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Sex Misconduct Case Has a Terrifying Twist

An Arizona professor had to battle anonymous accusations of sexual misconduct

(Newser) - Think academia can get nasty? Hope you're sitting down. Sarah Viren, who teaches at Arizona State University, tells a horrifying story in the New York Times Magazine . The professor was close to getting a dream job in Michigan when sexual harassment claims appeared on Reddit against her and her... More »

Elevator Joke Is Academia's New #MeToo Flashpoint

Male professor's 'lingerie' comment doesn't sit well with female professor

(Newser) - The world of academia has a small-scale furor on its hands over a joke told in a crowded elevator. It played out last month at a Hilton in San Francisco during the annual conference of the International Studies Association, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education . When someone called out a... More »

Inside Russia's Black Market for Dissertations

Thousands of the country's elite are buying dissertations, many of which are plagiarized

(Newser) - Academic achievements are held in high regard in Russia. And thousands of Russians, including plenty of politicians, judges, and other public officials, submit doctoral dissertations each year. But that doesn't mean it's a country full of intellectuals. Instead, academic status—or, at least, the means to academic status—... More »

'Second-Class' Professors Seek Fairer Wages

Adjunct professors get few benefits

(Newser) - Even within the ivory tower of academia, many feel a sharp class divide: While tenured professors have job security and, often, six-figure pay, adjunct professors can see their courses dropped at any time and may be paid a relative pittance. "To students, everyone is just 'professor,'"... More »

Scholars Can't Get Enough Colbert

Fake news inspires wealth of academic writing, courses

(Newser) - Stephen Colbert is good for more than just a few laughs; in fact, some scholars wonder if he's "America's Socrates." As a result, the Colbert Report has sparked its own mini-discipline in academia, the Washington Post reports. (Writer Paul Farhi pokes a little fun at the... More »

Online Courses About to Change College Forever

David Brooks: Profs brace for 'tsunami' of Internet learning

(Newser) - Online education isn't just an "experiment" anymore. Harvard and MIT have just set aside $60 million for free online courses, and schools from Stanford to Yale are pursuing online learning. In short, "what happened to the newspaper and magazine business is about to happen to higher education:... More »

Gingrich More 'Nutty Professor' Than Historian

Noah Feldman is amused by Gingrich's academic past

(Newser) - Newt Gingrich's attacks linking President Obama to Saul Alinsky delighted Harvard law professor Noah Feldman. "What excites me is not the preposterousness of the statement," though indeed, it was preposterous, he writes for Bloomberg . "What I love was the absurdity of Newt Gingrich apparently believing that... More »

Economists Are Rediscovering Humility —and Humanity

Field should be seen as an art, not a science

(Newser) - The failure of economists to spot the financial crisis in advance is causing soul-searching that will redefine the whole field, writes David Brooks. The cutting-edge models economists built over decades ignored the complexities of human nature and economists are now rediscovering the humility of an earlier time and trying to... More »

Anti-Novel Manifesto Reads Like 'Hokey' Fiction

David Shields' hypocritical book is dependent on plot

(Newser) - The subtitle of David Shields’ Reality Hunger—an anti-novel, anti-plot screed that celebrates reality in all its forms—is A Manifesto, which automatically makes it less about “reality” and more about creating a stir, writes Laura Miller. Even as he rails against the outdated novel, Shields is creating a... More »

New Lebowski Tome Worthy of the Dude

It's a little late, but the essays by college scholars come through

(Newser) - The Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski has a growing body of critical literature to support it, though like the Dude, it moves at an abiding pace. Out now is The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies, a collection of papers from the Lebowski Fest in Louisville—in... More »

Algorithm Can 'Fill in the Blanks' of Ancient Texts

Algorithm could also be basis of search engine for old docs

(Newser) - A new computer algorithm could soon take some of the guesswork out of deciphering ancient texts, Reuters reports. The program, developed in Israel and currently used with ancient Hebrew, works with digital copies of unreadable texts and uses pattern recognition to “fill in the blanks,” says one of... More »

Database Takes Scholars to Medieval Battlefields

Free searchable database includes facts on salary, health, knighthood

(Newser) - British researchers have posted records of some 250,000 medieval soldiers in a searchable online database, the BBC reports. Now, interested parties can easily learn about the lives of fighters in the Hundred Years’ War, including salary, health, and knighthood information—for free. The “remarkable” records, says one researcher,... More »

Bankers Leave Street in Rear View; Head for Academia

Execs take teaching jobs amid crisis

(Newser) - With the financial tornado buffeting Wall Street, some of its leading figures are ditching their careers for work in academia, Time reports. Merrill Lynch’s former president is teaching at Yale; Citigroup’s former merger boss headed to Berkeley; a onetime Goldman Sachs exec is now at Harvard. “It’... More »

Big Pharma Sickens Universities

It's too easy for drug companies to skirt lax academic regulations

(Newser) - Weak legislation allows professors to collect huge under-the-table payments from Big Pharma, and it’s time to fight back, Dan Greenberg writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Pharmaceutical companies pay professors to shill drugs and lend their names to industry research, and the only oversight is an honor-system mechanism... More »

Inside Academia, Subtler Sexism

Women cite 'deeply entrenched inequities' on tough path at research universities

(Newser) - Gender discrimination at research universities is surely much better than it was in decades past, but a study based on interviews of female faculty finds that sexism remains on campus, Inside Higher Ed reports. While overt shows of bias are rare, a host of subtler, “deeply entrenched inequities” have... More »

Profs to Buffy: You Slay Me

Slayer fans meet to share scholarly insights

(Newser) - Buffy the Vampire Slayer started out lowbrow, but don’t tell that to the academics converging on Henderson State University today for a 3-day conference on the campy TV classic. The cheerleader-turned-monster fighter has inspired the kind of study usually reserved for major philosophers, the AP reports. The Arkansas university... More »

At Lefty U., Plans for Right-Wing Chair

University of Colorado seeks 'intellectual diversity,' to qualms on both sides

(Newser) - Here’s a recipe for controversy: Take one of the nation’s most liberal schools—the University of Colorado at Boulder—and make it the home of the nation’s first endowed chair for Conservative Thought and Policy. The school’s Republican chancellor tells the Wall Street Journal the campus... More »

Smithsonian Picks New Leader

Museum returns to academia roots, selects Ga. Tech president

(Newser) - The Smithsonian Institute today handed its top job to Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough, marking a return to the museum’s academic roots, the AP reports. Clough follows the troubled tenure of businessman Lawrence Small, who came under fire for raising executive salaries and for focusing more on money... More »

Colleges Explore Mormonism

Long ignored by religious academics, Romney's faith is drawing new attention

(Newser) - Academics, including those at most theological seminaries, have long ignored the study of Mormonism. But now, possibly because of a certain presidential candidate—or a certain HBO show—it's on the radar in religion departments and scholarly publishing houses, the Boston Globe reports. Harvard Divinity School just added its first... More »

Harvard Profs' Research Will Be Free on Web

Open-access movement worries journal publishers

(Newser) - In a move that could bring a major change to the culture of academia, the arts and sciences faculty of Harvard University yesterday voted unanimously to distribute their scholarship online for free rather than signing exclusive deals with obscure, often expensive scholarly journals. Journal officials worry, the Boston Globe reports,... More »

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