Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 12, 2012

A feature in The New York Times explores Liberty University's ambition to rise to the top ranks of college football. University officials believe that much as the University of Notre Dame used football to become a focus of pride for Roman Catholics (most of whom have no direct tie to the institution), Liberty could do the same for evangelical Protestants. A key obstacle: Liberty's conduct rules (an alcohol ban on and off campus, for instance) may make recruiting difficult. Another caution: Liberty made a similar push to replicate Notre Dame's model in the late 1980s, hiring a former coach of the Cleveland Browns to lead its teams. The effort did not take off.

 

November 12, 2012

Peter Gray resigned last week as associate director of athletic student services and director of academic advising and counseling at the University of Iowa after an investigation found that he had traded football tickets for sexual favors and had inappropriately touched some athletes, The Press-Citizen of Iowa City reported. University officials declined to comment and Gray could not be reached for comment.

November 12, 2012

Marquess Wilson, a star receiver on Washington State University's football team, said Saturday that he is quitting the team because of "physical, emotional and verbal abuse" by the coaching staff of Mike Leach, The Seattle Times reported. Wilson said he opted to quit because of coaches who "belittle, intimidate and humiliate us." The athletics director at the university, Bill Moos, issued a statement Saturday night, saying he had tried to offer "additional guidance if [Wilson] was willing to meet the standards that have been set by Mike Leach and his staff in their effort to establish a competitive football program at Washington State. Unfortunately, during times of coaching transitions, departures are not uncommon." On Sunday, Elson Floyd, president of the university, issued this statement: "After consultation with WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos, I have asked our athletic department to fully review recent allegations raised concerning the football program and report their findings and conclusions as soon as possible. Simultaneously, I have asked the Pac-12 to independently do the same. Together, both reports should get to the bottom of the matter."

November 12, 2012

Higher education officials in Colorado and Washington State, both of which voted last week to legalize marijuana use, say that the legal changes won't affect campus pot bans, USA Today reported. Officials cite federal laws that require colleges receiving federal funds to ban drug use on campus, and say that they have no plans to change their rules. "If someone thinks they are going to walk around campus smoking a joint, it's not going to happen," said a University of Washington spokesman. "While it may be legal two blocks off campus, it will be illegal under federal law, so it will be illegal on campus."

November 12, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Lynchard of the State University of New York at Ulster reveals why the elderly are better at recalling positive information. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 12, 2012

Green Mountain College announced Sunday that it has euthanized one of the two oxen that have worked for many years on the college's farm. Its announcement that it was going to euthanize both oxen (oxen tend to work in pairs) when one was injured set off widespread criticism by animal rights activists who were particularly angered by plans to use meat from the oxen in the campus dining hall. College officials said that using the oxen meat would be consistent with the sustainable principles of the institution. The college has been unable to carry out its plan because slaughterhouses in the area have received threats linked to the plans. The college decided to euthanize the ox who was injured, and will continue to care for the other one. Because of medication the ox has received in recent weeks, its meat would not be suitable for human consumption, so the animal will be buried.

November 12, 2012

Civic leaders in and around Alpine, Texas have been talking about whether Sul Ross State University should leave the Texas State University System and join another one, such as that of Texas Tech University, The New York Times reported. Advocates for Sul Ross say that the Texas State system has not been appropriately concerned about recent enrollment declines, which Sul Ross supporters fear could lead to program eliminations. University officials themselves have not advocated such a change. (Note: This item was updated from an earlier version to clarify where the push is coming from.)

November 9, 2012

Career Education Corp. on Thursday announced that it would close 23 of 90 campuses and lay off 900 employees to cope with declining revenue and enrollment. The for-profit chain has been hit hard by what a company official called "new market realities," and has seen its total and new student numbers dip by roughly 22 percent compared to last year. It also reported an operating loss of $110 million for the year through October. The company is taking the "difficult step" of downsizing as part of a plan for a strategic turnaround as a "simplified and more nimble organization," said Steven H. Lesnik, its president and CEO, in a written statement. Career Education Corp. is also facing scrutiny from its accreditors.

November 9, 2012

Nicholas B. Dirks, executive vice president and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, was on Thursday named as the next chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. Dirks is the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History at Columbia and the author of three books on India.

 

November 9, 2012

Many scientists were outraged when a video surfaced in October of Representative Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican who chairs the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, saying that evolution and embryology were "lies straight from the pit of hell." Broun was running for re-election unopposed, so it seemed there was little they could do.

But a write-in campaign for Charles Darwin attracted nearly 4,000 votes, and other write-in votes went to "Bill Nye, the Science Guy," Big Bird and "Anyone but Broun," The Athens Banner-Herald reported. The Darwin campaign was organized by Jim Leebens-Mack, the University of Georgia plant biologist, who said that he hopes the votes will encourage someone to challenge Broun in the next election. Leebens-Mack spread word about the Darwin idea on a Facebook page.

 

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