Clips Report is a selection of local, statewide and national news clips about the University of Missouri and higher education, compiled by UM System
Strategic Communications as a service for UM System officials. The report may include articles dealing with controversial subjects, policy matters,
higher education trends and other significant topics affecting the University.
The articles are not screened for accuracy, balance of favorable and unfavorable reports, or representation of campuses, University Extension or
media outlets. Some articles, especially those from Columbia newspapers, are written by students. The report is not an effort to measure the
University’s public information efforts.
June 5, 2009
UM curators consider hiring attorney to represent MU Nixon picks 2 for student loan, housing boards, 62
students, 1 Missouri governor promotes new economic development law
UM curators approve plan to build new tower at University in Columbia, 63
Hospital, 2 Economy forces thousands to go for GED, 65
UM and health care funding plan, 4 Higher‐education bubble could bust next, 66
Ellis Fischel building project awaits governor’s signature, 8 The community college option, part 6, 68
MU simulation center uses technology to educate medical Negotiations over rules for higher education act end with
students, 9 mixed success, 70
Hospital move to double space, 11 Colleges should start planning now for ‘net price’ calculators,
City names new chief for REDI, 12 74
Column: Better times are coming despite woes, 15 Going back to core donors pays off for college fund raisers, 76
MU builds ties between veterinary and human researchers, Empty condos give universities new dorm space, 79
18 Blog: Obama’s cybersecurity plan, 81
Evidence favoring cold fusion as energy source, 21 Education association requires speakers to pledge not to
MU hosting summit on renewable energy, 22 ‘insult’ others, 82
MU’s graduate school dean leaves after 25 years of service, Louisiana State U. Press fights to preserve its essential value,
MU student’s hail research piques interest of national The four‐year college myth, 85
agencies, 24 Gun supporters say colleges trample protest rights, 89
MU is part of digital tour of college campuses, 25 Denied a discussion at reunion, alumni group plans a sit‐in, 91
MU will use grant to fight trafficking, 26 Blog: iPhones may help Japanese university catch absent
MU basketball coach will work as assistant for U.S.A. students, 92
basketball, 27 Often distant from policy making, scientists try to find a
MU softball, 28 public voice, 93
KOMU, Pepper and Friends, 30 Online educators won’t have to spy on students, 96
East Campus has a plague of early trash, 32 Colleges may play the name‐change game at their peril, 98
For new graduates, recession yields frustration – and Colleges undermine their value when they put tuition ‘on
freedom, 34 sale,’ 99
MU Horn Choir to play at international symposium, 38 Clemson describes effort to rise in college rankings, 101
MU graduate hopes to help local filmmakers, pursue More than 100 colleges fail Education Department’s test of
individual projects, 40 financial strength, 107
MU rummage sale, 42 When it comes to saving money on electricity, colleges see
UMKC’s Bloch School auctions trip to Tour de France, 43 the light in LED, 109
Missouri S&T names first Vitek chair of biochemistry, 44 4‐year colleges graduate 53% of students in 6 years, 111
Conceal carry permits could set record, 46 Women are seen bridging gap in science opportunities, 112
‘Corpse flower’ due to bloom at UMSL, 48 Department tackles visa delay for researchers, 113
Stephens College names new leader, 49 Twitter goes to college, 114
MSU downtown future discussed, 53 Recession offers hard lessons in paying for college, 116
Wash U building aims for ultra‐green status, 57 Blog: Poll finds most Americans oppose affirmative action
Energy‐saving stimulus requests in area total $22M, 58 when defined as ‘preferences,’ 120
The Grade: U of I to form task force to look at admissions Career counseling draws alumni back to campus, 121
practices, 59 Evaluation of flagship’s leader sheds light on power struggle
Number of students filing for financial aid spikes, 60 at Texas A&M, 12
Op‐ed: MOST 529: Investing in kids’ future, 61
MU students ask curators for legal help
The Associated Press
Friday, June 5, 2009
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Some student leaders at the University of Missouri want the school to allow
campus lawyers to represent students in court.
The Board of Curators planned to consider the proposal at a meeting Friday on the university’s Kansas
Current rules prohibit university attorneys from representing students in court. Students needing legal
advice usually turn to the Student Legal Services office.
The Missouri Students Association and the Graduate Professional Council are proposing a two‐year
trial program overseen by the university’s general counsel.
The curators were also expected to spend part of Friday’s meeting on the budget for the fiscal year
that starts July 1.
Columbia Daily Tribune
Curators to consider hiring attorney to represent MU students
By JANESE HEAVIN
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The University of Missouri’s Board of Curators is being asked this week to allow an MU‐employed
attorney to represent students in court.
Curators are expected to vote on the proposal tomorrow as part of the consent agenda. The board is
meeting today and Friday on the University of Missouri‐Kansas City campus. The curators’ agenda also
includes discussion of the operating budget for fiscal year 2010.
The Missouri Students Association and Graduate Professional Council are asking the board to lift a
current prohibition that prevents university attorneys from litigating on behalf of students or
representing them in court. The groups are proposing that an attorney be provided on the Columbia
campus as a two‐year pilot program, during which time that position would be monitored by MU’s
general counsel or a designee.
Right now, MU students have access to educational legal resources only. Through Student Legal
Services, those attending MU can receive half‐hour consultations with attorneys. The office also
maintains a Web site where students can find tips for dealing with leases and landlord conflicts, laws
on alcohol or drug use, credit concerns and other legal guidelines. Curators created that office in 1975,
specifically prohibiting university attorneys from representing students in court.
The student groups are proposing that the new legal position be funded through activity fees,
currently used to pay for Student Legal Services. Under the proposal, the two‐year pilot program
would conclude with a report back to curators regarding the number of cases filed, the outcome of
those cases and a breakdown of costs.
Plans approved for new tower at University Hospital
By EVAN BUSH, MICHELLE PAIS
Friday, June 5, 2009
KANSAS CITY ‐ Plans for a $203 million new tower at University Hospital will go up for a vote by
the UM System Board of Curators on Friday, after receiving approval by the finance committee on
Thursday. The finance committee also approved $1 million to design renovations to Mark Twain
The new Patient Care Tower, which will be located on the north side of University Hospital, was
designed by HOK architecture firm of St. Louis.
The plans boast seven floors, of which the first two will contain the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center,
said Kevin Necas, chief financial officer of University of Missouri Health Care (UMHC).
The cancer center will primarily be an outpatient facility, providing services such as screenings
and cancer treatment, said Harold Williamson, vice chancellor for Health Sciences.
The next two floors will contain 12 surgical suites, which will include new technology allowing for
specialized surgery in areas such as neurosurgery and cardio‐thoracic surgery, Williamson said.
“Both medical care and patient expectations are way different than when we built this hospital in
the 1950s,” Williamson said.
The final three floors will contain patient beds, housing 90 patients in private rooms.
“It’s very important to us as an academic medical center to have the technology in place in the
new tower,” Necas said.
The tower is expected to be complete by December 2012, Necas said. Sources of the funding
include debt financing, cash flow, state funding and philanthropy, he said.
The design for the Patient Care Tower is only one of three parts in phase 1 of the Master Facility
Plan, totaling $280 million.
“With a 1950s building, you can’t change to meet today’s standards," Williamson said. "This brand
new, state‐of‐the art hospital will accommodate our plan‐for growth and give us a great place to
train students studying medicine and nursing, as well as train our residents."
A $1 million lump sum was also approved for the design of renovations to Mark Twain Hall, a
residence hall built in 1965. Nikki Krawitz, vice president for Finance and Administration, said the
funds would be taken out of MU housing reserves.
The renovations, should the board of curators choose to fund the project, would cost
approximately $19.9 million. Krawitz said the renovations would be funded through revenue
bonds financed by student room charges, residential life reserves and campus dining reserves.
Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said the project would be completed in 2012.
The Bozoian Group Inc. of St. Louis, who received the contract, competed with two other firms.
“It was an open selection,” Bob Unrath, assistant director in Planning, Design and Construction at
MU, said. “We felt confident that they had the experience and could handle a project of that size
The board members deliberated for more than 20 minutes on the renovation. Several members
were concerned that renovations to Mark Twain Hall were not a big enough priority.
Scroggs addressed the board and said the funding for the design and renovations required
“We have quite a bit of water that’s seeping into that building and there’s some elevator issues,”
said Scroggs. “We need to do something to keep it open any longer.”
She also mentioned that the hall has problems with its heating and cooling.
The preliminary design, Krawitz said, would reduce the density of residents in Mark Twain Hall
from 391 to 372 students. Scroggs said that additional study space would be added during
Chancellor Brady Deaton defended the project as a priority to the board. He called it consistent
with MU's long‐term plan.
"A lot of thought has been given to this,” he said.
Columbia Business Times
Health care funding plan fails, but sponsors perceive progress
By JASON ROSENBAUM
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Close doesn’t count, except in horseshoes, hand grenades and, according to Gov. Jay Nixon, health‐
care initiatives in Missouri.
Nixon’s proposal to expand the state’s Medicaid program was well received in the Missouri Senate,
but the House let the legislation die on the last day of session.
Although Nixon and Rep. Mary Still of Columbia believe progress was made, one political observer said
the result can only be considered a failure and believes the Democratic governor oversold his ability to
get the measure through a General Assembly controlled by Republicans.
Former Gov. Matt Blunt and the legislature decided to cut Medicaid eligibility in 2005, leaving about
100,000 people without benefits. One of Nixon’s centerpiece campaign promises was to restore the
Democrats have called the move by Blunt and other Republicans both cruel to low‐income people who
were cut from the program and fiscally irresponsible. Medicaid funding advocates argued that cutting
the health‐care program for the poor cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in federal matching
funds and forced low‐income people into hospital emergency rooms for care.
Republicans, who controlled the legislature, defended the 2005 cuts as the only way to forestall an
impending state budget shortfall. And many GOP lawmakers have railed against what they saw as a
fiscally irresponsible allocation of state funds in the wake of an uncertain budgetary future.
Even after the 2008 election cycle pushed Nixon into the governorship, GOP lawmakers made up a
solid majority of the Missouri General Assembly. That meant Nixon’s task was to persuade some of the
same lawmakers who made the cuts in the first place to change course.
So Nixon made a new pitch earlier this year to bring a percentage of those displaced in 2005 back into
the program. Unlike his original plan, which used several hundred million dollars’ worth of state
general revenue to restore the program, his new proposal was to use contributions from hospitals and
federal matching funds to put roughly 35,000 people on Medicaid.
But Republicans in the House rejected two different versions of the governor’s proposal that were
passed by the Senate, arguing that Nixon should be doing more to provide health insurance to
individuals with pre‐existing conditions. House leaders also expressed unease at expanding what they
saw as a “welfare” program.
“Our problem is we have an entitlement crisis in this nation and in many of the states,” Rep. Tim
Jones, R‐Eureka, said earlier this month. “Do we want to be like California, which has a $40 billion hole
over the next five years? That’s twice the size of this state’s budget. Do we want to be like our
comrades to the east in the People’s Republic of Illinois with a $12 billion hole?”
“Guess what happens when you ramp up the spending and you increase the programs to the point
where you fall off the cliff?” Jones added. “When you fall off the cliff, there’s no money left. And guess
what’s going on in Illinois? They’re not paying their Medicaid providers.”
Other Republicans pointed to heavy‐handed tactics by Nixon’s office. Two first‐term lawmakers
accused a gubernatorial aide of implying the possibility of a future appointment by voting favorably on
a budget bill incorporating Nixon’s plan. Both the governor and his aides have denied that any quid pro
Before the session started, Nixon said Republican lawmakers in both chambers were steadfastly
against rescinding the eligibility cuts. The fact that a revised plan made it out of the Senate and nearly
landed on his desk was an accomplishment, he said.
“I think we have succeeded in… keeping this issue in the forefront,” Nixon said.
But at least one political observer doesn’t see a silver lining.
“I put it down as a failure,” said George Connor, a political science professor at Missouri State
Nixon, Connor said, placed the bar too high during his campaign in promising to rescind the cuts. He
said the pledge to rescind the Medicaid cuts was made with full knowledge that it was unlikely to find
favor in a Republican‐controlled legislature.
And even though Nixon eventually decided to achieve his pledge incrementally, Connor said it
happened too late in the process to make a difference.
“Each time the proposal was tweaked, we were lowering the expectations on health‐care reform,”
Still, a first‐term Democrat, said there was some benefit in getting the ball rolling on at least a partial
solution to the Medicaid issue.
“We have to redefine progress in this environment,” said Still, a former spokesperson for Nixon who
serves on a committee dealing with health insurance legislation. “It takes a while for people to
understand. And the fact the hospitals came forward with a plan, and the Senate Republicans agreed
with it, and it didn’t cost the state a dime [it] provides a framework for discussion that we can carry
through the summer and through the fall.”
“In one sense, it’s easier to pass legislation in the first session than it is in the second,” Connor said.
“The Republicans in the House are going to be running for office. He’s going to have a harder time
passing health‐care reform in January because they’re going to be running for re‐election.”
“I think his best bet is going to be scale down, scale down until he gets something that’s acceptable to
members of the House,” Connor added. “By that time, people who supported [Nixon] are going to
argue that it’s too little, too late.”
Columbia Daily Tribune
Editorial: Health training
By HENRY J. WATERS III
Sunday, May 31, 2009
When interim University of Missouri President Gordon Lamb concocted “Preparing to Care,” I heralded
his political accomplishment as much as the value of his goal.
Lamb inspired higher education institutions all over the state and got their agreement on proposed
allocation of some $38 million for training badly needed health care professionals in palpably short
supply. Lamb had hit upon a real need and, just as important, had gotten small and large institutions in
every corner of the state to agree on dollar amounts they could successfully use to further the goal.
It was a political miracle, crafting such a plan among institutions that usually compete rather than
cooperate in search of state funding.
Despite broad support in Jefferson City, Lamb’s plan failed to achieve passage last year. Lack of
funding scared off lawmakers who saw the plan as an ongoing commitment. This year, with new
federal stimulus funding in hand, the legislature passed an updated version, now called “Caring for
Missourians,” which Gov. Jay Nixon hailed as a major accomplishment.
Trouble is the legislature put no bones in the skeleton. Language in the bill says campuses can use the
money any way they want, not necessarily for health care training. “Caring for Missourians” might
morph into new plumbing and gutters where institutional leaders worry more about deferred
Nixon urges schools to use the money as originally intended, and many swear they will do so, but with
tight budgets lurking everywhere, defection also lurks. New faculty added for health care training will
have to be continued with other institutional funding unless the General Assembly comes up again and
again with money in next‐next year’s budgets, a promise explicitly denied by House Budget Committee
Chairman Allen Icet, who said colleges could use the money for health care training — or not, if they
deemed “maintenance and repair needs” more pressing.
This, of course, is a formula for serious erosion of the plan. Worry about future funding makes it
understandable, and hoping for the launch of a continuing program receiving $30 million or $40
million each year might have been illusory, but if any plan seemed to hold such promise, it was
“Preparing to Care,” or “Caring for Missourians.” Fixing gutters is not the same breed of cat.
Columbia Daily Tribune
Governor touts plan to boost health education
Friday, May 29, 2009
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon said a program designed to increase health care education in
Missouri will be a first step to addressing the shortage of health care workers in the state.
During a visit to the University of Missouri‐Kansas City yesterday, Nixon touted the “Caring for
Missourians” program, which directs $40 million to the state universities, colleges and community
colleges for more health care classes, teachers and equipment.
“We are facing a critical shortage of health care workers in the state of Missouri today,” Nixon said
while in Kansas City. “These are high paying, high demand careers in which motivated students willing
to go the extra mile are necessary to stand up to the training.”
The program, approved during the last legislative session, would divide the $40 million between 26
institutions, ranging from $135,000 for Crowder Community College to $24 million for the four‐
campus University of Missouri system. The goal is to fund 916 more health care graduates over five
Lora Lacey‐Haun, the dean of the Missouri‐Kansas City School of Nursing, said the school had to turn
away more than 100 qualified applicants for its Bachelor of Science nursing program last week —
about 57 percent of the applicants.
The nursing school plans to use its share of the program’s money to offer accelerated undergraduate
programs and expand its graduate program for those who want to be nursing faculty, she said.
Nixon said the shortage is in a myriad of health care professions, including doctors, pharmacists and
dental hygienists. He said 79 of Missouri’s 114 counties are health‐professional shortage areas that do
not meet federal guidelines.
“If we’re going to meet this critical demand, we’ve got to create the jobs for tomorrow,” he said.
“We’ve got to get started today.”
Columbia Business Times
Ellis Fischel building project awaits governor’s signature
By JIM MUENCH
Friday, May 29, 2009
The long‐planned consolidation of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in a new building on the University of
Missouri Health Care campus is about to move forward ‐ as soon as Gov. Jay Nixon signs legislation
allocating $31.2 million in federal stimulus funds for the project.
Due to the rollercoaster journey on which the legislation has traveled in the past few years, Ellis
Fischel Medical Director Charles Caldwell said he would not count on receiving the funds until “the ink
is dry.” “We will move as quickly as possible,” he added.
Approval from the university curators and architectural designs are also necessary before any digging
The project was funded through a state higher education lending program during the Blunt
administration, but the funding was later withdrawn because of the economic downturn.
Appropriations for the new project were dropped by the legislature in April, but reinstated in May.
The new building, about six stories tall, comes with a price tag of about $52 million, so the university
will need to come up with another $20 million, possibly through bonds or hospital operations. Current
plans call for Ellis Fischel to occupy the bottom two floors of the new tower, which would be
positioned next to the existing Intensive Care tower on the north side of the main University Hospital
building, Caldwell said. The upper floors would hold more operating rooms and intensive care units.
Originally, both inpatient and outpatient cancer care was housed at the older facility on the Business
Loop. But several years ago, inpatient care was moved to the main hospital because of better access to
high‐tech intensive care and operating rooms, Caldwell said. The new building would allow for
consolidation of outpatient care which today amounts to about 85 percent of cancer patient care at
the main hospital as well.
By creating more space for other operations, the new building will free space elsewhere to allow more
frequent contact between cancer researchers involved in both clinical and basic science research,
Caldwell said. But the primary benefits, he added, will be improved care and convenience for patients,
and convenience for doctors and nurses who now have to shuttle between the two facilities.
“We’re somewhat restricted in the old building in terms of adding high‐tech equipment and more
modern facilities, simply because of the way the building was constructed 70 years ago,” he said.
“What this is going to do for us is to provide more modern and contemporary space that can better
accommodate some of the more sophisticated treatment planning and surgeries and the need for
intensive care units than we now have available.”
No decisions have been made yet about what to do with the building on the Business Loop, he said.
“I’m really quite enthusiastic about doing this [move],” Caldwell said. “It was one of the things that
many people were saddened by, when we moved the inpatients over to the main hospital, but now
that we’re putting it all back together, it solves everyone’s needs.”
Columbia Business Times
Tech sessions: Simulation Center uses technology to educate medical students
By JONATHAN SESSIONS
Friday, May 29, 2009
May 12 marked the one‐year anniversary of a little‐known department of the University of
Missouri’s School of Medicine: The Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center. The
simulation center is an amazing new facility and resource for medical and nursing students, but
remains unknown to most of the general public.
Tucked away on the sixth floor of the new Clinical Support and Education Building (between the
medical school, hospital and the Maryland Avenue Garage), it is not a spot most hospital visitors
find by accident. I was lucky enough to see it as a part of a larger Columbia health‐care tour and
was blown away by the concept and technology.
The simulation center provides the medical student equivalent of student teaching. As a part of
their curriculum, first‐year medical and nursing students in their first eight‐week block use the
center to simulate experiences such as taking a patient’s history as a primary care physician and
working in a busy emergency room. In the second block, the students do their first simulated
What makes the Clinical Simulation Center impressive is its use of technology. Often technology is
used because it can be, not because it helps educate. That’s not the case here. Here, the
technology is the patient. While some of the simulations use actors or older medical students,
many of the simulations use state‐of‐the‐art mannequins. Originally developed for military in‐the‐
field medical training, these mannequins allow medical students to interact and make mistakes
without endangering a human life.
Though a wireless connection, the instructor can control the reactions of the mannequin
“patient.” From pupil dilation and blink rate after an injection, to respiratory sounds and basic
auditory responses when a patient enters the ER with a problem, the mannequin provides the
students with human‐like responses. This machine can provide the students with a real enough
simulation without having to have a human patient.
With four adults, two infants, a 5‐year‐old, a 1‐year‐old, two birthing mannequins (one at
Columbia Regional Hospital) and single‐function body parts, the simulation center can provide a
complete simulation experience for medical students.
In addition to mannequins the facility’s other key feature is an integrated video‐monitoring
system, allowing students to review their performances. The building is wired with 40 IP cameras
(Web cameras), all integrated into Web‐based software that is simultaneously recording the
action. The facility consists of four large simulation rooms and eight standardized exam rooms. In
each of the exam rooms, where beginning students take their first patient history, there are two
cameras. In some of the larger rooms, where ER and OR simulations happen, there can be up to
eight or more if using mobile cameras.
The cameras do more than offer new reality TV possibilities. The Web‐based software allows
students and professors to review simulations and see the stats of the “patient” while annotating
for future study. Although the footage is currently only available at the center for security
reasons, students, teachers and doctors will have access to their specific simulations through
secure login from anywhere they have Internet access.
The Clinical Simulation Center offers students a new way to practice routines. This and other
simulation centers eliminate the old “see one, do one, teach one” method of the medical
profession. The students can now see one and practice many, review the video of their
performance and practice some more. And it can all happen before they “do one” on an actual
As I left the simulation center, operations manager Chris Sandars was on his way to replace a lung
bag on one of the mannequins because it had worn out. As a person occasionally needing health
care, I was pleased to think about medical students having the opportunity to develop their skills
and routines on a device with replaceable organs.
Columbia Daily Tribune
Hospital move to double space
Children’s unit upgrade is due.
By JANESE HEAVIN
Friday, May 29, 2009
Children’s Hospital administrators and supporters yesterday celebrated the start of a renovation
project that will allow them to relocate facilities from University Hospital to Columbia Regional
Hospital by the middle of next year.
Moving to Columbia Regional will give Children’s Hospital 48,000 square feet, nearly double the
current space for patient rooms, activity areas and offices. Floor plans, which are still being
tweaked, call for a child‐friendly atmosphere with two playrooms and a game room for teens, said
Laura Gajda, executive director of advancement.
The 27 private patient rooms will be 244 square feet, enough space for each to have a sofa
sleeper and a bath/shower.
That will be a huge improvement over the current location, where patients often share rooms and
parents sleep in chairs, said Michelle Kemp, a Fulton mom whose 3‐year‐old daughter, Jayla, has
been hospitalized in the past for cystic fibrosis. “The idea that you have to try to accommodate a
young child who’s sick and family coming in and another family trying to do that in the same
room, it just doesn’t work very well,” she said.
Kemp, who attended a ceremony at the site yesterday, said the current facilities add to the stress
families already go through at the hospital. Between the equipment stored along narrow hallways
and crowded rooms, “the facility adds a lot of anxiety,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a
hospital that calms those anxieties as opposed to exaggerating them.”
Gajda has been showing the plans to community groups since January, hoping to raise money for
the $12 million construction project. Fundraising efforts include the opportunity to name rooms
in the renovated facility and asking employees, residents and those who have been helped by the
hospital to donate. A benefit concert featuring teen violinist Jourdan Urbach is scheduled for 7
p.m. June 7 at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, and all proceeds will go toward the
Gajda said she realizes it’s not ideal to try to raise money in the current economy, but she said the
project is worthwhile.
“There’s no reason our clients shouldn’t have the best facilities we can provide,” she said.
Columbia’s new economic development director eligible for yearly bonuses from REDI
By SARA STOGNER
Friday, June 5, 2009
COLUMBIA — The city's new economic development director is eligible for as much as $20,000 in
annual bonuses that would be paid by private investors in Regional Economic Development Inc.
