Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

A couple from Hong Kong paid an educational "consultant" $2.2 million in an unsuccessful effort to get their sons into Harvard University, according to court documents, The Boston Globe reported. The parents are now suing the consultant, who has acknowledged taking their money, but denied many of their other allegations. The money in theory covered strategy for getting the sons in, donations made to ease their path, tutoring and more. Both the parents and the consultant declined to comment.

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Norman Housley of the University of Leicester explains what a recent archaeological discovery could mean for our understanding of one of England’s most maligned monarchs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members at Wright State University have voted, 92-29, to unionize. They voted to join the existing unit at Wright State, organized by the American Association of University Professors, that represents tenure-track faculty members.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am
  • Matthew K. Gold, assistant professor of English at New York City College of Technology, has been promoted to associate professor there.
  • Joseph J. Grilli, vice president of training institutes, external affairs and planning at Luzerne County Community College, in Pennsylvania, has been chosen as director of corporate and institutional recruitment at Misericordia University, also in Pennsylvania.
  • Beatriz Betancourt Hardy, director of the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William and Mary, has been appointed as dean of libraries at Salisbury University, in Maryland.
  • Brian W. Jack, associate professor and vice chair of family medicine at Boston University, in Massachusetts, has been promoted to chair and professor of family medicine.
  • Keith A. Orris, senior vice president at Lancaster General Health, in Pennsylvania, has been named senior vice president for corporate relations and economic development at Drexel University, also in Pennsylvania.
  • Paula Witherell, public relations director at Hilbert College, in New York, has been selected as assistant to the president for communications/deputy chief of staff at Buffalo State of the State University of New York.

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:23am

Nicholas Lemann will announce today that he is stepping down as the journalism dean at Columbia University, The New York Times reported. As dean, Lemann has been a prominent voice in discussions of the reform of journalism education, and has attracted new resources and faculty slots to his program. While he has been popular with many students, Columbia's journalism school (like many others) has seen fairly steady criticism from students over their difficult job prospects. Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia's president, plans to personally lead the search for a new dean.

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:27am

King's College, in Pennsylvania, recently announced layoffs that will eliminate 11 full-time non-faculty positions, with the goal of eliminating a deficit, Citizen's Voice reported. Officials said that tuition discounting through financial aid exceeded what the college could afford, forcing the cuts. (This language corrects an earlier version.)

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 3:00am

Texas Southern University, which has spent 16 of the past 20 years either on probation or in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, was cited Thursday with a lack of institutional control for, among other things, allowing 129 athletes in 13 sports to compete while academically ineligible.

Texas Southern will now add another five years’ probation to its record, suffer a postseason ban for the 2013 and 2014 football seasons and the 2012-13 men’s basketball season, and reduce its available scholarships and recruiting activities in those two sports. The NCAA also took the unusual steps of limiting Texas Southern’s competition while it’s on probation to only Football Championship Series teams, because of safety concerns related to the aforementioned reductions, and of requiring an in-person review and report of athletics policies and practices through the probation term (at the university’s expense). Finally, team records for all sports from the 2006-7 and 2009-10 academic years must be vacated, as well as the football and women’s soccer records from 2010-11.

The violations occurred over the course of seven years (2004-5 through 2010-11), and while the majority of the involved athletes were not meeting progress-to-degree or transfer requirements, they continued to receive athletic aid and travel expenses. Further, Texas Southern’s former head football coach “knowingly allowed” a booster to recruit for him, and the former men’s basketball gave the NCAA false or misleading information during the investigation. “The staff not only failed to dissuade the booster from making such contacts but also actively encouraged him,” the Committee on Infractions said in its summary of the case. The basketball team itself also got in trouble for failing to reduce its scholarships and athletic activity per previous NCAA violation citations. The public infractions report goes into greater detail about the committee's findings.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ernst de Mooij of the University of Toronto reveals how we can explore the atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system without ever leaving Earth. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 3:00am

Research released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that student performance on tests may be related not only to knowledge gained, but time between significant tasks. The new research -- by Ian Fillmore and Devin G. Pope of the University of Chicago -- examined student performance on Advanced Placement exams. The AP final exams are not always on the same schedule, so students who take more than one AP exam have varying amounts of time between the tests. The study found "strong evidence" that having shorter time periods between exams resulted in lower scores on the second exam. Students who take two exams with 10 days between them are 8 percent more likely to pass both exams than those who take the exams one day apart. An abstract of the study may be found here.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 3:00am

The marching band at Florida A&M University -- long a source of pride but more recently the subject of intense scrutiny because of a hazing death last year -- had serious academic problems, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Nearly 50 members of the 350 people in the band last year had grade-point averages below 2.0, the minimum required for participation in organizations such as the band. Twelve of those students had G.P.A.s of 1.0 or lower.

 

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