The University of Utah is investigating allegations of plagiarism against Bahman Baktiari, director of the institution's Middle East Center, in an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune, that newspaper reported. The newspaper has since removed the op-ed from its website. Faculty members and students identified several instances of unattributed material from sources such as The New York Times and The Economist and shared their analysis with senior university officials and the Tribune. Baktiari told the newspaper he didn't know attribution was needed for newspaper op-eds.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Afghanistan's universities are suffering severe financial problems at a time that they are badly needed to promote the development of the country, The Washington Post reported. Among the key problems are laws that bar charging tuition and that prohibit universities from creating endowments. The result is dependence on the government and outside agencies, which have limited funds. Last year, the 22 public universities and education institutes operated on a combined total of $35 million, the Post said.
Ave Maria University, a Roman Catholic institution in Florida known for its strict adherence to traditional church teachings, announced Thursday that the founding chancellor and CEO, Thomas S. Monaghan, was leaving daily oversight of the university in July and would be replaced by Jim Towey, the former president of Saint Vincent College. Both Monaghan at Ave Maria and Towey at Saint Vincent have had significant clashes with faculty members over a range of issues.
Business schools have changed their programs and need to consider further changes as a result of globalization, according to a report issued Thursday by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The report outlines ideas for the kinds of changes business schools need to consider while reviewing some of the notable changes already made.
College leaders heartened by Wednesday's announcement from House Republican leaders that proposed budget cuts would spare many higher education programs had their hearts sink Thursday. Those very same House leaders -- responding to criticism from Tea Party pressure within their own party -- announced Thursday that they would cut much deeper from the budget for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, requiring them to find another $26 billion in reductions. As House appropriators strive to meet the Pledge to America goal of slicing $100 billion in non-military discretionary spending in the year that ends September 30, it is hard to fathom that those additional cuts will not do damage to some student financial aid and other college-related programs that seemed to have been spared in the earlier review. "Our intent is to make deep but manageable cuts in nearly every area of government, leaving no stone unturned and allowing no agency or program to be held sacred," said Representative Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the panel's chairman. Details are expected soon.
Governor Rick Perry wants public colleges and universities in Texas to develop bachelor's degrees that would cost students only $10,000 in total, including the cost of textbooks, KXAN News reported. Perry, a Republican, didn't offer details on how colleges could do this, and some Democrats are questioning the realism of the idea, given that $10,000 would be a small fraction of costs today (which vary among institutions). In the State of the State address in which he issued the call, Perry said that online education and "innovative teaching techniques" could make the degrees possible.
Last year, when students at the University of Iowa wanted to screen "Disco Dolls in Hot Skin (in 3D!)," a 1970s pornographic film, the university barred the showing at a campus movie theater. But this year, The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported, the university is not objecting to a screening this weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day. What prompted the change of heart? University officials said that a review of the law suggested that, as a public institution, Iowa couldn't ban the film without violating First Amendment rights.
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday proposed an overhaul of governance of higher education. He would create a single board to replace those that oversee the state's community colleges and the Connecticut State University System, as well as the coordinating board. The only free-standing board that would remain would be for the University of Connecticut. He said the new system would help the state educate a larger share of its citizens.
Blackboard has made its name on selling Blackboard Learn, its industry-leading learning management system (LMS), to universities. But professors will soon be able to use the platform for free even if their institutions do not have a contract with Blackboard, the company plans to announce today. Blackboard CourseSites, a cloud-based version of the company's LMS product, will allow instructors to use most of the features available through the normal learning-management system, minus those that require full integration with campus information systems. The idea is to give faculty members at non-Blackboard colleges, as well as those that have not upgraded to the latest versions “more options for experimentation” with the platform’s newest capabilities. Blackboard tells Inside Higher Ed that it does not plan to sell advertising or otherwise make money from CourseSites, so presumably the company is betting that this experiment will inspire instructors to press their bosses to invest in the campus-wide version that institutions must purchase. Blackboard Learn remains the most popular learning-managment system among nonprofit colleges, but it has lost some market share in recent years to Moodle, the open-source platform that has evolved into a viable campus-wide solution after making early inroads at the level of individual instructors.