Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 6, 2013

A former associate professor of law at the National University of Singapore was sentenced to five months of prison for having sex with a student and accepting gifts from her, Bloomberg reported. The judge imposed a longer jail sentence than that which was sought by prosecutors, stating that “corruption must be stamped out effectively and swiftly.” The professor, Tey Tsun Hang, is accused of seeking expensive gifts and abusing his position of authority over the student. Tey maintains that the relationship was consensual. His lawyer has indicated plans to appeal.

June 6, 2013

Using a coaching-style of college counseling -- in which the advisors work intensely with high school students to help them navigate the application process -- can result in more students opting for four-year colleges rather than two-year colleges, a new study in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis has found. The study was based on students in the Chicago Public Schools. While these students generally enrolled at non-competitive four-year institutions, they were institutions where the students had greater odds than at community colleges of finishing a four-year degree. Further, the study found that the impact of this style of counseling was greatest on students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

 

June 6, 2013

The University of Salford, in England, has announced plans to eliminate its School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, Times Higher Education reported. The university plans to cease recruiting students for all courses in modern languages and linguistics and politics and contemporary history – with the exception of postgraduate programs in security studies – after this year, leading to the eventual closure of the school. The university has pledged that all students currently enrolled and those who are entering this fall will be able to complete their programs.

A Salford spokesman told Times Higher Education that the “changes are as a result of changing demand within higher education and from employers. We are continuing to recruit strongly in our key areas of strength such as media, technology, science, engineering and health, but other areas are showing low levels of interest from applicants."

“The university remains strong and financially healthy with a projected surplus for this year, and these changes are about ensuring that we can use our resources to benefit students in areas that are in demand with employers," the spokesman said.

June 6, 2013

After three separate criminal incidents involving students from Saudi Arabia, Missouri State University is considering adding a police presentation to its international student orientation, The Springfield News-Leader reported. Two Saudi students at Missouri State are charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman this weekend and are being held on $1 million bond. In March, another Saudi student at the university was charged with domestic assault; in January, one was sentenced to 120 days in jail and four years' probation after hitting a pedestrian with his car.

“We are looking at whether there is something we can be doing to help prevent these instances,” Stephen Robinette, Missouri State’s associate vice president for international programs, told the newspaper. Robinette described all three incidents as serious but random, noting, “It is not just associated with Saudi students.”

Missouri State has experienced a rapid growth in its numbers of international students in recent years. According to the News-Leader, there were 1,426 international students enrolled in the fall. More than half these students (805) were Chinese; 244 students from Saudi Arabia made up the second-largest group. 

June 5, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Brian Houston of the University of Missouri reveals how modern communication technology is changing how military families deal with deployment. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

June 5, 2013

The National Endowment for the Humanities is investigating whether laws were broken when grant applications from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences incorrectly indicated that its leader, Leslie Berlowitz, has a doctorate, The Boston Globe reported. The Globe reported this week that two grant applications had the false claim of a doctorate, and the endowment found a third. A spokesman for the academy said that Berlowitz didn't review the portion of the grant applications that had the incorrect information about her education. But the Globe reported that the false claim also has appeared in a job ad for the academy and in a draft advance obituary prepared at the academy for Berlowitz.

June 5, 2013

The Connecticut General Assembly has given final approval to a plan to two major spending initiatives for the University of Connecticut. One part would provide $1.5 billion for construction of facilities, including laboratories, equipment and housing. A second part would provide $137 million to hire additional faculty members so that enrollment can be increased in science and technology fields.

 

June 5, 2013

Queen's University in Canada is apologizing for having asked a student to remove his underwear art from an exhibit to be presented to donors, The Toronto Star reported. David Woodward, the student, was among those asked to participate, but organizers asked him to take down his art when they saw it. The work he was to have presented, "All I Am Is What I've Felt," consists of images and words written on white men's briefs. He said that he considers the work to be about gender, sexuality and intimacy. The underwear art (tame in comparison to student art that has caused controversy elsewhere) may be viewed here.

June 5, 2013

Coalitions of librarians and colleges and universities filed friend of the court briefs Tuesday supporting the HathiTrust in a lawsuit in which authors' groups charge that the digital repository is violating their copyright in making some of their works freely available. The briefs were filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is considering an appeal of a federal judge's ruling last October that sided overwhelmingly with the trust and the universities (Michigan, California and Wisconsin, and Indiana) that created it. In their brief urging the Second Circuit to uphold the lower court, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries argue that a ruling for the Authors' Guild and the others challenging the HathiTrust would "prevent libraries from performing some of their most basic functions, from film preservation to Internet access." And the brief filed by the American Council on Education, several other major groups of college presidents, and Educause vigorously defends the doctrine of "fair use" that they say the plaintiffs challenging HathiTrust would undermine.

The Authors Guild is scheduled to reply to these briefs within a month.

June 5, 2013

An explosion took place just before noon Tuesday at a building at Nyack College's Rockland County campus. College officials said that five employees and two students were in the building at the time. While there were injuries, there were no fatalities. Authorities are trying to determine the cause of the explosion.

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