Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

Supporters of Quinetta Shelby released documents Wednesday suggesting bias in her tenure denial at DePaul University. Shelby is the only black faculty member in the chemistry department at the university, and while she was rejected by her department, a university appeals panel found that she was treated unfairly. Among other things, the appeals panel found that her department changed policies after the review started, refused to consider some of her publications and awards even though they met criteria that had been established, and seemed to focus on minor negative issues in otherwise positive portions of her tenure file. The "numerous procedural violations" raised significant questions of fairness, the appeals panel found, suggesting that the negative departmental recommendation be set aside.

The Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, DePaul's president, has declined to reverse the decision.

A university statement acknowledged that in the last year, six minority candidates were denied tenure, but the statement said that standards are applied equally and that in the previous three academic years, DePaul University awarded tenure to minority faculty at the same rate (84 percent) as white scholars. Still, the university is conducting a study on best practices in helping candidates prepare for tenure. "Denials of tenure are sad days in a university community, precisely because a well-known colleague is not granted lifetime employment. That is true in the case of our colleague Dr. Shelby as well," the statement said.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The national job market for new college graduates is likely to be a little healthier this year, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. While overall hiring is expected to increase by 3 percent, bachelor's level and M.B.A. level hiring both are expected to go up by 10 percent. Even with these gains, however, new grads should expect a tough time -- and nothing like the relatively healthy markets of the 1990s and early part of this decade.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday rejected a new attempt by the Christian Legal Society to challenge the rules of the Hastings College of Law of the University of California requiring student organizations to abide by the institution's anti-bias rules. The U.S. Supreme Court this year upheld the right of the university to enforce its rules, but left open the possibility of a legal challenge if the law school were found to be treating the Christian Legal Society in a different way than other groups. (The society bars gay people and others who do not share its religious views --- and that violates the Hastings rules). The appeals court found no evidence or argument had been made that Hastings is using a pretext to deny recognition to the Christian Legal Society.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The Food and Drug Administration warned the makers of four alcoholic energy drinks popular with college students that adding caffeine to malt beverages is unsafe and that the drinks could be seized if they continue to be marketed improperly to the public. The warnings came on the same day that the maker of one of the drinks, Four Loko, which has been implicated in several recent incidents on campuses, announced that it would remove caffeine and other stimulants from its product.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

Nancy Rudner Lugo has sued the University of Central Florida, charging that her contract as a tenure-track nursing professor was not renewed when she objected to using a textbook that she and her students believed contained ethnic and racial stereotypes, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The suit charges that the textbook included stereotypical comments about black, Italian-American, Jewish and Japanese people. University officials declined to comment on the suit.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 3:00am

The student leaders of Canada's Carleton University are threatening to cut off funds to an anti-abortion group, Maclean's reported. The student government says that the anti-abortion group would violate regulations barring support for "actions such as any campaign, distribution, solicitation, lobbying, effort, display, event etc. that seeks to limit or remove a woman’s right to choose."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 3:00am

Full-time faculty members at Cuyahoga Community College have voted no confidence in Jerry Sue Thornton, president there since 1992, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Thornton appears to have strong board support, and she attributed the anger to difficult negotiations with the faculty union. But faculty leaders say that they are frustrated by an administration that is too large and by a reliance on part-time faculty members.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate at the State University of New York at Albany has voted to condemn the administration's plans to phase out degrees in French, Russian, Italian and classics, The Albany Times-Union reported. The Senate passed resolutions calling for the decision to be reversed, and also criticizing the way the university made the decision in the first place. At the time Albany announced the plans, officials said that faculty had been consulted, but declined to specify how that took place. Some faculty members at the Senate meeting called for the university to finance languages through cuts in athletics budgets. A spokesman for the university said that officials would review and consider the Faculty Senate's views.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 3:00am

Many University of California campuses are expanding their efforts to recruit out-of-state students, the Los Angeles Times reported. For the first time this summer, UCLA sent admissions officers to 10 cities around the United States, while others visited China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Santa Barbara, Davis and Irvine campuses also started their first out-of-state recruitment drives. The goals? The extra $23,000 in tuition revenue an out-of-state student brings.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Hawaii is gearing up to make a bid for the Obama presidential library, even if his term is not over and he hopes to win a second, the Associated Press reported. Obama's roots in Hawaii have the university hopeful, and it has been looking at potential sites and meeting with federal archives officials to plan. The University of Chicago has also expressed interest in hosting the library of Obama, who taught there and whose Chicago home was in the university's neighborhood. No comment from the White House.

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