J. Mike Brooks will begin his duties on July 15. His post involves working not only for the city,
which will pay him $120,000 per year, but also serving as president of REDI. REDI is a public‐
private agency run as a partnership among Boone County, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce,
MU and the city of Columbia.
City Manager Bill Watkins said the bonuses could be as much as $20,000 if Brooks meets all the
conditions in the REDI contract.
REDI Chairman Bob Black said Brooks will be evaluated on four points of performance: developing
economic plans with MU, attracting new businesses to Columbia, encouraging retention of
existing industry and increasing private investment in REDI by $25,000.
Black said the extra incentives are new to the REDI president's contract but necessary to fill the
"It's what it takes to get high‐powered people in this position," Black said, adding that he sees no
conflict of interest in giving bonuses to the soon‐to‐be city official. The bonuses will be paid by
private investors who pay to become members of REDI.
Watkins also said he sees no conflict in REDI offering Brooks the bonuses, which are common for
many economic development directors.
Brooks said he was offered bonuses in his current position as president of the Indiana Health
Industry Forum and when he served as associate vice president for research and economic
development at Utah State University.
Watkins said he would be unwilling to pay bonuses as part of a city compensation package.
"I would never allow it for a police chief or city manager," Watkins said. "This hybrid partnership
we have with REDI is a different beast."
However, Watkins also pointed to the growing trend of having to pay higher salaries to attract
outside talent. Brooks, for example, will be paid about $50,000 more than REDI's interim director,
Bernie Andrews, who will become vice president of REDI when Brooks arrives.
"In order to be in the ball park of (what) we were looking for, we had to bump up the figure,"
At the same time, Watkins said, there are existing city department heads who are underpaid. "I
think, personally, that we have a lot of department heads that are not being paid what they can
get by going out on the market," Watkins said.
Watkins said he would like to begin training younger employees to eventually take over
department positions when they become vacant.
Columbia Daily Tribune
City names new chief for REDI
Indiana native’s experience cited.
By JUSTIN WILLETT
Monday, June 1, 2009
The city of Columbia has named a new director of economic development with the hope that he
will be able to help Columbia and Boone County harness the economic potential of the University
of Missouri’s research efforts.
City Manager Bill Watkins this morning announced the appointment of Mike Brooks as director of
economic development, effective July 15.
Brooks also will serve as president of Regional Economic Development Inc., or REDI, the public‐
private membership group that promotes economic development in Columbia and Boone County.
Brooks, a native of Greensburg, Ind., is president and CEO of the Indiana Health Industry Forum, a
not‐for‐profit group that represents health care providers, suppliers, manufacturers and others in
the industry. Before that, he served a brief stint as associate vice president for research and
economic development at Utah State University after spending 14 years as president of the
Lafayette‐West Lafayette Economic Development Corp., where he collaborated on technology‐
based efforts with Purdue University.
Brooks will make $120,000 a year, have a car allowance and receive the standard employee
benefit package from city funds, according to a news release from the city.
REDI will provide an incentive package if Brooks meets specific economic development objectives,
the release said.
Brooks said this morning that the Columbia job was one of two he was seeking. He also was a
finalist for the position of president of the Muncie‐Delaware County (Ind.) Chamber of Commerce.
The announcement of the other finalist’s selection was made May 20.
Brooks said he is excited to be coming to Columbia and sees a lot of potential for capitalizing on
the university’s research capabilities. He said the creation of Discovery Ridge Research Park and
the Life Sciences Business Incubator at Monsanto Place are steps in the right direction.
“The excitement about the Columbia opportunity is the strength of the University of Missouri as
an academic institution that provides opportunities for the commercialization of research and job
development,” he said. “It’s very similar in some ways to the job I spent 14 years doing in West
Watkins last year recommended restructuring REDI by eliminating two marketing positions,
creating an assistant director position and hiring a new director with “special skills in attracting
high‐tech employers.” The goal was to find someone who could help realize the employment
potential of the university’s assets.
Watkins said in today’s news release that Brooks’ training and experience fit those goals. “We had
a strong set of applicants, but Mike’s work with major universities (particularly with Purdue in
West Lafayette, Ind.), cutting‐edge research and effective partnerships made him rise to the top.”
Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and completed a six‐year program
with the Institute for Organizational Management. Bernie Andrews, the current interim REDI
director, will serve as executive vice president of the organization.
Columbia Daily Tribune
Column: Better times coming despite woes
By BOB ROPER
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Based on recent discussions with numerous folks involved in banking, construction, government
and other areas, I offer my perspective on where we are with the local economy. As expected,
there are a lot of areas of concern, but some good things are happening.
Homes with a value of $200,000 and less are “in balance,” i.e. the backlog of such homes has
disappeared. That means that these homes are being built and sold, or sold by an existing owner,
in a normal market fashion.
Homes with a value more than $300,000 continue to have a sizable backlog when it comes to
selling. Fortunately, that backlog is shrinking as the local market slowly moves to get “in balance”
here, too. Being in balance, however, is probably a year away.
With respect to commercial lots, the inventory of lots for sale is huge — as far as the eye can see.
It will take years to work this inventory down to a more normal level.
Commercial properties and developments are also a real problem area. These properties will take
18‐36 months to get into balance, a process known as “absorption.” A lot of loans have been
made on these types of property developments, and there will be nervous moments for lenders
while the absorption process occurs.
Foreclosures for the first four months of the year are up dramatically, even though Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac put a moratorium on foreclosures for the first quarter. April’s numbers
represented a huge jump, as the moratorium was lifted.
Look for more to come — 2009 will be easily a record year.
Low interest rates have created a deluge of refinancing activity in the local lending community.
This is good for lenders, of course, but, most importantly, it’s good for borrowers. By paying less
on their monthly mortgage, borrowers are really getting a tax cut.
Columbia’s latest stated unemployment rate of 7 percent —the highest I’ve ever seen — is not
helpful. This translates to a loss of 2,400 jobs in 2008, a 3 percent decrease from 2007. I say
“stated” because I really do not believe Columbia’s rate is that high. The U.S. unemployment rate
is 8.9 percent and climbing. Columbia’s rate in 2008 was 5.2 percent.
All of this translates into the worst economy I can recall in Columbia, and I have lived here since
the fall of 1965.
Despite the mediocre‐to‐bad news outlined above, some good things are happening in our local
First, the University of Missouri is 100‐percent committed to a long‐term strategy of turning great
research discoveries into long‐term licensing revenue. If successful, this will obviously create a
great revenue stream for the university — its goal is to go from $10 million annually to $50 million
annually in five years — but it would also have a great spinoff benefit for the local economy.
Quality businesses located in Columbia and Boone County that are derived from research
discoveries at the university sound like a pretty good deal to me.
Another good thing: We hear constantly about how important it is for companies seeking to
expand or relocate to find “shovel‐ready” sites. The availability of such sites has been a problem
for Columbia in the recent past. However, the state recently designated 109 acres of the Ewing
Industrial Park in northeast Columbia as its first state‐certified site. It is certainly a feather in the
cap of everyone involved in this project, as this designation would obviously not be given unless
the site is accessible and all utilities are in place. It’s a big deal.
Not only that, but the city is working with the Columbia Area Jobs Foundation to do the same
thing for a 200‐acre site near the northeast corner at I‐70 and Route Z. The linchpin is the city’s
willingness to extend the sewer line to the site. After that, the site owners would have to get the
correct zoning, utilities and infrastructure in place and would have to let the city annex the
property. This is a few years away, but we are moving in the right direction.
So where are we now? Landmark Bank’s Jeff MacLellan has been keeping track of key statistics
about our local economy since 1987. I reviewed his latest numbers with him, and they are dismal.
As I looked at the graphs and numbers, I concluded one could view the evidence two ways: We
are either at the bottom now and starting to pull up, or the bottom will not occur until late this
year or early next year. Sorry to say, I’m inclined to believe the latter. We just have to keep doing
good “blocking and tackling” no matter what, and things will ultimately improve.
Tribune columnist Bob Roper is a former local banking and investment executive with a
longstanding interest in public issues.
Columbia Daily Tribune
Editorial: Our plight
By HENRY J. WATERS III
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
In his biweekly column Sunday, former banker Bob Roper oversaw the status of our local
economy. It was a good job, reflecting with more precision the general impressions I have been
getting from some of the same sources Roper used. I recognized several similarities.
One thing I have learned about our current economic plight — and I suspect Roper has learned
the same — is nobody, not even the most brilliant analyst, really knows what to expect or when.
We can be much more accurate predicting what we do not know. We can say we are sure things
will get better, but our estimates of that timeline are all over the map. Roper guesses it will be
next year rather than this. A hundred other pundits are saying later this year we will see a
reversal, but all of them hedge their bets. It will be the end of the downturn, not necessarily an
upturn — sloppy sayings like that.
I’ve reached one conclusion: Our economic lives, and therefore our lives in general, will never be
the same. The American public is spending less and saving more. When happier times come, we
will forget some of this prudence, but I’m betting the generation that has known nothing but
unremitting prosperity is learning a tough lesson it will not forget.
We will buy less per capita, a bitter economic prospect for most of us because our personal
balance sheets have been built largely on an unsustainable consumer bubble. We’ve all learned to
live on that legendary x‐times dollar churn the Economist Behind the Curtain has taught us will
forever be an inherent boon. What the Wizard didn’t explain is the slap in the face when 50 cents
is churning instead of a dollar.
Let’s not regard this reality as doom and gloom. Columbia remains a better economy than most
places, and there still is more room at the top of the ladder than on the bottom. Planning for
tomorrow’s growth still makes sense, maybe more than ever. But we’d better realize prosperity is
not simply a matter of getting up in the morning and counting today’s ever‐growing pile.
For most of us, wealth will grow more slowly in smaller increments. We used to understand this
was normal, then we forgot when abnormal euphoria blinded us. We are going back to school.
MU builds ties between veterinary and human researchers
By TIM LLOYD
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
COLUMBIA — Jimi Cook’s grandfather was one of the first patients in the U.S. to have artificial
knee replacement surgery.
“From the time I was 8 years old, I have always wanted to find a better way to treat arthritis after
watching him go through six knee replacements,” Cook said. He is an associate professor of small
animal surgery and director of the Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory at the MU School of
Nearly three decades after his grandfather's surgeries, Cook is developing new technology that
might make repeat surgeries things of the past. But his discovery didn’t only come from studying
the human skeletal system.
“Dogs are the closest replicas of humans for us when it comes to studying clinical problems in
knees and hips,” he said.
Cook's new technique involves growing cartilage in a lab that can be molded into permanent joint
replacements. It’s just one in a growing number of human medical advancements made by
researchers studying their canine companions.
Growing knees, hips and shoulders
In the sterile petri dishes of a walk‐in‐closet sized lab, cells divide and multiply into living cartilage
that Cook plans to mold into new knees and hips for dogs.
“The goal is to make replacement parts,” said Sonny Bal, an associate professor of orthopedic
surgery at the MU School of Medicine. Bal is working with Cook on the human application of his
The collaboration between Cook and Bal is welcome news to Bob Reeves, a retired Columbia
resident who in the last four years has had both of his knees replaced with metal transplants. The
surgeries are the most recent in a series of medical procedures that are likely the result of injuries
he suffered in a construction accident almost 50 years ago, Reeves said.
“I was working to pay my way through college when a scaffold broke and I fell 35 feet,” Reeves
said. “I’m sort of like 'The Six Million Dollar Man,' but my wife says I’m more like $49.95.”
Reeves said that even though he has worked hard to regain strength and motion in his body, the
metal replacement parts have limited the improvements.
“My body has healed around the metal parts, but metal won’t improve with the rest of my body,”
Cook’s technique replaces damaged joints with living tissue, meaning patients like Reeves could
get a new set of knees that would heal with the rest of their bodies.
“That would be extremely helpful for people who need transplants,” said Robert Kimble, a 78‐
year‐old who has had three knee transplants in the last eight years. “That would be a heck of an
The technique being developed by Cook mimics the natural process of cartilage and bone
formation during growth and development of the joints. Molds of joints are then made and filled
with lab‐grown cartilage, forming exact replicas of joints in need of replacement.
Because conditions like arthritis progress month to years faster in dogs, Cook is able to more
rapidly test the effectiveness of his technique.
“In dogs with arthritis, everything happens much faster,” Cook said. “This allows us to see the
results of our research sooner than if we were working on humans.”
The Food and Drug Administration recognizes physical similarities between dogs and humans, and
if a new treatment is proved effective for dogs, it can more quickly be tested in humans.
“We’ve been working on this for seven years,” Cook said. “It would have taken 15 to 20 years if
we were working on humans.”
This summer, Cook will begin testing his technology on dogs in need of new hip joints. If effective,
the tests will continue into long‐term studies. Human testing is the final phase.
Cook and Bal are widening the scope of previous collaborations to include engineers from the
Missouri University of Science and Technology and researchers at Columbia University in New
The multidisciplinary approach puts MU in line with a worldwide effort to strengthen ties
between veterinary medical and human medical research, said Bruce Kaplan, a Florida
veterinarian and co‐founder of the Web site Onehealthinitiative.com.
The site promotes the One Health movement, which advocates collaboration between veterinary
and human research. The concept has received endorsements from the American Medical
Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“The campuses that have veterinarians and physicians working together are where a good deal of
biomedical research is done,” Kaplan said. “Dr. Cook has become a giant in the field.”
Recently discovered neurological similarities between dogs and humans could lead to treatments
for degenerative brain diseases.
Veterinary neurologist Joan Coates is part of a research team that found a genetic link between
hereditary degenerative myelopathy (DM) in dogs and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),
commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“There is a potential that this discovery may assist with finding new treatments that will slow the
progress of some forms of hereditary ALS,” Coates said.
She is quick to point out that years of study are needed before a treatment for humans can be
“We still have a lot of work to develop markers of disease in dogs in order to evaluate disease
progression and response to potential treatments,” Coates said.
Working with dogs could shorten the time frame.
“ALS takes two to five years to progress in humans; it takes six months to a year in dogs,” Coates
said. “We may be able to test and see more results more quickly when evaluating potential
therapies in dogs.”
Kaplan said Cook and Coates' advances could just be the beginning of new advances in the field of
veterinary and human medicine.
“If you combine the brains and minds of different medicines, you will come up with things that
would have not come about otherwise,” Kaplan said. “It could be miraculous.”
Columbia Daily Tribune
Evidence favoring cold fusion as energy source
By JANESE HEAVIN
Saturday, May 30, 2009
There’s mounting evidence that nuclear fusion can be created at room temperature, and if that energy
can be harnessed, it has the power to change the world, scientists and researchers agreed yesterday at
a University of Missouri seminar.
It will take significantly more experiments, though, to fully understand how cold fusion works, said
Vice Chancellor of Research Robert Duncan, who hosted the seven‐hour gathering in Memorial Union.
Duncan said he doesn’t know whether cold fusion will lead to energy production but that’s precisely
the reason it should continue to be pursued.
“It’s simply too convenient to dismiss it as junk science,” he said. “As scientists, we should go after
what we don’t understand.”
The fusion of atoms is a high‐energy process that powers the sun and other stars. To replicate nuclear
fusion in hydrogen bombs takes an enormous amount of heat. Experts believe the ability to create
nuclear fusion without high levels of energy would allow for the generation of clean power, reduce
nuclear waste and potentially eliminate the country’s dependence of foreign oil.
That’s why claims of nuclear fusion occurring at room temperature made by Martin Fleishman and
Stanley Pons 20 years ago caused a worldwide stir. Their findings were quickly dismissed, however,
when scientists couldn’t replicate the experiment.
Since then, researchers from around the globe have been duplicating the experiment using different
methodologies, said Frank Gordon, head of the Research and Applied Sciences Department at the U.S.
Navy SSC‐Pacific. Navy chemists in March announced they had conducted “highly replicable”
experiments creating low‐energy nuclear reactions.
“We’ve been carefully designing experiments for 20 years,” Gordon said. “By doing that, essentially
we’ve been hidden in plain sight.”
Unlike Fleishman and Pons, though, the research team has had 23 papers go through the peer review
process, generating enough evidence to sway some skeptics.
Because of those duplicated results, a skeptic might have a hard time arguing that nuclear reactions
cannot occur at room temperature, said Edmund Storms, an author on the topic who assumed the role
of an “informed skeptic” at the seminar.
A skeptic, he said, would have to believe that hundreds of successful replications using different
methodologies were somehow erroneous. And, he said, skeptics would have to believe that credible
scientists “are incompetent only when they study cold fusion.”
Playing off a saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, Storms quipped:
“Extraordinary evidence should not be rejected just because it supports extraordinary claims.”
Columbia Daily Tribune
MU hosting summit on renewable energy
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The links between economic development and green energy are the focus of the fourth annual
“Advancing Renewables in the Midwest” conference today at the University of Missouri.
Speakers include Robert Clayton, chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission. Experts on
solar energy, green jobs and power were also slated to give presentations.
Missouri hosts renewable energy conference today
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The links between economic development and green energy are the
focus of a regional conference Wednesday at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
This is the fourth annual “Advancing Renewables in the Midwest” conference.
Speakers include Robert Clayton, chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Experts on solar energy, green jobs and power will also give presentations.
Organizers say the conference will emphasize the connection between energy efficiency and
economic development, including how to tap the federal stimulus plan for tax incentives or
MU’s graduate school dean leaves after 25 years of service
By CHELSEA SEKTNAM
Friday, June 5, 2009
COLUMBIA — After 25 years of service at MU, Pamela Benoit has accepted a position at Ohio
University in Athens, Ohio.
Benoit, the current vice provost for advanced studies and dean of the graduate school, will begin
her job as Ohio University's executive vice president and provost on July 1.
"I am excited," Benoit said in a news release from MU, “because it allows me to embrace
additional and new responsibilities and challenges at a remarkable public institution.”
Benoit was instrumental in developing the Griffith’s Leadership Society for Women. She also
contributed to many programs at MU including the Preparing Future Faculty program, the
Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Pew Charitable Trust, the National Science
Foundation and the President’s Academic Leadership Institute. She also served on the College of
Arts and Science Strategic Development Board, according to the release.
In 2003 she was selected to chair the MU Chairs council and has served on the Strategic Planning
and Resource Advisory Council. She also designed a professional development workshop series
for all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Benoit received the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching in 1995 and the MU
"I am very grateful for the tremendous opportunities that I have had at the University of Missouri
and the extraordinary colleagues I've worked with and learned from during my time here," Benoit
said in the release. "I will always be proud of my association with MU."
Benoit began at MU in 1984 as an assistant professor of communications. She also served as the
assistant, associate and interim dean of the graduate school from 2003 to 2005. According to the
release she has served as administrator over recruitment, admission, advising, diversity, academic
programs, development, faculty and staff communication, public relations and strategic planning.
"She’s a big thinker and is central to discussions of many of the biggest issues on the university’s
agenda," MU Provost Brian Foster said in the release. "We wish her the very best in this new
MU student’s hail research piques interest of national agencies
By DAVID GOLDSTEIN
Friday, June 5, 2009
COLUMBIA — With a name like John Moon, it might have been the destiny of the MU undergraduate
to study meteorology.
Moon, a member of the MU Storm Chase Team, said weather has fascinated him since he was a little
kid, but because he grew up in California, he never experienced hail until he came to Missouri.
“The first time I saw hail I thought it was snow,” Moon said. “But when I got hit in the head with it, I
learned quickly it wasn’t.”
For now, Moon has embraced hail. He began his research by placing 40 “hail pads” on rooftops
throughout MU, and on May 7 he got his first hits.
Hail pads are one foot by one foot Styrofoam pads wrapped in tin foil and anchored to the roof with
bricks — a simple design that is cheap and easy to use. Moon uses the pads to measure the impact and
damage of hailstones as they fall on the surface. He then compares the data he collects to the data
provided by algorithms used by weather radars.
Moon’s hail pad experiment comes shortly after the National Weather Service changed the criteria for
issuing a severe thunderstorm warning from three‐fourths‐inch hail to one‐inch hail. According to the
National Weather Service, the switch was made because of a fear that frequent severe storm warnings
were causing people to become desensitized.
Moon hopes his research will help radar systems more accurately predict hailstorms by bridging the
gap between what is predicted and what actually happens.
“I want to be able to provide people with information that will lead to less false warnings,” he said.
There is a good chance the MU junior from San Pablo, Calif., will be able to do just that, as he has
contacted both the National Weather Service and the National Severe Storms Laboratory, and both
are interested in his research.
“They’re the top dogs in severe weather research,” Moon said.
Anthony Lupo, associate professor of atmospheric science at MU, said Moon’s idea of installing hail
pads to conduct research has not been done to this extent before. Lupo has guided and supported
Moon throughout the process but insists that he has only been a background figure.
“He’s done all the legwork,” Lupo said. “I just deal with the bureaucratic side of it.”
Moon and Lupo hope to receive a grant from the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology
Education and Training for their work, as well as add to the already existing literature about severe
storm research. Moon said he thinks his work is important, and he will continue his research in the fall.
“Hail is something that affects everyone," he said. "It affects life and property.”
Columbia Daily Tribune
MU is part of digital tour of college campuses
By JANESE HEAVIN
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
High school students trying to whittle down their choice of colleges no longer have to make a trip to
campus to get a glimpse of what a school has to offer.
A new Web site, youniversitytv.com, provides videos of hundreds of colleges and universities across
the country. The University of Missouri is one of 13 colleges in the state taking advantage of the social
network that launched in April. The virtual tours include video snippets of campus landmarks,
interviews with faculty and students, and information about tuition, housing and demographics.
Background music, graphics and young hosts give the clips a teen‐friendly edge.
“Hopefully, they feel like they are really part of the actual tour,” said Angelo Kotzamanis, who co‐
founded the Florida‐based business with partner Ron Reis.
Those who sign on as members of the free site can blog about their college search, upload video
footage of their own schools and meet peers in a virtual dorm. As of yesterday, about 20,000 had
joined the network, including roughly 150 Missourians.
MU’s video, which features some cameo appearances by Truman the Tiger, touts the campus
botanical gardens, historic Columns and Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone as well as the large Greek
system and Tiger Stripe ice cream dished out at Buck’s Ice Cream Place.
MU’s video differs slightly from some other Missouri colleges in that there is scant mention of the
Columbia community. By contrast, videos about University of Missouri campuses in Kansas City and St.
Louis highlight the their proximity to cultural life and professional sports teams; Missouri State
University’s video promotes Springfield’s big‐city amenities; and a video about Truman State
University in Kirksville notes a jazz festival and an underground “indie rock” scene.
The crew spent more than a year documenting campuses at no charge to universities.
“They came to campus totally at their own expense,” said Chuck May, senior associate director of
admissions at MU. “The only expense from our part was my time sitting down with them. It was time
well spent. I think it’s an excellent video, especially for being a free product for us.”
YOUniversityTV.com will eventually have advertisements to offset some of the start‐up costs,
Kotzamanis said. “It was very expensive, but we believed in the concept so much, my business partner
and myself, we funded it ourselves,” he said.
May isn’t sure whether the Web site will attract students who otherwise would not have thought to
look at MU, but the site could become a useful recruiting tool for students already eyeing Columbia.
“Where we’re using it the most is for students who have shown an interest in Mizzou who are from
out of state,” he said.
Columbia Daily Tribune
MU will use grant to fight trafficking
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The University of Missouri has received a $100,000 federal grant to help combat human
The money is coming from a $2 million pool of grant funds the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services awarded yesterday to identify and help victims of human trafficking.
MU faculty and students in the Masters of Public Health Program will work with members of the
Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition to raise public awareness, conduct surveillance
and investigations and provide resources to victims.
The Kansas City Star
Grant to MU aims to aid victims of human trafficking
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
COLUMBIA | The University of Missouri will receive a $100,000 federal grant to help human
The money is part of a $2 million effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to treat
illegal human trafficking as a public health issue.
Faculty and students in the master’s of public health program at the Columbia campus will work
with nonprofit groups to raise public awareness of human trafficking. They’ll also try to identify
possible victims of the crime.
