Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

The "Shit Girls Say" YouTube video has turned into a meme inspiring numerous videos making fun of things various groups say. While undergrads were mocked fairly instantly, some recent additions focus on other groups in academe: rhetoric scholars and grad students.

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael French of the University of Miami explains the link between the health of the economy and patterns of alcohol consumption. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Joe Paterno, the former Pennsylvania State University football coach whose career was ended and reputation tarnished over an explosive sex abuse scandal, died Sunday morning at the age of 85 from complications resulting from lung cancer. Paterno's health deteriorated rapidly after the Penn State Board of Trustees fired him, along with President Graham B. Spanier, for not doing more when informed that his former assistant of 16 years may have been sexually abusing young boys.

The winningest coach in Division I history, Paterno was widely respected and known for imparting to players the importance of ethical behavior and academic success. Just last week, The Washington Post published Paterno's first interview since his dismissal, in which he said he didn't follow up on the allegations against Jerry Sandusky -- the coach relayed what he'd heard to  his superiors, but not police -- because he "didn't know exactly how to handle it." In one of the few comments Paterno made as the scandal was unfolding, he said, "I wish I had done more."

The university, which has been criticized by some alumni for its treatment of Paterno, issued a statement Sunday that made no mention of the scandal. The statement said: "We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always." The university also reiterated plans to honor Paterno.

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

An annual survey of the status of women in intercollegiate athletics finds record numbers of female athletes and teams, coaches and administrators in college programs. But the survey, conducted for the 35th year by two emerita professors at Brooklyn College, also finds that the proportion of head coaches of women's teams who are female has fallen below 50 percent, compared to about 90 percent in 1972, when Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was enacted. The report, produced by Linda Jean Carpenter and R. Vivian Acosta, contains a slew of data, on everything from players to strength coaches to trainers for women's teams.

 

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

In a decision disappointing to many Christian and Roman Catholic colleges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that while religiously affiliated employers would have an additional year to comply with a new rule requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control with no cost-sharing or co-pays, the definition of religious employers completely exempt from the requirement will not change. The exemption covers houses of worship but is worded narrowly enough to exclude religiously affiliated groups, including colleges. Two colleges have sued over the requirement.

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 4:34am

Mountain State University's board on Thursday announced that it had fired Charles H. Polk as president. The Charleston Gazette noted that the West Virginia university had been facing accreditation problems both as an institution and for its nursing program, as well as criticism of Polks 7-figure compensation package.

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Council on Education and other higher education groups have filed a brief with the Colorado Supreme Court backing the right of the University of Colorado Board of Regents to dismiss Ward Churchill as a tenured professor of ethnic studies on the Boulder campus. Churchill has challenged the firing (unsuccessfully until now), arguing that he was dismissed, in violation of his First Amendment and academic freedom rights, because of his controversial writings. The university system says that the reason he was fired was for repeated instances of faculty misconduct, and that panels of professors played key roles in identifying these instances and concluding that they represented unprofessional conduct.

The brief filed by the college groups states that the principles of academic freedom should result in support for the university's position. "Because universities are the entities best suited to make decisions about their faculties, they are entitled to autonomy in adjudicating claims regarding academic integrity," the brief says.

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 3:00am

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon of Illinois on Thursday announced a proposed reform package aimed at improving the 20 percent graduation rate for the state's community colleges. In a speech and accompanying report, Simon, who is the governor's point person on education, made the case for performance-based funding and the creation of publicly available report cards that would evaluate each college's progress toward completion goals. And in order to ease the remedial math pressure on two-year colleges, she recommended that public high school students be required to take four years of math to graduate.

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Pat Werhane of DePaul University reveals the psychological factors that contribute to recidivism in the American criminal justice system. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 3:00am

Thursday protests at the University of California at Riverside that for much of the afternoon seemed to be heading toward an ugly conclusion ended with reports of some violence. Campus police had warned students multiple times earlier in the afternoon that they would use force against protesters if they didn’t back off, but that was hours before things escalated as the regents prepared to leave. Dozens of campus police officers in riot gear lined up outside the building, and later, students carried barricades and followed a long line of sheriffs marching into the building to escort the regents out. During the live stream, students said police used rubber bullets and batons against students, and at least one person was arrested. The Occupy protesters delayed the start of the UC Board of Regents meeting for about an hour, The Daily Californian reported. The students were protesting rising tuition and student debt, "privatization of higher education," and low pay for professors; some on the campus estimated that up to 2,000 students showed up. In November, UC Regents first called off meetings entirely, citing safety concerns over the planned protests, then tried to hold them via teleconference but ended prematurely when protesters made it impossible to hear. was this the resumption of the meetings that were called off then? dl *** it was a scheduled meeting but yes, I suppose they would have been continuing those previous meetings (which they actually tried to have via teleconference -ag.

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