Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 5, 2018

Two high-level administrators at Crafton Hills College were recently placed on administrative leave, as reported Friday by Redlands Daily Facts.

President Wei Zhou, who was appointed in June 2016, and Interim Vice President of Instruction Kathy Bakhit, who has served in the role since January 2017, were placed on leave effective immediately, according to a March 2 statement issued by the San Bernadino Community College District.

The statement didn’t provide a reason for the decision. “We thank them for their service at Crafton Hills College,” the statement reads. “However, it is SBCCD’s policy not to comment on matters relating to personnel.”

According to the statement, “SBCCD will work with faculty, staff, students and community members to launch a national search to recruit a new campus president and vice president of instruction. We are committed to building on Crafton Hills College’s legacy of innovative workforce development programs and academic excellence.”

Faculty and staff were made aware of the decision in a March 1 memo issued by District Chancellor Bruce Baron.

March 5, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Vincent Schiraldi, senior research scientist at Columbia University, says looking only at the current population of prisons is only half the story. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

March 2, 2018

Photo of Jon Parrish PeedePresident Trump on Friday nominated Jon Parrish Peede (right) to become chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Peede has worked at the NEH since April 2017, serving as senior deputy chairman. Since William D. Adams, an appointee of President Obama, stepped down as chairman in May, Peede has effectively been the senior person at the NEH.

In his first two budget proposals, Trump proposed eliminating the NEH, but Congress has rebuffed him.

Peede has experience in the humanities publishing world. He has served as publisher of Virginia Quarterly Review, at the University of Virginia; literature grants director at the National Endowment for the Arts; director of communications at Millsaps College; and an editor at Mercer University Press.

The National Humanities Alliance published an interview with Peede in October. In that interview, Peede said that he viewed the NEH as “a catalytic funder” that can encourage “institutional buy-in” and help start “new areas of the humanities.”

March 2, 2018

A former medical resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center is suing the institution, saying it failed to protect her from Johan Blickman, vice chair of the center’s department of imaging sciences and a professor of pediatrics. The former resident says she was doing a rotation in pediatric radiology in 2014 when Blickman invited her to his house to discuss a research paper, then drugged and raped her. She alleges that the professor blackmailed her with nude photographs, threatening to destroy her life if she complained about him, and continued to coerce her into sex. She further accuses Blickman of meeting with her boyfriend and asking the boyfriend to help him kill his ex-wife.

Rochester told the Democrat & Chronicle that it first heard about an "inappropriate relationship" from the woman’s attorney in 2016, two years after she left the medical center, and subsequently "took action based on our findings." A university spokesperson declined to say what action Rochester took in 2016 but said that it received “new and different” allegations last week. Blickman is now on paid leave, pending a review, the spokesperson said, noting that Rochester has not heard from law enforcement about the case. Blickman did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of the Florian Jaeger case at Rochester. Jaeger, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences, was cleared of wrongdoing by campus inquiries and an outside review paid for by the university, but a group of his colleagues and former students are suing the university for its handling of complaints against him. He is currently on leave from teaching.

March 2, 2018

Texas Wesleyan University fired Mike Jeffcoat Thursday as head baseball coach after he was quoted saying that he would not recruit athletes from Colorado, The Star-Telegram reported. The move came amid uproar over Jeffcoat, citing Colorado's legalization of marijuana, saying that students recruited from the state might fail drug tests.

March 2, 2018

The University of Arizona has decided to let its men's basketball coach return to the team after he strongly disputed allegations in an ESPN report that he was captured on tape talking about paying players, the Arizona Daily Star reported. Sean Miller decided not to coach his team's game last weekend after ESPN reported details of Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretaps that reportedly caught Miller discussing payments with a representative of a sports agent at the center of a broad federal inquiry into college basketball corruption.

Arizona's president, Robert C. Robbins, said after a closed-door special meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents that he and the university's athletics director had no reason to believe Miller had broken NCAA rules. "Coach Miller is our coach, he has a contract and we'll be moving forward," he said, according to the Daily Star.

ESPN corrected some facts in its article after it was originally published, but the organization has stood by the story over all.

March 2, 2018

Today on the Academic Minute, Marsha Gordon, professor of film studies in the department of English at North Carolina State University, says a nuclear disaster movie from the 1980s rings true today. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


March 1, 2018

The president of Bates Technical College, in Washington State, will apparently hold on to his job but will not return from his suspension until a "disciplinary directive" is handed down by the college, The News Tribune reported. The president, Ron Langrell, has been on leave after a college investigation found that he had engaged in unwanted hugging and other behavior that was unsettling to many female employees. Langrell has said he is sorry and that he wishes he had been aware earlier of the discomfort he caused.

March 1, 2018

The Obama Foundation, supporting the work and ideals of the former president, is creating an Obama Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Chicago. Full scholarships -- for tuition and living expenses -- will be provided in its first year to 25 students pursuing master's degrees at the university's Harris School of Public Service. Students will be recruited from around the world, and their master's program will focus on international development and policy, combined with a range of outside-the-classroom leadership activities.

March 1, 2018

The University of Rochester’s Faculty Senate voted this week to censure Florian Jaeger, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences accused of harassing female graduate students and creating a hostile work environment. The university cleared Jaeger of wrongdoing, as did a recent independent investigation funded by the university. Student and faculty critics have called the investigations flawed, pointing to the fact that even the outside review determined Jaeger had engaged in inappropriate and unprofessional -- if not illegal or policy-violating -- behavior between 2007 and 2013. The censure motion says, in part, that Jaeger’s behavior “resulted in significant harm to students, the affected department and the broader university community. We condemn this behavior in the strongest possible terms.” The resolution includes a vow to evaluate and revise relevant policies and procedures to ensure student and employee safety going forward.

The senate also voted to condemn the university’s having searched the email accounts of Jaeger’s faculty critics and shared them with their department chair. Sara Miller, university spokesperson, told the Democrat & Chronicle Jaeger remains on paid leave for the semester but will be continue his research, “including working with students in his lab so that they may complete their graduate studies.”

Steve Modica, Jaeger’s attorney, said in a statement that the senate’s vote is “the result of an alarming rush to judgment. It was based on emotion, rumor and a well-designed public relations campaign” on the part of Jaeger’s critics, some of whom are suing the university over its handling of the case. “Senate members have made themselves arbiters of morality” on campus, enmeshing themselves in the ongoing civil case, he said.


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