Of his 16 years as president at Berea College, Larry Shinn has found the last year to be the most contentious, challenging, and potentially transformative. While grappling with budget deficits, Shinn has fended off student critics who say he makes too much money and taken shots from faculty members for a controversial plan that would dismantle existing departments.
To top it all off, Shinn’s former provost is calling on his old boss to resign.
“We went through a very messy process,” Shinn says.
Nearly all California community colleges enrolled more students than the state paid for this academic year. Relative to their size, however, some two-year institutions are taking on significantly more of the state's nearly 202,000 unfunded students than others, despite the increased risk of doing so.
In the past year, many faculty members and students who never paid much attention to the concept of "endowment payout rates" and their rolling averages have had reason to learn about them. In short, the idea is that colleges and universities shouldn't decide each year what share of their endowments to spend, but should have a standing philosophy on the appropriate payout rate, and should average that rate out over several years to avoid spending too much or too little based on a particularly good or bad financial year.
In theory, it sounded like an interesting partnership. American University’s Kogod School of Business wanted to team up with the university's School of International Service, building a graduate degree program that would cater to idealistic students who might not otherwise be drawn to the business school.
At a time when tenure track jobs are drying up and faculty pay is mostly stagnant, some fear the latest threat to the professoriate will actually be realized years from now. As budgets tighten in states across the country, a number of legislatures are re-evaluating the popular pension plans that have been a key benefit for faculty.
A few years ago, any discussion of the master’s in business administration would begin with discussions of scandal and mismanagement. Look at instances of accounting fraud at Enron and WorldCom: MBAs behaving badly. A president of the United States with mixed approval ratings and plenty of opponents in his own party: an MBA whose leadership skills seemed lacking.
In an age where every penny counts, some universities are pulling out all the stops to collect parking ticket debts. Colleges are deploying a full arsenal of weapons, including the use of high-tech equipment to scan parking lots for violators, and the enlistment of collection agencies to hunt down deadbeats.