Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 26, 2012

Saint Augustine's University, in North Carolina, is in talks with Saint Paul's College, in Virginia, to acquire the institution, The News & Observer reported. Both institutions are historically black and were founded by the Episcopal Church. Saint Paul's lost its accreditation in June, setting off concerns about the viability of the institution without its students being eligible for federal aid. (Accreditation has been restored by a court injunction.) If Saint Paul's became a part of Saint Augustine's, the former could operate under the accreditation of the latter.

 

November 26, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Jason Briner reveals evidence that glaciers respond to temperature changes more rapidly than previously thought. Learn more about the Academic Minute here. And click here for last Thursday's Academic Minute, on youth voting patterns, and here for last Friday's podcast, on the literary movement known as Afro-futurism.

November 26, 2012

A series of conflict-of-interest scandals have led to many attempts to limit the role of the pharmaceutical industry in supporting biomedical research. But an article in The Washington Post says that these ties remain strong and may even be growing, as the pharmaceutical industry has come to support more research than does the federal government. The Post analyzed articles on new drugs that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine for a one-year period ending in August. Of 73 articles, 60 were funded by a drug company, 50 were co-written by people who worked for drug companies and 37 had lead authors, generally professors, who had in the past received funds from drug companies for consulting, speaking or doing research.

November 26, 2012

Why did Moorpark College oust Jon Foote as president of the student body? Foote is popular with fellow students and has emerged as a strong advocate for them, demanding more information about the California community college's budget, and questioning whether funds might be shifted from non-academic to academic areas, The Los Angeles Times reported. The college ousted him from his position after a series of altercations, all of which involved disputed incidents in which Foote's defenders -- including faculty members -- question the facts as stated by administrators.

November 26, 2012

Southern Utah University is investigating allegations that some instructors in its English programs for international students have been ignoring widespread plagiarism, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. One instructor quit in protest over her sense that officials were unwilling to deal with the problem, and one instructor is on probation pending an investigation. The instructor who quit estimated that one-fifth of the assignments she graded included questionable material. The instructor said that there was little discipline of students she found engaged in plagiarism. She discovered some of the plagiarism when she noticed certain unusual phrases that she found turn up when passages are converted from Arabic to English through Google Translate.

 

November 26, 2012

British authorities have granted the for-profit College of Law university status, and the soon-to-be renamed University of Law will be the country's first for-profit university, Times Higher Education reported. The institution trains 7,000 students annually in both undergraduate and graduate programs.

November 26, 2012

Under court order, the University of Colorado has ended a ban on guns on campus and has even made it possible for students who are registered gun-owners to keep their weapons in their residence halls. At the Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses, the university said that it would create residential spaces for students with guns. But The Denver Post reported that although this option was announced in August, not a single student has asked to live where guns are permitted.

November 26, 2012

When Canada started a new program to support endowed chairs at its research universities in 2010, and no women were selected, many academics were alarmed. The government responded by commissioning a study by the Council of Canadian Academies, which issued a report last week on the state of women in the country's universities. The report found continued underrepresentation in the highest ranks of research universities, and "no single solution" to the disparities. Generally, the study found similarities between the proportion and challenges of women in Canadian research universities and those of other economically advanced nations.

November 21, 2012

Columbia, Cornell and Yale Universities have announced an expansion of a program to teach less commonly taught languages at the three institutions. The universities are using live videoconferencing with small classes (limited to 12 each) out of the belief that these class sizes are best suited to language instruction. The program started with Romanian, elementary Dutch and elementary Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and has since expanded to other languages. A new grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow for further expansion. This fall, the universities added courses in Bengali, Indonesian, Modern Greek, Tamil, Yoruba and Zulu. And in the fall of 2013, they plan to add courses in Khmer, Sinhala, Polish and Vietnamese.
 

November 21, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Daniel Lidar of the University of Southern California explains why diamonds may be the key to quantum computing. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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