Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, May 21, 2010 - 3:00am

California State University campuses lost 10 percent of their collective teaching force in the last year, according to data released by the system's faculty union, the Los Angeles Times reported. The vast majority of lost jobs were held by adjunct lecturers, not by tenure-track faculty members. California State administrators said that while thousands of sections were eliminated due to budget cuts, the system hopes to restore many of those sections.

Friday, May 21, 2010 - 3:00am

New Jersey's Senate approved legislation Thursday that would require government workers -- including faculty and staff members at public colleges -- to live in the state, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. The version of the measure that passed Thursday has been softened considerably from previous iterations, giving workers a full year to move and providing an appeals process. But given the nature of academic (particularly adjunct faculty) jobs, and the geography of New Jersey, which draws workers from nearby major metropolitan areas like New York and Philadelphia, the legislation, if it passes the Assembly and becomes law, could cause major headaches for public colleges in the Garden State.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

Members of a Louisiana legislative committee let drop proposed legislation that would have severely restricted the activities of law school clinics in the state, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported. The decision by a state senate panel, which came after two hours of debate, was a major (and unusual) setback for the state's powerful chemical industry, which had taken aim at an environmental law clinic at Tulane University that it viewed as hostile to its interests. Tulane's president, Scott Cowen, forcefully defended the clinic at Wednesday's hearing.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

Canadian academics and government leaders are analyzing the results of an effort to attract top research talent from other countries. As The Globe and Mail reported, the quality of international talent is considered high, leading many to say that the tactic of going after the best with generous offers was effective. A total of 19 researchers have committed to offers at Canadian universities. But as The Montreal Gazette reported, many female academics in Canada are asking why all 19 of those newly recruited faculty stars are men.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

A committee at the University of Texas will study whether the university should maintain the name of a former Ku Klux Klan leader (who also served on the university's law faculty and in the Confederate military) on a residence hall, The Austin American-Statesman reported. Some on the campus have argued that keeping the name shows insensitivity to minority students.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

New Jersey's student aid agency may have violated state ethics laws, misinterpreted executive orders on political contributions and other matters, and was governed by a board that was denied crucial information about its operations, according to a highly critical state audit released Tuesday. The state's inspector general's office said in its report on the audit that it had referred the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to the state ethics commission for a possible inquiry into the "solicitation of a donation from a vendor of the authority by an employee."

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

Republicans in the House of Representatives on Wednesday once again rebuffed legislation (HR 5325) designed to strengthen federal support for academic research. For the second time in a week, an insufficient number of lawmakers voted in favor of legislation to renew the America COMPETES Act, the 2007 law that set out to double federal funding of the physical sciences. Republicans, who unanimously opposed the bill Wednesday, said they supported its goals but continued to believe it would authorize too much federal spending and create too many new programs. Democrats said that they were disappointed that the changes they had made in the legislation since last week were deemed insufficient, and that they would continue trying.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

Faculty members at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have voted, 233 to 87, to unionize. The vote follows one last week at the university's Superior campus. Both units will be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of California is seeking $500 million in savings by consolidation and coordination of administrative functions such as purchasing, the Los Angeles Times reported. University leaders said that the changes would represent a cultural shift for a system where campus independence has been highly valued, but they stressed that the push to centralization was on non-academic issues.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Florida has cleared a professor of any wrongdoing in the case of two graduate students who filmed documentary work for their degrees in Haiti when the university had banned travel there by students, The Gainesville Sun reported. The university inquiry found that the students made the decision to go to Haiti on their own and that the faculty member didn't provide university resources. The university initially barred the students from using the material they shot in Haiti, but backed down amid criticism that the ban was a violation of academic freedom.

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