Federal prosecutors in Kansas City charged 12 people last week with luring illegal immigrants to
the U.S. to work as what they called “modern‐day slaves” in 14 states. Eight of the defendants are
The Kansas City Star
Mike Anderson will work as assistant for USA Basketball
The Associated Press
Thursday, June 4, 2009
COLUMBIA | Missouri basketball coach Mike Anderson will work as a USA Basketball assistant
after leading the Tigers to a school‐record 31 wins in the 2008‐09 season.
Anderson will help train 40 athletes trying to earn spots on the national teams for the U19 World
Championship and the World University Games.
Team trials take place later this month at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs,
Anderson’s fellow assistant coaches include John Beilein of Michigan, Gonzaga’s Mark Few and
Herb Sendek of Arizona State. Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon is the under‐19 team’s coach, with Bo
Ryan of Wisconsin leading the university team.
The U19 World Championship will be held in July in Auckland, New Zealand. The World University
Games’ basketball competition takes place in July in Belgrade, Serbia.
Columbia Daily Tribune
The excellent exception?
Series run has MU believing it won’t fade.
By DAVID BRIGGS
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
True national parity in college softball has never existed — even at the elite level.
While a year‐end trip to the Women’s College World Series is old hat for enduring powers such as
UCLA, Arizona and Washington in a Pac‐10 Conference that’s claimed 18 of the last 21 national
champions, it often marks the end of an era for other party‐crashers.
The formula is familiar. Veteran ace and a once‐in‐a‐generation collection of senior talent leads to
But there are exceptions. Missouri Coach Ehren Earleywine believes his 2009 team is one of them.
The Tigers’ historic season ended Saturday in a 5‐2 loss to Georgia in Oklahoma City. MU (50‐12)
won a school‐record number of games, swept through the Big 12 Championship, produced the
upset of the NCAA Tournament with a super regional victory at No. 2 UCLA and advanced to the
World Series for the first time since 1994.
Gone, too, will be one of the most accomplished senior classes in school history.
It included four former All‐Big 12 players, which in many games encompassed the starter and the
Nos. 2 through 4 hitters.
Sixth‐year outfielder Micaela Minner endured two season‐ending injuries — and a broken leg this
year — but ended her Missouri career second all‐time in hits (230) and third in home runs (40)
and RBI (180).
Second baseman Andee Allen finished sixth all‐time in hits (199).
Third baseman Lindsey Ubrun, a 2008 transfer from Maryland, leaves ranked fourth on the team’s
career home run list with 32.
And pitcher Stacy Delaney enjoyed two all‐conference years after transferring from Michigan.
Yet Missouri is looking for even more in 2010.
With the return of freshman ace Chelsea Thomas and the arrival of a strong recruiting class,
Earleywine believes MU stands ready to become an annual World Series threat — at least for the
next three years.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” Earleywine said. “We represented our state and university good,
but we want to do it better next time. We’ve learned some valuable lessons from this
tournament, and we’re looking forward to the future.”
“Maybe,” said sophomore first baseman Marla Schweisberger, “we can build on this for next
The most important block is in the circle.
While Missouri’s Big 12‐leading offense returns all‐conference centerpieces in Schweisberger and
leadoff hitter Rhea Taylor, Earleywine claimed midway through the season that Thomas could
develop into one of the best pitchers to ever play the game.
The sentiment has not changed. Thomas (16‐7, 1.65 ERA) struggled in her last three starts,
allowing 14 runs against three of the nation’s top‐10 teams. But with essentially one pitch, a 70‐
plus mph drop ball, she threw two no‐hitters and consistently dominated until the final week. If
Thomas refines her rise ball and grows more confident throwing her changeup, Earleywine
believes she can carry the Tigers into title contention.
With fellow freshman Kristin Nottelmann (11‐2, 1.25 ERA) serving as a capable No. 2 starter,
Earleywine does not plan to add another pitcher before the pair’s senior year.
Help, however, is on the way offensively.
Next year’s class of five is led by Jenna Marston, an all‐state shortstop in baseball and softball for
Principia High School in St. Louis. Playing softball in the fall, she hit over .600 without striking out
once over the past two seasons. On the bigger field in the spring, Marston led her team with a
.469 average in the spring.
“The talent of the incoming kids is better,” Earleywine said. “The kids we already got have proven
they can get” far. “It’s a good combination.”
And the reason he believes MU is not a one‐year wonder. In fact, the Tigers have their sights set
beyond just making the World Series next spring.
“You wonder if there’s contentment that set in with just being here this year,” Earleywine said.
“Maybe next year we come back and say, ‘We’re not content with just being here anymore. We’re
going to win some games.’ ”
Columbia Daily Tribune
Cartoon: Pepper and Friends
Monday, June 1, 2009
Columbia Daily Tribune
Letter: Unlike KOMU, Paul Pepper ‘really cares’
By BETTY and WILLY WESTBROOK
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Editor, the Tribune: We were surprised, to say the least, when Paul Pepper called to tell us
“Pepper & Friends” had been canceled.
Willie had worked at Channel 8 from 1955 until 1989, when he retired. Paul came to KOMU in
1969 as the weather forecaster. We got to know him well and found him to be a kind and caring
Willie found a little dog wandering around the station one day and convinced Paul that he needed
a dog. While other young men on the staff would go out partying when they got off work, Paul
hurried home to “Prince.”
When Prince died, Paul took off work to grieve the loss of his little dog.
I don’t recall Paul missing a show except when he stayed with his beloved mother while she was
terminally ill. He didn’t leave her side until her death.
James Mouser is an asset to the show. His talent as an artist and weather forecaster added to
“Pepper & Friends.”
I am hard‐pressed to believe that “Pepper & Friends” is in such dire straits financially; they have
30 to 35 sponsors a show.
If KOMU “really cares,” as their slogan says, it will keep the show on the air until Paul chooses to
We will continue to see Paul and James, but hundreds of viewers who invite them into their
homes each day will not. They will be sorely missed.
Columbia Daily Tribune
East Campus has a plague of early trash
By SARA SEMELKA
Sunday, May 31, 2009
A longtime resident of the East Campus area and president of its neighborhood association,
Bonnie Bourne is proud of her neighborhood and wants fellow residents to take pride in it as well.
Mounds of rotting refuse at the curbside make that difficult, however, and Bourne said a chronic
problem has been residents — many of them students living in the neighborhood for a short
period of time — who put trash out days before its scheduled pickup by city garbage trucks.
“I call it good community hygiene,” Bourne said. “It’s a health and safety problem, and it’s an
appearance problem. It may not bother the people who put it out there, but everyone has to put
up with it. The neighborhood looks trashy when trash appears after trash day and is there into the
next week. I love this neighborhood, but sometimes I don’t like the appearance.”
In addition to bad odors from trash put out before collection days, Bourne said, cats, opossums
and raccoons dig through the garbage and spread it around.
She said the neighborhood association has produced fliers welcoming new student residents and
reminding them of nuisance laws that deal with noise and trash. The association also has worked
with the city to address the problem.
“When the trash is out early, the city has encouraged us to call or report it online,” she said. “If
they don’t know about it, they can’t do anything about it.”
Though she and others are happy to help report problems, Bourne said there needs to be a more
systematic way to keep the problem in check. “If I get busy or don’t have time, I’m not going to
deal with the trash out early,” she said.
The city is looking for ways to provide relief, and the Columbia City Council will receive a report
tomorrow night on ideas from its solid‐waste disposal staff and the Public Works Department.
Earlier this month, the council voted to double the fee for “Trash Out Early” pickup to $50 to
more accurately reflect the cost of sending a garbage truck off its scheduled route to make a
special trash pickup. Such trips are made only when a complaint is made.
Bourne said she hopes the higher fee will decrease the incidence of trash being put out early.
In the report the council will review for tomorrow’s meeting, city staff suggest how to more
proactively deal with trash out early, especially at move‐in and move‐out times when university
semesters change. The staff memo says: “When semester transitions occur and students move,
they leave behind mountains of trash, indifferent to the normal collection day for trash.”
The city’s Solid Waste Division plans and provides extra collection for apartment complexes as
resources allow, including problem areas such as Southridge and Dove Drive. “But that is not
enough to resolve the residential program,” the staff memo says.
One suggested solution is to send trucks around key neighborhoods at move‐in or move‐out
times, even if the city has received no complaints. Any pickup would be treated as a Trash Out
Early collection, resulting in a $50 bill for the utility customer at that address.
City Manager Bill Waktins said the city council has been asking for solutions like this. “What I have
heard is that they want us to be more proactive with things like trash and nuisance” violations, he
said. “And this is an example of that.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education
For new graduates, recession yields frustration – and freedom
By SARA LIPKA
Monday, June 1, 2009
Each year's crop of graduates faces the inevitable question. What's next?
For the tough‐luck Class of 2009, that decision has been especially daunting. But expectations of an
impressive answer have given way to sympathetic nods. Only one in five seniors who applied for a job
had found one by springtime, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Common stigmas faded this year, students say. Waiting tables has become a good option. Going home
to figure things out bears no shame.
The sense of entitlement supposedly characteristic of the millennial generation is largely absent, says
Steven Rothberg, president of the online resource CollegeRecruiter.com, as students necessarily keep
"The bar has been lowered," Mr. Rothberg says. "Any job right now is a great job."
Students have expanded their searches, considering a broader array of companies, industries, and
geographic locations. Interest in public‐service opportunities, already growing, has surged, with
applications to Teach for America up by 42 percent and the Peace Corps 16 percent over last year.
Predictably, more students have decided to pursue graduate school.
Liz Aiello pondered that path. But Ms. Aiello, who graduated last month from the University of Texas
at Austin, opted to wait a few years, gather her thoughts, and start to pay back her loans.
As it turns out, she says, "taking time off is more stressful than anticipated." She has tried to cut
herself some slack. For now, Ms. Aiello, an English major, is volunteering part time at a women's
health clinic and submitting her résumé wherever she can. Administrative‐assistant positions at the
university look particularly attractive, she says, for their benefits and security. She would be grateful
for a retail position, too.
"If I have to, I'll get a bunch of different little jobs," Ms. Aiello says. "I will apply to anything and
'Fear to Career'
Career counselors are working to keep pace with worried seniors.
"We're trying to meet the Class of 2009 where they are, which is, 'I'm scared. I'm freaked out. What
am I going to do?'" says Chris Dito, manager of career‐recruiting programs at the University of
California at Davis.
Students will graduate from Davis on June 14, and Ms. Dito expects to see them in droves for the
following two weeks. She has lined up a series of back‐to‐back workshops, called Hire Me! Academy.
Many other institutions have ramped up their career services and refined their approaches for a tight
market. Kalamazoo College held a series of "career dinners" this spring for graduating seniors to meet
with job coaches. Luther College canvassed alumni via e‐mail to produce leads for students, and
Carleton College created an e‐mail list to share seniors' professional profiles with alumni and parents.
A tip from a professor helped Andrea Sinclair set her course. The public‐relations major at Kent State
University had already taken advantage of the recession special at the nearby FedEx Office: 25 free
printed résumés. "I applied for just about everything under the sun that I thought I could do," she says.
Then Ms. Sinclair's adviser, who knew she had a certificate in nonprofit management, recommended
her for a job that came across his desk. She interviewed for the position, with a local organization that
helps disabled adults find employment. The group hired her on an AmeriCorps Vista grant that will pay
$865 a month.
"I got a lucky break," Ms. Sinclair says. She plans to apply the program's $5,000 education grant
toward a master's degree in health‐care administration at Cleveland State University, which she hopes
will improve her chances of finding a permanent full‐time job.
Hideout With Homework
Graduate school provides a time‐honored recession hideout, and many students are hunkering down.
According to the Council of Graduate Schools, applications to many programs are up, some as much as
20 percent, while others have seen declines. Some career counselors reported seniors' staying a fifth
year to add a second major, and several institutions offered financial aid to seniors to enroll in
Erin Cornelius didn't expect to stay on at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, but back when she
decided to major in English, employment prospects abounded.
"It wasn't going to be a very big deal what my degree was in," Ms. Cornelius says, "because there was
going to be a job." Alas, she says, this year she began wishing for "marketable skills." When she saw a
friend in nursing struggling to find work, she figured that her own choice was fast food or grad school.
Ms. Cornelius considered oneand two‐year master's programs, but none particularly intrigued her.
Law seemed interesting, she thought, and three years would give the economy more time to recover.
She worried about accruing debt but received a scholarship from Alabama's law school and now plans
to take out what she considers a manageable $50,000 in loans.
Beyond refuge from the recession, Ms. Cornelius says some of her friends see another perk to
graduate school: "They don't want to get kicked off their parents' health insurance."
Excuse to Wander
Venturing into a tough market demands ingenuity, and Richard T. Berman thinks that's a good thing. In
nearly three decades counseling students, Mr. Berman, career‐services director at Carleton College,
has seen many of them become single‐minded too quickly. "It's amazing to me on what bases
undergraduates make decisions," he says.
In the absence of much information or direct experience, television shows and relatives' advice
influence students' choices, says Mr. Berman. Uncertainty is unsettling, he says: "We're much more
comfortable when we've made decisions, and we're not so good at doing the exploration."
This year requires some exploring.
Evan Rowe, a political‐science major who will graduate from Carleton this month, tried to remain
flexible. He was drawn to community organizations and public policy, but when an older friend
forwarded a posting for a job at Google, he followed up.
Mr. Rowe interviewed for the position, part of a nontechnical training program, in November, and
waited several months for a verdict. When he got the job, he decided to try it. "What mattered to me
is that I could learn a lot," he says.
He compares the perfect job to one true love. "Not any such thing," he says. "There are many different
ways I could be happy."
Katharine S. Brooks is encouraging students to wander. The recession is a good excuse, says Ms.
Brooks, director of liberal‐arts career services at the University of Texas at Austin and author of You
Majored in What? Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career (Viking 2009).
Many students are pursuing transitional opportunities this year, she says. One wants to lead
wilderness trips for troubled youth; some are going to teach English abroad. "They're being a little
more creative," she says.
Ms. Brooks looks forward to checking in with the Class of 2009 in two or three years. "'Well, I was
planning to do X, but then, just as I was graduating there was a recession,'" she imagines she'll hear.
"My hope," she says, "is that ultimately it will be a much more interesting story."
Columbia Daily Tribune
In tough job market, grads’ options are limited
By JANESE HEAVIN
Monday, June 1, 2009
Carrie Bien has an impressive résumé: She is equipped with degrees in journalism and Spanish with a
minor in business, plus a laundry list of leadership positions she’s held over the past four years.
But after graduating cum laude from the University of Missouri last month, Bien hasn’t landed a job.
Now, she’s trying to balance her desire to find meaningful employment with the need for income.
“The big question is, do I take a job right now because it’s a job?” she said. “When is the point where
I’m so desperate I have to take a job? How long do I get to be picky?”
Bien has become something of a poster child for unemployed graduates, mainly because she’s tracked
her job search on a blog. The publicity has prompted friends to offer her work, mostly in sales, but
she’s holding off.
Although Bien said she’s come to terms with the fact she likely won’t land a dream job right away, “I
am also not going to settle for a job in which I have no interest,” she wrote on her blog, “The Final 30
Days.” “I know that if I don’t care about what I am doing, I will hate my life.”
Graduates in this job market might have to whittle down their wish lists, though.
“They need to consider which part they’re willing to compromise,” said Amanda Nell, a coordinator at
the MU Career Center. “Is that salary, job title, relocation? The reality of the job market is that we
have a very overqualified group of individuals applying for entry‐level jobs.”
The university doesn’t have statistics, but Nell said many of the nearly 5,000 students who graduated
from MU last month have not yet found employment. “A lot of folks have decided to take on summer
internships or unpaid opportunities to try to get their foot in the door,” she said.
And more graduates have decided to continue their education instead of entering the work force. As
of May 1, 4,399 students had applied to graduate school at MU, compared with 3,952 last year at that
time, said Terrence Grus, director of graduate admissions and records. That’s an increase of 447
applications, although Grus stressed enrollment numbers won’t be official until fall.
Local trends mirror national data. Roughly 27 percent of all college graduates plan to go to graduate
school, compared with 24 percent last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and
Employers. And just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates are employed, compared with 26 percent last
Like many of her peers, Bien is relying on her parents for financial support until she’s able to earn a
“It’s so different from when they graduated,” she said. “Everyone had to have a job. Moving home or
staying on your parents’ tab wasn’t an option.”
MU Horn Choir to play at international symposium this week
By LINDSAY COCHRUM
Thursday, June 4, 2009
COLUMBIA — What has 150 fingers, 30 feet and a huge sound?
That would be the 15 members of the MU horn choir.
The group could have its own baseball team. In the words of its director, Marcia Spence: “You know
how treacherous playing French horn can be? Well, multiply that by 15.”
The choir consists of current MU French horn players, recent MU graduates, incoming MU freshmen
and a few adult players from around the area.
Spence, who has taught French horn at MU for 14 years, is taking the group to the International Horn
Society’s 41st Annual Horn Symposium this week at Western Illinois University. The symposium, held
in a different location each year, serves as a convention for horn players from around the world.
Because of the French horn’s unique four‐octave range, a group of horns can cover all the parts
needed in an ensemble piece, Spence said. Not many instruments can do the same.
“You don’t see many flute choirs,” she said.
Few other ensembles have just one instrument, she said, barring clarinet choirs, which include other
variations on the clarinet such as bass clarinet and e‐flat clarinet.
“It’s difficult to hear yourself; you have to be very independent, more independent than in band or
orchestra,” Spence said.
“It’s definitely harder than band or orchestra because each of us has to be the flute section, the saxes,
the trumpets,” said Laura Mudge, who graduated from MU with a degree in music education.
“I think it’s the most challenging music we play,” said Molly White of Jefferson City. “It pushes us.”
At the conference Wednesday, Spence will present a lecture and perform solo for her colleagues
before directing her ensemble later that night.
“This is quite an honor — several horn choirs will be performing noon concerts where, due to people
scrambling to get lunch, they may not have much of an audience," she said. "Performing just prior to
an evening concert pretty much guarantees a full house."
The MU horn choir is performing five pieces: “Mars — Bringer of War” from Holst’s “The Planets”;
“Anthem” by David Baptist; “Amazing Grace”; and two pieces arranged by Spence: “Quick March”
from “Sea Songs” by Ralph Vaughan‐Williams and “A John Williams Sampler.”
“Most of the horn players (at the conference) will be playing the same old stuff, and we’ll play
something new,” Spence said.
“John Williams is fun because it’s familiar and people know it. It’s also challenging because people
know it, so we have to sound good since people know what it’s supposed to sound like,” said player
Spence arranged the John Williams piece, which features themes from the “Olympic Fanfare,” “Indiana
Jones,” “Star Wars,” “ET” and “Jaws,” with her group in mind.
“It’s my little Frankenstein project, arranging for them,” Spence said. “(In the John Williams piece) I
arranged the high and low parts to the extreme.”
Spence took into account the strength of her players at the end of the spectrum, who can play notes
much higher and much lower than most players can.
Mudge appreciates the fact that Spence takes the time to tailor pieces to the group.
“She arranges music to challenge us and that fits us,” Mudge said.
Spence said she is pleased with the growth she’s seen in the group. Since some out‐of‐state members
will not be able to perform at the conference, she brought in high school graduates and private‐lesson
students who have only rehearsed five times with the entire ensemble.
“To inspire them to practice, I recorded our last rehearsal and made CDs for them and made them
listen to it as punishment,” Spence said good‐naturedly. “We sound much better today.”
“It’s exciting to see growth. As a teacher, that’s what you want to see,” she said.
Although attending horn conferences is common for horn performance majors, the players are excited
about this week’s opportunities.
“It will be good for them to go somewhere where everyone has a horn case. It’s like a planet where
everyone is just like you. There will be some people up practicing until 2 a.m. until the police come to
get them,” Spence said.
Lindsey Trevebaugh, who is working on her masters in music education, said she looks forward to
seeing guest artists and meeting horn faculty from other universities.
Conferences can be a good time to network with graduate school faculties and work with highly skilled
musicians in master's classes said Jaron Lester, a junior and a music education student.
Spence sent in a tape of the group last fall and was in turn invited to perform this week. The location is
as close to MU as it may be for a long time.
“Next year it’s in Australia. I’d love to take (the horn choir) there, but I just don’t think we can manage
that,” she said.
MU graduate hopes to help local filmmakers, pursue individual projects
By MEGAN OGAR
Monday, June 1, 2009
COLUMBIA — After graduating from MU with a degree in theater, Randy Sinquefield ended up
among the bright lights of Los Angeles, where he studied at the Brooks Institute of Photography,
and then moved on to work in the film industry. There, he worked in various areas of filmmaking,
and even produced a feature film.
Despite his success in the industry, Sinquefield, 30, a Los Angeles native, decided that it was time
for a switch from fast‐paced LA. He wanted to be able to pursue his own film projects at a low
cost and help others do the same. He decided on Columbia as the location for his new film
production company and studio.
"I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of LA to come to a quiet and creative
environment to pursue my own projects, but also to offer services and equipment rentals to
others," he said.
After moving to Columbia in January, Sinquefield opened Spectrum Studios, which offers video
and photography services, including equipment rental. The small‐scale studio at 210 St. James St.
also offers studio space and editing services.
Affordable local work
Several local filmmakers have taken advantage of the area's new partner in film. Brock Williams,
owner of Boxcar Films in Columbia, used Spectrum Studios' space to film a series of commercials
for Boone County National Bank.
Williams said having the studio in town makes film production projects easier. Before Spectrum
Studios, filmmakers like Williams had to rent equipment from companies in St. Louis or Kansas
City. For studio space or a green screen, filmmakers would most likely need to travel.
Now, they have most of what they need here in Columbia. It makes local work more affordable
without having to travel to shoot projects, according to Williams.
"[Sinquefield] has been really supportive of helping the filmmaking industry get off the ground
here in Columbia," Williams said. "I think it really opens up the possibilities for people to bring
bigger projects here and have the confidence that there will be the needed resources."
Columbia vs. LA
Sinquefield has been pleased with his switch. "It's a small film community, but it's a good one," he
said. "For the most part, people are very collaborative. It's not like the competitive, cut‐throat
nature I saw in LA."
Though Sinquefield is renting equipment to others and assisting local filmmakers, he hopes to be
able to create his own films. "It gives me the freedom to pursue my own projects," he said.
Sinquefield also had another, more personal, reason to come to Columbia. "I wanted to be close
to my family," Sinquefield said. He and his wife, Laura, are expecting their first child, and
Sinquefield's parents, Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, split their time between St. Louis and their
Though Randy Sinquefield, grew up in California, his family often visited Columbia on vacation,
and when the time came to choose a university, he chose MU. "I had a great experience at Mizzou
and thought it would be a great place to raise a family," he said.
For now, his company's focus is regional, working on local films and projects in St. Louis and
Kansas City. Sinquefield, however, has bigger aspirations. "I hope to cater nationally," he said.
One current project is preparing to film the U.S. Chess Championship in St. Louis. "I'm very excited
to be granted the opportunity to show this," he said.
Sinqeufield also looks forward to continuing to work with local filmmakers and expanding his
"It's been really great to come to a town and see how professional everyone is," he said. "It makes
me think I made the right choice."
Tiger Treasures collects 18 tons for Saturday’s rummage sale
By LINDSAY COCHRUM
Friday, May 29, 2009
COLUMBIA — This Saturday, you won’t have to dumpster‐dive to get your hands on some good
The third annual Tiger Treasures rummage sale can be your one‐stop shop for recently discarded
miniature refrigerators, T‐shirts and shower caddies.
The Salvation Army‐sponsored sale will run from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday on the east side of MU's
Memorial Stadium. All proceeds will benefit Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central
Missouri, the Salvation Army and the Voluntary Action Center.
Tiger Treasures will include items such as clothing, appliances, linens and carpeting collected from
MU's residence halls, fraternities and sororities. Entrance to the sale from 6 to 7 a.m. will cost $5
and will be free from 7 a.m. to noon.
