Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 4:46am

The union trying to organize research assistants at the University of Michigan will hold a press conference today at which it will charge that a graduate student lost funding and was kicked out of her program for being involved in the union, The Detroit Free Press reported. The student will share an e-mail she received from a faculty member saying "I realize you have other things going on but an increased [sic] in your focus on research is urgently needed.... This will probably require you to decrease your involvement in non-research [activity]." Because the student says her only non-research activity was the union, the union says this was an inappropriate order to stop involvement in the union. A university spokesman denied the allegation, saying that "this is an academic matter. While we are precluded by law from discussing publicly a student's academic record, we believe certain of the union's factual claims are unfounded."

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The salaries of new head coaches at big-time college football programs increased by 35 percent in 2011, USA Today reported. The new average salary is $1.5 million a year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

Taiwanese universities are loosening the rules for admitting students from mainland China, China Daily reported. Applicants had been restricted to one potential major, but now can identify five potential majors. In addition, a previous age limit (40) has been lifted.

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00am

A report released Tuesday by Law School Transparency, a nonprofit advocacy group, found that the majority of law schools do not provide data on whether their graduates are employed as lawyers or whether they find part-time work, among other categories. The report, which comes amid increasing questions about whether law school students are able to find jobs and pay off their debt -- and the value of a law degree -- found that 27 percent of law schools provide no employment data at all on outcomes for the class of 2010. Of schools that did provide such data, 26 percent indicated whether the jobs were legal jobs and 11 percent indicated whether those jobs were full time or part time. "Taken together, these and other findings illustrate how law schools have been slow to react to calls for disclosure, with some schools conjuring ways to repackage employment data to maintain their image," the report's authors wrote. But they also note some changes in recent years, including proposed changes to American Bar Association accreditation standards that would require more data disclosure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Stackable pods, slightly larger than the space needed for a twin bed, are the latest housing alternative in Hong Kong, and students are among those trying out the unusual accommodations, Reuters reported. The pod concept was originally envisioned for tourists, but student demand led to the creation of a capsule dormitory. Most universities have long waiting lists for more traditional housing.

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Officials of the London School of Economics and Political Science are investigating reports that a Jewish student was assaulted and had his nose broken after he objected to a Nazi-themed drinking game played on a student trip to France, AFP reported. The game, called "Nazi Ring of Fire," involves a series of cards arranged in the shape of a swastika.

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Many community colleges "struggle" to "effectively meet the needs of immigrants," says a new report from the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education. The report notes that community colleges and immigrant groups vary, but suggests that certain parts of "a framework" are needed regardless of groups served or the characteristics of the college. These parts include high-level commitment to serving immigrant students, "proactive outreach" to immigrant students, a redesign of English as a second language programs, a "holistic, integrated" approach to student services and efforts to support leadership qualities in immigrant students.

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 3:00am

Classes are scheduled to be held today in Northern Illinois University's Cole Hall -- which will be used for the first time since a gunman opened fire and killed five people four years ago, The Chicago Tribune reported. The building has been extensively renovated, but the return to the facility won't feature the kind of celebratory ribbon-cuttings typically used for such events. Provost Ray Alden said that Cole Hall "now stands as testament to this university's resolve."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Julia Mickenberg of the University of Texas at Austin explains how the political climate of the 20th century influenced children’s literature. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Anonymous e-mail messages sent to faculty members at the University of Illinois came from the laptop of Lisa Troyer, then chief of staff to Michael Hogan, president of the university system, according to an outside investigation released by the university on Friday. Troyer left her position after an inquiry started. Many faculty members were alarmed by the prospect that an administrator was trying to influence governance decisions through anonymous e-mail messages. The outside investigation said that the e-mail messages were sent during a time that Troyer had possession of the laptop, and that there was no evidence of hacking. Troyer sent The Chicago Tribune an e-mail in which she said: "I did not write or send the emails under question.... I had nothing to do with these emails and, although the source and motivation have not yet been uncovered, I believe that in the fullness of time, the truth behind this matter will be revealed."

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