Higher Education Quick Takes
Rodney Erickson, the new president of Pennsylvania State University, pledged to alumni Wednesday that the institution eventually would honor Joe Paterno, who was fired as football coach in November amid a scandal over Penn State's handling of child sex abuse charges against one of his top assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky. USA Today reported that Erickson, speaking to hundreds of alumni at a town hall meeting in Pittsburgh, said: "There is no plan in place at the present time, but there will be. I can't tell you yet what it will be or when it will be, but we will publicly honor Joe and his wife, Sue, for all the many things they have done for the university, both from an athletic standpoint and an academic standpoint."
The meeting was the first of several in which the university is trying to repair its relations with alumni frustrated over the scandal. A Reuters account of the meeting said that many alumni criticized the university for not being more open about its response to the scandal, and many also questioned why Paterno was fired. Erickson pledged to be more transparent. He said that the university spent $360,000 on crisis communications during November.
An independent panel has found numerous management problems in the massive building campaign by the Los Angeles Community College District, The Los Angeles Times reported. The newspaper drew attention to the problems in a series of articles last year -- the findings of which were initially disputed by the district. But the independent review has found many of the problems identified by the newspaper -- problems that led to numerous cost overruns and delays.
Education researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have been conducting interviews with tenure-track fathers about the pressures they face balancing work and family responsibilities. The findings, published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, are that these men experience conflict and stress, and that many feel that parenting responsibilities aren't factored into the expectations they face from their departments.
Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, got himself in trouble Wednesday, when he compared the decentralized nature of university governance to the Polish army. In a speech in Columbus, he said, “When we had these 18 colleges all kind of floating around, they were kind of like PT Boats, they were shooting each other. It was kind of like the Polish army or something. I have no idea what it was," according to an Associated Press account. In the past, Gee has raised money for groups that he has offended, and he suggested that he may have to do the same here, saying, "I’ll have to raise money for Poland now."
More than 100 American medical schools have agreed to work with the Obama administration to ensure that the country's doctors are trained to meet the "unique health care needs of the military and veterans communities," the two major groups that represent them announced Wednesday. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges cited the medical and psychological problems that plague military service members and veterans and their family members, and said they and their members would take a series of steps to ensure that medical school graduates are trained to recognize and treat health issues. The institutions also committed to stepping up their research into ailments and conditions that afflict the military. The announcement came as part of the administration's larger Joining Forces effort.
A woman was killed and 22 people were injured at the University of Johannesburg when a stampede broke out among students desperate for a limited number of new spaces to enroll, BBC reported. The woman was the mother of a student who had been waiting with him. The university recently announced that it had an additional 800 places, but more than 9,000 people applied for them. Ihron Rensburg, the vice chancellor, told journalists: "We're deeply saddened and I'm personally anguished about this."
New questions are being raised about the hazing death of Robert Champion, a student who was in the Florida A&M University marching band when he died in November. The New York Times reported that Champion's parents have revealed that he was gay, but have suggested that was not the reason he may have been a hazing target. The real reason, they have suggested, is that he had taken a strong stand against hazing.
Connecticut officials have announced the elimination of 24 senior-level jobs in higher education, positions that are being eliminated as a result of a merger of the state's community college and state university systems, The Hartford Courant reported. The jobs are generally high level administrative jobs, not faculty jobs. The average salary for the eliminated positions: $141,000.