Higher Education Quick Takes
Scientists are increasingly treating addiction as a disease needing treatment. The New York Times noted a consequence of this trend: 10 medical schools have just introduced the first accredited residency programs in addiction medicine.
A plan to pay Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State University, $400,000 -- $100,000 more than his predecessor -- has legislators and faculty leaders furious, The Los Angeles Times reported. California State University officials say that system presidents aren't underpaid. But critics say that the proposed salary sends a terrible message and wastes money at a time that the state's public universities are facing deep budget cuts and students are being hit with a new round of tuition increases.
Many law schools are making curricular shifts to focus on practical skills instead of legal theory, The Wall Street Journal reported. The article noted that Indiana University's Maurer School of Law has started teaching project management and that the New York Law School has been adding faculty members to teach negotiation, counseling and investigation. Washington and Lee University's law school moved in this direction in 2008, replacing third-year courses with practical training.
The University of Texas System has sued Ryan O'Neal, the actor and long-time companion of the late Farrah Fawcett, charging that he has held on to an Andy Warhol portrait of the late actress that belongs in the art museum of the university's Austin campus, The Austin American-Statesman reported. The university argues that Fawcett left all of her art to her alma mater. But a publicist for O'Neal said that Fawcett gave him the portrait in question.
In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Leadbeater of the University of Connecticut explains the similarity between molecules and Lego bricks, and reveals how chemists use them to build new and useful compounds. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
Scientists at the University of Johannesburg, in South Africa, on Friday announced a joint water research agreement involving counterparts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel; the University of Ghent, in Belgium; and the University of California at Los Angeles. The announcement raised some eyebrows as the Johannesburg faculty voted in March to end ties with Ben-Gurion, saying that the Israeli university was complicit with policies that hurt Palestinians. (Ben-Gurion has maintained that it actually does considerable work with Palestians, and many academic groups have opposed academic boycotts, but the Johannesburg administration followed the faculty vote and allowed to lapse an agreement between the two universities.) While the new agreement has been reported in some publications as an abandonment of the faculty vote, Johannesburg officials say that is not the case. The faculty had the right to bar institutional exchanges, but not those arranged by individual faculty members, the officials said. Ihron Rensburg, vice chancellor at Johannesburg, issued a statement in which he said that the university "upholds academic freedom and the right of its academic staff to develop relationships with whomsoever they wish."
Jason Liptow, an adjunct at Mid Michigan Community College, is charging that he was dismissed shortly after he announced he was going to try to form a union to provide job security for instructors, The Morning Sun reported. College officials said that Liptow violated confidentiality rules by posting a Facebook status update that said "Student emailed me wanting to know how he could pass the class, he hadn’t been there and failed three open-book tests." Liptow said that he did not violate confidentiality since he did not name the student.
Evidence that Twitter-mania is taking hold, for better or worse, in higher education: The University of Iowa's business school is offering a one-year scholarship to the applicant for its M.B.A. program who, in the 140 characters allowed by Twitter, most successfully answers the question, "What makes you an exceptional Tippie MBA candidate and full-time MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!" According to an article in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the innovation is designed to acknowledge the power of social media in business communication, and applicants can answer this way in lieu of the standard application essay, and one winner will get a one-year scholarship to the program at the Tippie School of Management, valued at $37,000.
"This would give us a lot more depth and show us more about a candidate than an essay would show," Jodi Schafer, director of recruiting and admissions for the school's full-time M.B.A. program, told the Press-Citizen. "We wanted to learn more about our applicants, wanted to get more than we could through a typical application. It's a better way to showcase a candidate's talent." Lest one worry that Iowa officials had not noticed that the standard tweet does not provide enough room for a whole lot of "depth," a news release about the contest notes: "You can go beyond the typical Tweet by connecting your Tweet to other social media such as blogs, video, Facebook, or a web page."
The National Science Foundation and the Agency for International Development on Thursday announced a new effort to promote research to promote global development. Projects will be selected through peer review, and the National Academy of Sciences will administer the program.
MDRC, the research organization, this week released "Unlocking the Gate," a literature review on what is known about remedial education and how to improve its chances of success. The report focuses on four strategies: helping students avoid developmental education by preparing for college-level work before college; changes that shorten the length of time needed in remedial education; programs that mix basic skills and job training or college-level content; and programs that improve the advising or tutoring that remedial students receive.