New Jersey should establish guidelines for the compensation of community college presidents, which varies enormously from institution to institution, the state's comptroller said in a report Wednesday. "There are no state standards or guidelines for college trustees to rely on when setting compensation terms for their president," said the comptroller, Matthew Boxer. "As a result, there are huge disparities in not only the salaries of community college presidents, but other forms of their compensation as well. We’re not suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach, but it’s appropriate to set boundaries when schools are spending taxpayer dollars."
Pericles Lewis has been named the inaugural president of the Yale-NUS College, a new institution jointly created by Yale University and the National University of Singapore. Lewis is a Yale professor whose work focuses on British and European literature who has been involved in designing the academic programs of the new college.
The U.S. Education Department's top-ranking postsecondary education official is heading back to campus.
Eduardo M. Ochoa, assistant secretary for postsecondary education, will leave the Obama administration to become interim president of California State University at Monterey Bay, the Cal State system announced Tuesday. Ochoa, who had been provost and vice president for academic affairs at Sonoma State University before President Obama nominated him for the Education Department job two years ago, will succeed Monterey Bay's current president, Dianne Harrison, who has been named to lead California State University Northridge.
Ochoa is the second member of Education Secretary Arne Duncan's higher education political team to leave the administration leading up to the 2012 election, following James Kvaal's decision last fall to join Obama's campaign staff. Political appointees are typically discouraged from leaving in an election year, for fear of signaling lack of confidence in the incumbent's prospects. As assistant secretary, Ochoa has had a typically broad portfolio as assistant secretary, helping carry out (and defend) the administration's gainful employment and other program integrity rules, encouraging the collection of better data about higher education performance and productivity, and urging college leaders to bring their spending and prices under control.
In many states in recent years, summer enrollments have gone way up at public institutions, as students who struggle to get into sections during the regular academic year take advantage of greater availability in the summer. But in California, higher education budgets are so tight that many community colleges have cut way back on summer programs -- despite student demand, The Los Angeles Times reported. Eight community college campuses plan no summer courses this year, and the community college system's summer enrollment was down 43 percent from 2008 to 2011. A survey by Santa Monica College found that, at 15 community colleges in the Los Angeles area, only one-third of the courses offered in 2008 are going to be offered this year, representing a loss of 6,000 teaching assignments and 168,000 classroom seats.
Angela Laird Brenton, dean of the College of Professional Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has been appointed provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Western Carolina University, in North Carolina.
James Dlugos, vice president and dean for academic affairs at College of Saint Elizabeth, in New Jersey, has been named president of Saint Joseph's College, in Maine.
Graham Spanier, former president of Pennsylvania State University, on Friday sued the university to demand access to e-mail records from 1998 to 2004, The Patriot-News reported. The records were thought to have been destroyed when the university switched e-mail systems, but the e-mail files recently have been recovered. Spanier's suit says that he didn't have access to the files when he testified before a grand jury looking into alleged molestation of boys by Jerry Sandusky, a former football coach. Much of the molestation allegedly took place on Penn State's campus, and the issue of what senior administrators knew has become a major issue in the case against Sandusky and (potentially) other cases. Spanier's suit says he cannot meet with independent investigators looking into the case without access to the old e-mail messages, but Penn State says that it has been informed by a state assistant attorney general that it should not turn over the records.
Charles B. Reed announced Thursday that he would retire as chancellor of the California State University System after 14 years. During that period, Cal State has grown in size by about a quarter (to 427,000 students), implemented several programs that have become national models (including a major initiative to expand outreach to minority and low-income high school students), and shepherded the campuses through one massive budget cut after another. Along the way, even his well-honed political acumen -- he was a former chief of staff to the governor of Florida -- was not enough to satisfy many critics, especially members of Cal State's faculty union.
Reed spent 13 years as chancellor of Florida's public university system before moving to Cal State, meaning that he has overseen two of the country's biggest public university systems for more than 25 years in total.
For decades, women’s collegiate athletics took a back seat to men’s sports -- and sometimes didn’t even get a seat at all. That has begun to change in recent years and, as we look toward the future, a key consideration for colleges and universities is examining what can be done to further showcase women’s athletics and build on the growing momentum behind them.
To that end, on May 8, my university, the University of Connecticut, announced the most expansive broadcasting deal in the nation for a women’s college basketball program -- or, for that matter, any women’s collegiate sport: over the next four years, UConn women’s basketball games and related programming will be seen on the SNY network, reaching Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania. This will allow the team to reach nearly 14 million viewers -- and more fans than ever before throughout the region and even the nation, thanks to satellite services.
Prior to this, the women’s games were broadcast on Connecticut’s public television station -- a great venue run by great people, for sure -- but UConn felt women’s basketball and women’s sports generally deserved as large an audience as we could provide. It is this kind of step that will help fuel the rise of women’s athletics, reach more fans and generate more interest in and exposure to women’s sports across the board. The same exact circumstances probably cannot be duplicated by colleges elsewhere, but identifying more avenues to promote women’s athletics -- whatever the medium or partnership -- can be.
