Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 9, 2012

Many scientists were outraged when a video surfaced in October of Representative Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican who chairs the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, saying that evolution and embryology were "lies straight from the pit of hell." Broun was running for re-election unopposed, so it seemed there was little they could do.

But a write-in campaign for Charles Darwin attracted nearly 4,000 votes, and other write-in votes went to "Bill Nye, the Science Guy," Big Bird and "Anyone but Broun," The Athens Banner-Herald reported. The Darwin campaign was organized by Jim Leebens-Mack, the University of Georgia plant biologist, who said that he hopes the votes will encourage someone to challenge Broun in the next election. Leebens-Mack spread word about the Darwin idea on a Facebook page.

 

November 8, 2012

Several hundred students at the University of Mississippi who were frustrated by President Obama's re-election held a protest early Wednesday morning. The Clarion-Ledger reported that while the event was incorrectly described as a "riot," it did involve burning of an Obama campaign poster and the shouting of racial epithets. Chancellor Dan Jones issued a statement expressing disappointment in the “immature and uncivil approach” of some students.

 

November 8, 2012

Voters in the Austin, Texas, metropolitan area supported a tax increase proposal on ballots Tuesday that will provide revenue to support a new medical school at the University of Texas at Austin, a longtime ambition for the flagship university that it has struggled to support financially.

The new tax is the final piece of the funding puzzle administrators said they needed secured before they moved ahead on the school. University administrators said Tuesday that they would appoint a committee to choose a dean, select a location for the school, and finalize partnerships. They said they hope to have a medical school and teaching hospital in place for a first class of 50 students by 2015.

November 8, 2012

The University of Waterloo will close its campus in Dubai because of inadequate enrollment and an inability to form partnerships for research, The Record of Waterloo reported. Waterloo opened its campus in the United Arab Emirates three years ago, with ambitions to enroll 500 students by this fall. But a statement from the university Tuesday said that the 80 students enrolled on the Dubai campus could finish their educations on the university's home campus in Ontario.

November 8, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Claire Fraser of the University of Maryland explains the growing understanding of how microbes influence overall human health. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

November 7, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Erica van de Waal of the University of St. Andrews reveals the important role mothers play in learning among groups of vervet monkeys. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 7, 2012

A former dean at St. John’s University accused of stealing more than $1 million from the institution and forcing international students to perform personal chores as a condition of their scholarships was found dead on Tuesday; police are investigating her death as a suicide, The New York Times reported. Cecilia Chang was midway through her trial at the federal court in Brooklyn, where she took the stand on Monday. As St. John’s vice president for international relations and dean of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chang allegedly charged hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal expenses to a university credit card, and forced international students to clean her house and hand-wash her underwear, among other chores. Chang faced up to 20 years in prison.

November 7, 2012

The University of California at Berkeley announced Tuesday that it has created 100 endowed chairs by matching a $113 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant was made amid concern that Berkeley risked losing star faculty members to private institutions in an era when the state could not be counted on to support faculty salaries. By endowing the chairs, the university hopes to hold on to and attract top faculty talent, which in turn is expected to attract top graduate students.

 

November 7, 2012

About 350 students at Fairfield University were displaced by Hurricane Sandy, and the university is relocating them with friends, with local volunteers and others. Four students have an unusual new home, The Connecticut Post reported. President Jeffrey von Arx opened his home, and they have moved in.

November 6, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Erica Chenoweth of the University of Denver examines the success rates of both violent and nonviolent resistance movements. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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