California leads the nation in unaccredited colleges, The New York Times reported. Nearly 1,000 unaccredited or "questionably accredited" institutions operate in the state, frequently ignoring state regulations. "There are a lot of schools that beg the question 'What exactly is going on in California?' " Eyal Ben Cohen, managing director of Accredibase Limited, a company based in London that monitors diploma mills, told the Times. "California has very weak oversight procedures as far as allowing an institution to operate within its borders. An institution within California can obtain a license very easily."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Washington and Lee University will hold classes today, over the objections of students who wanted classes called off to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, The Washington Post reported. Colleges' practices on calling off classes for the holiday vary. While some colleges observe the day without classes, many colleges hold classes on most federal holidays, not wanting to have fewer sessions held on Mondays than on other days. And many colleges have long January breaks, so that classes wouldn't be held today in any case. At Washington and Lee, the issue is complicated by the university's observance (later this week) of Founders' Day on the birthday of Robert E. Lee, one of those for whom the university is named. On that day, students have a shorter class schedule so that they can attend a convocation. A university spokesman said that the university honors King's memory with programs that show respect for the late civil rights leader's legacy. "We believe that canceling classes is not the only way, or even necessarily the most meaningful way, to demonstrate that respect," the spokesman said.
The University of California Board of Regents this week will consider a proposal to fire a tenured professor, a rare event in the system, The Los Angeles Times reported. The university, citing privacy rules, says only that the faculty member is at the Riverside campus. But Sarkis Joseph Khoury, who teaches international finance, confirmed to the Times that he is the professor in question. He has clashed with the university over accusations that he received outside funds in inappropriate ways during sabbaticals. Khoury says that he is a victim of a witch hunt, and that the university is angry that he has defended himself in the sabbatical dispute. Further, he charges that he is being punished for a range of other issues, including Republican views, Lebanese heritage, and pushing for the hiring of more minority faculty members.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (the national faculty union in Canada) on Thursday criticized the government for naming Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University's president, as co-chair of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program selection board. The research chairs program has provided funds for Canadian research universities to recruit top professors from all over the world, and Canadian academics have closely watched the work of the panel that has picked winners. The statement from James L. Turk, executive director of the faculty group, did not name Tilghman, and he stressed that the group had no fault with her -- only with her serving while being president of an American university. "We were surprised and disappointed at the announcement today that no Canadian university president or other academic was deemed distinguished enough to be named co-chair," Turk said in the statement. "There is no shortage of Canadian university presidents and other distinguished academics at Canadian universities who could more appropriately have filled the role."
Canadian officials praised Tilghman for agreeing to serve on the panel, noting that she was raised in Winnipeg. A Princeton official confirmed that she remains a Canadian citizen. It appears that Princeton may have a fondness for Canadian leaders. Tilghman has been president since 2001. She succeeded Harold T. Shapiro, a Montreal native with dual Canadian and American citizenship.
Liberty University has just sold $100 million in bonds, bringing its total debt to $228 million, to finance expansion, Bloomberg reported. The Christian university has $225 million in projects planned in the next five years, including a library, a baseball stadium and a school of health sciences.
Behavioral and social sciences play a key role in health issues and need to play a key role in the medical school curriculum, according to a report released Thursday by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The report notes that behaviors and the social determinants of health -- such as smoking, diet, exercise, and socioeconomic status -- account for more than 50 percent of premature disease and death in the United States.
Viruses on computers at City College of San Francisco have sent personal banking and other information from thousands of faculty members, administrators and others to hackers with ties to Russian and Chinese criminal networks for as long as a decade, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Campus officials identified the breaches weeks ago and are working to eliminate them. No cases of identity theft have been cited yet, though, the newspaper reported.