Denise Gilmore, volunteer coordinator, said a team of more than 100 volunteers worked over the
past two weeks to empty collection bins and sort and price items for the sale. An additional 100
volunteers are expected to help run the sale.
Gilmore said most items are in good condition and will be priced by quality and size.
"A lot of the stuff we have is brand new, stuff still in the original plastic," Gilmore said. "Anything
that wasn't in good condition we already got rid of."
Gilmore said items such as sheet sets and bedding could go from $1 to $10, a significant price
decrease from what can be found in stores.
MU sustainability coordinator Steve Burdic said the Salvation Army collected 18 tons, or about
200 collection bins, for this year’s sale, up from 17 tons last year. The sale raised $14,000 last year
from about 2,500 people who attended, he said.
Burdic said the sale is modeled after similar programs at Notre Dame and Penn State.
“For years, we looked at the trash that came from residence halls, and we decided we wanted to
do something with it,” he said.
Any items not sold at Tiger Treasures go back to the Salvation Army thrift store. Stained or less
desirable clothes and linens will be bulk recycled for money, Gilmore said.
Kansas City Business Journal
UMKC’s Bloch School auctions trip to Tour de France
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The Bloch School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri‐Kansas City
is auctioning off a trip to the final stage of the 2009 Tour de France on July 26.
Proceeds from the auction will be used to support entrepreneurship programs at the business
The Bloch School, along with Team Garmin‐Slipstream, a professional cycling team primarily
sponsored by Olathe‐based Garmin International, is auctioning the trip on eBay, a popular online
The auction winner receives a trip to Paris for four people, passes to team staging areas and
sponsor seating near the finish line of this year’s Tour de France in central Paris, an event already
hyped by the return of American cyclist Lance Armstrong.
The auction ends June 11. As of Tuesday afternoon, 11 bids had pushed the auction price to
“Entrepreneurship is something we teach every day at the Bloch School,” Michael Song, director
of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Bloch School, said in a written
statement. “Given the importance of funding these vital education programs, it’s something we
had to exhibit as well in this case. All funds raised from this event will be used to help train future
student entrepreneurs enrolled at the Bloch School of Business.”
The Rolla Daily News
Nuran Ercal to serve as S&T’s first Vitek Chair of biochemistry
Friday, May 29, 2009
Rolla, Mo. – Dr. Nuran Ercal, professor of chemistry at Missouri University of Science and
Technology and an expert in the study of lead toxicity and free radicals in biological systems, has
been named the Richard K. Vitek/Foundation for Chemical Research Endowed Chair in
biochemistry at Missouri S&T. The position takes effect June 1.
The chair was established in 2005 through a lead gift of nearly $800,000 from Richard K. Vitek, a
1958 Missouri S&T chemistry graduate, and his wife, Marilyn. It will help combine the expertise of
faculty from the departments of chemistry, biological sciences, and chemical and biological
In addition to the gift from the Viteks, major contributions were provided by Missouri S&T’s
Foundation for Chemical Research (FCR) and other donors. A corresponding match from the
University of Missouri brings the total equivalent endowment value to nearly $2 million to
support the faculty member’s work.
“Dr. Ercal’s expertise has led to advances in cancer and HIV research, and her position as Vitek
Chair will enable her to accelerate these important medical advances,” says Dr. John F. Carney III,
chancellor of Missouri S&T. “This chair will help Missouri S&T bring together several departments
to advance research in analytical and environmental chemistry and biochemistry. We are grateful
to the Viteks, the Foundation for Chemical Research and the other donors for their vision and
generosity in supporting this significant chair.”
Ercal began work at Missouri S&T as a research associate in 1990. In 1993 she was named
assistant professor and associate professor in 1999. She was named professor of chemistry in
2005. Her research focuses on free radicals in biological systems, metal toxicity – particularly lead
poisoning and its treatment with antioxidants – and the benefits of antioxidants in the treatment
of free radical‐related conditions like radiation, nicotine exposure, alcohol overuse and HIV
Ercal served as visiting research professor at Washington University in St. Louis from 2000‐2001
and in July 2004, was named adjunct associate professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis
University, a position she still holds.
During her tenure at Missouri S&T, Ercal has won the Faculty Excellence Award five times. She
was named Outstanding Teacher twice and in 2003, was named Missouri S&T Woman of the Year.
She is an honorary member of Phi Eta Sigma, chair‐elect of the American Chemical Society, and a
member of Sigma Xi, the Oxygen Society, and the Missouri Academy of Science.
Ercal earned an M.D. degree from Istanbul Medical Faculty in Turkey in 1981. In 1988, she earned
a master of science degree in physiology from The Ohio State University. She earned a Ph.D.
degree in physiology from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, in 1990.
Vitek, a founding member of Missouri S&T’s Foundation for Chemical Research, is the founder
and retired chair and CEO of FOTODYNE Inc., the first company to manufacture laboratory
instruments for DNA research. He used his expertise in thin‐layer chromatography and
electrophoresis to produce equipment for the separation, ultraviolet visualization and analysis of
DNA. Throughout his career, he formed several other scientific subsidiaries. He retired in 2002.
The Viteks have just relocated to Clermont, Fla., from Dana Point, Calif.
“Giving back to Missouri S&T by way of a chair in biochemistry culminates my lifelong career that
started at MSM and expanded into chemical analysis, environmental contaminants and
biochemistry,” Vitek says. “This chair brings all these disciplines together to help meet
tomorrow’s needs in protecting our valuable resources from further environmental pollution and
to make new scientific breakthroughs in medical care.”
St. Louis Post‐Dispatch
Conceal carry permits could set record
By SUSAN WEICH
Monday, June 1, 2009
Missourians are rushing to arm themselves with concealed weapons at a record pace so far this year.
Criminologists and law enforcement officials say the increase may be driven by fear of increased crime
due to the recession and the perception of potential loss of gun rights from a new Democratic
"People just don't feel safe, whether it's with the political structure or the economic situation," said
Noelle Fearn, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Louis University.
In the St. Louis area, the surge is most marked in St. Charles, Warren, Lincoln and Jefferson counties,
where applications for the first four months of 2009 are between 114 percent and 144 percent higher
than for the same period last year, according to data provided by sheriff's departments.
In St. Louis, applications are up 49 percent this year, and St. Louis County's have risen 53 percent.
Illinois does not allow concealed carry.
In Missouri, no central database exists for new permits, but the Highway Patrol tracks the mandatory
criminal background checks it performs for new applicants.
The patrol did 14,333 checks in 2004, the first year the permits were issued in Missouri. The number
never came close until 2008, when it spiked dramatically to 18,466. However, through the third week
of May this year, the number of checks had already reached 14,088. Most applicants pass the
background check and get a permit.
Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison said people in his community have told him they are fearful that
as the economy gets worse, desperate people are going to try to take whatever they need.
"I think a lot of people are arming themselves, preparing for that encounter," he said.
Tim Schmidt, a spokesman for the United States Concealed Carry Association, said while overall gun
sales are up, the increase in concealed carry shows that more people want to have a gun for personal
protection outside the home.
Participants at a firearms class in Lincoln County last month expressed a variety of reasons for wanting
to carry a concealed weapon.
Vicki McMichael, 46, of St. Charles, said news reports about the murder of five women during an
armed robbery at a clothing store near Chicago last year caused her to start the process to carry
"I thought about how different the outcome would have been if one of them had a gun," she said. "It
evens up the odds."
A sense of security on solo fishing trips to remote areas was on the mind of Nellie Williams, 48, of St.
Charles. "At least now I've got something," she said.
Michael Baldwin, 36, of Lake Saint Louis, said he wanted to be able to safeguard his family against all
the violence in the world.
Ann Banks, 47, of Spanish Lake, said her father was a police officer who had always encouraged her to
protect herself, but politics were another consideration.
"Obama is going to make things difficult, and people are just trying to prepare themselves for that,"
But Richard Rosenfeld, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri‐
St.Louis and co‐author of "Crime and the American Dream," said the signals from the Obama
administration are that it will continue to favor the firearm policies of the previous administration.
An example is recent passage of a provision to allow the carrying of firearms in federal parks, an
extension of the policies of the previous administration, he said.
Lt. Chris Stocker, head of the Records Division of the St. Louis County Police Department, said many
people have expressed concerns about how the change not only in the presidency but in Missouri
governors could affect their right to bear arms.
"They're jumping on the bandwagon as quickly as possible believing that even if there were some
major change, they would be grandfathered in," Stocker said.
Paul Bastean, who runs local gun safety classes for concealed carry applicants, said he gets e‐mails
several times a day about potential threats to gun ownership, especially the Blair Holt Firearm
Licensing & Record of Sale Act, which would tighten licensing requirements.
The e‐mails encourage gun owners to join groups like the National Rifle Association to help protect
Schmidt said his conceal carry group has grown by almost 34 percent in the first quarter of 2009, more
than double the usual growth.
"People that are into firearms and self‐defense are afraid that their rights are going to be taken away
from them, so they will go out and spend money and time on what they perceive to be securing those
rights," he said.
Schmidt and Rosenfeld agreed that the increase in new permits appears to be happening in every state
that allows concealed carry. No organization tracks the numbers nationally, but both said they had
heard and read similar accounts from across the country.
Harrison of Warren County said he believes the trend is a sign of the times.
"I know people who have not put in gardens before who are now," he said. "People who didn't hunt
before are, and they are freezing the meat. They're stockpiling guns and ammo, and it's for protection
against those who would come and take what they've got."
Stinking ‘corpse flower’ due to bloom in St. Louis
Saturday, May 30, 2009
St. Louis ‐‐ Oh sure, there's a lot to be said for delicate, fragrant flowers. But it's a super big, stinky
one that's drawing visitors to the University of Missouri in St. Louis.
The school has opened a greenhouse to the public in anticipation of the imminent bloom of a
"corpse flower." The plant hasn't bloomed in eight years, and opens for less than a day. It gives off
a pungent odor similar to rotting meat, to attract the beetles that pollinate the plants.
The plant comes from Sumatra, and the university's greenhouse manager, Kathy Upton, has been
growing it for 14 years after receiving seeds from a collector.
Curiosity guides Dianne Lynch, Stephens College’s new leader
By EVAN BUSH
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
COLUMBIA — Everywhere she went Tuesday, new Stephens College President Dianne Lynch had
When Sara Linde, an equestrian teacher in her fourth year, told her that Stephens horses like
peppermints, Lynch asked, “How did you find that out?”
When Lynch met a group of Stephens theater students, she wanted opinions on the local fare: What's
the best ice cream? The best place to eat? Is there air conditioning when you perform? What’s your
Lynch had only been in town for a night before launching her term as president of the women's
college. Her inauguration will be in October. She succeeds Wendy Libby, who heads to Stetson
University in Florida. Lynch flew in on Monday and moved into Tower Hall, alongside students who are
on campus for summer classes. She will live there for the next month until her family arrives.
On Lynch's first morning on the job, she went on a brisk walking and driving tour of campus to
familiarize herself with the school she will oversee and the students and faculty with whom she will
work. Lynch looked in on a yoga lesson, horse washing at the stables, swordplay instruction in the
theater and tap dance practice — taking the opportunity during breaks for quick but intense
'You have to be where the students are'
Lynch, who left the Park School of Communication at Ithaca College in upstate New York, said she was
excited about her new position and was thrilled to see her new students in action.
“You can’t understand (Stephens) completely unless you’ve seen it in action," she said . "That means
you have to be where the students are.”
Lynch, 53, grew up in Madison, Wis., where she earned undergraduate and master's degrees in
journalism from the University of Wisconsin‐Madison. She received her doctorate from McGill
University in Montreal. Between her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she was a newspaper
reporter. After receiving her doctorate degree, she wrote columns for both ABC.com and
christiansciencemonitor.com. During graduate school, she began teaching and fell in love with it.
“There’ve been two times in my life where I walked into a professional office and felt completely at
home — the first in a newsroom, the second in a classroom,” she said.
As a master’s student, Lynch studied women in journalism and realized she could combine her
interests in journalism, teaching and women’s studies.
A better fit
“I’ve always wanted to work at a women’s college,” she said. “I really believe in the power and
potential of women’s networking and ways of women engaging in the world.”
Lynch had turned down the post as dean of the Journalism School at the University of California‐
Berkeley, a graduate‐only program. Later, when the Stephens position opened, something resonated.
“The opportunity to be president of Stephens is a better fit for me," she said. "It deepens my broader
interest in the education of women in liberal arts.”
Lynch comes to Stephens in an era of relative health; under Libby's watch, the college rebounded from
low enrollment and financial woes. In 2003, Stephens was $3.8 million in debt, and undergraduate
residential enrollment was at a low of 439 students. As of fall 2008, enrollment was at 754 students
and the debt had significantly decreased. Spokeswoman Amy Gipson said that by fall 2010, Stephens
anticipates a balanced budget.
“Following in her footsteps is impossible. Wendy’s a uniquely successful president, there’s no filling
her shoes," Lynch said. "She was exactly the right leader at the right time.” Still, Lynch hopes to
continue improvements to the school and to carve out a legacy for herself.
Her goals, her experience
Lynch wants Stephens to be recognized as one of the top women's colleges in the country. “The
institution is poised to move to the next level,” she said.
She hopes to use her journalism background to increase Stephens’ national presence but is confident
in her ability to manage the business aspects of her job as well. “My background in higher education
involves managing and leading an organization that is as complex as Stephens is,” Lynch said. “I know
how to manage a budget.”
Lynch said she is taking time to learn about and understand Stephens College and the community
surrounding it before she enacts changes. “Change is always gradual. There isn’t a moment where I’ll
pull the plug or flip the switch," she said. "Change is never about extremes. Over time there will be
gradual, evolutionary change at Stephens.”
Stephens students and faculty seemed pleased with their first impressions of Lynch.
“I think her background in media is great. We could use her experience in advertising and media," said
Jordan Slosar, a senior in equestrian business. "She seems like she’s going to do a really good job and
take us further.”
Linda Pattie, an administrative assistant in the equestrian instruction and training program, said she
trusts Lynch to lead Stephens through tough economic times. “I think she’s fabulous," Pattie said.
"Really down to earth and accessible, just warm. She’s a real comforting presence.”
Family coming soon
Lynch’s family has stayed behind in Trumansburg, near Ithaca. She will commute back home on
weekends until her family joins her in Columbia. Her husband, Phillip Coleman, and daughter, Annie,
11, will move to Columbia later this month or in early July after Annie finishes school in Ithaca. Lynch
said her family would have moved sooner, but Annie won the lead in a school production of "Peter
“I look at my own daughter and say, 'She’s a Stephens woman,'” said Lynch, noting Annie's interests in
the Stephens specialties of equestrian studies and theater. “This is the perfect place for her. Horses
and theater: What’s not to like?”
Annie will learn to ride on a horse named Chopper when she arrives in Columbia.
Lynch's husband, Coleman, who coordinated chemistry labs at Ithaca, retired last week to write poetry
and be a full‐time parent to Annie.
Lynch has two more children from another marriage and one step‐child, all of whom are in their mid‐
Throughout her tour of Stephens College, Lynch had a curiosity for what her students and faculty were
doing. She noted her journalism background as the reason. “That’s being a journalist — it’s all about
asking questions," she said. "I’m always willing to try. I’m all about adventures.”
But Lynch wasn’t taken aback when the questioning turned on her. When Becky Clervi, a Western
equestrian teacher asked, “So, for your first lesson to ride, what shoe size do you wear?”
Lynch replied: “Six and a half.”
Libby reflects on tenure as Stephens president
By LINDEN WILSON
Friday, May 29, 2009
COLUMBIA — Outgoing Stephens College president Wendy Libby can't pick just one favorite spot on
Historic Lela Raney Wood Hall is an obvious choice. The site of the school’s convocation, as well as
numerous alumni weddings and receptions, was restored during her tenure.
"It is such a center of activity for the community and the campus," Libby said. "We have redone the
offices to recapture the grace and style of the Stephens of many years ago.”
Another favorite: the equestrian stables.
“There is something very serene about being around these very large and powerful animals and the
bond you develop being there and being kind to them," she said.
Libby, who steps down as president Monday, will become the first female president of Stetson
University in DeLand, Fla., on July 1. Dianne Lynch, a former dean at Ithaca College, takes over as
president of Stephens on Tuesday.
Libby acknowledged that the hardest thing about her departure from Stephens is leaving a women’s
“My husband reminds me that Stetson is 60 percent women,” she said. “I need to bring with me that
same sense of ‘women who can do anything’ to the female student population there.”
Libby is credited with significantly revitalizing Stephens' image during her six‐year term as president.
She oversaw the restoration of several buildings, increased undergraduate enrollment and
implemented the successful Renaissance Plan, a five‐year strategic planning process that lifted
Stephens out of a financial crisis.
She said she is proudest of the positive results of the college’s November 2007 re‐accreditation
“It made clear that we had turned the institution around and had great prospects for the future," she
said. "I’m also very proud that the college has once again become a partner with the city of Columbia
and with the businesses and other institutions of higher education in town."
Doug Lange, vice president for business affairs, who worked with Libby at both Furman University and
Stephens, said her greatest legacy to the college was re‐establishing it as a strong women's institution.
"I think she's accomplished a lot. I think the biggest thing is at the emotional level — she gave the
college hope and stability," Lange said.
"She is one of those people that is absolutely genuine," Lange added. "Honest as the day is long. She's
a great boss and a great leader."
Linda Sharp, Stephens' registrar, called her "a ray of sunshine."
"I believe in her legacy, bringing the college back to the community of Columbia," Sharp said.
Libby also reinforced connections with alumni, students and faculty, Sharp said. "Opening
communication with the faculty and staff has been an important thing she's done here."
Amy Gipson, who worked with Libby for six years as vice president of marketing and public relations,
said "she united Stephens to a common purpose and made Stephens vibrant again."
Libby also served as adviser to a group on campus called the Ten Ideals that originated in 1921. Each
year, 10 students whose activities represent the overall ideals of Stephens College are selected as
personifications of individual ideals.
“Working closely with these women has given me a much more profound understanding of the value
of women’s education," Libby said. "I don’t get nearly as much time with students as I would like, so
this has been very fulfilling.”
The city of Columbia has also provided fulfillment for Libby, who said she loves its eclectic nature.
“I like that you can be going to the symphony one night and a country music concert the next night.
You can also be eating catfish one night, then eating classical French cuisine the next,” Libby said.
“When I think of Columbia, I think of what a small personal community it is, but also what a
cosmopolitan feel it has because of the numerous universities."
Libby said that she will mostly miss the friendships that she has made while serving as Stephens’
“Over these last couple of weeks we are saying goodbye to people who have been very dear friends of
ours and that’s hard,” she said. “We look forward to them coming to see us in Florida and also to
seeing them when we return to visit Columbia.”
Libby also praised her successor.
“She’s going to be a great president,” Libby said. “She has the energy and enthusiasm. She really
understands what Stephens is all about. I’m leaving the college in really good hands. She’s a very quick
study, and she will be able to make Stephens her own.”
Downtown future discussed
Conceptions of IDEA Commons focus of forum.
By DIDI TANG
Thursday, June 4, 2009
When city planners sketched the future for downtown Springfield a decade ago, no one saw the
coming of a research center.
Now, the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center on Boonville Avenue is poised to influence the
growth around it, especially after Missouri State University ‐‐ which owns the research center ‐‐ said it
wants to establish an extended campus called IDEA Commons around JVIC.
On Wednesday, a panel of three architects, one marketer and one city planner shared their thoughts
on what IDEA Commons could ‐‐and shouldn't ‐‐become.
Ralph Rognstad, director of planning and development for the city of Springfield, said MSU's extended
campus should not turn into a single‐use area such as the government plaza, where a monoculture
excludes other uses.
"It needs to be integrated into the downtown," Rognstad said. "We need to create diversity so there
are activities 24 hours a day."
MSU architect Terry Rowland said bars and restaurants ‐‐ privately developed ‐‐ are among the venues
for congregation. Space also can be set aside for public parks, Rowland said.
Springfield architect Tim Rosenbury championed the concept that the use on the ground floors of
downtown buildings should flow onto the streets to help create a public realm.
"The streets are the commons," Rosenbury said.
MSU first proposed IDEA Commons last year when it announced plans to buy several city properties in
the vicinity of JVIC.
IDEA, which stands for innovation, design, entrepreneurship and arts, provides the overarching theme
for the development of this extended campus, which university officials say will encompass 30 acres
University officials say the Commons can help spur more private development projects such as lofts,
restaurants and bars in the neighborhood.
Public‐private partnerships are crucial to the success of IDEA Commons, Rowland said.
Rognstad said the city would continue to provide gap funding to assist private developers while
improving public streets.
The city has identified Boonville Avenue as a main corridor, and it has been improving the street, said
Martin Gugel, a professional engineer with the city's public works.
The city has completed the work between Olive and Tampa streets ‐‐ not only having made aesthetic
improvements above the ground, but also updating underground utilities lines and adding new storm‐
water systems, Gugel said.
The city now is moving to work on Boonville near Commercial Street as well as between Tampa Street
and Chestnut Expressway, Gugel said.
The city also considers Phelps Street a street for improvement, as it connects Campbell to Sherman
avenues, though the street has no funding source at this point, Gugel said.
Phelps borders the university's JVIC on the south side and the Willow Brook property on the north
Last month, MSU bought the 3.5‐acre former poultry plant downtown property, where the university
intends to set up its technology and construction management programs.
On Wednesday, the public was invited to tour the ground of IDEA Commons and adjacent new
businesses, such as Inveno Health Inc., a spin‐off venture from JVIC; the upscale home décor store
Obelisk Home; and the apartments in the Oberman building, which was refurbished with low‐income
housing tax credits.
Edgar "Rock" Hagens, who runs a clothing shop a few doors down from Inveno, popped in to see his
new neighbor and was impressed.
"It brings more people here," he said with a big smile.
Cynthia Lipscomb, an architect who works downtown, was on the tour.
"It's wonderful," she said of IDEA Commons. "It's great for the city. It draws people here, and it helps
Nancy Crandall, who is semi‐retired, said she liked what she saw on the tour but wished for one more
"It just needs a little market where you can get meat and produce," Crandall said.
Tour future IDEA campus
MSU, partners host free exposition for public to observe.
By DIDI TANG
Monday, June 1, 2009
Imagine entrepreneurs, artists and researchers rubbing shoulders, sharing over a cup of coffee ideas
that may result in breakthrough discoveries or profitable enterprises right here in the Queen City.
That's the hope of Missouri State University for its IDEA Commons, an extended campus university
that officials are establishing in downtown Springfield, where academia can meet city life and ideas
To promote the downtown campus and encourage more private development in the vicinity, MSU is
teaming with St. John's, the Urban Districts Alliance and two downtown companies to host a free four‐
day exposition this week.
Throughout the week, the public is invited to tour the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center ‐‐ the
direct spur of the IDEA Commons ‐‐ walk the premises of the future campus, partake in planning its
future and have fun.
"We want to celebrate the IDEA Commons," said Rusty Worley, executive director of Urban Districts
Alliance, noting many in the community have yet to learn about MSU's plan for the extended campus,
which was first unveiled a year ago.
Riding on the success of the JVIC research center created in an old MFA mill, the university announced
last summer it would acquire five surrounding city‐owned properties for $450,000 and proposed its
plan for the IDEA Commons for the first time.
By November, the university had signed a contract to buy the former Willow Brooks facility and the 3.5
acres it stands on for $1,975,000.
The deal was closed on in May.
The land deals, together with JVIC and an adjacent Brick City building MSU leases, have given IDEA
Commons its initial boundaries.
Eventually, the university wants to expand the extended campus to 30 acres, including its existing
building closer to Park Central Square, MSU officials have said.
IDEA stands for innovation, design, entrepreneurship and arts, and it is the theme the university will
follow as it brings relevant programs and projects onto the extended campus, said Terry Rowland, a
JVIC, for example, is a university‐owned research center where technology companies lease space, set
up laboratories and work with MSU students and researchers on cutting‐edge projects.
