Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 13, 2012

Presidents of community colleges received annual raises of roughly 4 to 6 percent per year between 2006 and 2012, according to a newly-released survey of executive compensation from the American Association of Community Colleges. The presidents' median base salary was $167,000. The association's study also found that three-quarters of respondents plan to retire within the next decade.

November 13, 2012

Lonnie Norton, director of computing at the University of Utah's College of Humanities, has been arrested for kidnapping his estranged wife, taking her to a campus building, and raping her, The Deseret News reported. His wife filed for divorce last week. A statement from the University of Utah said: "University employees who commit violent acts on university property are not eligible to remain employed at the university and will be excluded from campus. The university does not comment on individual personnel actions or ongoing investigations."

November 13, 2012

Morehouse College on Monday announced that its next president would be John S. Wilson Jr., executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Wilson is a Morehouse alumnus who held administrative positions at George Washington University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Obama administration. In that role, he argued that black colleges needed to move beyond a narrative about past oppression and to focus instead on the qualities of the institutions today that would appeal to students, philanthropists and government agencies. Morehouse, the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr. and numerous leaders of the civil rights movement, has long played a crucial role in educating black men.

November 13, 2012

With the U.S. Supreme Court considering a case on the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions, studies continue to appear to shed light on the issues. One released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research (abstract available here) looked at the performance of minority students before and after the University of California system dropped the consideration of race in admissions. Graduation rates of minority students went up, but the study finds that only a small share of that improvement can be attributed to better "matches" between students and the institutions in which they enroll. More important factors included the general increase in selectivity in the system, and an apparent effort by the university campuses -- facing declines in admission of minority students -- to do more to make sure those who were admitted were retained and prepared for graduation.

November 13, 2012

Much of the post-election discussion in the last week has focused on such topics as the "ground game" to get out the vote, and the Obama and Romney campaigns' ability to reach certain voting groups. An article in The New York Times reports on an unofficial, unpaid team of prominent social scientists who advised the Obama campaign. These professors were known as the Consortium of Behavioral Scientists. They provided data-driven advice on such topics as how to counter false rumors about the president, and how to characterize Romney in advertisements.

 

November 13, 2012

Adjuncts at St. Joseph's University have the kinds of grievances that have led their counterparts elsewhere to seek union representation, and they may go down that road. But the non-tenure-track faculty members aren't waiting for unionization to raise issues with the administration. A series of meetings and increased activism have already led to raises and more attention for the adjuncts, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. 'We've made a lot of noise, and we are in the process of making a lot of noise, and I'm making a lot of noise myself," said Caroline Meline, an instructor in the philosophy department who saw a $280 raise in her per-course pay as a result.

 

November 13, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Kiisa Nishikawa of Northern Arizona University explains how advanced materials are leading to an increase in the mobility and stability of prosthetic limbs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 12, 2012

The University of Virginia board, which this summer ousted President Teresa Sullivan (and then reversed itself amid the resulting outcry), is extending her contract. The university announced Friday that Sullivan's five-year contract, through 2015, had been extended to 2016. Helen E. Dragas, the board chair who was the leader of the effort to get rid of Sullivan, gave the following statement: "The president and her administration have been vigorously addressing many of the vexing questions that face the university and all of higher education – including issues of sustainable funding, academic quality, and new delivery methods. Despite what you may read or hear elsewhere, this board and this administration are working hard on exactly the things that demand our attention. We can’t afford to expend our energies and our time elsewhere. And we are all working together."

 

November 12, 2012

Don Haussler, an adjunct at Kansas City Kansas Community College, is a popular math instructor who needs a hip replacement. As The Wyandotte Daily News reported, he doesn't have health insurance and can't afford the operation. So students have organized a series of fund-raisers in a "Hip for Haussler" campaign.

 

November 12, 2012

Donald Grady, police chief at Northern Illinois University, has been suspended from his job and banned from the police department, following a statement from a state judge about an investigation into a police officer, The Chicago Tribune reported. The judge found that the Northern Illinois department withheld key evidence that could have cleared an officer accused of sexually assaulting a student. The evidence was interviews with students who said that the alleged victim told them the sex she had with the officer had been consensual. Grady on Friday referred questions to the university administration.

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