Quick Takes: SUNY Chancellor Possibilities, 2-Year Salary Freeze at Bowdoin, Tech Transfer Data, Adding Sports to Add Students, Walden Cited in U.S. Audit

January 27, 2009
  • The State University of New York may be on the verge of getting a permanent chancellor for the first time since May 2007. The Albany Times Union reported that there are two finalists: Nancy Zimpher, president of the University of Cincinnati, and Muriel Howard, president of SUNY's Buffalo State College. A decision could come as early as today, the newspaper said, although it also noted that in September, it appeared that the search was about to conclude.
  • While many colleges are announcing salary freezes to deal with the economic downturn, Bowdoin College has announced a plan -- not yet final -- to freeze faculty and most staff salaries for two years. "Our salary structure is important to attract and retain the best and the brightest faculty and staff. That being said, salaries and benefits comprise more than 60 percent of our total operating costs," said Barry Mills, the president, in a letter to the campus. He noted that one goal of the two-year freeze was to try to avoid layoffs. After the two-year freeze, he said he was "committed to allocating budget resources to gradually restore any ground that may have been lost in the competitiveness of our faculty salaries during the suspension period. However, given what we read in the press about other colleges and universities, it is not likely that we will find ourselves significantly disadvantaged in faculty salaries relative to our peers over this period." The college is also trying to hold other spending levels, and plans a very slight increase in enrollment.
  • During fiscal 2007, technology transfer involving higher education resulted in 686 new products and 555 start-up companies -- not to mention millions in licensing fees to colleges and universities, according to a new report from the Association of University Technology Managers.
  • Several small private colleges in Nebraska and elsewhere in the Midwest are adding athletic teams in part to boost enrollment. The Lincoln Journal Star reported on the additions of wrestling and women's swimming at Hastings College; cross country, track and field and volleyball at York College; bowling, men's golf and women's lacrosse at Dana College; and football at Dordt College, among others.
  • The U.S. Education Department's inspector general is recommending that the agency require Walden University to repay about $270,000 to lenders and the federal government for funds it mistakenly paid to students because of administrative errors in processing their financial aid information. The inspector general's office, in an audit it released last week, found that the for-profit graduate institution gave excessive loan funds to a mix of U.S. citizens and non-citizens, and that it had failed to ensure that the students were eligible for the aid they were requesting. The audit also suggests that the Education Department consider imposing fines on the institution.
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