The Brick City building houses the university's arts and design programs.
The former Willow Brook building may house the university's technology and construction
management department, according to the university's tentative plans.
As funds become available, the university will shape up the downtown campus with more detailed,
concrete plans, MSU officials have said.
Meanwhile, the university is seeking partnerships, both public and private, for the extended campus,
As much as the university's presence benefits downtown businesses, private ventures surrounding the
campus ‐‐ such as apartments and restaurants within walking distance‐‐ can boost the attraction of the
campus, Rowland said.
"It's a symbiotic relationship," Rowland said.
In 2007, city planners drafted a 15‐page JVIC activity center plan, hoping the area would grow into a
thriving district for nano‐technology companies.
While the plan is clearly in need of revision for its name and boundaries, the city's director of planning
and development said the city will continue to encourage dense development with mixed uses around
"We want to see activities extended throughout the day and into the night," said Ralph Rognstad, the
city's director for planning and development. "People will have a seamless lifestyle: they can walk to
their condos, they can walk over to have lunch, they can walk to a bar."
Existing zoning regulations allow for such development, which blends apartments, offices and shops
on the same property rather than separating them a distance apart as is typical in suburbs.
The city also can facilitate the growth by upgrading infrastructure and beautifying streets around IDEA
Commons, Rognstad said.
"The public investment can bring private investment," Rognstad said.
The public is invited to offer their thoughts for the campus.
Worley of the UDA said the community may suggest amenities such as greenway trails or a plaza for a
Planning for downtown Springfield probably would be part of a citywide strategic planning exercise
city officials are pondering, Worley said.
Columbia Daily Tribune
Wash U building aims for ultra‐green status
By BETSY TAYLOR
Saturday, May 30, 2009
EUREKA (AP) — Washington University unveiled a building yesterday that it hopes to have
recognized as one of the greenest structures in North America.
The Living Learning Center looks something like a souped‐up log cabin, combining both wood
harvested from trees on the property with the latest advances in environmentally friendly design.
It’s located at the university’s Tyson Research Center, a 2,000‐acre property where environmental
research is done about 20 miles from the school’s main campus in St. Louis. The new, 2,900‐
square‐foot Living Learning Center is in the final stage of construction and was designed to be a
zero‐net‐energy and zero‐wastewater building.
The center is being built to meet the “living building” challenge developed by the Cascadia Region
Green Building Council. A building must meet 16 requirements to be considered a “living
No building has met the standard yet, which is considered the world’s most stringent green
building rating. The standard is not meant to compete with the better known LEED rating system,
but as an additional way to encourage green building design and construction.
“Every nail, every screw, every light fixture had to be scrutinized to meet the standards,” said
research center Director Jonathan Chase. The Living Learning Center outside of Eureka can’t be
deemed a “living building” until the university is able to show it has met the necessary
requirements for a year.
Chase pointed out unique aspects of the roughly $1.6 million building. “The hope is that it would
change the ways we think about things, not only water and energy but the materials, how we buy
them or how we use them,” he said.
St. Louis Post‐Dispatch
Energy‐saving stimulus requests in area total $22 million
By PHIL SUTIN
Monday, June 1, 2009
Seven cities and six counties in the St. Louis area are going after $22.3 million in federal stimulus
money for energy‐saving projects.
The proposed projects range from University City's pursuit of $149,000 to eliminate some of its 4,600
streetlights, to St. Louis County's application for $8.5 million to improve energy efficiency in county
University City spends about $600,000 a year on its streetlights.
"We're overlit," says Petree Eastman, assistant to the city manager.
The city wants to remove lights on major roads, such as Olive Boulevard — not on residential streets
or in decorative fixtures, she said.
The city would use most of its $149,600 allocation to hire an engineering intern from Washington
University to plot the locations of all lights and pay for staff time to remove unneeded ones.
O'Fallon, Mo., officials on Wednesday will present options for using its $681,200 allocation to a
committee that would prepare a proposal the City Council would consider June 11. Among options are
installing solar electricity panels at the city community center, purchasing hybrid vehicles and
converting trucks to use biodiesel fuel, said Jack Strick, the manager of community development
St. Louis County, aside from making its buildings more energy efficient, would like to encourage "green
economic development," said Garry Earls, the chief operating officer.
The county received 16 responses to its request for proposals for a consultant to help prepare a plan
for spending its allocation of nearly $8.5 million. The responders ranged from some of the nation's
largest infrastructure planning companies to a one‐person company in Houston, Texas. The county
expects to spend no more than $250,000 on the plan.
St. Charles County wants to spend a third of its $593,300 proposal to help people become more energy
efficient. It also wants to install a separate air‐conditioning system for staff offices at the Family Arena.
Now the county has to cool the entire building just to keep the offices air‐conditioned, said Jennifer
George, director of policy, research and community development.
Florissant, which would be eligible for $452,200, would like to buy 10 electric vehicles for city
inspectors, and install solar electricity panels on the roof of the James J. Eagan Community Center,
Mayor Robert Lowery said.
Jefferson County would like to make energy efficient the county annex building in the 700 block of
Maple Street in Hillsboro. The county will receive slightly more than $1.9 million.
Other cities and counties applying, and the amount they would receive, are: Franklin County,
$414,300; Madison County, $2,490,200; St. Clair County, $2,040,800; Chesterfield, $219,500; St.
Charles, $615,600; St. Louis, $3,717,500; and St. Peters, $512,800.
St. Louis Post‐Dispatch
The Grade Blog: U of I to form task force to look at admissions practices
By KAVITA KUMAR
Monday, June 1, 2009
The leaders of the University of Illinois announced today that they are forming a task force to
examine admissions practices and, in the meantime, will suspend the usage of a special category
of applicants who are recommended by lawmakers, university trustees, and other prominent
The announcement comes in the wake of a Chicago Tribune series that revealed that students at
the Urbana‐Champaign with subpar academic records had in some cases been admitted after
state lawmakers and university trustees recommended that the university admit them. In some
cases, admission officials reversed decisions to reject students under this pressure.
The Tribune said that about 800 undergraduate students have landed on this clout list since 2005.
The acceptance rate of this group — 77 percent — was higher than that of the average of the
general pool, which was 69 percent in 2008‐09. On top of that, the patronage applicants had
lower ACT scores and class ranks on average than admitted students.
The university said that the task force will examine how contacts from legislators, trustees, alumni
and others have been managed in the past and what the best practices are at peer institutions.
The task force will recommend “what changes should be made going forward to ensure the
integrity of the admissions process,” a news release said.
The task force will be made up of at least one faculty member as well as people external to the
university. The members of the group and a timetable for its work will be announced later.
Admission to the Urbana‐Champaign campus has gotten more competitive in recent years. This
year, it received 26,000 applicants for 7,000 spots for the incoming class this fall.
Number of students filing for financial aid spikes
By JESSICA MACHETTA
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The number of Missourians applying for student loans is showing a significant increase.
Anyone applying for help paying college tuition must fill out a FASFA form ‐‐ free application for
federal student aid.
Leroy Wade with the Department of Higher Education says when comparing the first quarter of
this year to last year, Missouri has seen an overall increase of about 17.4 percent
That percentage includes all students. But in breaking down
the numbers further, the report shows that for independent students (those not under the
financial support of their parents), which is it appears the economic situation to hit the hardest,
the increase is about 23.1 percent.
Nationwide, the numbers increase. Missouri lags behind the national average, which shows a 20.8
percent increase in total FAFSAs filed and a 27.3 percent increase in filing by independent
Wade says the increase could indicate that more current students are seeking financial aid, that
education officials' efforts to make the application process easier are paying off, or that economic
factors are increasing enrollment. Institutions are reporting higher enrollment rates, Wade says,
and some of those enrolling for college are the same people who have lost their jobs due to lay‐
The U.S. Department of Education issued the following numbers for the first quarter of the 2009‐
10 academic year:
Missouri: 72,614 Dependent Students; 58,177 Independent Students (130,791 Total)
Nationally: 3,723,086 Dependent Students; 2,862,921 Independent (6,586,007 Total)
First quarter 2008‐09 academic year –
Missouri: 64,127 Dependent Students; 47,250 Independent Students (111,377 Total)
Nationally: 3,201,306 Dependent; 2,248,468 Independent (5,449,774 Total)
Columbia Daily Tribune
Op‐ed: MOST 529: investing in kids’ future
By CLINT ZWEIFEL
Sunday, May 31, 2009
In the Missouri treasurer’s office, we are always working on the state’s investments for taxpayers.
Around May 29, national 529 College Savings Day, we like to take a step back and look at the
investments Missourians are making in children’s higher education each and every day.
Each year, 529 College Savings Day promotes the importance of setting aside money for children early
and often in a 529 College Savings Plan. Missouri’s plan is MOST 529.
In these tough times, it becomes even more important to remember there are small investments we
can make that can pay big dividends in the future. One of the most important investments we can
make is in our children, and MOST 529 makes it easy. With this plan, small investments over a long
period of time can pay off. For as little as $25, anyone can open a MOST 529 account for a child and
see that investment grow with time. With the power of compounding, an investment can have real
results for a child’s education. Investing early and consistently is critical.
One example to consider when thinking about saving for college is that an investment of just $50
made each month into a MOST 529 account from the time a child is a newborn to when he or she is 18
could accumulate $16,633. This example, based on a 5 percent annual return, is not guaranteed, but it
displays the power of small investments. It shows clearly you do not have to invest large sums to make
an impact on a child’s life — an impact that brings that child closer to the dream of a college
The lesson of making small investments is something I learned when I was growing up. My parents did
not have large sums of money. My dad was a carpenter, and my mom was a hairdresser, and we did
not have a lot of financial sophistication. But I think I learned more about investing from my parents
and my family than I did from anyone. It was the idea that if you are a member of a community you
should stand up and get involved. It is the idea that you are making a small investment. My parents did
not have the money to figure out whether mutual funds or direct stock investment were their best
choice, but they had small resources and the ability to teach a child about investing. That is what
MOST 529 is about. It is a program that can be used early and often by everyone.
When I think about MOST 529, I think about being the first in my family to walk on a college campus
and graduate. I think about the opportunities I was given and the teachers who took an interest in me.
It was a dream full of opportunities I never knew existed, and it was started by the small investments
my parents made in me early and often. I encourage Missourians to make that same investment in the
lives of children they know.
Please take a moment to visit www.missourimost.org or call (888) 414‐MOST. The plan offers federal
and state tax benefits, low costs and flexible ways to contribute. Go online or call to pick the
investment options that are right for the child in your life.
Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel is chairman of the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program Board,
which oversees the MOST 529 Plan.
The Kansas City Star
Nixon picks 2 for student loan, housing boards
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
JEFFERSON CITY | Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has named a former college president to a state
student loan board and a former county prosecutor to a state housing panel.
Former Truman State University President Jack Magruder will serve on the Missouri Higher
Education Loan Authority. Magruder lives in Kirksville and is now president of A.T. Still University.
Also on Tuesday, the governor appointed Timothy Joyce of Warrenton to the Missouri Housing
Development Commission. Joyce was the Warren County prosecutor from 1981 to 1991. He now
works in private legal practice.
Both selections require Senate confirmation when the Legislature convenes next year, but the
appointees can serve on an interim basis until then.
Missouri governor promotes new economic development law in Columbia
The Associated Press
Friday, June 5, 2009
COLUMBIA — Gov. Jay Nixon visited the Missouri Career Center in Columbia on Thursday to
promote newly signed legislation that could give tax breaks to thousands of Missouri businesses.
Missouri must take “bold, direct action” in fighting the ailing job market, Nixon said at the career
center. “For too many months in a row, our economy has been broken."
Nixon signed House Bill 191 on Thursday morning, eliminating Missouri's corporate franchise tax
for most of the businesses that pay it and enlarging the tax incentives available for employers
who expand their payrolls or plants.
After signing the measure, Nixon departed on a ceremonial tour to promote the measure's job‐
creation potential. He planned stops in St. Louis and Kansas City, with additional events next
The legislation, which passed on the final day of Missouri's legislative session, was the top priority
this year for the Democratic governor and for some Republican legislative leaders.
The legislation passed only after supporters of expanded business incentives compromised with
lawmakers who fear tax credits are draining the state's budget. The final version includes new
limits on tax credits for the renovation of historic buildings and for projects backed by the
Missouri Development Finance Board.
The ultimate cost or benefit of the legislation is somewhat unclear; a legislative oversight office
had not completed a financial estimate of the measure by Thursday.
Despite the uncertainty, Nixon said that the cost of waiting to sign the bill would be greater than
signing it when he did.
He praised the law as a "decisive action to help businesses create jobs."
He highlighted a portion of the legislation that increases eligibility for state job‐training incentives.
The law will also increase the asset threshold that triggers Missouri's franchise tax to $10 million
from the current $1 million. Nixon has said that will exempt about three‐quarters of the roughly
20,000 businesses that currently pay the tax, resulting in a $14.5 million tax cut for small
The law expands several popular tax credits, including the Quality Jobs Program that applies to
employers who add jobs with at least average wages and health benefits. The law raises the cap
on Quality Jobs tax credits to $80 million from the current $60 million, giving state economic
development officials greater flexibility to target businesses.
The tax‐credit cap will be raised to $25 million from the current $15 million for both the New
Markets and the Business Use Incentives for Large‐Scale Development programs.
New Markets provides tax credits to equity investments in development projects located in areas
with significant poverty rates or low incomes. BUILD provides aid for companies to pay off bonds
used to build their plants.
Supporters are hopeful the package will encourage expansions by several companies, including St.
Louis‐based seed maker Monsanto Co. and Lee's Summit‐based battery maker Kokam America
“When businesses want to expand, we want their first thought to be Missouri, not another state,”
But fewer developers may be able to participate in a state program that provides a tax credit
equal to 25 percent of the cost of redeveloping historic buildings. The renovation program has
functioned as an entitlement for those who qualify. During the first three quarters of Missouri's
2009 fiscal year, the state had redeemed more than $157 million of historic preservation tax
The new law limits the state to approving $140 million annually in historic preservation tax credits
for large projects. Renovations costing less than $1.1 million will not be subject to the cap — an
exception insisted upon by the program's advocates.
The law also limits the amount of infrastructure tax credits that can be authorized by the Missouri
Development Finance Board to $10 million annually, or $25 million if three executive branch
officials approve of the higher figure. Previously, the board could issue an unlimited amount of tax
credits so long as the executive officials gave their approval.
Missourian reporter Marty Swant contributed to this story.
Economy forces thousands to go for GED
By BOB PRIDDY
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Hundreds of Missourians have decided not to waste and economic crisis.
When the economy is good, people who quit high school have an easier chance to find jobs....and
keep them. But when the economy goes south and they lose that job, the lack of a piece of paper
makes it hard in times like these to find a new one. That's why GED classes throughout the state
are often full.
State GED administrator Bill Poteet says 12‐thousand people took the tests for the high school
equivalency certificate last year. Nine thousand passed the test that is harder than many people
Poteet says adult education programs are adding classes and test opportunities as more people
realize a diploma will help get that new job. The state education department doubled the number
of test dates since January first. "We can chart the economy...by the number of people who are
coming to us," he says.
Poteet says the main purpose of the program is to get people to the goals they want to achieve.
He says about sixty percent of the people who go through the GED program want to go on to
The Boston Herald
Higher‐education bubble could bust next
Boston experts’ article causes academic stir
By JAY FITZGERALD
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Two prominent higher‐education experts are warning that the financial structure of colleges and
universities may be the next “bubble” to burst in America.
The result could be mergers, closures and even bankruptcies of smaller colleges that have spent
too much and taken on too much debt based on a shaky system of student loans paying for ever‐
rising tuitions, say Joseph Marr Cronin, former secretary of education in Massachusetts, and
Howard E. Horton, president of Boston’s New England College of Business and Finance.
The duo raised a stir within academic circles last week when they penned a joint opinion piece in
the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst?”
Their answer to their own quesiton: Yes.
The problem is colleges ‐ funded by a seemingly unending stream of student‐loan money, backed
largely by the U.S. government ‐ have kept raising tuitions at rates far ahead of inflation and then
spent every nickel they got.
The higher‐ed scenario that some see unfolding is eerily similar to the recent dot‐com and
subprime‐mortgage bubbles, though most experts say a high‐education bubble burst won’t be
nearly as dramatic as those two debacles.
Some say the higher‐ed bubble may already have burst, considering that even Harvard, MIT and
other major higher‐ed institutions are now cutting their budgets and staffs, amid a global financial
crisis that’s hammered endowments and limited the availability of private student‐loan credit.
But Cronin and Horton say the real day of reckoning may actually be a few years down the road.
Larger and more prestigious institutions with big endowments, such as Harvard, MIT, Tufts,
Boston College, Boston University and others, will survive, they say.
But small‐ and medium‐size private schools, often heavily dependent on tuition money to operate
schools, face enormous financial pressures.
Students are racking up huge student‐loan debts, now averaging more than $20,000 per graduate,
to pay for tuition and room‐and‐board, which combined can run as high as $50,000 a year ‐ or
$200,000 for a four‐year college education.
Sooner or later, there’s going to be a breaking point, say Cronin and Horton.
At the New England College of Business and Finance, tuition has been slashed from $40,000 to
$20,000, in order to make the largely online school more affordable and attractive to what many
think will be a smaller pool of students going to college in future years, said Horton.
“We’re trying to say, ‘This (rising tuition) has gotten way out of hand and has got to stop,”’ said
Horton in an interview last week.
Cronin told the Herald that other private schools are not reacting fast enough to market
pressures, which are forcing more kids to go to lower‐cost public universities and community
He predicts at least 20 to 40 college could close in the next few years.
Analysts at Standard & Poor’s and the College Board are making similar predictions.
Gerard Cassidy, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, also believes a financial bubble has long been
building within higher‐ed ‐ and recent financial woes at schools may only be a harbinger of what’s
“You’re going to see some bankruptcies,” he said. “A breaking point is going to come (for some
He said the classic bubble formula exists: widely available cheap money mixed with an “excess” in
spending and tuition rates.
“There’s going to be a real problem,” he said.
The community college option, part 6: Area coalition looks at Greene County’s success with
community college, university
By ALAINA BUSCH
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Editor's note: This is the last in a series examining higher education issues in the Cape Girardeau area.
After Ozarks Technical Community College opened in Springfield, Mo., in 1991, its enrollment and
facilities soon started expanding.
Voters around Springfield opted to convert the Graff Area Vocational Technical Center into a
community college in 1990. Ozarks, which started with three buildings in Springfield, now has two
campuses and education centers in Waynesville, Lebanon and Branson.
Part of the ongoing community college debate in Cape Girardeau focuses on what other institutions
have done to expand higher education. A coalition of 11 business and education leaders has been
meeting since 2007 to address higher education needs in the Cape Girardeau area.
It commissioned a study last year to assess the needs of the region. One of the five options mentioned
in the study outlined the conversion of the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center into a
community college, similar to what happened in Springfield nearly 20 years ago. One member of the
coalition, businessman Earl Norman, said he would like to duplicate Ozarks' success in Cape Girardeau.
However, Ozarks president Dr. Hal Higdon said the situations in Springfield and Cape Girardeau are not
the same. Springfield had no other options for worker retraining before the center's conversion.
"I keep hearing people say the similarities are there, but they're not," he said.
When manufacturers, such as Zenith, started leaving the area, voters realized the need to establish a
community college, he said.
"The writing was on the wall that a lot of jobs were going to leave Springfield," he said.
Cape Girardeau has associate degree and technical training options, but members of the coalition
agree the process of obtaining higher education could be streamlined.
Ozarks developed its student body around the same time Missouri State University, then Southwest
Missouri State University, was becoming a more selective institution. The two institutions also worked
together to develop a relationship during that time even though the college's presence had a direct
effect on the university's enrollment.
Declined at first
Enrollment of Missouri State University freshmen declined after the community college opened, said
Don Simpson, assistant vice president for enrollment management at Missouri State.
In 1991, the university had 3,064 entering freshmen. By 1995, there were 2,573 entering freshmen.
Overall enrollment dropped from 19,504 in 1991 to 16,439 in 1995. Simpson said the university has
since experienced growth during 10 of the last 12 years. Fall 2008 enrollment was 21,688.
Ozarks opened with 1,198 degree‐seeking students. Last year, the college enrolled 11,167 students at
its campuses and education centers.
Simpson said Ozarks provided an option for students who did not meet the newer, more competitive
standards at the university.
"The fact that they are here has certainly made it easier for us to achieve that without alienating our
constituents in the area," he said.
While freshmen numbers dropped, the university saw a significant increase in transfer students,
Simpson said. In fall 2008, 1,136 transfer students enrolled in the university, up 7.9 percent from 2007.
He said the number of graduate students also increased throughout the years. During the first five
years of the community college, graduate enrollment at the university grew steadily from 1,563 to
Simpson said the university loses students who stay at the community college to complete a lower‐
price degree or to use the state's A+ program, which pays for two years at a community college for
qualifying high school students.
"It's just a choice for students that they can make," he said.
The possibility of creating a complementary relationship between Southeast Missouri State University
and a community college would benefit higher education in the area, Norman said.
Rich Payne, director of the Career and Technology Center, said classroom space is available to
accommodate more programs there. The center offers associate degree programs through Mineral
Area College in Park Hills.
Mineral Area president Dr. Steven Kurtz said he would proceed cautiously with additional programs if
the coalition chose that option. He said he wanted his college to break even on further investment in
Cape Girardeau, keeping in mind that there might be a movement in the future to establish a separate
community college taxing district.
The coalition's study, released in April, compared trends in Cape Girardeau and Springfield by
analyzing population numbers, university enrollment and education levels of residents. It found that
the number of people pursuing an associate degree or some level of college decreased in Cape
Girardeau County while it increased in Greene County, where Springfield is located.
Between 1990 and 2007, the number increased by 3.63 percent in Greene County while the number of
people seeking the same education level in Cape Girardeau County decreased by 7.78 percent. The
study said the disparities were a result of more nontraditional students pursing training opportunities
The study also illustrated the differences between the populations and enrollments at the local four‐
year university. The population of Greene County is more than three times that of Cape Girardeau
County. Missouri State also enrolled about 10,000 more students than Southeast last fall.
Higdon said the population difference will pose the biggest challenge for Cape Girardeau. There is a
smaller tax base to draw funding from and a smaller community to feed its growth, he said.
Establishing a voter‐approved taxing district is a tough sell in a good economy, he said. Instead,
institutions should work together to expand programs without preventing duplication.
"Springfield was not a tough sell because they had no options," he said.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Negotiations over rules for higher education act end with mixed success
By KELLY FIELD
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Washington – Negotiations over rules to carry out the latest version of the Higher Education Act ended
last month with compromise on several sticky issues, including accreditation and student loans, but
with Education Department officials and stakeholders unable to find common ground on Pell Grants
and other federal programs.
Participants in the accreditation discussions praised the process as a big step toward mending the rift
with federal officials that developed after a 2006 report from a commission appointed by then‐
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings recommended that accrediting agencies set specific
accountability standards for institutions.
Two other rule‐making panels also reached consensus on proposed rules governing student‐loan
issues. The Education Department will issue proposed rules reflecting those three panels' agreements
in the coming weeks.
But two other panels ended their talks at an impasse, including the groups crafting rules for college‐
preparatory programs and non‐loan issues. That means the department will be free to issue any
regulations it wants, without regard to compromises reached during negotiations.
The five panels have been meeting monthly since February to craft the rules that will determine how
legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which was enacted last year, will be carried out on
college campuses and at student‐loan companies.
Negotiators on accreditation issues, which had been expected to be among the toughest to resolve,
were able to work out their differences on several key topics.
For instance, the draft rules originally suggested several indicators that accreditors might collect to
measure an institution's performance, including financial audits, student‐retention and graduation
rates, job‐placement statistics, and data about the number of students who passed state licensing
Accrediting agencies resisted that language, fearing that the Education Department was introducing
the kinds of benchmarks for accreditation that Congress prohibited under the law. The language that
negotiators agreed upon instead uses broader terms, saying "the [accrediting] agency must regularly
collect and analyze key data and performance indicators, including but not limited to financial
information and measures of student success."
