Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

The board of Southern University on Tuesday deadlocked and failed to adopt a resolution allowing the Baton Rouge campus to declare financial exigency, the Associated Press reported. Some university leaders have said that such a declaration is needed to impose cuts, but faculty leaders have argued that sufficient spending shifts could be made without declaring exigency. A declaration of exigency could lead to cuts of tenured faculty positions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are trying to promote discussion of a statue of a Confederate soldier on the campus, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Many students say that the statue -- dedicated in 1913 and known as "Silent Sam" -- is a symbol of white supremacy. Some students want it taken down, while others argue for moving it, changing its plaque, adding another statue or simply promoting more discussion of what the symbolism is. Last week, students taped a temporary notice to the statue that reads: "This memorial to Confederate soldiers who left the university perpetuates an incomplete and inaccurate history - one that intentionally neglects the vast number of North Carolinians who opposed secession and the Confederacy. The original supporters of this monument, both town and university leaders, were motivated by racism and were colluders in a statewide campaign to establish white dominance."

More information about the student movement is available on its Facebook page. Many other Southern colleges have debated Confederate symbols on their campuses.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

BPP University College, Britain's only for-profit, degree-awarding institution, will have a price advantage over nonprofit competitors. Times Higher Education reported that BPP will charge £5,000 (about $8,000) a year for tuition, compared to the £9,000 (about $14,300) rates being set by most other universities, which are losing much of their government support. The British shifts in higher education policy also allow students to borrow up to £6,000 to attend for-profit institutions, so BPP students will have access to loans that are large enough to cover tuition.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Villanova University recently started a new branding campaign -- Go NOVA. But a few materials were quickly reworked after some faculty members spotted an unfortunate appearance in the online versions of some images. The original version of this page featured the "Go NOVA" letters in blue on a white background. Inside the blue O was an image of several white spires of a church on campus, with some windows in the spires. To some professors, the image looked like members of the Ku Klux Klan. The image was prepared for a print publication (and Villanova officials said that the Klan image didn't occur to anyone who saw the print version). The image has since been removed from the online materials.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Carnegie Mellon University is today announcing a pledge by William S. Dietrich II, a trustee, of a $265 million gift, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Dietrich, who is also on the board of the University of Pittsburgh, is also expected to make a very large gift to that institution. At Carnegie Mellon, the funds -- equal to about a fourth of the university's endowment -- will be used for global initiatives and for programs linking study of the arts and technology.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Craig Rustici of Hofstra University examines the myth of Pope Joan and explains how efforts to suppress the legend may have solidified Joan's status. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

The average medical student spends just five hours in medical school focused on health-care needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals, according to a new Stanford University study that will be published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study is based on a survey of medical school deans. It found that about a third of medical schools devote no time to the issue. However, in what the researchers considered a positive sign, almost all medical students these days are taught, when taking sexual histories of patients, to ask whether they "have sex with men, women or both."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

With economic issues playing a more important role than ever in medicine, more physicians are seeking M.B.A.s or taking courses in business, The New York Times reported. There are now 65 joint M.D./M.B.A. programs, up from 5 or 6 in the late 1990s.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Elizabeth Furdell of the University of North Florida discusses how she
uses the historical record to diagnose ailments in individuals from the distant past. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Massachusetts officials plan to announce today that -- for the first time in decades -- some state funds for higher education will be distributed based on plans for certain goals, not on enrollment, The Boston Globe reported. Funds will be available to colleges for plans to raise graduation rates, to improve science education or to close racial gaps in student achievement. While only a small amount of money -- $2.5 million -- is involved, officials said that the shift represented an important philosophical move for the state.

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