Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 1, 2013

Bellingham Technical College faculty resumed classes Monday following their weeklong strike over union contract negotiations. A three-year contract deal reached over the weekend includes a 3 percent raise for faculty per pay step, bigger stipends, longevity bonuses, and pay raises for adjunct faculty at the Washington institution.

Leaders of the Bellingham Education Association, affiliated with the National Education Association, said they looked forward to improved relations with the administration in a union news release. “We’re serious about wanting to improve our college,” said Don Anderson, a welding technology professor who served on the union bargaining team.

In a statement, Bellingham President Patricia McKeown said the college was pleased to have a contract in place. “We will all need to help each other through a healing process and get back to doing what we do best -- changing our students’ lives for the better and contributing to a healthy economy.”

September 30, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicolas Cowan of Northwestern University explains how cloud cover moderates the temperature of tidally-locked exoplanets orbiting red dwarf starts. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 30, 2013

Glasgow Caledonian University, founded in Scotland and with a campus in London as well, has opened a campus in New York City, becoming the first British university to do so, Times Higher Education reported. The university plans to offer graduate programs in fashion and the business of fashion.

 

September 30, 2013

Medical students can earn academic credit at the University of California at San Francisco for editing content on Wikipedia. Fourth-year medical students in a new class will be editing articles, adding images, reviewing edits and adding citations to support unreferenced text. They will focus on editing 80 frequently used articles that have low levels of quality. Wikipedia is a widely used reference for health topics, but medical entries can lack sources and have gaps in content.

“We’re recognizing the impact Wikipedia can have to educate patients and health care providers across the globe, and want users to receive the most accurate publicly available, sound medical information,” said Amin Azzam, association clinical professor and instructor for the new class, in a news release. The class will also teach students how to communicate with consumers about health topics.

The class is a collaboration between the UCSF School of Medicine and the Wiki Project Med Foundation.
 

September 30, 2013

The U.S. Justice Department plans to sue North Carolina over its restrictive voter identification law, The New York Times reported, escalating the federal government's efforts to stop states from limiting the rights of minority residents -- and some college students -- to cast their ballots. College students have been particularly affected by laws passed in various states -- including North Carolina -- that require voters to present photo identification at the ballot box, but do not recognize student identifications or IDs issued by public assistance agencies as acceptable forms.

 

 

September 30, 2013
Norman Fortenberry, executive director of the American Society for Engineering Education, has issued an apology for the publication in the group's magazine Prism of an anti-gay letter. "I apologize. I wish to express deep regret for my error in judgment in advocating publication of Professor Wayne Helmer’s letter in the September issue of Prism and for the resulting anger, pain, disappointment, and embarrassment to ASEE members, officers, and staff and the LGBTQ community," said Fortenberry's statement. The Helmer letter said in part: "We would do well to teach the truth about the homosexual /lesbian/ bisexual/ transgender lifestyle. These dear people caught up in this destructive way of life need true help and true hope and not encouragement or approval of a detrimental, negative lifestyle."
 
The letter prompted an uproar by many members of the engineering society, and Fortenberrry -- while saying that the letter should have had a disclaimer -- had defended the decision to publish it. In his apology, Fortenberry expressed a new position. "My rationale in publishing the letter has been reported elsewhere and will not be repeated here," he wrote. "In that rationale I failed to recognize that there is a balance to be struck between representing a variety of viewpoints and not providing a platform for views that are generally considered outside the mainstream of public debate."
 
September 30, 2013

A Hong Kong businessman plans to donate $130 million to help the Technion, Israel's leading science university, establish a technology institute in China's Guangdong Province, The Wall Street Journal reported. Li Ka-Shing said he would provide the funds to a joint venture with China's Shantou University, to which he has contributed roughly $750 million over three decades. Local governments will provide a $147 million grant as well to create Technion Guandong Institute of Technology, the Journal reported.

September 30, 2013

Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago, has ended bans on employee drinking and smoking when they are off campus, The Chicago Tribune reported. While the institute still expects literal adherence to rules stated in the Bible, officials noted that drinking and smoking are not barred there. "We're the Moody Bible Institute, so we're very interested in staying and adhering to God's word," said Paul Nyquist, the president. "You can't substantiate nondrinking from Scripture. In New Testament times, in Old Testament times, there was drinking of wine. You can't get around that. We've got really good people here.... We're not going to regulate those areas anymore. We trust them to make good, godly, wise decisions."

September 30, 2013

An article in The Washington Post documents concerns that the looming withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan could threaten the future of the American University of Afghanistan, which has received significant American funding and offered a refuge and hope for a new generation of Afghanis.

September 30, 2013

The Islamist group Boko Haram is being blamed for the shooting deaths of up to 50 students at an agricultural college in Nigeria, with many of the students shot as they slept, BBC reported. The group opposes any education that is not focused on Islamic teachings.

 

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