On another front, some accrediting groups were concerned about draft rules that gave greater
authority to Education Department officials if the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality
and Integrity, a federal panel charged with reviewing college accreditors, is not functioning. That panel
was disassembled in the Higher Education Act and will not be re‐formed until next year, when the final
regulations are set to take effect.
To ease concerns that the new rules could undermine the role of the advisory committee, negotiators
added the caveat that a senior Education Department official would only make a final decision to
approve or reject an accrediting agency "under extraordinary circumstances."
Accrediting agencies were also worried about rules that would prohibit them from informing
institutions if the department made an inquiry about that college. The compromise language approved
by negotiators relaxes that condition slightly, by saying that accrediting agencies can decide on a case‐
by‐case basis whether to inform an institution about a department investigation, unless the
department specifically requests that the agency keep that inquiry confidential.
General Loan Issues
The panel on general loan issues reached consensus after the department consented to changes to
rules affecting disabled borrowers and married borrowers who are paying back their loans through an
Under current rules, borrowers who become unable to work because of a condition expected to result
in death or permanent disability can have their federal loans discharged after three years, as long as
they do not receive new federal student loans or have earnings in excess of the poverty line for a
family of two during that time. If they do, the loans are reinstated.
Earlier in the negotiations, the Education Department had proposed doing away with the conditional
three‐year period and creating a five‐year monitoring period instead. Under that proposal, if a
borrower had received a new loan or earned income in excess of the poverty line — pegged to the
individual's actual family size — during that time, his or her loan would have been reinstated, and the
borrower would have had to pay interest back to the date of discharge.
Negotiators representing students and consumers complained that it would be unfair to make
borrowers repay interest that had accrued while they were still eligible for a discharge and asked the
department to stick with the three‐year time frame for monitoring. They also asked the department to
allow borrowers to appeal a reinstatement.
In the final round of negotiations, the department accepted the three‐year monitoring period and
agreed that borrowers whose loans were reinstated could pay back interest only to the date when
they were no longer eligible for a discharge. The department did not create a formal appeals process,
but it did agree to notify borrowers 60 days before their loans were reinstated.
On the issue of married borrowers, existing rules penalize married individuals who file joint tax returns
by counting both spouses' incomes, but not their debts, in the formula used to determine eligibility for
income‐based repayment. That has made it harder for married borrowers to qualify for income‐based
repayment, which allows borrowers to repay their loans as a percentage of income, or increased the
amount they must pay if they do.
Earlier in the discussions, the department had proposed allowing married borrowers to separate out
each spouse's income when applying for income‐based repayment. Negotiators representing students
and consumers asked the department to either extend the change to borrowers whose spouses did
not have student loans, or to factor in both borrowers' incomes and debts when determining their
joint eligibility for income‐based repayment.
The department agreed to allow married borrowers to combine their debts when applying for income‐
based repayment. Under this scenario, the monthly loan payment would be apportioned to each
borrower based on his or her percentage of the couple's total debt.
Negotiators working on issues related to college‐based loans reached consensus on new rules after the
Education Department made a handful of key concessions related to conflict‐of‐interest rules, loan
disclosures, and cohort default rates.
The department agreed to exempt loans made by institutions from new conflict‐of‐interest rules
governing private loans. Without the exemption, colleges would have been required to certify
information about their own loans and would have been barred from using their institution's name or
logo on promissory notes or payment‐plan agreements. Employees administering the programs also
could not have been paid by the institution.
The department also clarified that colleges may offer recourse loans to their riskier borrowers so long
as they didn't enter into a "quid pro quo" arrangement with the lender. College negotiators had
sought assurance that offering the loans, which allow them to share in the risk of lending to students
with poor or no credit by covering all or part of the debt if the recipients default, would not violate
new conflict‐of‐interest rules.
On the issue of loan disclosures, the department had previously said there was no way around a
requirement that colleges with preferred‐lender lists disclose an array of information about student‐
aid options in "all informational materials" that "describe or discuss loans." But the department
relented in the final round of negotiations, allowing colleges to simply provide a link to where the
information could be found on the college's Web site.
On cohort default rates, college negotiators had asked the department to exempt colleges with low
numbers of borrowers from new rules requiring them to calculate the rate over a three‐year period,
rather than two years, and to make public final, official rates only. The department agreed not to
publish draft rates but did not provide any exemptions for colleges with few borrowers.
The panel working on issues related to federal grant programs reached agreement on issues involving
Gear Up, which helps low‐income students prepare for college, and migrant‐education programs, but
negotiations fell apart over a pair of issues related to the TRIO program for disadvantaged students:
how colleges can use money for Talent Search, a college‐preparatory program, and the appeals
process for unsuccessful TRIO applicants.
On TRIO, the reauthorization bill said the department must judge recipients of the program's grants, in
part, on how many of their participants successfully complete a rigorous high‐school curriculum.
Congress added the requirement to ensure that students who participate in Talent Search will be
eligible for Academic Competitiveness Grants when they enroll in college. The competitiveness
program provides grants of $750 and $1,300 to freshmen and sophomores based on merit and need.
Negotiators representing TRIO programs argued that some high schools don't offer all the courses
necessary for a rigorous program and asked the department to allow grantees working with those
schools to use a portion of their TRIO award to pay for participants to take courses elsewhere, like at
community colleges or through distance education.
The department said it didn't have the data to make the change but said it would consider changing
the final rule if grantees could prove that some high schools served by Talent Search do not offer all
the necessary courses. But at least one negotiator rejected that compromise, making consensus
The reauthorization bill also required the department to establish a process by which it would consider
appeals from unsuccessful grant applicants. TRIO negotiators worried that the process would siphon
away money from other grant recipients and had asked the department not to set aside any money for
successful appeals. The department refused and said that the money that would be set aside would
probably represent only a small percentage of total TRIO funds.
General and Non‐Loan Issues
Negotiations on general and non‐loan issues also broke down after panelists failed to reach agreement
on regulations governing year‐round Pell Grants and the reporting of job‐placement information.
The reauthorization bill allowed students who are accelerating their studies to receive two Pell Grants
in a single academic year. The Education Department issued draft rules in April that would have
required colleges to recalculate students' second Pell award if their enrollment status changed at any
time when they were receiving the grants. Colleges objected, saying the requirement would create
separate standards for recipients of year‐round Pell Grants and those who receive regular Pell Grants.
In response, the department withdrew the recalculation requirement but added a new one: that
students must complete all the credit hours in the college's academic year before receiving a second
Pell Grant. Negotiators representing community colleges and four‐year public institutions said the rule
would prevent students who enroll less than full time for one or more terms or who fail a course from
ever receiving a second Pell Grant. The department countered that it wanted to be sure that recipients
were truly "accelerating" academically.
Meanwhile, the reauthorization bill requires colleges to provide prospective and current students with
information on the types of employment obtained by their graduates. Negotiators had asked the
department to clarify that colleges would not be required to calculate a "placement rate" and could
simply report information culled from alumni polls and student‐satisfaction surveys.
The department agreed to drop the word "rate" from "placement rate information" but required
colleges that do calculate a placement rate for their own purposes to disclose their methodology.
Negotiators representing community colleges and private colleges objected, saying the requirement
would be burdensome.
For‐profit colleges didn't get everything they wanted from the Education Department either, but they
didn't vote against the proposed rules. The institutions had asked the department to allow students
with intellectual disabilities to receive federal aid to attend online colleges just as they can for
enrolling in bricks‐and‐mortar ones. The department declined but said students could use the aid to
take courses online if they were enrolled in an in‐person program as well.
The department refused to budge on another question important to for‐profit institutions: how
colleges count institutional loans for purposes of complying with a law that requires 10 percent of
their income to come from nonfederal sources. The reauthorization bill allowed colleges to
temporarily (for a period of three years) count projected repayments on loans to students who are still
in college toward the 10‐percent requirement.
Under the department's proposed rules, colleges that count projected repayments on loans to
students who are still in college cannot take credit for any payments that come in after the three‐year
window. Negotiators representing for‐profit colleges wanted institutions to be able to take credit for
both projected payments and actual payments received outside the three‐year window.
Eric Kelderman contributed to this article.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Colleges should start planning now for ‘net price’ calculators, experts say
By JEFFREY BRAINARD
Friday, June 5, 2009
Atlanta – College officials need to begin planning now to comply with a new federal requirement
that they post on their Web sites within roughly two years the net price to attend their
institutions, panelists said at a meeting of institutional researchers here this week.
“This is going to end up being more complex as you get into it than people realize,” Mary M. Sapp,
assistant vice president for planning and institutional research at the University of Miami, told
members of the Association for Institutional Research.
Congress mandated the new feature last year to give prospective students a clear idea of the
actual cost to attend each institution. The net figure will be derived from total cost—tuition, fees,
room, board, and other expenses—minus average aid from all sources of grants (but not loans).
Colleges will be required to display the figures through a net‐price calculator, a tool they will
create on their Web sites. The U.S. Department of Education is developing a generic template for
a calculator that colleges may adopt in order to comply. Institutions are also free to develop their
own, customized versions—although that, of course, will cost them more.
The department expects to finalize by August a design for its calculator, including the specific
types of data it must contain, said Elise S. Miller, a program director at the agency’s National
Center for Education Statistics, who previewed the likely features at the Atlanta meeting, The
completion of those rules will trigger the two‐year deadline for colleges to comply.
Covering the Basics
Institutions will need to balance many considerations in deciding which type of calculator to
create, said Ms. Sapp, who outlined for the audience the calculators’ likely effect on colleges. The
agency’s format will be simpler to set up and maintain. But because of the tool’s one‐size‐fits‐all
approach, it may not accurately depict all of the nuances of a college’s cost. For example, the
calculator won’t include questions to determine whether a student qualifies for merit‐based aid.
(Some institutions don’t offer merit aid, and the department wants to keep its template as simple
and broadly useful as possible, Ms. Miller explained.)
Colleges should consider a customized calculator, especially if they offer students a wide range of
aid depending on their financial circumstances, Ms. Sapp suggested. Colleges might also want to
use a customized approach in order to post different net prices for different academic programs.
Whichever method colleges choose, Ms. Sapp encouraged them to annotate the calculators with
plenty of supporting detail to explain the basis for the numbers—for example, to specify that
room and board is based on a double‐occupancy room and a 20‐meal‐per‐week dining plan.
Another knotty decision for colleges is which year of cost and aid data to provide. Some colleges
may prefer to offer aid figures based on the following year’s projected levels of student aid, which
may best reflect current economic conditions. However, that approach may not always work to a
college’s advantage: The resulting net price may make those colleges appear more expensive than
peer institutions that are using data from a previous year, Ms. Sapp said. (The rules will require
that colleges use cost and aid data from the same year. The department will probably require
posting of the most‐recent data available, Ms. Miller said,)
All of this means that for students to benefit from the calculators, they may need to read and
compare very carefully all of the fine print.
The Association for Institutional Research has published a fact sheet about the net‐price
calculator rules on its Web site.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Thanks for your generosity. Now can you give again?
Going back, carefully, to core donors pays off for college fund raisers
By KATHRYN MASTERSON
Friday, June 5, 2009
As colleges grapple with declining endowments and increased financial needs, a growing number are
asking their most generous supporters to dig even deeper.
To cover immediate shortfalls in fund raising and the growing demand for student aid, institutions are
asking donors to restructure pledges, give cash to supplement endowed funds, and consider second
donations to the annual fund.
Some are succeeding. One college raised more than $30,000 in just four days after making a repeat
appeal to donors who had already given. Another added $250,000 for current operating needs by
Colleges depend heavily on major donors, but until recently many institutions had been hesitant to ask
for a second gift in the same year, says Robert A. Burdenski, a fund‐raising consultant in Chicago.
In recent months, however, he has seen colleges seek additional donations by using matching‐gift
challenges, reunion solicitations, and requests for different purposes. Others simply hope their donors
won't notice that they are being asked twice in the same year.
But some fund raisers are wary of those approaches, fearing that frequent appeals could harm long‐
term relationships with alumni.
Retapping loyal donors requires a delicate touch. Fund raisers say it can be successful when the right
people are asked and a solid case is made. Also, donors need to feel appreciated for the gifts they have
already made. If they don't, and a college asks them for more money, the approach could backfire.
Tapping Donors for Ideas
Gregory T. Waldron, vice president for college advancement at Connecticut College, is working with
several donors who were willing to add a payment to their multiyear pledges, a step that should bring
in $250,000 to the annual fund this year. The idea, which builds in money for current operations to
donors' already scheduled pledge payments, came from a conversation with Barbara Shattuck Kohn,
chair of the Board of Trustees.
Ms. Kohn says she wanted to make a significant gift to the annual fund, which is being used to increase
financial aid for students. But her ability to increase her yearly gift was limited because she is already
making pledge payments on a $1.5‐million endowed chair.
The plan works like this: If a donor is willing to add a payment after the original pledge is fulfilled, part
of each scheduled annual payment would go to current operating needs. For instance, a donor who
was supposed to make a $400,000 payment this year toward an endowed gift would still pay as much.
Most of the amount, $300,000, would go toward the program or scholarship the money was given for,
while $100,000 would go to the current budget. An extra pledge payment, diverted to annual support,
would be tacked onto the end of the pledge schedule, by which time the economy — and donors'
portfolios — may have rebounded.
Ms. Kohn says it's important to consider which donors the college approaches to ask for additional
gifts. Typically, she says, the largest donors, who understand the effect of the economic downturn on
the endowment and the college, are heavily invested in the institution's vision and continued success.
Therefore they are likely to be receptive to an additional request if the need for it is properly
"Most really love the institution and want to do the best they could during these times," she says.
Looking to Trustees
Some colleges seek additional gifts from trustees, because they best understand the financial
Millsaps College is appealing to a handful of donors, most of them trustees, who have endowed
scholarships or chairs to consider outright gifts equal to 5 percent of their endowment donations, says
Charles R. Lewis, vice president for institutional advancement. That way the college doesn't have to
tap into the endowment, which has declined about 30 percent since its high of $101‐million, in 2007.
None of the eight to 10 donors whom he has approached have said yes, but a few are considering it.
He hopes to hear back from them by June 30.
It's best to explain this type of special request as a short‐term solution to an extreme situation, Mr.
Lewis says, and as something that won't become a default annual request when things get better.
Being transparent with donors can empower them rather than alienate them, he says, arguing that
they understand what has happened to college endowments, and that this is a way they can preserve
the legacy they have created and help the students and faculty members at a college they care about.
"In these economic times," Mr. Lewis says, "these outright cash gifts can sustain and propel a college
Maurice H. Hall Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees, is considering an outright cash gift to
supplement his family's endowed scholarship, given more than 20 years ago. He wants to make the
gift, but because profits from his family timber business are down about 30 percent, he and his
children are taking time to determine if it is possible. The scholarship endowment is worth more than
$1‐million, so a 5‐percent cash gift would be $50,000.
"It's not a small amount of money to me — I wish it was," he says. "It's a significant gift, and we have
to carefully consider our ability to make it."
Mr. Hall says it is important to him that Millsaps thrives, and that new students continue to receive the
scholarships. He also wants to encourage others to give more. "I feel I have to do a bit of leading by
example," he says. "If I'm not willing to do this, it's hard to go to others and ask them to do the same."
He doesn't believe there is a risk of over‐asking donors. Most people, he says, are flattered rather than
insulted that an institution believes they have the ability to give more. A soft request — emphasizing
"only if it's possible right now" — is best, he says.
Going to the college's most loyal supporters is the best option in tough times, he adds: "When you
need immediate help, you go to the people who already know you and you know, rather than striking
out and trying to find new money."
Trying Something New
Denison University is taking a wider approach. With its annual fund down about 14 percent, it tried a
first‐ever second ask, says Gregory R. Bader, the fund's director.
This spring Denison sent second letters to donors who had already given, letting them know how the
economic crisis was affecting students. The university has allocated an additional $2‐million for grants
and scholarships for the 2009‐10 academic year, along with the almost $37‐million it already gives in
scholarships and aid.
Mr. Bader and others debated the best way to craft a message that explained the reason for the
additional appeal while making donors feel properly thanked for the contribution they had already
"We are experiencing economic conditions we haven't experienced before — and now we're asking a
question we haven't asked before," the letter said. "Would you consider an additional gift to Denison
during this fiscal year?"
The letter also thanked donors: "We in no way want to diminish the importance of the gift you've
already made or the depth of our gratitude for that gift. Your support has already made a difference."
The letters also included a modest thank‐you gift: mailing labels with the Denison logo.
Reaction has been positive. Denison sent 4,900 letters to people who had made a gift between July
2008 and March 2009, and 203 people responded with second gifts. Denison has so far raised $33,048,
and it is following up with phone calls to donors who gave more than $2,500 this year. Most
responders doubled their gifts, giving a much‐needed boost before the university's fiscal year closes,
on June 30.
The Associated Press
Empty condos give universities new dorm space
By ERIC TUCKER
Saturday, May 30, 2009
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — River views, granite countertops, stainless‐steel appliances, 9‐foot ceilings.
This is student housing?
When classes start this fall — if all goes as planned — some 300 students at Johnson & Wales
University will be living in Capitol Cove, an upscale condominium project that had been languishing on
the market for more than six months.
"It's a great Band‐Aid," said Irving Schneider, president of Johnson & Wales's Providence campus,
which just signed a three‐year lease for the Capitol Cove development. "This arrangement was good
for the developer as well as Johnson & Wales."
Some universities around the country have found a silver lining to the real estate recession that has
left condominium developers in the lurch. For less time and money than it would take to build a
residence hall, universities in places like New York City and Ohio are buying or leasing entire condo
projects. And they are also eyeing vacant lots once targeted for high‐end condos for use as retail and
"This is a bonanza of an opportunity ... for universities to acquire the space they desperately need,"
said Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics.
For developers, such deals save their projects from being total washouts. The arrangements offer
developers an exit strategy from flagging projects, allowing them to unload dozens of unsold units to a
single buyer rather than piecemeal.
"They can't sell them, they can't mothball them, they can't bulldoze them," said Jack McCabe, a
Florida‐based real estate analyst. "Developers right now are looking for every way not to lose their
projects into foreclosure."
Sales of condos in April were down 9 percent from year‐ago levels and are off 46 percent from the
frenzied peak in June 2005, the National Association of Realtors said this week. At the current, sluggish
sales pace there is more than a year's supply of units on the market.
Developer Robert Roth has built only one of five buildings planned for Capitol Cove's 5‐acre site that
bridges downtown Providence with the city's residential East Side.
He began marketing the condos last fall for between $350,000 and $550,000, but got only four
reservations and no sales.
Students at Johnson & Wales University will pay yearly rents of $10,383 for one‐bedroom apartments
and $9,249 for two‐bedrooms — comparable prices to on‐campus dorms.
"We want the students to treat it more as if it was their home than just a dorm room," said Jamie
Stone, 21, a Johnson & Wales student and resident advisor.
Roth wouldn't disclose the terms of the lease with Johnson & Wales except to say that it would help
refinance the construction loans but would not come close to recouping the $30 million already
invested by him and his bank in the project.
"For us, the big hit is that we're not receiving any real equity back from the project," Roth said. "It's
not putting any money into anyone's pocket."
In New York, Columbia University last year paid $67.6 million for a residence hall for graduate students
and staff in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx after a planned condo development called the
Arbor couldn't sell out.
In Ohio, Capital University bought a 30‐unit building for $4 million in suburban Columbus that had
been marketed as 55‐and‐older housing but is now reserved for about 60 upperclassmen in good
"To build a facility of this quality for a university, there's no way we could have done that for that
purchase price," said Nichole Johnson, a Capital University spokeswoman.
She said the deal made financial sense: The cost per bed at the new building was $65, compared to a
$93‐per‐bed cost at a dorm that opened in 2006.
Still, the transactions are raising eyebrows among city leaders who say they were told to expect luxury
condos — not students.
Members of the Providence City Council question whether Capitol Cove violated its tax‐stabilization
treaty with the city by using the building as a dormitory, though Roth said he doesn't expect the deal
to be scuttled.
And New York Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, whose district includes Riverdale, likened the sale of the
Arbor building to Columbia to a "bait‐and‐switch."
"It would have been preferable if those were condos," Dinowitz said. "Generally speaking, people who
own their property feel they have a greater stake in the property."
Nevertheless, builders argue these deals are in the best interest of the community.
Baltimore developer Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse had originally planned more than 100 condos,
15,500 square feet of retail and 550 parking spaces — at an estimated development cost of $75 million
— on a lot next to Johns Hopkins University.
But the project was scrapped as the city's condo market crashed, and the university bought the 1.12‐
acre parcel last month for $12.5 million — "susbtantially less" than what had been poured into the
project, said James McGill, a Hopkins senior vice president. The school expects to use the site for retail
and parking and possibly housing or academic purposes.
"It's fair to say we had a lot invested," said Tim Pula, a Struever Bros. senior development director. But
he noted: "We could have built a building and we'd be sitting on a bunch of empty condos, probably at
Back in Rhode Island, Roth said he intends to retake Capitol Cove in three years — though the
university has an option for an additional two years — and resell to private buyers, hoping the market
will have improved by then and that young professionals won't be turned off by living in former
He said, "The whole idea for us is to hold the building and bring it into better times."
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Blog: Colleges may have a role in Obama’s cybersecurity plan
By MARC PARRY
Thursday, June 4, 2009
There’s good news and bad news for higher education in President Obama’s new push to protect the
nation’s digital infrastructure.
The good news is that colleges could benefit as the federal government promotes — and possibly pays
for — work‐force training and cybersecurity research.
The bad news is that anybody looking for specific details on what will happen — and how much money
might be available — won’t find them in the new report put out by the White House last week.
“Cyberspace is real, and so are the risks that come with it,” Mr. Obama said as he pledged to make the
issue a priority. “This status quo is no longer acceptable — not when there’s so much at stake. We can
and we must do better.”
One of the problems with the status quo is a shortage of cybersecurity workers, said Rodney Petersen,
coordinator of the security task force at Educause, the higher‐education‐technology association.
That means jobs like chief information‐security officer. Forensics expert. Security analyst. Incident
handler. Training these workers is one of the main areas where colleges — especially community
colleges — can play a role, Mr. Petersen said.
The report urges the federal government to “expand support for key education programs.” Mr.
Petersen pointed to two National Science Foundation programs in particular. One is Scholarship for
Service, though which students can get money for college in exchange for taking an agency job in the
federal cybercorps. Another is called Advanced Technological Education, which focuses on two‐year
The report also recommends increased money for cybersecurity research through the National Science
Foundation and other organizations.
The catch: It’s just a concept paper. It doesn’t come with any money. For Mr. Petersen, who
participated in the process that led to the report, the disappointment is that specific details on how all
this will happen are “left for another stage.” He also pointed out that we’ve been down this road
before with other presidents.
“A lot of people feel this is a little different because unlike previous administrations, Obama seems to
have a personal level of commitment that hasn’t been stressed before,” he said.
For those interested in learning more, next month Mr. Petersen will give a presentation about the
White House review and other legislative and regulatory developments at Dartmouth College’s
Securing the eCampus conference.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Education association requires speakers to pledge not to ‘insult’ others
By ROBIN WILSON
Monday, June 01, 2009
A professor at Florida Atlantic University says she may end her 40‐year membership in a
professional association, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, because it requires
people who seek to present papers at its annual meeting to sign a disclaimer promising not to
“insult the rightful dignity and social equity of any individual or group.”
The association also requires would‐be speakers to promise that their presentations will contain
“nothing libelous or otherwise improper.”
