Can’t resist commenting on some of today’s more obscure news stories. There’s a good chance you missed them, too.
Cronyism in West Virginia? Pshaw! No one knows for sure if Gov. Joe Manchin’s daughter actually attended classes en route to her executive MBA at WVU. But plenty of students enrolled with Heather Bresch say she was a phantom student.
I’ve been following this scandal since last fall, when an investigation by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette concluded that Bresch completed fewer than half of her required courses. WVU is calling it a recordkeeping snafu. Today the New York Times is on the case, which means the university’s PR problem just got bigger.
The backstory here is complicated but really juicy. In addition to being the governor’s daughter, 38-year-old Bresch is an executive with pharmaceutical giant Mylan, Inc., whose chairman, Mylan Pushar, donated $20 million to WVU back in 2003. But that’s not all. Seems that WVU Prez Mike Garrison, hired in 2006, is a high-school chum of Bresch’s and friend of the Manchin family. Some say the search process was rigged in favor of Garrison.
Of course, none of this would matter if the No. 2 Mountaineers had beaten Pittsburgh in the last game of the regular season. I suspect a trip to the BCS championship game would have healed a lot of wounds in and around Morgantown. Let’s all hum a few bars, OK … “Almost heaven…”
Bunions in the News. This story from McClatchy Newspapers explains “five things you didn’t know about bunions.” As I said last Friday, it’s getting easier to bamboozle the MSM into covering just about anything these days. OK, it’s not a trivial story if you have bunions. But surely there’s a website dedicated to such a critical topic — maybe even a Bunion Hotline. Come on!
Near as I can tell, this bunion-busting story comes to us courtesy of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.
One man’s teepee is another man’s wigwam. Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer tells readers about a new school building in Akron, Ohio — one that’ll feature a teepee-shaped atrium.
Architect Mark Salopek told officials the teepee was chosen to honor the local Indians who once used the same ground to portage their canoes from the Cuyahoga River…
Seems that native Americans in Northeast Ohio lived in wigwams, not teepees. But let’s not quibble over details. And my students complain because we make ’em take U.S. history. Sheesh!
Do part-time professors cheat their students? A joint commission of New York’s CUNY and SUNY university systems says too many college classes are taught by part-time and adjunct professors. The report calls for hiring of 2,000 full-time faculty across the systems’ 87 campuses.
It didn’t take AP education writer Justin Pope long to find another story hidden in that report.
Seems the same commission that’s concerned over the glut of part-time professors is also asking that 4,000 new doctoral students be added to the rolls of New York’s state-supported universities.
Pope adds this to his analysis:
In many fields, there are already too many Ph.Ds awarded for the full-time academic posts available, creating a surplus of likely jobseekers. That pool becomes adjuncts, who command wages and benefits so low that universities find them irresistible hires.
I’m not taking sides on this one. Some of my best friends have PhDs in obscure disciplines, and some of the best teachers where I work are part-timers. But I tip my cap to a reporter who actually took the time to read and analyze what had to be tome of a document.
He could have just based his story on the news release.