Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Mexican authorities on Monday raided three teachers colleges in the state of Michoacan, where students have been hijacking buses and trucks to protest changes in the curriculum, the Associated Press reported. In clashes Monday, 176 protesters -- who have been trying to take over the campuses -- were detained, and 10 police offers were injured.

 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 3:00am

This month the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges issued a report calling on trustees to meet their responsibilities for making sure athletics programs are run with integrity, consistent with the educational values of their institutions. It's not clear that all trustees have read the report about where they should focus their attention. The Tampa Bay Times used open-records requests to obtain the e-mail message John Ramil, the board chair of the University of South Florida, sent out after USF lost a football game to Temple University. "Disgusting and unacceptable. We have major problems with our football program," he wrote in an e-mail to the president's chief of staff. That e-mail in turn was forwarded to the athletics director, with a suggestion that he have a talk with the board chair. Asked about the e-mail, Ramil told the newspaper that "I was expressing the same feeling of frustration as all the USF fans are feeling.... I personally want what's best for all the USF programs, whether academic or sports. I also believe in candid feedback, and I think the president and the athletic director and the coaches need to have that kind of feeling of feedback from all the fans. I've given them feedback on good stuff, too."

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:00am

Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley were this morning named winners of the 2012 Nobel Memorial Award in Economics "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design." Roth is a professor of economics and business administration at Harvard University. Shapley is professor emeritus of economics at the University of California at Los Angeles.

 

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:00am

The Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Louis University has voted no confidence, 35-2, in the university's president, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Faculty leaders are angry over a recent proposed post-tenure review policy that they say would have effectively gutted tenure protections. Many faculty members say that the administration has stopped consulting with them on key issues. The university "has now become a place of tyranny," said Timothy Lomperis, a political science professor. The administration declined to comment on the faculty vote.

 

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Tim Lockley of the University of Warwick explains why 19th-century yellow fever epidemics hit some segments of Savannah’s population harder than others. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:00am

The Australian Human Rights Commission has issued principles to protect the rights of international students enrolled in Australia. The principles are intended as a guide for universities, government entities and others on which the students rely for fair treatment. The four principles call for "enhancing the human rights of international students," "ensuring all international students have access to human rights and freedom from discrimination protections," "understanding the diverse needs of international students" and "empowering international students during their stay in Australia." For each principle, a series of concrete measures are outlined. For instance, enhancing the human rights of international students is defined as including access to health care while in Australia, affordable places to live, access to safe public transportation and more.

 

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:00am

Sylvester Oliver, who was until recently a professor and director of humanities at Rust College, is in jail facing charges that he raped a student, WREG News reported. Investigators said that the allegations stem from an incident a month ago, but that the student came forward two weeks later. David L. Beckley, president of the college, said via e-mail that the case is in the hands of the police department, but that Oliver "is no longer employed" by the college.

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Wyoming said it removed a controversial sculpture from campus on schedule and because of water damage. But The Casper Star-Tribune, based on e-mail records it obtained, said that the schedule was moved up amid concern about how the sculpture was offending the coal industry, legislators and donors. The large sculpture, "Carbon Sink: What Goes Around, Comes Around," featured coal and wood sinking into the earth, and was viewed by many as anti-coal. The e-mail records show university officials worried about the fallout from those criticizing the sculpture, and reaching out to let them know that the work was being removed. The e-mails also show considerable anger over the sculpture. An e-mail from Bruce Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said: "The next time the University of Wyoming is asking for donations it might be helpful to remind them of this and other things they have done to the industries that feed them before you donate.... They always hide behind academic freedom but their policies and actions can change if they so choose."

 

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 4:15am

The University of Texas is planning today to officially join edX, which offers massive open online courses or MOOCs. Because the Texas announcement involves an entire system, it represents a major expansion of edX, which was founded by two universities (Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and was later joined by one other (the University of California at Berkeley). Coursera, another major MOOC provider, has been adding universities at a rapid pace. The Texas system plans to focus on general education and introductory-level courses for its MOOC offerings. Bloomberg reported that the University of Texas is paying $5 million to join edX.

 

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 3:00am

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office said Friday that allegations from this summer that Dartmouth College trustees steered the college's investments toward their own firms did not merit further investigation and that the office had found no evidence of wrongdoing. An anonymous letter to the office earlier this year alleged that at least 10 Dartmouth alumni who sat on its board of trustees and investment board had made investments that were good for them but bad for the institution's long-term financial health. "Based on the unsupported nature of the allegations in the Complaint, the content of the Responses, and our review of the college's most recent financial statement," the office wrote in a letter to the college's general counsel Friday, "we find no basis to conclude Dartmouth's Trustees have violated state law by engaging in related party transactions involving the investment of a portion of Dartmouth's endowment."

“The Attorney General’s finding that these anonymous and baseless allegations are without merit speaks to the rigor of Dartmouth’s policy and practice," the college said in a statement. "As we have said previously, Dartmouth meets or exceeds all the requirements of New Hampshire law with regard to its endowment investments and for investments with firms managed by trustees or Investment Committee members.”

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