Joan E. Friedenberg, a professor in Florida Atlantic’s department of teacher education, said she
was shocked to learn of the stipulations when she considered submitting a proposal to deliver a
talk at the organization’s annual meeting next year. Ms. Friedenberg said her proposed talk, on
teaching techniques, probably would offend no one. But she objected to the disclaimer on
“This encourages a fall‐in‐line type of thinking,” she said, “rather than getting issues out there and
'Unenforceable and Nonacademic'
B. Robert Kreiser, associate secretary of the American Association of University Professors, told
The Chronicle he didn’t know of any other academic associations with similar disclaimers. “This
seems not only ridiculous, but unenforceable and nonacademic,” he said.
In an e‐mail message to The Chronicle, Charles S. Amorosino Jr., the English‐teachers
organization’s executive director, said that in adopting the disclaimer for convention speakers two
years ago, “there was no plan or intent to stifle or monitor free speech.” Rather, he said, the
association “respects and embraces multiculturalism and diversity” and believes “there are
always concerns to assure equal opportunity, with sensitivity to intellectual property.”
Mr. Amorosino said his organization had long required people who published with it to sign such a
In an e‐mail message that Mr. Amorosino sent to Ms. Friedenberg after she complained, he said
“a significant incident a couple of years ago made it necessary” to adopt the disclaimer for
convention speakers. But he would not tell The Chronicle what that incident was. He said that
because his organization deals with people all over the world, it is important that speakers be
sensitive to various cultures and their sensibilities.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Louisiana State U. Press fights to preserve its essential value
By JENNIFER HOWARD
Monday, June 1, 2009
UNKINDEST CUTS: When word got out in early May that Louisiana State University might slash its
press's subsidy as a result of the state's budget contraction, Michael V. Martin, chancellor of the
Baton Rouge campus, issued a brief written statement. For those who admire the press, it was not
"We hope the governor and our legislature will provide sufficient funding to maintain support of
LSU Press, as it is a very valuable asset to this university, the people of the state, and many
beyond," Mr. Martin said. "We face, however, extraordinary economic conditions, and we must
protect the academic core of LSU first and foremost."
Anyone who cares about university presses should pay close attention to Mr. Martin's choice of
words. His statement makes it plain that being a "valuable asset" no longer guarantees a press a
secure place in the "academic core" of its parent institution. These days, that can be a fatal
degree of separation.
It's lovely to have several Pulitzer Prize‐winning authors and a bushel of literary prizes to your
credit, as LSU Press does. It earns you the respect of readers inside and outside academe; the
press has multitudes of admirers who point to its illustrious history of publishing some of the
finest writers on and from the South. Such a track record has inspired spirited public defenses like
that published by Ted Genoways, the editor of The Virginia Quarterly Review, on his magazine's
blog on May 9. "Surely," Mr. Genoways said, "publishing such essential Southern historians as
Stephen E. Ambrose, John Hope Franklin, and C. Vann Woodward lies at the heart of encouraging
academic inquiry. Surely," he argued, publishing John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces
"does not run counter to the university's mission."
There is no "surely" any more. Mr. Genoways called his defense of LSU Press a manifesto. It was
more of a cri de coeur. If "one of the nation's most revered university presses" could get the ax,
those everywhere are at risk, no matter how prize‐strewn their publishing records. The nonprofit
group Ithaka pointed this out two years ago, before the downturn, in its 2007 report "University
Publishing in a Digital Age." Note the absence of the word "press" from the report's title.
"Over time, and in pursuit of the largest public service to the global academic community, presses
have tended to grow disconnected from the administrations at their host institutions," the report
observed. "Not surprisingly, provosts put limited resources and attention toward what they
perceive to be a service to the broader community." It makes sense that presses have shied away
from being seen as vanity publishers for home‐campus scholarship; they want to publish the best
work they can get, no matter where it's from. The Ithaka researchers found that "local authors"
contributed less than 10 percent of the publications of most of the presses they talked to. That
has sometimes had the unintended effect of making presses seem removed from what goes on in
their own academic neighborhoods.
A certain degree of removal is necessary, if academe really means what it says about serving the
greater good and disseminating research as broadly as possible. But at this historical moment, too
great a remove from what LSU's chancellor called the "academic core" can be dangerous.
Kate Wittenberg, project director of client and partnership development at Ithaka, sees that as
"the current critical question" confronting scholarly publishers. Ms. Wittenberg used to direct the
Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia University, a joint venture between the university's
press and the Columbia University Libraries.
"The greatest risk facing university presses these days is that their universities may not perceive
them as a valuable, in fact an indispensable, part of the organization," she told me in an e‐mail
message. "That is, is it clear what the 'value proposition' of a particular press is for its university?"
Value can be defined in many ways — prestige, for instance, or a "reputation for innovation" in
the ways and means of scholarly communication — but that value must be crystal clear to the
folks who hold the purse strings. That issue "sometimes gets lost in debates about monograph
sales, budget reforecasts, and production costs," she said.
If the record of a press like Louisiana's does not speak for itself, what can? Can an old‐fashioned
appeal to higher principles still carry the day? In late May, the American Historical Association and
the Modern Language Association sent letters to Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, that link the
fate of the press to the scholarly enterprise writ large. The historians' organization called LSU
Press "one of the most significant publishers in the fields of Southern history" and said that its loss
"would be a severe blow to our understanding of the past." The MLA went as far as calling the
press "an indispensable national institution."
"University presses are crucial to the scholarly communication system in the humanities, and each
develops its own areas of coverage. As the only such press in Louisiana, LSU Press is the major
publisher of scholarship on your state," the MLA told the governor, putting a regional spin on the
argument. "Teachers and scholars want continued access to new publications about Louisiana,
and we need a vital LSU Press to provide them for us."
It remains to be seen how badly the university feels that need.
The Boston Globe
The four‐year college myth
It’s a path ingrained in us: Go to a university right after high school and graduate in four years. But
that couldn’t be further from reality. And until education leaders take that into account, too many
students will lose out.
By NEIL SWIDEY
Sunday, May 31, 2009
The fall after I graduated from high school, I took the traditional path. I entered a competitive, private
four‐year college, and four years later, I earned my bachelor's degree from that same institution.
When I think of the route my children might take after high school, I can't help but picture something
that looks a lot like the one I took.
That makes me part of the problem with higher education today.
If you randomly stopped 100 adults and asked them to raise their hand if they had received their BA,
and done so four years after graduating from high school, guess how many would? I guarantee your
estimate would be too high. By a lot.
A while back, Gerald Chertavian, a successful businessman turned education reformer, posed that
question to a gathering of 400 education officials and public‐policy people at a New England Board of
Higher Education summit. When he asked who in the crowd had a college degree, just about every
hand in the room went up. When he asked how many had earned that degree four years after high
school, about 80 percent of the hands stayed up.
Then he lowered the boom: All these people charged with shaping education policy were far outside
the mainstream. Census data from 2005 tell us that only 28 percent of American adults have a
bachelor's degree. As for how many adults took the "traditional" path and received their BA within
four years of high school, some rough number crunching of federal education data shows that the
percentage dips to below 10 percent. By definition, that's no longer traditional. It's radical, and it
makes you wonder why we still call them four‐year colleges.
Why are our perceptions so out of step with reality? Probably because the old path still dominates at
name‐brand private colleges, and they continue to be the prism through which so much of higher
education is viewed.
"American elites, whether in education, politics, business, or the media, tend to focus on a small
number of elite institutions and ignore the large number of institutions where the vast majority of
college students are enrolled," says Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on
Education, a higher‐ed advocacy and research group based in Washington, D.C. "We tend to
underappreciate the complexity and diversity of higher education."
True, the four‐year graduation rate ‐‐ regardless of student age ‐‐ is higher at private colleges (54
percent) than public colleges (32 percent). And the rate climbs a good deal higher at elite private
schools. But to get an idea of scale, consider this: If you add up the undergraduate students at all of
the Ivy League colleges, you get about 60,000. Then compare that with the roughly 40,000
undergraduate students just at Ohio State University's main campus. Or the 6.6 million students in
community colleges across the country.
Hartle knows this as an education leader who's spent years sifting through data. And he knows it as a
dad whose daughter spent three years at a community college before transferring to Northeastern
Today's truly "traditional" path is a goulash of enrollment patterns ‐‐ frequent starts and stops, serial
transfers, and oscillation between full‐ and part‐time student status. People who study enrollment
even have a term to describe these circuitous routes that students are increasingly taking, such as
hopping from a two‐year college to a four‐year college and then back to a two‐year college, with a
couple of timeouts in between. They call it "swirling."
Fluidity is the defining characteristic of today's college student. Things promise to get only more fluid
as the recession forces more people to consider lower‐cost alternatives like community colleges and
part‐time status. But our rigid higher‐ed system fights with this fluidity, making it hard for many
students to adapt to college life and making the transfer process more complicated than it needs to
be. The cost is lost credits, time, money, and opportunity. The fact that transfer students are typically
not counted in federal graduation‐rate data only strengthens the argument that public policy is
operating from a distorted sense of reality.
President Obama has vowed to lead the nation toward having the world's highest proportion of
college graduates by 2020. Depending on what stats you look at, that could be quite a climb. Right
now, we clock in at the 10th spot, and we have one of the highest college dropout rates in the
industrialized world. But we'll have a much better shot at getting to the mountaintop if we stop
thinking there's just one route leading us there.
The floors creak in the five‐story tan‐brick building in Downtown Crossing, but the place crackles with
energy. It's the site of Year Up, a one‐year post‐high school intensive training program for urban
students, many of whom barely made it through high school. In what amounts to a 13th year of
education, the students spend six months in small classes, learning technical skills as well as social
skills for succeeding in the business world. Then they spend the next six months working in paid
apprenticeships at companies like State Street, Putnam Investments, and Partners HealthCare. If all
goes as planned ‐‐ and the program's rigorous performance data indicate that it usually does ‐‐ the
students finish the year with valuable experience, a decent wage, up to 18 college credits from
Cambridge College, and heightened preparation to either enroll in college full time or take a
permanent position with the company where they apprenticed, making an average of $30,000 a year
and receiving benefits like healthcare and tuition reimbursement to continue their studies part time.
Chertavian started the program in Boston in 2000, the year after selling the telecom company he
cofounded. With his Harvard MBA, he sets the business tone for the students ‐‐ crisp suits, firm
handshakes, ready smiles. Year Up has now expanded to New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C.,
Providence, and Atlanta, with new outposts planned for other cities in coming years. Despite this
success, Chertavian grew dejected when he did the math one day not long ago and realized that even
if Year Up continues to expand at a good clip, it will never be big enough to make more than a dent in
the 4 million‐strong ranks of young people who find themselves with few options after high school.
So he's turned his attention to trying to change policy at the national level while continuing to expand
Year Up at the grass‐roots level. Nationally, he envisions a phalanx of innovative postsecondary
programs like his, designed to be "stackable" ‐‐ that is, easily combined with two‐ and four‐year
colleges to help students get the training and credentials they need. He's also taking aim at the default
setting that so many employers insist on ‐‐ using a bachelor's degree as the primary screening tool
when hiring. That, he says, has got to change in the stackable world he's working toward.
For a long time, the push has been to get as many students as possible to college, in the hopes that the
higher‐education system would buff out the gross inequities marbled into our K‐12 schools. That's not
enough. If students enter college academically and socially prepared, they're far more likely to do well
and graduate. So we need to do more to get them ready while they're still in high school. And once
they get to college, we need a system that allows easier movement between schools, so they don't
lose lots of ground if things don't go as planned at their first stop.
I've gained new appreciation for this in the last couple of years. While researching and writing a book, I
got to know many graduates of Boston Public Schools who made it to college, only to find themselves
unprepared once there ‐‐ whether academically, financially, or socially. Then they dropped out. I've
gotten to know more of them through a small scholarship and mentoring program that some friends,
community members, and I created last year (the Alray Taylor Second Chance Scholarship) to help this
type of student return to college. A comprehensive tracking study released last fall found that two‐
thirds of the Boston public school students who went on to a two‐ or four‐year college had failed to
get any kind of degree within seven years of graduating from high school.
It's startling how easily students can get off‐track. Many drop down to part‐time status simply because
they can't afford to pay the healthcare premium required of full‐time students. Others leave college
over squabbles with schools over bills they say were paid or credits they were told would transfer but
didn't. And way too many have gotten saddled with heavy debt, often at private schools with less‐
When I first entered this world, I assumed these students with bumpy post‐high school paths were the
outliers. The real shame is how mainstream they are.
Tishia Reeves is mainstream. When she graduated from Boston English High School in 1999, she had
college options. But she wasn't sure what she wanted to study and wasn't ready to take on a lot of
debt. So she got a job as a medical receptionist. A decade later, she had advanced to a referrals
coordinator position at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, helping patients and providers navigate
the maze of healthcare paperwork. But recognizing the limits to her career growth without a college
degree, she enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College in January.
These days, Reeves is nothing but serious about college and won't be satisfied until she's earned not
just a bachelor's degree but also a master's. Instead of easing into her college experience, she took a
full raft of five courses this semester, which forced her to drop from 40 hours a week at her job to 36,
at a cost of about $100 a week in reduced salary. She doesn't receive any financial aid and doesn't
need to check any notes to tell you exactly how much she spent on tuition and fees ($1,740) and books
($550.56) this spring, and how much she's already ponied up to take five more courses this summer
Like a returning GI from the front lines, she knows how much more mature and mentally prepared she
is for college now that she's 27. Still, what's ahead of her is daunting. And she admits to feeling despair
when she heard about state budget cuts that might lead to fee hikes. Those could derail her college
journey before it's had time to build momentum.
"Tishia, you picked the wrong time to go back to school," her father told her.
"Daddy, there is never a wrong time to go back to school," she shot back, suppressing fears telling her
that he just might be right.
Her 56‐year‐old college writing instructor, Wick Sloane, urged her and her classmates to do more than
idly complain. Sloane owns the definition of an elite educational pedigree ‐‐ Phillips Exeter Academy,
Williams College for undergrad, Yale for his MBA. He went on to serve as chief financial officer for the
University of Hawaii system. But for the last couple of years, he's found his niche: teaching entry‐level
writing classes at Bunker Hill while advocating for colleges outside the elite club that handed him
"The noise is about so few places," he says, "and those places aren't trying to be leaders. They're the
ones who've created the vision that you have to pay 50 grand a year to get a good education. But for
these community college students, a hike of 10 or 15 bucks a credit could change the course of their
At Sloane's suggestion, Reeves crafted a letter on behalf of the class and sent it off to the state
commissioner of higher ed, Richard Freeland. "Many of our classmates are single mothers, ESL
students, and Armed Forces veterans," she wrote. "We are working adults with full‐time jobs and
responsibilities with all the trimmings. The graduation rate here is well below the national average for
exactly these reasons. The state must find ways to improve our opportunities, not threaten our
resources with budget cuts." Then she asked the commissioner to come speak to her class, noting that
it meets at 7 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in "room D119. You have to go through the computer
lab D105. I can meet you inside the main lobby, just behind the revolving doors."
Freeland replied, sending his senior deputy commissioner, Clantha McCurdy. So there she was, at 7
a.m. on a Wednesday in mid‐April, sitting in a basement room with cream‐colored concrete walls,
listening intently to Reeves and 15 of her classmates. McCurdy said she sympathized with their
predicament even if she had no easy answers.
Reeves asked her straight out: "A lot of students are cutting back on credits because of the economy.
Will the higher‐ed office take a look at doing more for students taking longer than four years to earn
McCurdy said resources were strained, but she allowed: "Maybe it's time to put more money into
programs for part‐time students."
Later, when McCurdy made a pitch for the state's joint admissions program, designed to allow
students to move easily from a community college to a four‐year state school and to receive tuition
discounts, one of Reeves's classmates cited problems with the program. Those tuition discounts
disappear after two years. Given complications involving credit transfers and major requirements, she
told McCurdy, it would be impossible for her to finish her degree within that time frame.
Still, Reeves and her classmates emerged from the meeting a bit more hopeful. At least someone with
influence was making an effort to understand their reality.
A big part of grasping that reality is realizing that it's not limited to low‐income students.
Earlier this month, Terry Hartle took a break from his education‐policy work in Washington to travel to
Boston to see his daughter collect her degree in marketing from Northeastern three years after
transferring there. At 24, Allison Hartle was older than most of the friends she was graduating with,
but she had zero regrets about having spent three years at a community college figuring out what she
wanted to do. "The traditional path is painted as being the proper thing to do, that if you don't take it
you've somehow failed," she says. "But that's not true. I know a ton of kids who went off to college
and wasted their parents' money. I don't think I wasted anything."
How radical is that?
The Associated Press
Gun supporters say colleges trample protest rights
By RAMI PLUSHNICK‐MASTI
Sunday, May 31, 2009
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Colleges nationwide have unconstitutionally barred students from handing out
literature, protesting and gathering in support of the right to carry weapons on campus, students and
an advocacy group say.
Christine Brashier, a freshman at the Community College of Allegheny County near Pittsburgh, said a
dean recently told her she had to stop distributing fliers for the group Students for Concealed Carry on
Campus, which has chapters at many colleges, and destroy the pamphlets she had designed.
"I won't be forced into silence. I just wanted to start a student organization. I didn't think it was going
to get this much attention," Brashier said. "It only got this attention because they stopped me. People
don't like to hear about suppression of free speech."
Brashier is licensed to carry a concealed firearm but doesn't take it to school because CCAC, like most
colleges and universities nationwide, does not allow weapons on campus. Some states explicitly ban
students from carrying weapons on campus, while others — like Pennsylvania — allow the schools to
But since April 16, 2007, when Seung‐Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University,
killing 32 people and injuring 17 before turning the gun on himself, more students have been
advocating for the right to carry guns on campus, and state lawmakers have been tackling the issue, as
As a result, more universities and colleges have suppressed the rights of students to organize, said
Robert Shibley, vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia‐
based nonprofit following the cases and writing letters protesting them.
FIRE has not taken any cases to court, but Shibley said the group has not ruled it out. FIRE's philosophy
is to work with the universities to get them to independently change their policies.
In the case of Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, Shibley said he would not comment on
whether FIRE would sue. But it's "always an option when constitutional rights are violated," he said.
In Tarrant County, students have been trying to hold an "empty holster" demonstration in the college's
designated "Free Speech" zone. The college has repeatedly refused to allow the protest, though it has
taken place at other campuses nationwide.
"That case is ongoing. They have not relented," Shibley said.
Donna Darovich, the college's spokeswoman, said the students are permitted to voice their opinions in
the "Free Speech" zone but will not be allowed to carry empty holsters anywhere on campus.
"We believe that it would be disruptive to the campus environment for people to be walking around
with gun holsters," Darovich said.
However, Central Connecticut State University in New Britain allowed a gun holster protest on its
campus last month. That was a month after the school was mired in publicity because a student was
questioned by police after he gave a class presentation on gun rights that made a professor
Mark McLaughlin, the university's spokesman, said that the student was not sanctioned and that the
presentation did not affect his grade. The university, he said, was not suppressing the right of a
student to express support for carrying a gun and has an active chapter of Students for Concealed
Carry on Campus.
In Pittsburgh, FIRE sent a letter to the college stating concern about "the threats to freedom of speech
and freedom of association." The "free distribution of noncommercial handbills is a quintessentially
American tradition," FIRE said, noting that the Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to
require prior permission for doing so.
Brashier's pamphlets say that while college campuses are generally safe, there are assaults, rapes and
murders. By barring students from carrying guns, college campuses are "supermarkets for would‐be
rapists and mass murders," she wrote, mentioning the Virginia Tech shooting and the February 2008
shooting at Northern Illinois University, where a gunman killed five people.
The Pittsburgh college has declined to comment in detail because its solicitor is reviewing it. However,
it said Brashier has not faced disciplinary action. The college is encouraging her to follow CCAC rules
for organizing a campus group, including having 10 students interested in joining and finding a faculty
"CCAC does not have any intention to limit the student's involvement in the group or her ability to
discuss her own political viewpoint," the statement said.
Brashier, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher, said when she completes her studies at
CCAC in a year she will be continuing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a school that also bans
students from carrying weapons on campus but does allow Students for Concealed Carry on Campus
to remain active.
The group, Brashier said, tries to get university funding for education on firearms and for trips to the
"I just wanted to open up discussion and debate on the topic. I didn't think it would be such a big
deal," Brashier said.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Denied a discussion at a reunion, a Macalester College alumni group plans a sit‐in
By ROBIN WILSON
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
A group of Macalester College alumni that has accused the institution, in St. Paul, of failing to expose
students to a broad range of political views says it will hold an “old‐fashioned” 1960s‐style sit‐in on the
campus on Saturday because the college has refused to allow the group to hold a panel discussion
during alumni reunion festivities this weekend.
The group calls itself Macalester Alumni of Moderation, or Mac Mods, and was founded in 2005 by
Roger S. Peterson, a 1967 graduate of the college who is a freelance business writer in California.
Mr. Peterson says articles in the college’s alumni magazine prompted his concern that the campus was
full of “leftist” professors and speakers. The resulting uniformity of views, says Mr. Peterson, stands in
stark contrast to the climate at Macalester when he was a student in the 1960s. “You were required to
defend your positions and know both sides of an argument,” he says. “But what we see coming out of
the school now is a bunch of one‐sidedness.”
Mr. Peterson says the college needs to hire more politically conservative professors. In a news release
about the sit‐in, he quotes leaders of two national groups that accuse American higher education of
lacking intellectual and political diversity—the National Association of Scholars and the American
Council of Trustees and Alumni—as supporting his group.
Macalester allowed the Mac Mods to hold a panel discussion during alumni‐reunion activities in 2006
and 2007. But Mr. Peterson received a letter this spring from Gabrielle Lawrence, director of alumni
relations, saying the group would not be allowed to hold a discussion on the campus this year. In her
letter, Ms. Lawrence did not say precisely why, but she noted that Mr. Peterson had not been involved
in the planning process for the alumni‐reunion weekend and also was not planning to personally
attend the festivities or the panel discussion he proposed.
Mr. Peterson says it shouldn’t matter whether he was planning to attend. Two other members of his
group, which has a blog and which he says numbers about 35, are planning to be there, he says.
Instead of the panel discussion, the group will hold a protest at a landmark in the center of the
campus, a large boulder known as the Rock.
“Macalester Alumni of Moderation believe a liberal‐arts education is enhanced by differing points of
view shared freely on campus,” says a flier that the two alumni plan to hand out during their sit‐in.
“That includes moderate and conservative political views.”
Amy Phenix, a spokeswoman for Macalester, says only a handful of alumni attended the group’s
previous panel discussions. She says that the college “is absolutely committed to promoting diversity
of thought” but adds that it “doesn’t believe Mr. Peterson is interested in a constructive dialogue with
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Blog: iPhones may help Japanese university catch absent students
By ERICA R. HENDRY
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The days of skipping class for students at one Japanese university are over.
At least that’s the hope of administrators at Aoyama Gakuin University, in Tokyo, whose School of
Social Informatics will give Apple’s iPhone 3G to 550 of its students as a way to track attendance with
the phone’s global‐positioning system.
Attendance is an important graduation requirement at the university, the Associated Press reported,
and in the past, students would fake attendance by asking friends to answer attendance roll calls or
hand in signed attendance sheets with their signatures.
In the new system, students will be required to enter their ID number into an iPhone application at the
beginning of class. The phone will pinpoint the students’ location when they do, to ensure they are
actually on campus.
Administrators at the university acknowledge that students could give their iPhones to classmates to
sign in for them, but say the young men and women are not likely to part with their mobile devices.
The university also hopes students in the school, which focuses on Internet and technology use in
society, will use the phones for other purposes, like developing new applications.
Programs at several American colleges and universities require students to use iPhones for class or
assignments. Abilene Christian University was the first to give away iPhones or iPod Touch devices to
about 1,000 freshmen last fall.
Bill Rankin, director of educational innovation at the university and also an associate professor of
English, said he thinks his university would be “leery” of using the phones to track students.
“One of the things we want to remember is that this is a place that people are becoming adults and
taking on responsibility, and one of those responsibilities is showing up for class,” Mr. Rankin said.
“We have attendance policies in place, but if a student decides to take a day to do something else, and
some of those things are useful, that’s their prerogative.”
