Don't even think about calling Western Kentucky University "Western" in athletic discussions -- even if many loyal alumni and students have done so for years. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the university is among a number that are taking athletic branding more seriously than in the past. In Western Kentucky's case, the university wants to be known by its acronym, WKU. The University of Louisiana at Monroe has started a move to be called only ULM, not Monroe or UL Monroe. Similarly, the University of North Carolina at Asheville no longer wants any references to North Carolina-Asheville to include a hyphen.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Philadelphia's Moore College of Art has its first male students, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. For the last 162 years, the college has enrolled only women, and that is still the case for its undergraduate programs, but the college recently started some graduate programs and they will be open to all. So far, two men are enrolled.
The University of Washington police department authorized an undercover officer to attend and participate in planning meetings of a student activist group that was organizing on behalf of employees at the university, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. University officials acknowledged that the monitoring took place, and said that it was not consistent with university policy and had been stopped.
The University of Idaho has reached a settlement with more than 250 of its retirees, who sued the university over changes in their medical and life insurance benefits, KLEW News reported. The retirees claimed in their suit that the university had agreed not to change the benefits, but a judge rejected that view, saying that the university did have the right to make changes. Under the settlement, the retirees are assured that their health insurance premiums will not increase by more than 10 percent in any year for the rest of their lives.
A Colombian journalist has been denied a visa to come to the United States for a Nieman Foundation fellowship at Harvard University, the Associated Press reported. U.S. officials declined to comment, citing privacy laws. Bob Giles, curator of the Nieman program, is trying to get the decision reversed. "We were very surprised. This has never happened before," he said.
Social Security numbers and other personal records of 53,000 faculty and staff members and visitors to the University of Hawaii's main campus were exposed when a computer server at the university was hacked in May, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. University officials said they had no evidence that the hacker downloaded or otherwise viewed the individuals' information, the newspaper reported.
Western universities continue to dominate the social sciences, but the disciplines are seeing significant growth in Asia and Latin America, according to a new report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Among the findings:
- Two-thirds of social science journals in the world are published in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany.
- In Brazil, the number of social science researchers has nearly tripled in the last decade.
- In China, spending on social sciences has increased 15 to 20 percent a year since 2003.
- Social science research has been in decline in Russia and the other states of the former Soviet Union.
- In Sub-Saharan Africa, three-quarters of publications in the social sciences are from a few universities in three countries: South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
Canada's government has announced a new postdoctoral fellowship in which 70 awards annually will seek to attract top early career researchers to the country. The move is part of a broader campaign to build up the country's research talent. As Maclean's noted, however, the move comes at a time that current postdocs are angry over recent rulings that make their awards taxable.
MidAmerica Nazarene University is declining to be the host of an event on immigration that was to have featured several controversial speakers affiliated with various efforts to crack down on immigration, The Kansas City Star reported. President Edwin Robinson said he was concerned about safety issues and the univeristy's reputation. “I don’t mind a clash of ideology, but the rhetoric on both sides was escalating to the point that I was concerned," he said.
A new study in the Journal of Affective Disorders documents again that many college students think about suicide and also identifies key risk factors that may assist with prevention efforts. The findings are based on a study of more than 1,000 students at the University of Maryland at College Park who were tracked over four years. Of the 1,085 students, 151 (12 percent) said they had pondered committing suicide at least once -- with 37 saying they did so repeatedly, 10 saying that they had made plans or carried out full-fledged attempts during college. Lack of social support was identified as a key factor in predicting persistent suicidal thoughts. Other risk factors: depressive symptoms, exposure to domestic violence in childhood and having a mother suffering from depression.