Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 14, 2013

Judges are speaking out against two law professors -- once a couple -- whose divorce and post-divorce litigation has taken up court time for the last 17 years, USA Today reported. The parties are Christo Lassiter, a law professor at the University of Cincinnati, and his former wife, Sharlene Boltz, a law professor at Northern Kentucky University. Judges have criticized both for their approach to the divorce, for allegedly breaking court rules and for using up court time. In a hearing last month, one Ohio judge said, "I am really shocked, because when I was in law school my professors were outstanding. They never would have told me that behaving the way you all have, both of you, over the past 20 years, is acceptable behavior."

August 14, 2013

Three private colleges are speaking out against a plan by the University of Massachusetts to start a satellite campus in Springfield, The Republican reported. The university says that it will be better able to meet education needs in the area. "UMass officials as well as others outside of the system who are proponents of the center are fully aware of our belief that any duplication of programs already existing in the local private colleges, as well as at the strong public community college already right within the city (and another in nearby Holyoke), results in unnecessary and costly replication of what is already being successfully offered. We continue to object to any duplication of effort that might flood an already mature market in the areas where we have programs," says the statement, from American International College, Springfield College and Western New England University.

 

August 14, 2013

The Central Intelligence Agency has for years denied that it had a file on Noam Chomsky, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor known both for his contributions to the field of linguistics and (perhaps of more interest to the CIA) his criticism of the U.S. government across many administrations. Now, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, documents have confirmed that the CIA did have a file on Chomsky, and that it may have been scrubbed. The details are in Foreign Policy.

 

August 14, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, William Marling of Case Western Reserve University explains the initial and continuing popularity of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 14, 2013

The rector (or board chair) of the College of William and Mary has sent a letter to leaders of public colleges and universities in Virginia warning that the state's lack of gay marriage has created "a substantial incentive for our gay and lesbian faculty and staff to leave the Commonwealth’s public universities and colleges," The Washington Post reported. Jeff Trammell sent the letter after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling that paved the way for gay couples in states that recognize single-sex marriage to have the full federal tax advantages of marriage that heterosexual couples receive. Trammell noted that some state officials have been hostile even to awarding partner benefits to gay employees.

August 13, 2013

President Obama over the weekend touted a new program from the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Veteran Affairs that broadly defines "best practices" for serving student veterans. So far more than 250 institutions, including many community colleges, have signed on to the "8 Keys to Success." The program includes calls for better coordination with government agencies, a uniform set of data tools and an early alert system aimed at student veterans.

August 13, 2013

Whether American college students are in some sort of new era of hook-ups has been the subject of much media speculation and criticism. Research being released today by the University of Portland at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association suggests that while there is plenty of sex in college, it's not remotely new or even hitting record levels. Martin Monto, a sociology professor, and Anna Carey, a recent graduate, compared data from a national survey about sex on campus from 1988-1996 and from 2002-10. In the recent time period, being called a hook-up era by some, only 59 percent of students report having sex at least once a week, compared to 65 percent in the earlier period. On other measures as well, there are not signs of a more hyper-sexual environment today than in earlier periods.

 

August 13, 2013

The board of Oakland University, in Michigan, has authorized a $230,000 deferred compensation bonus to Gary Russi even though the former president didn't meet the specific criteria established for the payment, The Detroit Free Press reported. The funds were only to be paid if Russi served through June 30, 2014. He quit unexpectedly this year when the university fired his wife, the basketball coach at Oakland. The board chair said that the payment was appropriate, given Russi's contributions to the university. But the chair also said he didn't know about the provision requiring that Russi work until next year to qualify for the deferred compensation.

August 13, 2013

McGill University is facing scrutiny and criticism over an increased emphasis on diversity in medical school admissions, The Montreal Gazette reported. In the context of Quebec, diversity at McGill (historically an institution serving the English-speaking minority) in part means recruiting more Francophone students. In 2010, McGill eliminated the requirement that applicants take the Medical College Admission Test, which is not offered in French. Since then Francophone enrollment has increased from 31.6 to 37.5 percent. Some at the university, however, say that highly talented Anglo applicants are being rejected unfairly in the name of diversity. In Canada, the vast majority of medical students enroll in their home province, so this shift raises issues for Anglo students who are unlikely to be admitted to Quebec's Francophone medical schools.

 

 

August 13, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Jason Chan of Iowa State University explains the process that makes our memories vulnerable to the accumulation of errors. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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