Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 3:00am

Boston University has called off a planned study abroad program in Niger, following the kidnappings of two Frenchmen there, The Boston Globe reported. Fifteen students had been scheduled to travel to Niger for the spring semester.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 3:00am

Eugene Lang College of the New School has announced that it is now test-optional on admissions. Students who do not want to submit an SAT or ACT score may provide a graded paper with a teacher's comments.

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate of South Carolina State University last week voted no confidence in President George Cooper, The Post and Courier reported. Faculty leaders cited significant financial problems, a lack of commitment to principles of shared governance and the absence of a vision for the future of the university. Cooper's lawyer told the newspaper that "Dr. Cooper takes the position that the Faculty Senate does not reflect the full faculty at South Carolina State University."

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

A University of Rochester undergraduate was stabbed fatally at a fraternity party and another student has been charged in the murder, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Authorities said that the two students had a disagreement that predated the party. Officials at California State University at Northridge, meanwhile, think they may have averted a tragedy with the arrest of a student found to have a shotgun and bomb-making materials in his dormitory room, Reuters reported. In another incident that could have been a tragedy, someone with a gun fired five shots into a glass door of a dormitory at Baker University, in Kansas, early Sunday morning, but students were not injured, The Kansas City Star reported. Authorities are investigating whether the former boyfriend of a resident of the dormitory is responsible.

Monday, January 17, 2011 - 3:00am

Nicolaus Ramos paid his tuition bill at the University of Colorado at Boulder in an unusual way -- with more than $14,000 in one-dollar bills, The Sacramento Bee reported. The idea behind this nearly 30-pound payment was to draw attention to the rising cost of higher education.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Educators have long worried about students who "choke" on key exams. A University of Chicago study, published this week in Science, finds that if such students are given the opportunity to write about the worries 10 minutes before the test, their anxiety is reduced and their performance on the test improves substantially.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

SAN ANTONIO — The National Collegiate Athletic Association released Thursday at its convention the results of its second comprehensive survey of athletes, revealing their opinions about myriad academic and athletic issues. The Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Learning of Students in College (or GOALS) study noted, among other findings, that the opportunity to play a certain sport was the most-reported reason for choosing a specific institution. Academics was second, followed closely by the institution’s proximity to home. Most athletes felt that their “pre-college expectations regarding academics and time demands were generally accurate” but that their “perceptions of the athletics and social experience in college were less accurate.”

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of California at Berkeley, facing a new round of state budget cuts over the next year, on Thursday announced plans to eliminate 280 positions, 150 of them through layoffs and the rest through retirements or other means, The San Jose Mercury News reported. No faculty positions will be eliminated, but officials stressed that a range of income levels were covered, with about one-fourth of the positions being eliminated having salaries of $100,000 or above.

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Duncan Cumming of the State University of New York at Albany discusses the unforeseen difficulties faced by a touring concert pianist. Find out more about The Academic Minute here. (To download this podcast directly, please click here.)

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The DePaul University Faculty Council on Wednesday passed a motion calling for the president to reverse the tenure denial of Namita Goswami, a philosophy faculty member. Following the denial, a faculty appeals board determined that the decision should be reversed because of policy, procedural and academic freedom violations in her review, but DePaul’s president, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, chose not to overturn it. The denial of Goswami, who is female and South Asian and has a well-regarded academic record, intensified the ongoing debate over why many women and minority candidates have been rejected in tenure reviews at DePaul.

The entire motion reads, “Faculty Council calls upon President Holtschneider to withdraw his final judgment in the Namita Goswami tenure case in order to allow for the full consideration of academic freedom.” The council voted to pass it 20-4-2, citing neglect to follow faculty handbook provisions that allow for a formal hearing or another contract when the appeals board finds academic freedom violations. Tenured political science professor Valerie Johnson previously told Inside Higher Ed that if the motion passed and Father Holtschneider still did not take action, she thinks “that would probably lead to a mobilization of a vote of ‘no confidence.'”

Prior to the meeting, Provost Helmut Epp sent a memo to the council that was later obtained by Inside Higher Ed. In the memo, Epp argued that a closer reading shows the handbook provision does not apply after a tenure decision has been made – rather, it applies only to faculty members whose academic freedom was violated before the final tenure decision. “While the language of the handbook could certainly be stated more clearly,” Epp wrote, “this seems to me to be the reading that best harmonizes and respects all the relevant texts.”

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