Higher Education Quick Takes
The National Science Foundation has published new reports on how federal research dollars flowed to colleges and universities in 2009 and the status of graduate students and postdoctoral scientists in research fields in 2008. The first report contains a wide array of data on the institutions that received the most federal research funds over all and by discipline, for instance; the latter includes statistics on the future work force in academic science by field, gender, institution type and other indicators.
In today’s Academic Minute, John Fitzpatrick of Cornell University explains what we can learn about climate change by observing Snowy Owls. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The mammoth endowment fund of the University of Texas is planning to double the $50 million hedge it maintains in an insurance fund against market downturns, officials said Thursday, Bloomberg News reported. Texas officials heard reports that a major financial crisis in Europe or involving the stability of the U.S. dollar could lead to a drop of one-fifth in the endowment's value. "None of us saw 2008, and this could be worse than 2008," said Gene Powell, chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents.
When the University of Tennessee at Knoxville advertised for a new baseball coach, the listings said that the institution preferred candidates with a bachelor's degree. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that the coach hired, Dave Serrano, has a degree, but from an unaccredited institution viewed by many as a diploma mill. "Obviously, sometimes you make choices in life and there's scrutiny out there," Serrano said. "I would prefer to be judged by the people and the players over all my years of my coaching career, what I've done for people as a coach and a mentor and how I've led them in life and being successful. People could judge my education, but I know when it comes to coaching and leading young men, I feel like I have a doctorate in that area." The News Sentinel noted that the university is currently searching for three assistant coaches, and that all three require a bachelor's degree and prefer a master's.
Blackboard, which last year announced a partnership to ease the use of McGraw-Hill content in courses using Blackboard's learning management system, is expanding the idea to other major publishers and their services. The company Wednesday announced partnerships with Pearson (for its MyLab and Mastering programs, which together are projected to have 9 million student registrations this year), as well as with Wiley, Macmillan and Cengage for various content offerings.
WASHINGTON -- The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a subcommittee's bill that would increase spending on the National Science Foundation's research by $43 million with funds reallocated from the agency's education and equipment budgets. The legislation backed by the committee -- which will now go to the full House -- would keep the NSF's overall budget at $6.86 billion in 2012, flat from this year but $900 million less than President Obama requested. But the additional funds for research would come at the expense of a $26 million cut from the agency's education and human resources directorate and a $17 million shave from its research equipment and facilities fund. The bill would also
In today’s Academic Minute, the University of Texas at Austin's Timothy Rowe examines how the sense of smell contributed to the development of larger brains in early mammals and how modern technology is making such determinations possible. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The University of Oxford says that there is no need -- in light of the scandal over the conduct of some of the publications owned by Rupert Murdoch -- to rethink endowed chairs and programs in his name or that of News International, Times Higher Education reported. Murdoch made a significant gift (exact size unknown) to Oxford, his alma mater, in 1990. The gift funds the Rupert Murdoch professor of language and communication, three lectureships, a News International Fund that makes various grants, and a News International visiting professor of media, and a program to provide internships to students interested in journalism. An Oxford spokesman told Times Higher Education: "Our full processes of scrutiny were carried out at the time of the endowment." Valentine Cunningham, professor of English language and literature at Oxford, said there was "only residual unhappiness" among academics over News International ties. "It is thought that we have turned bad money into good," Cunningham said.
Jenna K. Templeton, director of online academic and support services at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, has been chosen as assistant dean of the College for Graduate Studies and of the College for Continuing and Professional Studies at Chatham University.