Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 3:00am

A new white paper suggests better ways to promote collaboration in higher education between European and African institutions. The paper, with sections directed at governments, universities and development agencies, reflects work by the European University Association, the Association of African Universities, the Flemish Inter-University Council for Development Cooperation, the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions, the European Access Network and the European Students’ Union.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of California at Berkeley announced Tuesday that it would eliminate five sports teams in an effort to save $4 million a year from its deficit-ridden sports program. The Berkeley sports program has been a bone of contention for faculty members and others at the university, given the heavy administrative subsidies the university has given to athletics at a time of overall financial stress at the university. Berkeley administrators said the university would end its intercollegiate programs in baseball, men's and women's gymnastics, and women's lacrosse, and transition men's rugby to a varsity club sport. Berkeley will still have 24 teams.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 3:00am

Colleges and universities reported $54.9 billion in spending on science and engineering research and development during the 2009 fiscal year, up 5.8 percent from the previous year, according to data released by the National Science Foundation. (Adjusted for inflation, that represents an increase of 4.2 percent.) The largest field within the total is the life sciences, at $32.8 billion, an increase of 5.1 percent. Among all subfields tracked, the largest percentage increase was physics, up 16.4 percent to $1.9 billion. Mathematics saw a 10.9 percent decrease, to $553 million.

In terms of which universities are spending the most on science and engineering R&D, the NSF found very little change. The top five institutions have remained the same since 2004: Johns Hopkins University (in large part because its totals include spending at the Applied Physics Laboratory), University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of California at San Francisco, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 3:00am

Academics are well-represented among the 23 winners, named today by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as new MacArthur Fellows for 2010. The awardees receive $500,000, no strings attached, and they didn't even have to apply. The winners include professors at the California Institute of Technology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cornell, Harvard, Oregon State and Stanford Universities; the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Davis, and San Diego; and the Universities of Chicago and Minnesota.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 3:00am

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been known to hold back (even when that might be wise), but he seems even more willing to speak his mind in his waning weeks in office, with a veto message he issued Friday prime evidence of that. Schwarzenegger refused to sign AB 1889, which its Democratic sponsors described as mainly aimed at clearing up "technicalities" in controversial legislation enacted last year to reinstate California's regulatory system for for-profit and other vocational colleges. But the new legislation went well beyond mere cleanup, Schwarzenegger suggested in his veto message, taking particular umbrage at a provision that would require the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to hire five new employees to oversee for-profit colleges -- an unusual effort by a legislature to dictate management by an executive branch agency. "This is both an inappropriate and unacceptable action to micro-manage and burden the implementation of regulatory policy," Schwarzenegger wrote.

He added, with what one can only imagine was a wide grin on his face: "If the author or interest groups wish to make staffing decisions for the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, I suggest they look into applying for the position of Bureau Chief. Applications can be obtained at: www.gov.ca.gov/appointments."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 3:00am

David Kennedy, former principal of Robert Gordon University, plans to return an honorary degree he received from the Scottish university to protest its decision to award an honorary degree next month to Donald Trump, the BBC reported. The university says that it is honoring Trump for his "business acumen," particularly in Scotland. But Kennedy is among many in the region who are outraged by Trump's plans to build a golf course in the area -- over the objections of many local residents.

Monday, September 27, 2010 - 3:00am

Lloyd Jacobs, the president of the University of Toledo, has proposed dividing the College of Arts and Sciences into three new units, and the plan has angered many faculty members, The Toledo Blade reported. Some faculty members object to the idea itself, while others say that they didn't have enough input or that they don't trust the president (a former medical school administrator) to safeguard the arts and humanities.

Monday, September 27, 2010 - 3:00am

Joy Laskar, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with a research engineer and an office administrator were jailed Friday after racketeering charges were filed against them, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The university says that the three funneled about $2 million in university funds to a company owned by Laskar and by Stephane Pinel, the research engineer. A lawyer for Laskar denied wrongdoing and said that Georgia Tech was trying to obtain a greater share of the funds from a business founded by Laskar in partnership with the university.

Monday, September 27, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is announcing a plan under which some students will receive counseling on how to finish degrees in three years, The Boston Globe reported. This year, the program will be offered for freshmen majoring in economics, music, and sociology. Eventually the choice will be available to those in about one-third of the 88 majors.

Monday, September 27, 2010 - 3:00am

The violent deaths of students in off-campus incidents have shaken Seton Hall University and the University of Wisconsin at Stout.

At Seton Hall, a sophomore who was killed was among five people shot at an off-campus party, allegedly by someone who tried to attend the party, was rebuffed, and returned with a gun and started shooting. Five people in all were shot, including two other students from Seton Hall and one from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, The Star-Ledger reported. The newspaper quoted an attendee at the party as saying that "the whole crowd was like a stampede. Girls were being trampled on ... it was pure terror."

At Stout, authorities have arrested two students -- one a hockey player and one who was recruited to play hockey -- in connection with the death of a third student, The Chippewa Herald reported. According to authorities, the two students who have been charged got into a fight with the third at a bar; after the fight was broken up, they followed him after he left on his bike, and assaulted him. The assault caused the bike to crash into a concrete wall, resulting in head injuries that killed the student.

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