Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Two female Marist College students and a friend were killed in a fire early Saturday morning, when a fire spread through their house, The Journal News reported. Four other Marist students escaped the fire by jumping through windows.

On Sunday morning, seven Boston University students were hospitalized after a fire in their off-campus house, The Boston Globe reported.

 

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Tokyo is planning a shift over the next five years to a fall start for its academic year, The Japan Times reported. The issue has been under consideration for months -- and is seen as important by university leaders who want to promote more collaboration with Western institutions that start their academic years in the fall. The current schedule is also believed to discourage study abroad by Tokyo students, and the recruitment of foreign students to spend a semester at Tokyo. Given the stature of the University of Tokyo within Japanese higher education, its move is expected to influence many other institutions in the country to follow its lead.

 

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 4:27am

A federal judge on Friday ordered Boston College to turn over to the government, to provide to British authorities, documents related to seven interview subjects in an oral history collection on the violence in Northern Ireland, The Boston Globe reported. An earlier order is the subject of a stay by a federal appeals court, which is currently reviewing the legal issues in the case. The British government, citing a treaty with the United States, says that the documents could help with ongoing criminal investigations. But many historians have been alarmed by the case, saying that forcing Boston College to release the documents could discourage people from participating in oral history interviews. The interviews at Boston College, like those in many such oral history collections, were intended for release only after specified time periods, such as the death of those who spoke with researchers.

 

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

The "Shit Girls Say" YouTube video has turned into a meme inspiring numerous videos making fun of things various groups say. While undergrads were mocked fairly instantly, some recent additions focus on other groups in academe: rhetoric scholars and grad students.

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Michael French of the University of Miami explains the link between the health of the economy and patterns of alcohol consumption. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Joe Paterno, the former Pennsylvania State University football coach whose career was ended and reputation tarnished over an explosive sex abuse scandal, died Sunday morning at the age of 85 from complications resulting from lung cancer. Paterno's health deteriorated rapidly after the Penn State Board of Trustees fired him, along with President Graham B. Spanier, for not doing more when informed that his former assistant of 16 years may have been sexually abusing young boys.

The winningest coach in Division I history, Paterno was widely respected and known for imparting to players the importance of ethical behavior and academic success. Just last week, The Washington Post published Paterno's first interview since his dismissal, in which he said he didn't follow up on the allegations against Jerry Sandusky -- the coach relayed what he'd heard to  his superiors, but not police -- because he "didn't know exactly how to handle it." In one of the few comments Paterno made as the scandal was unfolding, he said, "I wish I had done more."

The university, which has been criticized by some alumni for its treatment of Paterno, issued a statement Sunday that made no mention of the scandal. The statement said: "We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always." The university also reiterated plans to honor Paterno.

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 3:00am

An annual survey of the status of women in intercollegiate athletics finds record numbers of female athletes and teams, coaches and administrators in college programs. But the survey, conducted for the 35th year by two emerita professors at Brooklyn College, also finds that the proportion of head coaches of women's teams who are female has fallen below 50 percent, compared to about 90 percent in 1972, when Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was enacted. The report, produced by Linda Jean Carpenter and R. Vivian Acosta, contains a slew of data, on everything from players to strength coaches to trainers for women's teams.

 

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 4:31am

The University of California at San Francisco, a powerhouse in medical education and research, is pushing for much more autonomy from the University of California, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The university says it doesn't want to secede, but does want its own board and to be free of fees it pays the central university. Further, officials question the need to participate in numerous discussions within the university about issues such as undergraduate education, which doesn't exist at UCSF. Officials of the medical campus say that they need the greater independence to focus resources on their programs.

 

 

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 4:34am

Mountain State University's board on Thursday announced that it had fired Charles H. Polk as president. The Charleston Gazette noted that the West Virginia university had been facing accreditation problems both as an institution and for its nursing program, as well as criticism of Polks 7-figure compensation package.

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Council on Education and other higher education groups have filed a brief with the Colorado Supreme Court backing the right of the University of Colorado Board of Regents to dismiss Ward Churchill as a tenured professor of ethnic studies on the Boulder campus. Churchill has challenged the firing (unsuccessfully until now), arguing that he was dismissed, in violation of his First Amendment and academic freedom rights, because of his controversial writings. The university system says that the reason he was fired was for repeated instances of faculty misconduct, and that panels of professors played key roles in identifying these instances and concluding that they represented unprofessional conduct.

The brief filed by the college groups states that the principles of academic freedom should result in support for the university's position. "Because universities are the entities best suited to make decisions about their faculties, they are entitled to autonomy in adjudicating claims regarding academic integrity," the brief says.

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