Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 24, 2013

Texas A&M University announced a major campaign to increase enrollment in engineering, with the goal of enrolling 25,000 students (more than double current levels) by 2025. The effort will involve both recruiting more students, but also looking for ways to improve the educational experience of engineering students.

 

January 24, 2013

The Heritage Hall Museum, in Alabama, has canceled a short of work by Troy University faculty members. The Daily Home reported that some of the art caused offense. "It was supposed to be a group exhibit for Troy University’s communication/fine arts/design program," a museum official said. "There were nine artists that contributed, and the theme was ‘A Sense of Place.’ There was a piece by Ed Noriega that showed cans of Ajax, I guess, that had been relabeled, and had swastikas on the top. There were also some digitally altered images of the Virgin Mary holding a dead chicken in one hand and a broom and dust pan in the other. But the biggest problem was with the swastikas.” The art work with the swastikas was about Alabama's immigration laws, considered "ethnic cleanser" measures by the artist.

 


 
January 24, 2013

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor leading its inquiry into whether it inappropriately handled the federal prosecution of Aaron Swartz has provided some details on the investigation. In an open letter published in The Tech, MIT's student newspaper, Hal Abelson pledged a full and open inquiry, and said that the issues were extremely important. "This matter is urgently serious for MIT," Abelson wrote. "The world respects us not only for our scholarship and our science, but because we are an institution whose actions are and always have been guided by the highest ideals and the most thoughtful judgment. Our commitment to those ideals is now coming into question. At last Saturday’s memorial, Aaron’s partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman described his mental state: 'He faced indifference from MIT, an institution that could have protected him with a single public statement and refused to do so, in defiance of all of its own most cherished principles.'"

Abelson also announced the creation of a website on which MIT students and faculty members can suggest questions that the review should consider. The site can be viewed by people without MIT affiliations, but they may not contribute.

 

 

 

January 24, 2013

The University of Illinois System, together with Chicago and state officials, plan to today announce plans for a major technology research lab to be built in Chicago, Crain's Chicago Business reported. The idea is to bring the engineering and technology expertise of the university's flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign to Chicago, and the plan calls for the involvement of other Midwestern universities -- including private institutions and those from other states. “We are in competition with other cities of the world to be a place where great minds want to live. We need to institutionalize that,” said Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, who has been involved in developing the plan.

New York City is supporting the development of a new technology campus by Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and that effort has attracted considerable attention from leaders of other cities.

 


 
January 23, 2013

Male scientists are more likely than their female counterparts to engage in research fraud, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal mBio. The study analyzed a large database of cases of scientific fraud, categorized those who committed the fraud by different stages of careers and then compared those at different stages of their careers (from junior levels to senior scientists) to the gender make-up of the fields. While there are more males than females in all of the groups, the proportion of fraud by men was greater than the male representation among scientists at all the different levels.

 

January 23, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Marek Urban of the University of Southern Mississippi explains the creation of a material with the ability to heal itself. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

January 23, 2013

City College of San Francisco has filed a draft report describing changes the college is making to avoid having its accreditation revoked. The college also released a paper detailing how it would handle being shut down in a worst-case scenario. Progress has been made in correcting a broad range of fiscal and administrative problems at the college, officials said, including across-the-board pay cuts ranging from 2.85 to 5.2 percent. But more work remains, and a "special trustee" the college brought in to help manage the crisis recently asked for an extension to a mid-March deadline set by the accreditor.

January 23, 2013

Three people were shot Tuesday in an incident at Lone Star College’s North Harris campus in Houston. Details were still emerging Tuesday evening, but reports indicated the shooting stemmed from a dispute between two individuals, at least one of whom was a student. Among the injured was a maintenance worker who was hospitalized and in stable condition, Lone Star Chancellor Richard Carpenter said. In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Carpenter said “things could be learned from the incident.”

As the national debate on gun control has grown increasingly contentious, national advocates and state politicians have continued a push to legalize the carrying of weapons on campuses. Just last week, Texas State Senator Brian Birdwell, a Republican, filed a bill to allow people with handgun licenses to carry weapons on college campuses in the state.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, police said at least one person had been detained and another suspect was still at large. It was the fourth shooting on a campus this year, following incidents a week ago at Hazard Community and Technical College in Kentucky and the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts in St. Louis.

January 22, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Craig Stanford of the University of Southern California explores the variety of threats the world’s great apes face from modern humans. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

January 22, 2013

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is reviewing the role played by Governor Rick Scott in the decision of the University of Florida board to convince Bernie Machen to put off retirement and stay on as president, The Miami Herald reported. When Machen and the board announced he was staying, it was immediately clear that the governor was involved in the discussions, but a SACS official said at the time that there was nothing wrong with that, since it appeared that the board had played the key role. But SACS is investigating because Governor Scott has confirmed that he met with a potential candidate to replace Machen before asking asking Machen to stay. SACS officials are investigating whether the governor in that meeting overstepped his role. SACS principles call for college and university boards to have protect the independence of institutions.

 

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