Union College in Kentucky typically loses half its freshman class before the second year begins, so its new president has made students a promise: If they stay, work hard, and get involved, they won't see a bill for their last semester before graduation.
The consolidation of Connecticut's state universities and community colleges was supposed to save money and move past scandal, but the events of the system's first year have raised questions about the move.
John F. O'Brien, dean of New England Law, Boston, a free-standing law school, may be the highest paid law dean in the United States, and some wonder why, The Boston Globe reported. He earns more than $867,000 a year. Board members of the law school praise his work. And O'Brien noted that because the law school isn't attached to a larger institution (as most law schools are), he has to deal with issues other deans don't. But the Globe noted that tuition is going up at a time that demand for lawyers is going down. "It’s a remarkable sum to pay a dean of a law school, never mind the dean of a bottom-ranked law school," said Brian Z. Tamanaha, author of the 2012 book Failing Law Schools.
Much mystery still surrounds last month's unexplained decision by the Morgan State University board to first announce that it was not renewing the contract of David Wilson as president, and then -- following considerable outcry on campus -- to give him a one-year extension. A memo by the board chair, Dallas R. Evans, outlines his views, and they are quite critical, The Baltimore Sun reported. "He does not provide the inspiring and insightful leadership the university requires nor has he created a clear and consistent vision for the campus," said the memo. It also accused Wilson of siding with the state and against Morgan State supporters who have sued, charging that Maryland is not providing appropriate support for its historically black colleges. The memo also says that Wilson is responsible for the "turmoil that has beset the Morgan community over the last four weeks," with Evans saying that he had "sufficient reason to believe that Dr. Wilson was involved in its orchestration." Evans and Wilson both declined to comment on the memo, which was leaked to the Sun.
Federal indictments unsealed Thursday charged that Jonathan Pinson, former chair of the board of South Carolina State University, conspired with a local businessman and the then-police chief of the university to have South Carolina State buy property and steer contracts to certain businesses, The State reported. Federal authorities who were investigating the men intervened to prevent the purchase of the property. Pinson's lawyer has denied the charges. But Michael Bartley, the former police chief, has admitted guilt and is awaiting sentencing.
Because of increased competition for students, decreased household income and skepticism about value, a third of institutions predict tuition revenue won't keep pace with inflation, Moody's survey finds.
A rift is growing between government and higher education, with debates over funding, missions and accountability.
In that context, it is all the more worth watching Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who assumes the presidency of Purdue University on January 14. Other governors have become college presidents. Some, like Tom Kean, have been very successful. However, Daniels — who brings to the job an unusual blend of leadership experiences in government at the state and national level, public policy, business, and now academe — is coming to office at a time of unusual tension.
Governors increasingly characterize the rising costs of higher education and its limited access as unsustainable. Many find it imperative that universities increase their productivity, affordability, access, graduation rates, and accountability. In contrast, university presidents say that quality, not cost, is the real issue in an era in which excellence in higher education is more urgent than ever before in history. The question, academic leaders say, should not be the price of college, but who pays, criticizing government for disinvesting in higher education. Bottom line: Between the governors and the presidents, there is increasingly little if any common ground other than recognizing the importance of higher education. They have entirely different views of the problem, no agreement on responsibility, and nothing in the way of a shared solution.
In his first public action as president of Purdue, Daniels has bridged the chasm with a salary package that incorporates the goals of both the governors and the presidents. He did this in two ways. The first was conciliatory, eliminating the red flag that sets off both government and the academy: He rejected presidential salary inflation. His salary package is smaller than his predecessor’s, placing him tenth among the 12 Big Ten university presidents in terms of salary. There is no deferred compensation.
Second, and more importantly in terms of national models, is that Governor Daniels asked for a salary based upon achieving his goals for the university. The package is divided into two buckets — base salary and bonus. The bonus is tied to graduation rates, affordability, student achievement, philanthropic support, faculty excellence, and strategic program initiatives. In establishing this bonus system, Daniels married traditional notions of academic quality — as measured by excellence in faculty, programs and resources — with an equal emphasis on effective outcomes and price controls: graduation rates, affordability, and student achievement.
In so doing, Daniels has demonstrated his belief that there is common ground to be found between the university and government. The choice is not quality or effectiveness, not excellence or affordability; the future of higher education is not a zero-sum game in which one side wins and the other loses. Rather, he believes it is possible to balance the seemingly conflicting goals of government and higher education.
Daniels is not the first president to have his salary tied to achieving institutional goals, but he is probably the most visible. Moreover, although Daniels is renouncing involvement in partisan politics as he enters the Purdue presidency, he is a former Republican governor and party leader known as a frugal fiscal conservative. Historically, the divisions have been greater between Republicans and the academy than has been the case with Democrats. In a very real sense, what Daniels has chosen to do is somewhat akin to Nixon going to China. He has undertaken an experiment to be closely watched. If successful, he will have established a potential model for the country.
Typically, presidents reserve such powerful statements for their inaugural addresses. Though such addresses are sincere in intent — I can vouch for that, as someone who has given two and listened to many more — they are generally aspirational; they articulate hopes and dreams for what an institution can become. Daniels has already done something very different. He is putting himself on the line in a very public fashion. Year after year his salary will be determined by his success. And perhaps even more importantly, his success or failure will be public when his board announces the size and rationale for his bonus.
It’s a bold step — and Governor Daniels should be applauded for taking it.
Arthur Levine is president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. For the past six years Woodrow Wilson has had a teaching fellowship in Indiana, which has given Levine a chance to work with Purdue and to observe Governor Daniels at work.
Florida A&M University has blocked the university's student newspaper, The Famuan, from publishing until the staff goes through additional training, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. Further, the university has removed the advisor of the student newspaper. The Student Press Law Center also reported that staff members are being told that they must reapply for their positions. The moves follow a libel lawsuit against the newspaper.
Albany State University has returned a portion of the $3 million it received from the Ray Charles Foundation to construct a fine arts building to be named for the singer, The Albany Herald reported. The university has used some of the funds for scholarships, but the foundation has been seeking the money back since the fine arts center was not built.