Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 4:55am

The average assistant football coach at the National Collegiate Athletic Association's top competitive level saw his pay rise by 11 percent this year, and the total salaries of the assistant coaches for at least five programs rose above $3 million, USA Today reported. The article, the newspaper's third such survey of assistant coaches' pay, found an 18 percent increase over all since 2009 among assistant coaches at 97 institutions that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (the division has a total of 120 members, but many private universities refused to provide their salary data to USA Today). The top-paid assistant (earning $1.3 million) was at Auburn University, while Louisiana State University and the Universities of Alabama, Texas at Austin, Tennessee at Knoxville and Florida all paid their football assistants at least $3 million cumulatively.

By comparison, the average salary for professors rose 1.4 percent in 2010-11, the latest year for which data are available, according to the American Association of University Professors.

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

New Hampshire officials have certified a union for adjuncts at Plymouth State University based on a vote by those off the tenure track to start collective bargaining, The Citizen reported. The vote was 60 to 43. The new union will be affiliated with the State Employees Association of New Hampshire. Adjuncts said that they believed they could get better wages and working conditions with a union.

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University education professor, was on Wednesday named winner of the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education. She was honored for her 2010 book, The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future.

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's president, has been giving speeches around his country calling for students to stop taking courses in "non-marketable" subjects such as literature and conflict resolution, Voice of America reported. In one recent talk, he said: "The problem is not jobs, the jobs are there. What is crucial are the skills. There has been a course at Makarere [University] called Conflict Resolution. OK, but what will you do when the conflicts are finished? This unemployment you are talking about. Is it unemployment or is it employability? Is it that you are unemployed, or is it that you are not employable because you have got skills which are not needed on the market?" Faculty members and students are split on the president's campaign, with some praising it and others questioning whether he is defining the purpose of higher education in too narrow a way.

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Tom Williams resigned Thursday as Yale University's football coach, and admitted that he had never been a finalist -- as he had claimed -- for a Rhodes Scholarship, The New York Times reported. Williams had listed the honor in various places, and drew attention to his background when Yale's star quarterback this year opted to play the game against Harvard University rather than go to an interview that might have landed him a Rhodes Scholarship. As Williams told the story, he opted out of a chance at a Rhodes while he was at Stanford University, preferring to play a game rather than go to the interview. In a statement Thursday, he admitted that he had never been a Rhodes finalist. He said that some faculty members had encouraged him to apply, but that he had never done so.

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Duncan Cumming of the State University of New York at Albany explains the importance of Ruth Glazer’s influence on her husband’s music career. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Officials from Kentucky and the University of Pikeville, a private institution, are discussing the possibility of the university becoming a public campus in the state system, The Herald-Leader reported. The move would require legislative approval at a time that dollars are scarce. Pikeville officials said that a switch to public status would result in students in the region getting a new higher education option at public rates that are almost $10,000 a year less than the tuition paid to Pikeville as a private institution.


Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

Stephen Bloom, the University of Iowa journalism professor whose article about his state has created a furor there, is now in an "undisclosed location" that is not Iowa or Michigan (where he had been teaching this semester), he told the journalism blogger Jim Romenesko. He has been receiving threats about what many Iowans found to be offensive generalizations about the state. "Last night a man called my wife and suggested I be made into a lampshade. A blog refers to me as Jew Stephen Bloom. I have received scores of hate-filled e-mails that have threatened me or my family.”

Bloom said he plans to be back at Iowa to teach when the next semester begins January 2. "I’m not going to be bullied," he said. "I will be back in that classroom."

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 3:00am

A former student who said that Brown University forced him out because the daughter of a donor accused him of rape has dropped a lawsuit against the university, and reached a settlement with the family of the woman who accused him, the Associated Press reported. Details of the agreement were not released, and a Brown spokeswoman said the university was not a party to the settlement. Both sides agreed not to talk to the news media. A former assistant wrestling coach who backed the former student who was accused of rape said that the settlement was a victory for him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I Board of Directors moved unusually quickly at its October meeting to approve legislation that would allow institutions (if their conference permits it) to award up to an additional $2,000 per student in scholarship funds, to better fill the gap between what full scholarships cover and the actual cost of attendance. Maybe too quickly, in fact: 125 colleges want the decision overturned, prompting an automatic suspension of the rule and an item on the docket for the board's next meeting Jan. 14 that could eliminate it entirely.  At the meeting, the board can eliminate the rule, do nothing and allow an override vote by all Division I members to proceed, or alter the proposal to appease the colleges.

Collectively, they are concerned about four things, the NCAA said: how quickly the rule was implemented, possible impact on competitive equity, implications for gender equity laws under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and "application of the allowance" for athletes in equivalency sports, which are subject to NCAA limitations on how much scholarship money they can award. NCAA President Mark Emmert indicated in a statement that the legislation can be modified to address all the colleges' concerns. "Similarly, changes can be made that will clarify how this legislation can be implemented more smoothly and with less confusion," Emmert said. "Based on conversations I have had, I am confident that there remains a very high level of support for this permissive legislation to provide better support for our student athletes." 


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