Iran is focusing on the humanities in a new crackdown on the country's universities, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported. New limits will be placed on the number of students permitted to study the humanities, consistent with worries expressed by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that nearly two-thirds of Iranian university students are seeking degrees in the humanities. He said that the humanities promote "skepticism and doubt in religious principles and beliefs."
Higher Education Quick Takes
A new study by researchers at the University of Leeds has found that one in four lap dancers have undergraduate degrees and a number of them are pursuing graduate education. The study is attracting considerable attention in Britain. In this clip from a BBC interview, one of the researchers cites the need to repay student debt as one factor in the trend.
The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Friday to defer consideration of a plan to make it easier to eliminate the jobs of tenured professors. The plan -- opposed by faculty leaders -- would authorize universities in the system to dismiss tenured professors not only when programs are completely eliminated due to financial exigency (the status quo) but because programs are reduced in size. Board members said that they would consult with faculty groups before any further consideration of the issue.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has barred Louis Wozniak, a popular engineering professor, from teaching, The News-Gazette reported. The newspaper said that the decision was prompted by an e-mail the professor sent to a class, in which he included a joke about only remembering the names of students he has had sex with. The professor said that the context made it clear that he was joking, and that he did not have sex with any students.
An injunction issued by a federal judge last week against new federally funded stem cell research "not only blocks potential life-saving research but also threatens to undermine the system of peer-reviewed science that has helped make America the unquestioned world leader in scientific discovery," says a statement issued Friday by the Association of American Medical Colleges, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and Council on Governmental Relations. The statement continues: "Embryonic stem cell research holds enormous potential for developing treatments and cures for numerous chronic and fatal diseases. With scientists across the nation positioned to make dramatic advances funded substantially by the National Institutes of Health, this judicial action is particularly disappointing. We hope this injunction will be lifted soon and that the lawsuit will be unsuccessful. As these court actions have made clear, it is imperative that policymakers clarify that federal law unambiguously permits the funding of this critical research."
U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat, awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to four of her relatives, and two children of a top aide, The Dallas Morning News reported. The foundation provides funds to to members to give out as college scholarships, and while there are relatively few requirements on the awards, there is an anti-nepotism rule that was violated. Another rule that was violated in all of the awards is that those receiving the funds need to live in the districts of the caucus members giving out the money. Johnson told the Morning News that she violated these rules "unknowingly" and would "rectify the financial situation."
The University of Notre Dame has responded to a suit by a fired tenured professor by detailing the reasons it dismissed Oliver M. Collins as an engineering professor, The South Bend Tribune reported. While Collins said he was fired inappropriately, the university says that he used more than $190,000 in grant funds on unauthorized equipment, including digital cameras used to take pornographic pictures.
Baker College incorrectly identified when as many as 20 percent of its distance education students began and stopped participating in their online classes, errors that resulted in ineligible students receiving nearly $10,000 in federal financial aid funds, the Education Department's inspector general said in an audit this week. The audit -- the conclusions of which Baker officials strongly disputed -- criticized the college's record keeping and said that of 100 randomly selected students (who received a total of $257,000 in federal aid), department officials were unable to find evidence that 22 of them had been enrolled in their courses long enough to qualify for their full allotment of financial assistance.
Wells College this week announced plans to eliminate several majors and five faculty positions by the 2011-12 academic year, AuburnPub.com reported. French and religion will both be eliminated as majors, and while courses will still be offered, they will be taught by adjuncts, and tenured faculty lines will be eliminated. Music will be eliminated as a concentration in the performing arts major. Faculty have been concerned for several months about the college's financial situation and plans to cut programs and positions.
Lambuth University, a financially struggling private college in Tennessee, has announced that it has a "major financial commitment" to enable it to start to make payroll and to serve its students, The Jackson Sun reported. The university has been negotiating with private investors -- first to be purchased, and then for partnerships to grow online courses. The commitments apparently reflect the latter model, but the university has not released details or even identified the partner that is providing the money.