News in brief - 13 June 2013

June 13, 2013

United States
Dr? No, I never said that

A prestigious US scholarly society has defended its president against accusations that she falsely claimed on at least two grant proposals to have a doctorate. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences rallied around Leslie Cohen Berlowitz after The Boston Globe story broke. Ray Howell, a spokesman for the academy, said she had never claimed to have a doctorate and blamed the mistakes on “an iteration of her résumé created at the staff level…Her official résumé on file with the academy does not contain the inaccurate information.” The New York Times reported that Ms Berlowitz “takes full responsibility for the error, and the academy is working to correct the information with relevant funding agencies”. The National Endowment for the Humanities received at least two grant applications (in 2003 and 2010) listing the president as having received a PhD from New York University. The Globe obtained the applications from a freedom of information request.

Double, still nothing

The University of Canberra’s threatened language courses would still be unviable even if enrolments were to double, a spokesman for the institution has said. Facing cuts in federal funding, Canberra has proposed the closure of its Chinese, Japanese and Spanish programmes and a deal whereby language students could pick up credits at the nearby Australian National University. “Despite the best efforts of staff, these courses have not grown,” the spokesman said. In a statement, Canberra’s six languages staff say they have recently been told they will be made redundant, The Australian reported. They add that the decision to abandon languages is at odds with the federal government’s Australia in the Asian Century White Paper. Students at the university are petitioning against the cuts.

Faking it claims investigated

Police in the Meghalaya region in India are investigating a university where it is alleged that bogus degrees were sold to students for Rs200,000 to Rs500,000 (£2,300 to £5,800). CMJ University, based in Shillong, has been accused of awarding thousands of fake doctoral degrees. Satish Rajmane, president of the Solapur University Students’ Association, raised the alarm after filing a complaint against lecturers at his institution who he said “completely lacked knowledge” about their subjects. Mr Rajmane told The Times of India that the beneficiaries of the scam were spread throughout the country. After complaints were made to Meghalaya’s governor, a report was lodged with police, who took action against CMJ at the end of April. They have since arrested registrar Mrinal Kanti Deb and other officials on suspicion of cheating and forgery. S. P. Sharma, a lawyer for CMJ chancellor Chandra Mohan Jha, accused the state administration of being “prejudiced” against the university, the Hindustan Times reported.

United States
Boston fee hikes: small potatoes?

Colleges and universities in Boston are raising tuition fees by an average of 3 to 4 per cent. Suffolk University has announced that it will increase undergraduate tuition prices by 3 per cent next year, the smallest increase in more than 35 years. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tuition and fees will cost $43,498 (£28,145) compared with $42,050 this year, a 3.4 per cent increase, reported. Officials said the hike was among the lowest in recent decades. At Boston University, prices are expected to rise by 3.7 per cent next year to $43,970, which the institution called “one of the lowest rates of increase among Boston’s peer universities”.

Rural reservations at top table

As many as 30,000 university places will be reserved for rural high school students this year, the Chinese Ministry of Education has said. Rural education standards, which often lag behind urban attainment, reduce locals’ chances of attending good universities, the Xinhua news agency reported. In a statement, the ministry says that increasing the number of rural students at top institutions will promote educational and social equality. The number of underprivileged regions covered by the plan will total 832 this year, up from 680 in 2012. The number of rural students expected to enrol at China’s elite universities is expected to grow by 8.6 per cent this year.

Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Please Login or Register to read this article.