The Association of American Medical Colleges plans to launch new leadership training programs to train a new generation of administrators to lead medical education. Darrell G. Kirch, president of the association, announced the effort Sunday during his address at the group's annual meeting. He cited new research on leadership, and said that academic medicine needs to move away from the idea of seeking “one leader with special knowledge to be the 'sage at the top.'" Rather, he said, medical schools need to seek out people who can work to develop a wide base of talent at their institutions.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The American Studies Crossroads Project, an early web pioneer that enabled instructors to share online teaching materials and stories of how they had used them, has been archived and closed -- made irrelevant, its founder says, by the "swiftly moving stream that is the Internet." Randy Bass, a professor of English and associate provost at Georgetown University, said that its core idea -- being "a single knowledge-building, field-forming virtual community" for scholars and teachers in American studies -- "no longer has a role in the distributed and ubiquitous environment of the Web."
California's community colleges have been ordered to focus on students who can earn degrees or certificates or who can transfer to four-year institutions, and to de-emphasize other programs. An article in The Los Angeles Times explores the impact of this directive on rural community colleges. At those institutions, the Times reported, the identity of the colleges is much more centered on long-term ties to community members and the colleges have played a much broader cultural and social role than those in urban areas. As a result, many are questioning the appropriateness of the new approach for such colleges.
Judson University, facing a deficit of $165,000, has laid off 21 staff members and announced that it will not renew the contracts of 11 faculty members, The Daily Herald reported. Officials of the Elgin, Ill., university said that there were not causes for serious concern, but that the employee total had perhaps grown too rapidly in recent years.
Many professors worry about students who use various devices in class not to take notes, but to keep up with Facebook and Twitter. Henry Kim, a business professor at Canada's York University, has gone beyond just banning students from using their laptops for non-class activities. As The Toronto Star reported, he requires students to pledge to -- if asked -- reveal if fellow students' web browsers are open to social media or other non-class-related material. He then can have eyes throughout the class.
Green Mountain College has delayed a controversial plan to slaughter two oxen because local slaughterhouses have received threats from outside groups about actions that would be taken if they kill the animals, the Associated Press reported. The college prides itself on sustainability, and says that when one ox became unable to continue working, the right thing to do from an environmental perspective was to slaughter the oxen and to serve their meat in the dining hall. But animal rights groups and others have mounted online campaigns to save the oxen.
The National Student Clearinghouse is taking over management of the University of Texas at Austin's SPEEDE server, which more than 300 colleges use at no charge to process electronic transcripts and share student academic records, the two entities announced Wednesday. The clearinghouse quickly followed Thursday with another announcement making clear that it would continue to provide SPEEDE's services free, presumably in response to questions from many registrars and admissions officials about whether the much larger organization would seek to privatize, or at least monetize, its new operation. Also on Thursday, a corporate player in the e-transcript space, Parchment, announced its own collaboration to create a gateway for electronic academic records.
Graham Spanier, for years a leader in higher education as president of Pennsylvania State University, was indicted Thursday on charges of concealing information about suspected child abuse involving Jerry Sandusky, obstructing the criminal investigation of Sandusky, perjury before a grand jury and endangering the welfare of children. The charges came a year after the scandal involving Sandusky became public. While the former assistant football coach has been convicted of dozens of counts of sexual abuse of minors, Spanier is accused of failing to report Sandusky to authorities. "This is not a mistake, an oversight or a misjudgment. This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials at Penn State, working to actively conceal the truth, with total disregard to the suffering of children," said Linda Kelly, Pennsylvania's attorney general, in a statement.
Spanier was fired by Penn State shortly after the scandal broke and has been on sabbatical with the assumption he would soon return to a faculty role. The university announced Thursday that Spanier was being placed on leave, and that Penn State would have no further comment about the legal proceedings.
One of Spanier's lawyers released a statement defending the former president. "Graham Spanier has committed no crime and looks forward to the opportunity to clear his good name and well-earned national reputation for integrity. This presentment is a politically motivated frame-up of an innocent man. And if these charges ever come to trial, we will prove it."