Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 26, 2012

Saint Augustine's University, in North Carolina, is in talks with Saint Paul's College, in Virginia, to acquire the institution, The News & Observer reported. Both institutions are historically black and were founded by the Episcopal Church. Saint Paul's lost its accreditation in June, setting off concerns about the viability of the institution without its students being eligible for federal aid. (Accreditation has been restored by a court injunction.) If Saint Paul's became a part of Saint Augustine's, the former could operate under the accreditation of the latter.

 

November 26, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Jason Briner reveals evidence that glaciers respond to temperature changes more rapidly than previously thought. Learn more about the Academic Minute here. And click here for last Thursday's Academic Minute, on youth voting patterns, and here for last Friday's podcast, on the literary movement known as Afro-futurism.

November 26, 2012

A series of conflict-of-interest scandals have led to many attempts to limit the role of the pharmaceutical industry in supporting biomedical research. But an article in The Washington Post says that these ties remain strong and may even be growing, as the pharmaceutical industry has come to support more research than does the federal government. The Post analyzed articles on new drugs that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine for a one-year period ending in August. Of 73 articles, 60 were funded by a drug company, 50 were co-written by people who worked for drug companies and 37 had lead authors, generally professors, who had in the past received funds from drug companies for consulting, speaking or doing research.

November 26, 2012

Why did Moorpark College oust Jon Foote as president of the student body? Foote is popular with fellow students and has emerged as a strong advocate for them, demanding more information about the California community college's budget, and questioning whether funds might be shifted from non-academic to academic areas, The Los Angeles Times reported. The college ousted him from his position after a series of altercations, all of which involved disputed incidents in which Foote's defenders -- including faculty members -- question the facts as stated by administrators.

November 21, 2012

Edward Liebow will be the next executive director of the American Anthropological Association. Since 1986, he has worked at the Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization. He also has been a board member of the anthropology association.

 

November 21, 2012

The Tufts University Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to rescind the honorary degree awarded to Lance Armstrong at commencement in 2006. "While continuing to respect the significant work of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the board concluded that, in the wake of the recent report of the United States Anti-Doping Agency and its acceptance by the International Cycling Union, Mr. Armstrong's actions as an athlete are inconsistent with the values of Tufts University," said a university spokeswoman.

 

November 21, 2012

Columbia, Cornell and Yale Universities have announced an expansion of a program to teach less commonly taught languages at the three institutions. The universities are using live videoconferencing with small classes (limited to 12 each) out of the belief that these class sizes are best suited to language instruction. The program started with Romanian, elementary Dutch and elementary Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and has since expanded to other languages. A new grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow for further expansion. This fall, the universities added courses in Bengali, Indonesian, Modern Greek, Tamil, Yoruba and Zulu. And in the fall of 2013, they plan to add courses in Khmer, Sinhala, Polish and Vietnamese.
 

November 21, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Daniel Lidar of the University of Southern California explains why diamonds may be the key to quantum computing. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 21, 2012

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the American Association of University Professors on Tuesday released a joint statement affirming the importance of academic freedom in higher education, and the role of accrediting in assuring that academic freedom exists and is nurtured. The statement, an advisory to accreditors and others, urges the review of accreditation standards to be sure the role of academic freedom receives appropriate attention. A statement from Judith Eaton, president of CHEA, said that the new document "is a response to concerns that academic freedom is increasingly challenged in today’s environment and that accreditation can play an even more helpful role in meeting this challenge."

November 21, 2012

An animal rights activist, Camille Marino, has pleaded guilty to trespass and unlawful posting of a message with aggravating circumstances, The Detroit Free Press reported. Marino was arrested in May when she chained herself to the doors of the library at Wayne State University. She had been posting messages online in which she said that a Wayne State researcher who works with animals -- whom she named, listing his home and office addresses and phone numbers -- should be tortured. She also sent e-mail to the researcher saying, "I hope you die a slow painful death comparable to those you forced your victims to endure. Please don't interpret this as a threat. It's merely my most fond wishes for you." After a court ordered her not to post the researcher's address again, she did so almost immediately, authorities said.

 

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