Higher Education Quick Takes
A Michigan court has fined a 61-year-old woman for assaulting her instructor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Michigan Live reported. The woman has also been expelled from the college. The altercation took place in class. "We are disappointed the student did not receive jail time," said Stephen Louisell, faculty grievance officer. "It sends the message that teachers are not valued."
The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday, and a number of the winners have higher education connections.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News won the local reporting prize for "courageously revealing and adeptly covering the explosive Penn State sex scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky." And John Sullivan, a senior lecturer in journalism at Northwestern University, co-led the team at The Philadelphia Inquirer that won the public service award for "exploration of pervasive violence in the city’s schools."
Academics tend to be well-represented among the winners in the Pulitzer's cultural categories, and this year was no exception:
- The late Manning Marable, who was the M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies and a professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University when he died last year, won the prize for history for Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking).
- John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of History at Yale University, won the prize for biography for George F. Kennan: An American Life (The Penguin Press).
- Tracy K. Smith, of the creative writing faculty at Princeton University, won the prize for poetry for Life on Mars (Graywolf Press).
- Stephen Greenblatt, the Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, won the prize for general nonfiction for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (W.W. Norton and Company).
- Kevin Puts, who is on the composition faculty of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, won the prize for music for "Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts."
The Modern Language Association has launched the Academic Workforce Data Center, making it easy to compare colleges on the percentages of their faculty jobs that are tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track, as well as the share of those off the tenure track in full-time and part-time positions. The center provides federal information, college by college, from 1995 and 2009, to allow academics to also examine trends over time. The MLA project in some ways updates the work of a similar analysis in 2006 by the American Association of University Professors. The data provided by the MLA cover all academic disciplines, not just those in the modern languages.
During a recent radio appearance, Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who leads the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, said she has "very little tolerance" for students who borrowed tens of thousands of dollars to attend college. "I worked my way through," said Foxx, a former president of Mayland Community College in Spruce Pine, N.C., on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show. "It took me seven years. I never borrowed a dime of money... I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that."
The board of Santa Monica College has put on hold a two-tiered tuition plan that outraged many who saw an abandonment of community college values. But The Los Angeles Times reported that trustees are stunned by the reaction the plan received. Trustees say that they still view the plan as one of finding a way to raise money to educate low-income students -- and that they can't believe it was viewed as an attack on low-income students. The Times reported that one trustee viewed the plan as "socialism in action."
The Saudi Ministry of Higher Education has told universities in the country to start to let women into political science departments, Al Arabiya reported. King Saud University plans to be the first institution to comply, and will allow women to enroll in political science next year.
The Education Department's advisory panel on accreditation voted Friday to accept a final report on its recommendations for revamping the nation's quality assurance system for higher education, making few changes to a draft report that riled institutions and some members of the panel. The recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity call for maintaining the link between accreditation and institutions' eligibility for federal financial aid programs, despite a proposal from two of the committee's members -- Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and Arthur Rothkopf, president emeritus of Lafayette College. But the panel recommends other changes to the nation's accreditation system, including setting minimum consumer protection standards for states and urging the department to "encourage a dialogue" about sector-based accreditation.
Advocates for Hebrew are pushing Israeli universities, where many courses are taught and much research is published in English, to increase use of Hebrew, The Forward reported. The Academy of the Hebrew Language is lobbying the Education Ministry to require more use of Hebrew, and that effort has many academics worried. "Hebrew is the language of the Jewish people, but if you write your thesis in Hebrew, it is buried,” said Yehuda Band, head of the chemistry department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "A student who can’t write in English is severely limited — it’s the language of science."
An affidavit filed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration details federal suspicions that a researcher and Wheeling Jesuit University used millions in federal funds inappropriately for their benefit, The Wheeling News-Register reported. Funds that were supposed to be used for various research projects were instead used for unrelated expenses, the affidavit says. A university spokeswoman said that the university had not seen the document and so could not comment on it, but she said that Wheeling Jesuit is cooperating with the probe.