Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 26, 2013

The government of the United Arab Emirates on Monday released a statement explaining its decision to briefly detain Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, who teaches government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, when he arrived in Dubai for a conference his institution co-sponsored with the American University of Sharjah. He was barred from entering the country and was sent back to Britain -- at which point the London School of Economics called off the conference. Ulrichsen said he believed he was kept out because he has written critically about the government of Bahrain, and the government statement essentially confirmed this.

The statement: "Dr. Coates Ulrichsen was scheduled to speak on the current political situation in Bahrain. The UAE is a strong supporter of efforts by the Government of Bahrain and the opposition parties to resolve their situation through peaceful dialogue. Dr Coates Ulrichsen has consistently propagated views de-legitimizing the Bahraini monarchy. The UAE took the view that at this extremely sensitive juncture in Bahrain's national dialogue it would be unhelpful to allow non-constructive views on the situation in Bahrain to be expressed from within another GCC state. This decision in no way reflects the strong ties with both the AUS and LSE and their academic excellence, however, in this very specific case, it was important to avoid disruption at a difficult point in Bahrain's national dialogue process which we fully support."

February 26, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Angel Yanagihara of the University of Hawaii reveals what makes the venom of the box jelly so deadly. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

February 26, 2013

A prominent Singaporean academic who has been critical of the country's ruling party was denied tenure for a second time. Cherian George, an associate professor of journalism at Nanyang Technological University, has written about the restrictions on the press imposed by the People's Action Party. Although George was denied tenure on the ostensible basis that he did not meet NTU’s standards for teaching and research, one of his external reviewers, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen of Cardiff University, said she found that claim to be “blatantly absurd."

“His record is stellar in both respects, so much so that he could easily get a full professorship elsewhere in my estimation,” said Wahl-Jorgensen. "In addition to being a popular teacher and a well-known public intellectual, his academic profile demonstrates excellence in research and a significant international standing, as well as an extremely high degree of productivity.”

“To put it bluntly I am baffled by this decision and worried about what it means for academic freedom in Singapore,” she said.

As of Monday evening, more than 500 people had signed an online petition attesting to George’s "stellar teaching credentials." George declined to comment on the tenure denial. In a written statement, a NTU spokesman described the tenure review process as being "purely a peer-driven academic exercise" and said the university does not comment on specific cases. (Note: this article has been updated to incorporate NTU's response.)

February 25, 2013

The University of Pennsylvania will this week announce major gifts to support a new international strategy for the institution, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Penn plans to create a "world house" in 2015 through which world leaders and Penn faculty members will work to tackle major global problems. Each year, a new problem will be selected. While Penn does not plan to start branch campuses abroad, it is preparing to open a center in China for a range of activities, including faculty research and interviewing applicants.

 

February 25, 2013

Lincoln Memorial University last week told 13 faculty members, one of whom had taught at the university for 18 years, that their contracts would not be renewed after this academic year, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The job cuts are being made because of projected decreases in enrollment next year. The university's graduate education programs have enrolled many students from Georgia -- educators eligible for raises if they complete certain degrees. Georgia has changed its rules such that completing the programs at Lincoln Memorial will no longer make people eligible for raises. Lincoln Memorial does not have tenure, so faculty members work on year-to-year contracts.

 

February 25, 2013

Emory University had hoped to highlights its library's ties to the civil rights movement on Friday at a reception to mark the opening of an exhibit of papers housed at the library from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. But students -- still angry over President James Wagner's essay suggesting that the Constitution's three-fifths compromise was a model for dealing with disagreements -- saw an opportunity to protest. As guests arrived at the reception, they had to walk by students standing in silence, holding signs that said “We are Emory,” “We are sorry,” “I deserve 5/5 respect,” “Ethics is not a brand" and "This is 5/5 outrageous," Atlanta Magazine reported.

February 25, 2013

For years, veterinary medicine has been a field with a limited number of slots for students and, theoretically, good career prospects. But after years in which enrollments have grown and the numbers of pets and veterinary visits in the United States have declined, new veterinarians are facing a debt crunch, The New York Times reported. Salaries have fallen, and the average debt to income ratio for new D.V.M.s is now twice that of M.D.s.

February 25, 2013

A romantic physics paper was circulating online Sunday. Actually, it is a marriage proposal in the form of a physics paper. The full names of the enamored physicists aren't provided, but the proposal credits the University of Sydney "for facilitating the initial period of this research."

She said yes.

 

February 25, 2013

Paid interns received salaries 2 percent higher in the summer of 2012 than they did in 2011, but the rate of increase slowed from the year before, when salaries rose 6.4 percent, according to a new survey by the research and consulting form Intern Bridge. The 2012 Intern Salary Report found that interns were paid on average $13.50 an hour, up from $13.25 an hour in 2011. Many industries paid less in 2012 than they did the year before, but Robert Shindell, vice president of Intern Bridge, said the losses were likely offset by bigger gains in business and engineering. The majors of students who saw the steepest wage declines were mechanic and repair technicians; science technologies; communications technologies; family and consumer sciences; and area, ethnic, cultural and gender studies. The Department of Labor requires companies who employ interns to either pay them or ensure they receive academic credit.

February 25, 2013

Southern Methodist University and Texas Christian University on Friday announced that both are adding an "early decision" option to their admissions programs. Both institutions already have "early action" in which applications are evaluated early in the process. In early decision, applicants make a pledge to enroll if accepted. Both universities noted that early decision -- popular at colleges in the Northeast and the West -- is not common in Texas. Among private colleges in the state, only Rice and Trinity Universities had the options in place prior to Friday's announcement.

 

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