e-mail out to Peking -- will add reaction if I get one -sj


Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of New Orleans issued a statement late Monday clarifying the "hiatus" it had declared for its university press. The university last month told the director of the press (the only full-time employee) that his job had been eliminated and that the press would be on "hiatus." The statement issued Monday says: "The UNO Press is not being closed. It is presently on a brief hiatus, during which time it will be accepting no new manuscripts while the administration reviews the UNO Press' business plan. The UNO Press plays an important role as a publisher of scholarly and literary books, and we hope it will return to full operation soon. All contracts that have been issued will be honored."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Texas on Monday filed its brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in the affirmative action case that will be heard this fall. Texas has prevailed in lower courts, but faces a strong challenge and a potentially skeptical Supreme Court. The brief stresses that the university believes that having a diverse student body is an educational issue. Diversity, the brief says, "better prepares students to become the next generation of leaders in an increasingly diverse work force and society." But the brief also takes care to say that the university does not define diversity solely by race and ethnicity. "UT has a broad vision of diversity, which looks to a wide variety of individual characteristics — including an applicant’s culture; language; family; educational, geographic, and socioeconomic background; work, volunteer, or internship experiences; leadership experiences; special artistic or other talents, as well as race and ethnicity."


Monday, August 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The U.S. House of Representative last week passed legislation that would bar anyone outside the U.S. from receiving a student visa to enroll at an unaccredited institution. The measure provides an exemption if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified a new institution that has not yet obtained accreditation from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The legislation was prompted by recent scandals involving institutions in California that have attracted foreign students without accreditation.

Monday, August 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The president and board chairman at Pennsylvania State University agreed to accept an unprecedented set of penalties imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association because the NCAA's leaders insisted that the association was poised to shut down the football program for several years, ESPN reported. The article provides more details than have previously been reported on the secretive negotiations that unfolded between the NCAA's president, Mark Emmert, and a small set of institutional leaders at Penn State.

According to ESPN, Emmert on several occasions told Rodney Erickson, Penn State's president, that most members of the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors favored barring the Nittany Lion football team from competing for four years. The article describes efforts by Penn State representatives -- without the knowledge of most of the university's trustees -- to persuade the NCAA to do otherwise, because they believed shuttering the program for that long would be too devastating. The article outlines the concerns of some Penn State officials (and other observers) that Emmert and the NCAA had overstepped their bounds by eliciting a remarkably punitive set of penalties by threatening an even tougher one.

The article quotes Gene Marsh, a lawyer and former NCAA official who represented Penn State, as saying: "In federal bankruptcy court, there is a concept of a cram-down -- a judge tells creditors, 'Here's the deal, this is all you are going to get, a few pennies on the dollar, and you should be happy with that.' You know, take it or leave it, because you don't really have any choice.... [T]his was the NCAA equivalent of a cram-down."

Monday, August 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The proportion of academic research involving more than one institution is going up, according to an analysis by the National Science Foundation. The NSF looked at the percentage of academic R&D funding that goes to "pass through" payments to a second institution. The figure is now 7 percent, up from 5 percent in 2000.


Monday, August 6, 2012 - 3:00am

After years of litigation, Fisk University has finalized a deal to sell a half share in its renowned art collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Tennessean reported. Fisk will receive $74 million to give the museum the right to display the art for two-year periods, rotating with periods in which the art will reside at Fisk. Many in the art world have criticized Fisk for selling the collection, which was donated by Georgia O'Keeffe in 1949, with a request that it never be sold. Fisk, a financially troubled historically black college, has said that it needs the money to stabilize its budget.


Monday, August 6, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ben Ellis of Washington State University reveals research indicating that the Yellowstone super volcano may have erupted more frequently than previously thought. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Friday, August 3, 2012 - 3:00am

As expected, the college presidents who manage Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Thursday put off a vote on its proposed new enforcement model. But it did “endorse” the recommendations of the working group that produced them, and suggested that the changes will indeed take effect Aug. 1, 2013. do you mean august 1, 2013? dl *** yes. so we don't have to specify the year, right? Or is it close enough to Aug. 1 that clarification would be helpful? Whichever is our style.  -ag ---idk but I went ahead and added year for clarity, hope that's ok SG “Our intention is to make this real in October,” at the next meeting of the Division I Board of Directors, Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University and chair of the working group, said in a statement.

The recommendations would give enforcement officials and the Committee on Infractions more flexibility in how they handle NCAA violations. They include:

  • Switching from a two-tiered to a four-tiered violation structure. The most egregious violations, including those that “seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA enduring values” of athlete success, the collegiate model, amateurism and competitive equity, would be classified as Level I violations: Severe breach of conduct. The least serious violations -- minor infractions that are “inadvertent and isolated, technical in nature and result in a negligible, if any, competitive advantage,” will be considered Level IV: Incidental Issue.
  • Increasing the size of the Committee on Infractions from 10 to 24 to allow for more regular hearings and faster resolution of cases.
  • Expanding the make-up of the panel to include university presidents and other administrators, athletic department officials, former coaches, conference officials, faculty members and citizens with a legal background.
  • Creating new penalty guidelines regarding the NCAA’s code of conduct. These would give the committee “some discretion, although limited, in prescribing penalties while also assuring stronger and consistently applied penalties."
  • Creating a means for the committee to hold accountable and punish coaches, who “set the tone and culture for compliance within the program.”
Friday, August 3, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Maurizio Porfiri of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University reveals how robotic fish can be used to influence the movement of schools of fish. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.



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