Shortly before this was announced, I sat down for a conversation with one of the people who have helped to dramatically raise the profile of women’s sports across the nation: UConn women’s head basketball coach Geno Auriemma. There are few better sources on this issue; he has coached the team for 27 years and led them to seven national titles, and will be coaching the U.S. women’s basketball team in the Olympics this summer.
My first question was about how far women’s athletics have come in the more than 30 years he has been coaching. I had the impression that, in the 1970s, women playing sports was generally seen as a nice way for “the ladies” to get some exercise and fresh air -- not taking their ability seriously -- while for men, it was a true competition.
“Back then, there was definitely a low appreciation for women as athletes,” said Auriemma. “Sports weren’t looked upon as something women should really be doing, much less doing well. The rules in basketball were even such that women could only play half-court. There was a feeling that women were not worthy of, nor were they capable of, the kind of physical demands running up and down the floor might entail.”
This is clearly no longer the case.
“Then, a woman in high school or college might play basketball, but they would also maybe be playing softball or field hockey as well,” he said. “Whereas now, a lot of girls in high school may focus on only one sport, so they develop skills that didn’t exist before. It’s also much more inclusive now.”
Geno, by necessity, focuses on coaching players, building their skills and winning games. As an educator and university president, I focus on the larger picture of women’s athletics in the context of higher education. So something I devote a lot of thought to is the fact that female college basketball players are sometimes more academically successful than male players, nationwide. I asked Auriemma why he thinks this may be.
“I think a lot of guys, early in high school, are told that whatever sport they play is what is going to define them,” he said. “And time and effort is put into cultivating them as athletes -- because of what their futures may hold -- while academics become secondary. So some guys have the wrong model to begin with.”
“But if you’re a 9th-grade girl and you’re a pretty good basketball player, do you think that many people really care about what comes next for you as an athlete?” he asks. “Women in college have the mentality of, ‘If I don’t go to class, I’m in big trouble.’ There’s this conscientiousness because they see it as being their responsibility and they owe it to their teammates and their families to do well in school. They were probably like that in high school. For some young men, particularly those from a poor background, basketball can save them, to a certain extent. There isn’t really that same mentality for a young woman.”
With women’s sports on the rise – there are now nearly 200,000 female athletes on NCAA teams – colleges and universities have an opportunity to seek greater exposure for female athletics and place a new emphasis on bringing women’s sports to fans. Yet, one comment sometimes heard from fans is that they don’t find watching women’s college basketball games, for example, to be as interesting as watching the men’s games. Women can’t pull off some of the same feats that men can, like dunking the ball, for example. Auriemma’s response:
“If you see sports as just entertainment, then you want to watch a men’s game because they’re doing some incredible things most of us could never hope to do,” he said. “You aren’t going to get that on the women’s side so you need to look for other reasons to watch the game. The pure athleticism of the players is a good reason. There is a huge focus on skill and teamwork that can be very compelling to watch.
“Speaking as someone who remembers being an 18- or 19-year-old guy, the male ego can be driven by individual achievement, so a guy playing basketball can occasionally be restless and revved up to do his thing and might sometimes see the team as holding him back,” said Auriemma. “Whereas women generally are more team-oriented, and because of that, it can be a more fluid game to watch.”
Clues as to how those of us in higher education can increase support for burgeoning women’s sports may be found in the fans who attend the games already.
“The women’s games are in a way more family-oriented,” said Auriemma. “If you’re a guy and you have four tickets to a men’s game, the odds are you might call three of your buddies, grab dinner and go to the game. But if you’ve got four tickets to a women’s game, parents are more likely to bring their kids instead. It becomes a family day out. And if someone is the parent of young daughters, it’s a great way to expose them to athletics and successful young women competing with one another. The players can set a great example.”
I’ve also noticed that the overall atmosphere of the men’s and women’s games are different; with men’s games the feeling is more loud and intense, while women’s games tend to be more calm – but still fun – which may also suit a different fan base.
As a president, I’m incredibly proud of the achievements of our men’s basketball team and every men’s sport; they more than deserve the attention and accolades they receive. At the same time, it’s clear that women – and women’s collegiate athletics – have come a long way in recent decades, but have still not gained the same notice as their male counterparts.
Further emphasizing the abilities of female athletes and showcasing women’s sports is an excellent way for colleges and universities to give women the recognition they deserve and, in the process, gain additional perspectives about the intersection of athletics, academics and teamwork. The bottom line -- and the driving force behind UConn's decision to partner with the SNY network for women’s basketball -- is that when people get to see women’s athletics, new fans can be created and more existing fans have a chance to enjoy it. Maybe for the first time.
Susan Herbst is president of the University of Connecticut.