TIAA-CREF is about to announce a major expansion into the endowment management business and has been recruiting money managers from colleges and universities as it prepares to launch, Bloomberg reported. Goldman Sachs is also planning an expanded focus on the market -- and these companies' interest comes at a time of considerable movement about endowment managers at colleges, the article said.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Congress took a step Thursday toward disappointing education leaders who are hoping for another large injection of federal funds, even as the Obama administration stepped up its advocacy for such a boost. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $58.8 billion bill to provide emergency spending for the 2010 fiscal year, but despite pleas from the Congressional education committees and education groups, the legislation did not include any money to help states protect the jobs of schoolteachers and college employees. Also on Thursday, though, Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote Senate leaders urging them to include up to $23.3 billion for such purposes, in line with legislation proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.
Legislation aimed at strengthening federal support for academic research ran (at least temporarily) into a buzzsaw of Congressional concern Thursday over continuing expansion of the federal government. The measure, which would renew the America COMPETES law that set Congress on a path to double the budgets of the National Science Foundation and other federal physical sciences agencies, was sent back to the House of Representatives science committee after a majority of lawmakers bowed to Republican critiques that the bill would create too many new programs and authorize far too much federal spending. Democrats said they reluctantly pulled the bill before a final up or down vote. While Republicans raised substantive objections to the measure, they also flogged the NSF for failing to aggressively punish employees who had viewed pornography. “I’m disappointed that politics trumped good policy," said Rep. Bart Gordon, the Tennessee Democrat who heads the science panel. "The minority was willing to trade American jobs and our nation’s economic competitiveness for the chance to run a good political ad."
Seton Hall University's law school is sticking with plans to have New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as its graduation speaker -- over the objections of some alumni and faculty members, The Star-Ledger reported. Critics are angry that the new governor, a Republican, has announced plans to replace the only African American on the state's Supreme Court despite state tradition that governors generally reappoint justices.
It was a luxury that even Williams College can't afford anymore. The Wall Street Journal reports today that the highly selective liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts is closing its stand-alone club for alumni in New York City, one of a few such clubs that remain. "After nearly a century of serving our extended New York City community from our location on 24 East 39th Street, the Williams Club will cease its own clubhouse and hospitality operations," the head of the club's board wrote on its website.
Missouri lawmakers have approved an overhaul of state student aid programs that will provide more aid to students at public colleges and less to those at private institutions, the Associated Press reported. Currently the maximum grant under the Access Missouri grant is $4,600 a year for students at private institutions, $2,150 for students at public four-year colleges and $1,000 for those at community colleges. The idea was to provide a similar share of total sticker price at different kinds of colleges, but critics said more money should go to public higher education in tight budget times. Under the new limits, the maximum scholarship will be $1,300 for community college students and $2,850 for students at either public or private four-year institutions.
A moving article in Nature tells the story of how the biology department at the University of Alabama in Huntsville has continued operations in the wake of the February shootings by Amy Bishop that killed three faculty members and seriously wounded two others. The article discusses a range of emotional and logistical issues -- everything from writing the job ads for new colleagues to finding people to take charge of research grants that lost their principal investigators. "Right now, it's a sort of managed chaos. As each thing comes up, we deal with it," said Debra Moriarty, a faculty member who was in the room when her colleagues were shot.
A student at Kennesaw State University -- who came to the United States with her parents from Mexico when she was 10, and who does not have legal immigration papers -- was briefly detained in an immigration center last week. She received help from her sorority sisters and university administrators, who noted that it is completely legal under Georgia law for public colleges to enroll such students, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. But as press coverage increased, so did scrutiny. Eric Johnson, a Republican candidate for governor, is using the case to call for public colleges to be required to do citizenship checks in the admissions process.
The controversy over Marquette University's decision to rescind a job offer to be dean of arts and sciences to Jodi O'Brien, a sociologist at Seattle University who is a lesbian and whose scholarship has focused on sexuality and gender, continues. O'Brien was very open about her sexual orientation and her scholarship with the search committee, which in turn was open with senior administrators at Marquette, who first offered her the job and then rescinded it. In new developments:
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Rev. Jerome Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, called the Rev. Robert A. Wild, president of Marquette, to express concerns about the appointment. Many on the campus have speculated that pressure from outside the university contributed to the decision to rescind the offer to O'Brien.
- The president of the American Sociological Association sent a letter to Marquette, strongly objecting to its treatment of O'Brien and calling on the university to once again offer her the dean's job. The letter noted that the study of issues of sexuality is a well established and respected part of sociology. "We condemn the action of Marquette University’s senior officials in rescinding its offer to Dr. O’Brien. By doing so, Marquette University appears to have violated its own non-discrimination policy as well as the principles of free inquiry that govern all great universities," said the letter, from Evelyn Nakano Glenn, director of the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California at Berkeley.
The number of community college students who transferred to University of Texas System campuses rose by 11.3 percent from 2008 to 2009, a spike that officials attributed to a set of new programs and policies the system has implemented in recent years. The comparable increase from 2007 to 2008 was 1 percent, UT officials said.