Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

June 6, 2014

The Anderson Graduate School of Management is "inhospitable" to female faculty members, according to an internal report, The Wall Street Journal reported. The report noted that only 18 percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty members are women. The report found that the business school creates "gender ghettos" for women in some fields, showing a "lack of confidence" for them elsewhere. Judy Olian, the dean, sent a message to the faculty and others after the article appeared. In the message, she said that while some progress has been made for women, more needs to be done. "This is a very personal issue for me as dean, and as a woman," she said.

June 6, 2014

The Senate appropriations committee on Thursday approved a spending bill that would increase funding to the National Science Foundation by about 1 percent in the coming fiscal year.

Lawmakers on the panel passed a measure that would provide the science agency with $7.2 billion for the fiscal year starting October 1. That is the same amount that the Obama administration requested earlier this year, but lower than the $7.4 billion level that the House set last week. 

Unlike the House version of the budget bill, however, the Democrat-led Senate panel did not include provisions targeting social science research.

June 6, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Julia Boehm, assistant professor in psychology at Chapman University, discusses the correlation between mind and body. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

June 5, 2014

An article in the journal Current Biology argues that it isn't a mystery which science Ph.D.s will land academic jobs. The paper argues that academic positions are determined by just a few factors: the number of publications, the "impact factor" of the journals in which those papers are published, and the number of papers that receive more citations than would be expected for the journals in which the work appears.

 

June 5, 2014

The University of Texas at Austin took down dress code reminders that some found offensive in its School of Nursing Wednesday, but not before they made waves among students and on social media. The signs, which a university spokesman said were posted Tuesday by a well-meaning but ultimately misguided part-time staff member, told students not to wear "revealing clothing" that "distracts from the learning environment." Among a list of prohibited items were short skirts and "low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage." A student reportedly took a picture of one of the signs and sent it to Jezebel, which ran a critical post. "Remember, ladies! If you want to study to be a nurse at the University of Texas, you can't show too much of your midriff and thigh!" the post reads. "Because if your patient sees too much of your 'distracting' skin, he or she might forget to stop dying while you're trying to treat them or something." The piece was picked up by other blogs, including Feminist Philosophers.

J.B. Bird, university spokesman, said the signs were up for a total of 18 hours, and did not accurately reflect the college's dress code. Bird said the School of Nursing is the only part of the university that has a dress code, and that it exists not to police student apparel but to prepare future nurses for a profession that has a strict dress code, mainly for safety reasons. The school code applies to all nursing students, including the college's approximately 100 men, he said. On a university Tumblr account Wednesday, Gayle Timmerman, associate dean of academic affairs at the nursing school, said: "The signs we have taken down were not an accurate reflection of our policy.  We’re not in the business of measuring skirt lengths. We are in the business of educating a new generation of nurses."

June 5, 2014

More than 11,000 graduate student workers across the University of California System have reached a tentative four-year contract agreement between their union, the UC Student-Worker Union/United Auto Workers 2865, and the university, they announced Wednesday. Negotiations lasted a year, through two strikes and additional threats of strike, including a pending one that appears to have been averted with the deal. Graduate student workers announced earlier this year they had successfully bargained for language ensuring access to adequate lactation stations and gender-neutral bathrooms, but there were outstanding issues.

According to details of the contract released by the union, graduate student workers have negotiated for language ensuring mechanisms for feedback about workload intensity, as well as access for undocumented students to the same professional options available to all graduate students. Wages will increase about 16 percent spanning four years and the childcare subsidy is up from $600 per quarter to $900, with an increase in the maximum age of eligible children. Paid parental leave also is up for birth parents from four weeks to six weeks. In a statement, the union said it had reached “new terrain” for labor unions generally with the contract, including the provisions for undocumented students and gender-neutral bathrooms. The union, which is currently working off of an expired contract, plans on a vote to ratify the new contract within the next few weeks. In a statement, Dwaine B. Duckett, system vice president of human resources, said that both said "worked hard, and we’re pleased to have reached this tentative agreement." He added: “We’re even more pleased that our students will finish the school year without any more unnecessary disruptions, and will have the valued assistance of our academic student employees.”

June 5, 2014

Adjuncts at Seattle University at odds with the administrative over their bid to form a union announced victory Wednesday. The claim was largely symbolic, since the ballots from their recent vote have been impounded by the National Labor Relations Board, pending the university’s appeal of the bid on the grounds that the institution is Roman Catholic and therefore outside NLRB jurisdiction. In a news release, adjunct professor Louisa Edgerly asked the university to drop its appeal, “respect the democratic process, and allow the votes to be counted.” The said adjuncts are “very confident” they won the vote to organize in affiliation with the Service Employees International Union, which is organizing adjuncts in metro areas across the country. In the Seattle area, Pacific Lutheran University adjuncts also have had their votes impounded, pending the university’s appeal of an adjunct union bid, also on religious grounds. A Seattle University spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

June 5, 2014

A start of summer treat: play our Cartoon Caption Contest.

Submit a caption for this month's new cartoon here.

Vote for your favorite here from among the three nominees chosen by our panel of judges for last month's cartoon.

And join us in congratulating Les Pane, the winner of our Cartoon Caption Contest for March. He had a very funny tenure-related take on our acrobatic-themed drawing.

June 5, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Jeremy Mould, professor of astrophysics and supercomputers at the Swinburne Institute of Technology, observes that gravity has remained unchanged for
billions of years. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

June 4, 2014

At least nine letters sent to the Education Department and Congress, allegedly from business owners who had hired Corinthian Colleges graduates and praising the for-profit chain, were actually written by Corinthian employees, The Orange County Register reported. The letters were part of a lobbying campaign against new rules proposed by the Obama administration. A Corinthian spokesman said that there had been no intent to deceive and that the employees made a mistake. He said that the record would be corrected.

 

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