Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, January 16, 2012 - 4:11am

The University of California Board of Regents this week will consider a proposal to fire a tenured professor, a rare event in the system, The Los Angeles Times reported. The university, citing privacy rules, says only that the faculty member is at the Riverside campus. But Sarkis Joseph Khoury, who teaches international finance, confirmed to the Times that he is the professor in question. He has clashed with the university over accusations that he received outside funds in inappropriate ways during sabbaticals. Khoury says that he is a victim of a witch hunt, and that the university is angry that he has defended himself in the sabbatical dispute. Further, he charges that he is being punished for a range of other issues, including Republican views, Lebanese heritage, and pushing for the hiring of more minority faculty members.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Scripps College named an art dealer, Frank Lloyd, as co-curator of an exhibit at the college's museum, despite art world ethics codes that generally bar art dealers from organizing exhibits at nonprofit museums, The Los Angeles Times reported. Lloyd is an expert in the pottery highlighted in the exhibit, but is also mounting a show in which 13 of the 24 works for sale are by artists who have other work in the Scripps exhibit. Scripps officials cited Lloyd's expertise as a reason to have him co-curate the exhibit at the college.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 4:16am

The American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, is starting a 15-month master of arts program in teaching to train earth science teachers, The New York Times reported. Tuition will be free and students will receive $30,000 stipends and health insurance.

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Education ministers and academics from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have formed the Visegrad Group to promote improvements in their higher education systems, The New York Times reported. With increased student mobility in Europe, leading educators in the four countries want to make sure their graduates' credentials are well-respected elsewhere, and that their programs are competitive.


Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

Anonymous e-mail messages sent to faculty members at the University of Illinois came from the laptop of Lisa Troyer, then chief of staff to Michael Hogan, president of the university system, according to an outside investigation released by the university on Friday. Troyer left her position after an inquiry started. Many faculty members were alarmed by the prospect that an administrator was trying to influence governance decisions through anonymous e-mail messages. The outside investigation said that the e-mail messages were sent during a time that Troyer had possession of the laptop, and that there was no evidence of hacking. Troyer sent The Chicago Tribune an e-mail in which she said: "I did not write or send the emails under question.... I had nothing to do with these emails and, although the source and motivation have not yet been uncovered, I believe that in the fullness of time, the truth behind this matter will be revealed."

Monday, January 16, 2012 - 3:00am

A South Carolina jury has awarded $1 million to two boys who were forced to play a "choking game" while at a Clemson University summer camp in 2008, The Post and Courier reported. The lawsuit charged that Clemson should not have let the counselor have access to the boys without a background check that would have turned up red flags. A university spokeswoman said that an appeal is planned because "we believe the award is excessive" and "is not supported by the facts in the case."

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 4:52am

Viruses on computers at City College of San Francisco have sent personal banking and other information from thousands of faculty members, administrators and others to hackers with ties to Russian and Chinese criminal networks for as long as a decade, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Campus officials identified the breaches weeks ago and are working to eliminate them. No cases of identity theft have been cited yet, though, the newspaper reported.

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, William Poulin-Deltour of Middlebury College explains how divergent cultural roots created different ideas of community in the United States and France. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (the national faculty union in Canada) on Thursday criticized the government for naming Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University's president, as co-chair of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program selection board. The research chairs program has provided funds for Canadian research universities to recruit top professors from all over the world, and Canadian academics have closely watched the work of the panel that has picked winners. The statement from James L. Turk, executive director of the faculty group, did not name Tilghman, and he stressed that the group had no fault with her -- only with her serving while being president of an American university. "We were surprised and disappointed at the announcement today that no Canadian university president or other academic was deemed distinguished enough to be named co-chair," Turk said in the statement. "There is no shortage of Canadian university presidents and other distinguished academics at Canadian universities who could more appropriately have filled the role."

Canadian officials praised Tilghman for agreeing to serve on the panel, noting that she was raised in Winnipeg. A Princeton official confirmed that she remains a Canadian citizen. It appears that Princeton may have a fondness for Canadian leaders. Tilghman has been president since 2001. She succeeded Harold T. Shapiro, a Montreal native with dual Canadian and American citizenship.


Friday, January 13, 2012 - 3:00am

Liberty University has just sold $100 million in bonds, bringing its total debt to $228 million, to finance expansion, Bloomberg reported. The Christian university has $225 million in projects planned in the next five years, including a library, a baseball stadium and a school of health sciences.


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