Higher Education Quick Takes
Ronald Mason Jr., president of the Southern University System, is promoting a series of efforts designed to improve the low educational attainment levels of black men in Louisiana and nationally, The Times-Picayune reported. A key part of the campaign is a "hidden stars" program in which the historically black university system seeks to identify black men who have low ACT scores and who earned low grades in high school, but still have academic talent. The university wants to admit and nurture these students. Further, the university is launching new research programs to promote improved educational access for black men.
The job market for new college graduates is expected to increase by only 3 percent, according to "Recruiting Trends," the annual report prepared at Michigan State University and based on a national survey of employers. The report characterizes the growth as "sluggish." Phil Gardner, director of Michigan State's College Employment Research Institute, said that many employers remain uncertain about the direction of the economy and concerned that events such as the European financial crisis or the "fiscal cliff" facing Congress may damage the economy. Gardner said that the "most troubling" survey results were those finding that many employers believe new graduates have a sense of entitlement and unrealistic salary expectations.
U.S. News & World Report has announced that it has moved George Washington University to the category of "unranked" colleges. The announcement follows an admission by the university last week that it had been for years inflating the percentage of new students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes. A blog post by Robert Morse, who directs rankings surveys for the magazine, explained the rationale for the switch in the university's category. But the blog post did not explain -- and Morse declined to explain -- why George Washington was moved to the "unranked" group while that has not happened to other colleges that have in the last year admitted sending the magazine incorrect data.
President Obama plans to speak at Yangon University Monday, during a trip to Myanmar. The New York Times reported that the visit is leading to a major effort to repair the facilities at the university, which suffered damage and disrepair (not to mention repression) during years of military rule. While the university is being spruced up, the article suggested that there is only so much that can be done in a few days, and that Obama will see "something of a Potemkin campus."
In a conference call with his major donors on Wednesday, Governor Mitt Romney attributed his presidential campaign loss in part to President Obama's "gifts" to various voting groups, including students, The New York Times reported. Romney cited the administration's positions on student loans and some provisions in the health care legislation. "With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift," Romney said. "Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."
Timothy P. White, who will become chancellor of the California State University System at the end of the year, has asked for and received a cut in pay. White was to have been paid $421,500 from state funds plus $30,000 from the CSU Foundation (the same compensation as received by the outgoing chancellor, Charles Reed). But the state portion of White's salary will now be cut to $380,000. "[A]s I join the faculty, staff and students who have experienced cuts, salary freezes, and increased fees, I too must do my part," White said in a statement. "This is the basis of my request to reduce my own compensation to contribute to the rebuilding of this great university."
North Lake College held a training program last month on how to deal with a shooter if the Texas community college ever faced such a situation. But as WFAA News reported, students weren't told that a drill was going to be taking place, and many faculty members didn't read the e-mail telling them about the drill (and encouraging them to tell students). As a result, many students believed a real shooter was on the loose, and made frantic calls to 911.
Ohio State University is planning a huge and highly focused faculty hiring campaign, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Over the next decade, the university plans to add 500 top scholars in three fields: health, energy and the environment, and food production and safety. The fields were chosen as areas where the university already has research strength. When the hiring is done (at which point some existing faculty members will have retired), the university projects that the size of its tenured and tenure-track faculty ranks will be 8-10 percent larger than it is today.