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Quick Takes: Some Colleges Push to Hire, Edge in Advanced Degrees to the Foreign-Born, Furloughs at Arizona State, Limited Participation in GI Bill, Contract for Service Workers, Associate Dean's Spending Spree, Another Indicator on History Jobs

January 29, 2009
  • Many colleges have announced hiring freezes, but some institutions in New England are pushing ahead with searches or even adding searches, viewing this as a perfect time to attract faculty talent. The Boston Globe reported that Northeastern University is searching for 46 professors, Tufts for 52, and that new teaching positions have been created at Amherst and Emerson Colleges and the College of the Holy Cross. Emerson reported that more than 100 candidates applied for an assistant professor position in world history, four times more than applied for a similar job a few years back.
  • Of people age 25 or older who live in the United States but who were born elsewhere, 10.9 percent have an advanced degree, while only 9.9 percent of those born in the United States have one. That statistic is among many found in "Educational Attainment in the United States, 2007," a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau. Men remain more likely than women to have an advanced degree. Among racial and ethnic groups, 19.6 percent of Asian Americans have an advanced degree, followed by 11.3 percent of non-Hispanic white people, 5.8 percent of black people, and 3.9 percent of Hispanics.
  • Arizona State University on Wednesday became the latest institution to announce mandatory furloughs -- and they will be longer than those being adopted at many other institutions. Administrators will have 15 days, classified staff members will have 10 days, and everyone else will have 12 days. Those unpaid days will effectively cut salaries by 8-12 percent for the rest of 2009. Large projected state budget cuts are the primary reason for the furloughs.
  • Under the new GI Bill, which will cover tuition up to the rate for the most expensive public institution in the state, costlier private colleges can opt to enter into a matching program with the federal government to waive the balance. There may be fewer takers than anticipated: Keith Wilson, director of the education service for the Department of Veterans Affairs, told the Daily Press of Virginia that in informal conversations with private college officials, he hasn't heard much interest. "Most schools aren't going to want to do a Yellow Ribbon program ... because their finances have been hit too hard in the last couple of months," Wilson was quoted as saying (he also said he hoped he was wrong). He added that some colleges "may do something token" so they don't seem "anti-veteran."
  • The University of California and the union representing its service workers have reached a tentative contract agreement, ending more than a year of tense negotiations and union protests, The Contra Costa Times reported. By the end of the five-year contract, workers who make as little as $10 an hour would make at least $14 an hour. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents the workers, says that the vast majority of its members are currently eligible for public assistance.
  • The University of Central Florida has suspended Jamal Nayfeh, associate dean of engineering, after authorities discovered that a university credit card was used to purchase $40,000 worth of high end electronics that were installed in his house, The Orlando Sentinel reported.
  • The annual meeting of the American Historical Association this year was dominated by discussion of a depressed job market. New data from the association provide yet more evidence of how depressed it is. According to the association, 198 active searches were reported to the association's Job Center staff at the meeting, with 44 of those searches collecting applications and arranging interviews on site. Last year, the comparable figures were 261 active searches and 62 of them arranging interviews on site. The association noted that part of the decline may be attributable to departments doing interviews independently and not reporting them to the AHA.
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