Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Oxford has agreed to let a furniture manufacturer attach the names of various buildings and alumni to such items as bookcases, desks and sofas that it sells. The Telegraph reported that some faculty members find the money-making venture a bit tacky. Peter Oppenheimer, an emeritus professor, said: “Words fail me. It is vulgar, inappropriate and unauthorized by the university at large.... This does absolutely nothing for the university other than cheapen its image.” Perhaps those faculty members who are upset can take comfort that Oxford has yet to go as far as many American universities when it comes to where they will let their names and logos appear.
The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges last week declared a state of financial emergency, based on state budget cuts. The move authorizes any of the 34 community and technical colleges to use an expedited process for layoffs of tenured faculty members. A spokeswoman for the board stressed that the board wanted the colleges to have the option, but that this does not mean the colleges will use it. She noted that the last time the board took this action, only one college used the authority for layoffs of tenured faculty members.
A global survey of international students found that only 4 percent of them used social media in deciding to select a university outside of their home country, and only 6 percent were influenced by staff members at various campus fairs, Times Higher Education reported. The survey was conducted by i-Graduate, which conducts research and consults on international education issues. William Archer, director of i-Graduate, presented the results last week at a meeting of the European Association of International Education. He said that the findings suggest that many universities are spending too much money on social media, and in-person fairs.
Pearson continued adding to its education empire, buying the online charter school operator Connections Education, the company announced Thursday. Connections Education, which runs online K-12 schools in 21 states, represents a new sort of business for Pearson, which currently offers a variety of online education products but does not operate any American educational institutions on its own. Pearson bought the company from Apollo Management, a private equity firm that is unrelated to the Apollo Group, owner of the University of Phoenix.
Maryland authorities say that an 18-year-old Bowie State University student was fatally stabbed Thursday by her roommate, The Washington Post reported. The stabbing followed an argument, but officials do not know what the dispute was about. Bowie State has canceled classes for today, and plans to hold a "community gathering for consolation."
Apple -- a popular company in China -- is under fire there for plans to open an outlet of some kind in the library of Peking University, AFP reported. Websites are posting many critical comments, even though the Apple facility being planned is reportedly more a place to demonstrate products than to sell them. "Setting up in a school is acceptable, but it should be separated from teaching facilities," said one post. "The store occupies space in the library, despite it having so few seats already."
Tyndale University College and Seminary, a Christian Canadian university, has called off a visit by President George W. Bush next week. While the university cited a "scheduling change," the announcement came as some alumni and a professor started a petition drive against Bush's planned, invitation-only appearance, The Toronto Star reported.
The University of Iowa has apologized to Representative Michele Bachmann, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, for a tweet on the university Twitter account. The Associated Press reported that the tweet was attempting to joke about reports of a cougar being sited in Iowa City, and said "I didn’t know Bachmann was in town. Bah-dum-bum." After the AP asked about the tweet, it was removed.
Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, has apologized for comments he posted on a blog in May, "Why are black women less physically attractive than other women?" Times Higher Education reported that he apologized as the the London School of Economics released a critical review of the incident, finding that he had "ignored the basic responsibility of a scientific communicator to qualify claims made in proportion to the certainty of the evidence."
The U.S. Senate's Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would slice 2.8 percent from the 2012 budget for the National Science Foundation. The measure, which allocates funds for several science-related agencies, would provide $6.7 billion for the NSF, and also include a cut for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.