Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 11, 2012

Just a day after the University of Notre Dame announced it would finally oblige long-denied requests to create a gay-straight alliance student group formally recognized by the university, the Catholic University of America again rejected a petition from its students to do the same. The CUAllies, who have been meeting unofficially since 2009 and have petitioned for formal recognition before, reported the news Friday via Facebook, saying Catholic will not recognize the group because of its “possibility of becoming an advocacy group.” Catholic officials declined to comment Monday afternoon.

December 11, 2012

A new cartoon, three new finalists to vote on, and the second winner of Inside Higher Ed's Cartoon Caption Contest -- all coming at you today.

To submit your captions for December's brand-new cartoon -- yes, it is winter-themed -- please click here. The three entries deemed most clever and creative by our experts' panel will be put to a vote by our readers, and the winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a copy of the cartoon signed by Matthew Henry Hall, the artist.

Click here to vote on the three captions nominated as finalists for our November cartoon.

And congratulations to the winner of Cartoon Caption Contest for October, John Whitlock, dean of arts and sciences at Florida's Pasco-Hernando Community College. Find out more about him and his submission here.

Thanks for playing along.

December 11, 2012

Echoing the findings of other reports and statements about doctoral education in recent months, a commission of the American Chemical Society issued a report Monday that urges significant changes in the structure, curriculums, and financing of graduate programs in chemistry to better align the interests of students, institutions and the discipline. Among the recommendations are that the median time to Ph.D. for individual chemistry departments be no more than five years, that financial support for students be uncoupled (to the extent possible) from grants and contracts, and that universities set the size of their doctoral programs based on the availability of "truly attractive opportunities for graduates" in chemical science professions. "A large undergraduate teaching need is not a sufficient justification for a large graduate program," the report states.

December 11, 2012

It didn't take Bobby Petrino long to get back into coaching. Eight months after the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville fired him as its football coach -- citing the fact that he had hired his mistress to work in the athletics department and then lied about it to his superiors -- Petrino got what his new bosses at Western Kentucky University say is a "second chance." "This is the United States of America, and we're a country of second chances," said the athletics director, Todd Stewart. Oddly, the university's news release about Petrino's hiring focused only on his football exploits.

December 11, 2012

Kathleen McCartney, dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, was on Monday named as the next president of Smith College. McCartney represents Harvard on the founding board of edX, the online education consortium founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She will succeed Carol T. Christ, who has served as president since 2002 and who is stepping down at the end of the academic year.

 

December 10, 2012

Faculty at Yale-NUS College say they weren’t consulted on the American Association of University Professors’ recent open letter raising concerns about academic freedom at the Singapore-based institution. A response signed by 25 members of the Yale-NUS faculty states that no members of the AAUP consulted with them "about any of our own assessments of, concerns about, and active efforts to promote and secure (i) academic freedom; (ii) the rights of faculty, staff, and students; and (iii) shared faculty governance at Yale-NUS College." The letter invites the AAUP to consult with Yale-NUS faculty in the future. 

Yale University’s joint campus with the National University of Singapore has been a source of controversy in New Haven; in April, Yale College faculty approved a resolution expressing concern about Singapore's historical lack of respect for civil and political rights, and urging Yale to promote principles of non-discrimination and uphold civil and political liberties on campus and in the society at large.

Jill Campbell, a Yale professor of English who helps maintain a Web site on Yale and Singapore, said that members of the AAUP had access to that site and its extensive archive of public statements and documents on Yale-NUS, as well as news articles and op-eds from critics and supporters of the campus. “Thus, the members of the AAUP Committee had access to all the statements about Yale-NUS policies and positions that members of the Yale community, alumni, or the general public have access to,” she said.  

December 10, 2012

Swarthmore College on Saturday announced a $50 million gift from Eugene Lang, an alumnus and philanthropist, for engineering and science facilities and for programs to link engineering and the liberal arts at the college. Swarthmore is unusual among liberal arts colleges in having an engineering program. The gift is the largest in Swarthmore's history.

 

December 10, 2012

Online education appears to be a growing target for financial aid fraud, The Arizona Republic reported. Authorities have uncovered three schemes In the last three years at Rio Salado College, an online campus of the Maricopa Community Colleges, and those schemes involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, has referred 850 potential fraud cases to federal authorities since 2009, and about 25 of those cases have been prosecuted.

 

 
December 10, 2012

Chinese authorities closely monitor student organizations and use the power to deny recognition or interrogate members to send strong signals about topics or activities to avoid, The Los Angeles Times reported. Further, the oversight may become more intrusive. Xi Jinping, presumed to be China's future president, recently said that universities should increase "thought control" over students, adding that "university Communist Party organs must adopt firmer and stronger measures to maintain harmony and stability in universities."

 

December 10, 2012

Campus police officers shot and killed a 38-year-old male graduate student at California State University at San Bernardino, The Press-Enterprise reported. Authorities said that the officers responded to a disturbance and that the man they shot became violent with officers before they shot him.

The Los Angeles Times reported that family members of the student said that he suffered from a mental disorder and had stopped taking his medication. The Times reported that during the altercation, the student was kicking one police officer in the head, was using police pepper spray against officers and was grabbing police batons.

 

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