Thursday, October 30, 2008

Local news

You can learn all sorts of things reading your local paper. For example, I read yesterday that Rice and Baylor College of Medicine are talking about a possible merger. Unsurprisingly, everyone on campus already knew about that, but it's interesting to see the reporter's take on things, including various quotes from unnamed professors.

Today, I read about this. For those who didn't or can't click the link, it's an article about plagiarism. A professor at Texas Southern University's physics department had apparently asked a University of Houston physics professor for an example of a successful grant a couple of years ago. The UH prof gave him a copy of a grant that had been funded by DARPA in 2002-3. The TSU prof then allegedly sent in the same proposal, word for word (though editing out references to the UH prof's work) to the Army Research Lab, which then funded it to the tune of $800K. Lovely. TSU refused the grant, and the investigation is "ongoing".


Uncle Al said...

Performance bonuses for updating the budget spreadsheet and PERT chart! Everybody should submit that proposal then re-execute its content. Vast monies will be saved by not reviewing original submitted applications.

Suppose some git disgorges results, degrees, and publications ahead of schedule and under budget? That ruins it. Have managment submit the proposal, pull results from a casebook, then resubmit for another round of funding. Remove an expensive academic segment, hire for diversity with government subsidies. Performance bonuses!

Anonymous said...

As a former student, I'm wondering what is the general feel about the merger amongst the faculty at Rice? For? Against? Worried about the endowment and the expensive hospital?

Raj said...

I have a lot of friends at Baylor, so I'd heard rumblings about this merger (though, it seems to me as more of a takeover given Baylor's debts due to the hospital) back in late July, early August. Along those lines, I'm extremely surprised that the Chronicle didn't catch on earlier, to be honest. Like you said, this is sort of old news on campus, and aren't newspapers supposed to breaking the news?

Personally, I think it's great that Rice finally gets a med school, and a very good one at that. Now they just need to buy out a local law school. One problem I see is merging the research departments, particularly the non-medical/-translational researchers. I'm also not sure why they aren't merging the endowments since Baylor would add $1b to Rice's, but I'm sure there's a genuine fiscal reason behind that.

Anonymous said...

Some other interesting local news:

23% of Texans think Obama is a Muslim

I suspect the number for the Rice community is much lower which is horrifying considering it must counter some more higher numbers in areas of Texas.

Ms.PhD said...

I didn't know about a possible merger. That makes it more appealing in some ways as a potential place to work, but on the other hand I can imagine a bureaucratic mess for the next few years until it's all sorted out.

re; the plagiarism, that's just fucked up.