If the university were to use the iPhones’ global‐positioning system on campus, Mr. Rankin said, it
would likely be an “opt‐in,” not an “opt‐out,” application, meaning students could choose whether to
Professors at the university do have a Web service that shows pictures of each student when
attendance is called, Mr. Rankin said. The university has also talked about creating a system in which
students could sign into class using a pin code, though that has yet to be developed.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Often distant from policy making, scientists try to find a public voice
By PAUL BASKEN
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Like thousands of university researchers around the country, Allison K. Leidner believes that her
findings in an obscure and hard‐to‐explain slice of the academic spectrum may hold importance to the
lives of millions.
Unlike many of those researchers, however, Ms. Leidner has realized the value of explaining her
findings in a way that large numbers of people can understand.
A small but growing number of colleges, helped by groups such as the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, are making a determined effort to teach their scientists — a group seemingly
unable to avoid cloaking its findings in an obscure vocabulary — to speak more often and more clearly
to the public and to policy makers.
One such effort helped Ms. Leidner realize that public explanations of her study, "The Effect of
Urbanization on an Endemic Coastal Butterfly," didn't really need the word "endemic" to help people
recognize that an environment that's bad for butterflies could be bad for other living creatures, too.
"You can explain what you want without the word 'endemic,'" said Ms. Leidner, who is now pursuing
her research at the University of Maryland after earning a doctorate in zoology at North Carolina State
University. "So why make it more confusing?"
That's exactly the kind of recognition the science association hoped to produce with a program of one‐
day "Communicating Science" workshops that it began last year, said Tiffany Lohwater, the group's
Just a week after her AAAS workshop, Ms. Leidner was on Capitol Hill explaining her studies of the rare
"crystal skipper" butterfly to North Carolina lawmakers as part of a lobbying day organized by the
American Institute of Biological Sciences. An organizer of the Congressional visit said afterward that
"she was very confident and did a great job," Ms. Lohwater said.
More than 400 other scientists and engineers have participated in the AAAS program on college
campuses and at professional‐society meetings, she said. Still, that is only a small fraction of the
nation's research scientists, and Ms. Lohwater acknowledged that it is not clear how deeply such
approaches are being integrated into other university programs or whether there has been any major
shift in the ability of scientists to penetrate public‐policy debates.
"I think what we're seeing is an increased interest," said Ms. Lohwater, whose group plans a
membership survey on the topic this summer. "But until we have data to support that, it's hard to
Scientists Staying Away
Other indicators suggest the overall progress may be slow. One small sample — a tally by The
Chronicle of all Congressional hearings held during one week in May that featured at least one expert
witness other than a government official — found only two university researchers among the 124
people invited to address lawmakers on topics that included economic development and trade,
taxation, health care, energy, military procurement, prison sentencing, and the environment.
Rather than invite university experts steeped in such topics, members of Congress instead heard from
dozens of representatives of businesses, labor organizations, and advocacy groups, along with lawyers,
private analysts, and fellow lawmakers and government officials.
"The scientific community is quite underrepresented at these hearings," said K.C. Das, an associate
professor of engineering at the University of Georgia who testified at a House Small Business
Committee hearing on regulations in the biofuels industry. The week's only other Congressional
hearing with a university expert concerned student financial aid.
Such underrepresentation is typical and does "tell you something about the way decisions are being
made" in government, from the local level through the federal, said Charles F. Niederriter, a professor
of physics at Gustavus Adolphus College who organizes an annual conference on his Minnesota
campus about presenting scientific findings to the public.
"The way decisions are being made generally excludes direct interaction with academics," Mr.
Niederriter said. "And that's partly because academics are hard to work with."
A traditional inability or unwillingness of scientists to talk directly with the public and policy makers
may be one big factor, but not the only one, said Stephen H. Schneider, a professor of interdisciplinary
environmental studies at Stanford University.
Another hurdle is institutional: Universities and grant‐making agencies, despite their talk of breaking
down divisions in academe, still favor researchers with a single‐themed approach, Mr. Schneider said.
"So if you're going to divert a fraction of your career into outreach and into these other things, and
you're not smarter than the person next to you, and there's two of you running for one tenured slot,
there's risks associated with being too broad, being too interdisciplinary, for young scientists," he said.
Signs of Change
Still, recent trends show that scientists may be gaining greater influence on governmental policy, said
Lawrence Badash, a retired professor of the history of science at the University of California at Santa
Barbara, who has written several books on the topic.
Scientists have few lobbying groups, Mr. Badash said, and President Obama named a former leader of
one of them — John P. Holdren, a past chairman of the Federation of American Scientists — as his
science adviser. Mr. Obama picked another university researcher, Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize‐winning
physicist, as his energy secretary. That followed a period in which the Bush administration "stifled and
even perverted" the recommendations of scientists to conform with its own political preferences, Mr.
Nobel laureates and other scientists have also been accused of playing politics when taking positions
on subjects such as the Vietnam War and nuclear testing that aren't directly in their fields of expertise,
Mr. Badash said.
"If it's fundamentally a political question, and the scientists have no training in political science, why
should we give them more credence than we give the guy next door?" Mr. Badash said. "Yet we do
because they have some public image as intelligent people."
And members of Congress, he said, despite failing to include scientists in many of their hearings and
killing off their own "superb" Office of Technology Assessment in 1995, still have "many, many
sources" of scientific expertise, including science offices within the various executive‐branch agencies.
'Start Speaking Up'
But the need for scientists to work with policy makers may be growing as matters of public concern
require greater levels of technical expertise to understand and solve, and carry greater dangers for
Scientists can help explain "things that are unknown and dangerous, and unknown and not dangerous,
and how to tell the difference," said Seth C. Zenz, a doctoral student in physics at the University of
California at Berkeley, who writes a blog that highlights public misperceptions of science.
Apparently vindicated more than 30 years after he began warning about the threat of global warming,
former Vice President Al Gore came before this year's annual conference of the AAAS with one
overriding message for the world's largest association of scientists: Start speaking up.
"I'm asking you for help," Mr. Gore told conference delegates in February in Chicago. "Scientists can no
longer in good conscience accept this division between the work you do and the civilization in which
The lack of a clear message from scientists is sometimes taken as a lack of consensus. But in the case
of climate change, a series of standing ovations showered by the scientists on Mr. Gore reflected
survey data showing a scientific consensus on climate change. A University of Illinois poll of 3,146
scientists published this year, for example, showed that 82 percent believe human activity has had a
significant effect on global temperatures.
The purported controversy over climate change is one of the "false debates" that today's generation of
scientists has improperly allowed to develop in the public mind, said one future scientist, Narendra P.
Tallapragada, who plans to do things differently. A high‐school senior from Virginia who is due to begin
studying electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall, Mr.
Tallapragada will arrive at MIT with experience on both sides of the science‐politics divide: He finished
in fourth place nationally this year in the Intel Science Talent Search competition while leading the
Model U.N. team at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Alexandria.
He chose MIT in part because of the strength of its political‐science program. If tomorrow's scientists
can't be as comfortable with public speaking as the television personalities Mehmet Oz or Sanjay
Gupta are, he said, they should at least seek training of the type Ms. Leidner had before her visit to
For scientists these days, Mr. Tallapragada said, "it should be mandatory."
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Online educators won’t have to spy on students, new rules say
By MARC PARRY
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Distance educators won’t have to become FBI‐style investigators, scanning fingerprints and installing
cameras in the apartments of online students to ensure that people are who they say they are.
At least not yet.
The recently reauthorized Higher Education Act required accreditors to monitor the steps that colleges
take to verify that an enrolled student is the same person who does the work. The language in the law
had left distance educators worried they would have to buy expensive technology to ensure that
students didn’t have other people take their tests. The distance educators feared the cost could be so
high that programs would be in danger.
But proposed federal regulations about implementing the law, worked out this May, would allow
colleges to satisfy the mandate with techniques like secure log‐ins and passwords or proctored
examinations, according to people involved in the negotiations.
After an emotional controversy that touched on cheating, privacy, and Congress’s lingering discomfort
with distance education, some in the field are welcoming the developments.
Some distance educators felt they were being held to a higher standard than their peers at brick‐and‐
mortar institutions. And some technology vendors exacerbated the anxiety through “purposeful
distortion” of the law, said Fred B. Lokken, an associate dean at Truckee Meadows Community College
“There were companies who saw a chance here to get their business base by, I think, exaggerating
what the HEOA was requiring for distance‐education programs,” said Mr. Lokken, chair of the
Instructional Technology Council, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Still, while colleges may have dodged an immediate bullet, what had been more of a “back burner”
issue will now be “front and center,” Mr. Lokken said. In the future, as identity‐verification technology
evolves, the expectation is that accrediting agencies will require more than simple log‐ins and pass
At the heart of this debate are a few words in a large bill that Congress reauthorized last year.
Congress required colleges to have “processes” establishing that “the student who registers in a
distance‐education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the
program and receives the academic credit,” according to the Instructional Technology Council.
The move fits with earlier government skepticism about distance education. The so‐called 50‐percent
rule, for example, had blocked institutions that provided more than half their courses via distance
education, or enrolled more than half their students at a distance, from participating in federal
financial‐aid programs. Congress revoked that rule in 2006.
Once the new student‐identification requirements emerged, technology companies like the Acxiom
Corporation and Moodlerooms pointed to the law in announcing a new option for colleges to get
tough on cheating: an integration of Acxiom’s identity‐verification product into Moodle, the open‐
source course‐management system that Moodlerooms uses.
Acxiom’s FactCheck‐X, used in online‐banking transactions, requires test takers to answer detailed,
personal “challenge” questions. Other advanced tools colleges can use include the Securexam Remote
Proctor, which scans fingerprints and captures a 360‐degree view around students, and Kryterion’s
Webassessor, which lets human proctors watch students on Web cameras and listen to their
Some college officials saw advantages to the new technologies. Others were wary of involving third‐
party vendors that may not safeguard students’ privacy. And others chafed at the assumption that
because the course was online, the person doing the work might really be a student’s mother.
“People were just concerned that our job was going to be moved from teaching to some kind of FBI‐
like forensics work,” said Jennifer E. Lerner, director of the Extended Learning Institute at Northern
Virginia Community College. “People were resentful of that because no one checks a photo ID when
someone walks into a classroom. You call their name, they say ‘here,’ and you assume that that’s who
the student is.”
The proposed regulatory language, forwarded to The Chronicle by the Instructional Technology
Council, says colleges can verify identity with techniques like “a secure log‐in and pass code; proctored
examinations; and new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student
Michael J. Offerman, vice chairman of the Capella Education Company, was an industry representative
involved in rule‐making negotiations. Here’s his bottom line: “For most, if not all of us, that would
mean we don’t need to change the way we’re doing verification. But we’ll have to report it now to our
An official from the U.S. Education Department confirmed that the proposed regulations do not
require colleges to put in place any new student‐authentication technology beyond a secure log‐in and
password at this time.
For her part, Ms. Lerner argued that proctored testing is “essential” for a program’s quality.
“And a lot of institutions are not doing that now,” she said.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Colleges may play the name‐change game at their peril, dissertation says
By AUSTIN WRIGHT
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
From 1996 to 2005, more than 100 American colleges rebranded themselves as universities, moves
that may have had an unintended consequence: stunted enrollment growth.
Those rebranded institutions experienced the counterintuitive effect of slowing growth in their
enrollment even as the rate of their annual tuition increases remained nearly constant, says a Marshall
University doctoral dissertation that won the Alice L. Beeman Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation
Award last month from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
In his dissertation, "Survival of the Fittest? The Rebranding of West Virginia Higher Education," James
M. Owston writes that colleges often seek to rename themselves as universities to gain prestige. And
they did gain prestige, if it's measured by their number of graduate programs, the 1,000‐page
dissertation says. But in most cases, enrollment growth slowed following the change.
"They had growth, but not the same growth as prior to the change," said Mr. Owston, a 2007 graduate
of Marshall’s leadership‐studies program who analyzed more than 160 institutions and interviewed 22
In an interview on Tuesday, he said rebranding is not the cure‐all solution that some administrators
think it is. "In most of these cases, the decision was made by one person within the institution, and
that was normally the president," he said. "When it happens without shareholders' opinions, there's a
revolt," he added, referring to various groups that feel they have a stake in the identity of the
Such a revolt could explain the enrollment slowdown, he said. At many of the colleges, for example,
alumni were upset that their alma mater's name no longer matched what was written on their
diplomas, Mr. Owston said. Also, prospective students might view a sudden college‐to‐university
rebranding as a sign of a larger identity crisis within the institution, especially for prospective students
who grew up knowing the institution by its former name.
Mr. Owston's national study focuses on the state where he lives, West Virginia, which from 1996 to
2005 had the highest percentage of college‐to‐university rebrandings of any state. Just last month,
West Liberty State College, in West Virginia, changed its name to West Liberty University, according to
a university news release.
One of the institutions to undergo such a transformation is Mr. Owston's own employer. Since
receiving his doctor‐of‐education degree from Marshall, in 2007, Mr. Owston has worked in the
distance‐learning program at Mountain State University, which was the College of West Virginia from
1991 to 2001 and was founded as Beckley College in 1933.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Colleges undermine their value when they put tuition ‘on sale’
By GOLDIE BLUMENSTYK
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
"It's not just what you're buying, it's what you're buying into."
That's the takeaway in a new Starbucks ad campaign, which offers as much a lesson to higher
education as it does to coffee drinkers.
The ad reminds us that part of what we're paying for when we buy that pricey skim Venti is a cup of
coffee made from a better quality bean from a company that believes its corporate obligation includes
providing its workers with health insurance.
Compare that value‐for‐the‐money message to the offers pouring out of some colleges this spring,
some of which have a car‐commercial vibe.
Drexel University is giving laid‐off workers a 50‐percent discount on tuition at its new graduate campus
in California. Davis & Elkins College, already a tuition bargain, slashed its price by nearly $15,000 for
residents from its home county and six surrounding ones to match the tuition of the state's flagship
West Virginia University. And Southern Illinois University at Carbondale will now charge incoming
freshmen from Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee the same in‐state rate that
Illinois residents pay, a price cut of about $10,000.
It's tempting to dismiss these tuition‐discounting strategies as the latest examples of the opportunistic
come‐ons so many colleges offer these days, gimmicks that institutions use, in the words of critics, to
"buy their class."
But Reed K. Holden, a consultant on pricing to the corporate sector who normally preaches against
discounting as "the crack cocaine of business," says this may be a year that all bets are off.
In this economy, he says, "the niceties of a value‐based approach should go out the window because
you have to survive."
Tuition discounting can help colleges add to their revenues and support their mission, says Stephen L.
DesJardins, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor who
studies tuition discounting and other enrollment‐management techniques. That's especially true if the
colleges have unused capacity, as is the case at Davis & Elkins and Southern Illinois.
But many colleges don't do it right.
For one, colleges can discount themselves into financial trouble. And according to newly released
figures from the "2007 Tuition Discounting Survey Report" from the National Association of College
and University Business Officers, the freshman discount rates at four‐year private colleges continue to
creep upward, averaging 39.8 percent for the 135 institutions that have answered the survey for the
past 10 years. Nacubo says the freshman rate, which was 37.1 percent for that group in 1998, is
considered the best reflection of colleges' aid policies and their reaction to competitive pressures.
(The discount rate is the percentage of gross tuition the institution spends on student aid.)
The average rate for all undergraduates among all 253 respondents in 2007 was 34.7 percent, a figure
that brushes awfully close to the 35‐percent threshold many experts consider an indicator of financial
Even when the discounting doesn't create a financial hole, it can be misused. Some colleges use their
myriad presidential scholarships, dean's scholarships, and similar sorts of merit awards to lure
students for whom the college may not be a great fit. Sometimes they do so because they think the
students they nab will help them move up in the rankings. Sometimes they think the aid offer will help
them draw more students who can pay the difference.
As the financial‐aid expert Sandy Baum is quick to remind, some discounts and scholarships aren't
really any measure of an institution's new commitment to a particular class of students but merely a
repackaging of the tuition aid the college had been offering all along.
(For the record, Drexel's Sacramento dean says the discount offer there will cost the college in the
short run but could help build goodwill in the community and give prospective students the confidence
to enroll. And Davis & Elkins, which says its main motivation was to help nearby residents, has deposits
for next fall's freshman class from 57 locals, versus 29 the previous year, providing it with added
revenue that it might otherwise not have gotten.)
Perhaps all's fair in love and college marketing. Still, it's hard not to wonder whether these kinds of
strategies are doing much good for the overall endeavor of higher education. Discounts can be a quick‐
fix response to affordability concerns, but they don't get at the expense structures that really drive
costs. And does the sector really benefit from a proliferation of practices and gamesmanship that
make its pricing structures even more confusing to students? Shouldn't colleges compete on the
merits of their programs, not pricing ploys?
"Transparency is better than gimmickry," says David A. Longanecker, a former state and federal
higher‐education policy maker who is now president of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher
Purists share his disdain. Jonathan Burdick, dean of admissions and financial aid at the University of
Rochester, which once offered scholarships to all New York State residents but no longer does, calls
the guaranteed scholarships and similar strategies "snake oil" recruiting techniques that contribute to
the commodification of higher education.
Strong words. But when a company that is actually selling a commodity decides it can make its pitch
on value, couldn't colleges do the same? Something to ponder over your next cup of steaming latte.
The Associated Press
Clemson official: School manipulated rankings
By JUSTIN POPE
Thursday, June 4, 2009
A rogue Clemson University staffer has accused the South Carolina school of manipulating its U.S.
News & World Report ranking — reviving a debate over what critics call the pernicious influence of the
magazine's annual college ratings.
Among the steps reportedly alleged by Catherine Watt, who until 2006 headed Clemson's institutional
research office: Clemson manipulated class sizes, artificially boosted faculty salary data and gave rival
schools low grades in the rankings' peer reputation survey, which counts for 25 percent of the score.
Watt said Thursday that reports on her remarks had missed the point of her presentation to a
conference and that she regretted any suggestion of illegal activity. Meanwhile, the university denied
several of the allegations, but acknowledged it aims to improve in the influential rankings. Clemson
jumped from No. 38 among public universities in 2001 to No. 22 in 2008 — an unusually quick ascent
considering the rankings typically change little from year to year.
"It's very shortsighted. It's misguided and it's educationally damaging," Lloyd Thacker, executive
director of the Education Conservancy and a prominent rankings critic, said of the allegations.
"Colleges have been 'rank‐steering,' — driving under the influence of the rankings," he said. "We've
seen over the years a shifting of resources to influence ranks."
Watt's comments came Tuesday in Atlanta at a meeting of the Association for Institutional Research —
usually a staid venue for arcane discussions about data collection. However, Watt dropped a
bombshell that stunned the audience, detailing Clemson's single‐minded pursuit to become a Top 20
public research university, according to reports from The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside
Higher Ed, which covered the conference.
Watt, now director of the Alliance for Research on Higher Education at Clemson's Strom Thurmond
Institute, described practices many rankings critics believe are common, but rarely acknowledge.
Clemson, she said, "walked a fine line between illegal, unethical and really interesting."
U.S. News & World Report, for instance, takes into account how many classes a university has with
fewer than 20 students and those with more than 50. Clemson, Watt reportedly said, capped many
classes at 18 or 19 students, while letting others already over the limit grow. The 2004 edition of the
rankings reported 22 percent of Clemson classes had fewer than 20 students; last year it reported 48
Most explosively, she reportedly claimed Clemson officials ranked other institutions as "below
average" in the magazine's peer reputation survey. She reportedly later clarified that Clemson
administrators had not been told to do that, but their surveys "had that effect."
Clemson issued a three‐page response that didn't name Watt but called the reported statements
"outrageous." The university denied that "all decisions at Clemson are driven by rankings" and denied
reporting faculty salary data differently to U.S. News. The "insinuation of unethical behavior crosses
the line," the statement said.
The statement did not address Watt's reported statements about the peer surveys, but Chief Public
Affairs Officer Cathy Sams said by telephone Thursday she had spoken with the three officials who
participate in the survey and had "not found any evidence of that."
In an e‐mail to The Associated Press on Thursday, Watt wrote she had no "full comment" but criticized
the published descriptions of her comments. She added: "The strategic efforts to decrease class size
and increase full‐time faculty have only built upon an already excellent experience for our students."
Sams, the university spokeswoman, said Clemson remains committed to its stated goal of becoming a
Top‐20 ranked institution.
"The notion that there's this day‐to‐day obsession (with rankings) is simply not true," she said. "The
fact we use that as one of our benchmarks for improvement is something we're very comfortable
U.S. News & World Report
Clemson and the college rankings
By ROBERT MORSE
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Clemson University is facing both controversy and criticism after Catherine Watt, a director of a
research center at Clemson, made a presentation this week at the annual forum of the Association for
Institutional Research in Atlanta about the aggressive steps the university has taken to meet its goal of
rising in the U.S. News America's Best Colleges rankings.
It's no secret that Clemson's goal is to become a top 20 public research university: There's a whole
section of the school's website called "Why Top 20" that explains the rationale behind the goal and
what the potential benefits would be for students and the university. (Currently, Clemson ranks 22nd
in that "best publics" list, up from 38th in 2001.) Yesterday, Clemson responded to Watt's presentation
with a prepared statement after both Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education had
articles on her presentation.
I was at the conference and attended Watt's presentation. The most controversial parts were some of
the techniques she suggested that Clemson has been using to meet its goal and how open Watt was in
discussing the university's strategy publicly. According to her presentation, Clemson took precise steps
to improve in some U.S. News ranking variables: create more small classes of under 20 students and
fewer large classes with 50 or more students, boost the SAT scores and high school class standing of
incoming students, increase freshman retention and graduation rates, decrease the student‐to‐faculty
ratio, improve faculty salaries, and more accurately report data. In addition, the presentation implied
that Clemson's peer survey respondents gave other universities they compete against a below average
rating, though this claim has been vigorously denied by the school.
U.S. News produces the rankings to provide the public—in particular, families of collegebound
students—one tool that offers a clear perspective on differences among the options in higher
education. We realize we can't control how this information gets used in the higher ed community, but
the rankings are not meant to drive the mission or any other strategic goals that a university may be
trying to attain. It's up to the Clemson University community to decide whether rising in the college
rankings is a goal it ought to pursue.
In terms of the reputation survey, U.S. News has safeguards in place to prevent strategic voting from
affecting the results. We subtract a few of the highest and lowest scores from respondents before the
results are calculated in order to prevent downgrading or upgrading from altering the results. We are
confident that such voting practices by respondents are not affecting the results of the reputation
survey in any meaningful statistical way.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Clemson assails allegations that it manipulates ‘U.S. News’ rankings
By MARTIN VAN DER WERF
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Clemson University, stung by charges by one of its own researchers that it willfully manipulates the
U.S. News & World Report rankings, fired back on Wednesday, saying the accusations are
“outrageous” examples of “urban legends” that have surrounded the university’s campaign to reach
the top 20 of public research universities.
“The accusation that Clemson, its staff, and administrators have engaged in unethical conduct to
achieve a higher ranking is untrue and unfairly disparages the sincere, unwavering, and effective
efforts of faculty and staff to improve academic quality over the past 10 years,” reads a statement
issued by the university’s chief spokeswoman, Catherine T. Sams. “While we have publicly stated our
goal of a top‐20 ranking, we have repeatedly stressed that we use the criteria as indicators of quality
improvement and view a ranking as the byproduct, not the objective.”
Clemson has not exactly been shy about its goal. “Why Top 20” is a button on the Web page for the
university's president, James F. Barker.
But Catherine E. Watt, the former director of the university’s institutional‐research office, startled a
session of academic researchers at a meeting in Atlanta on Tuesday with a candid description of how
she thinks the university has single‐mindedly pursued the higher ranking. Among other things, she said
while presenting a paper, the university has manipulated class sizes, doubled its tuition so it would
lower student‐faculty ratios, and ranked all other colleges but Clemson as “below average” in U.S.
News surveys of academic reputation.
The Clemson statement on Wednesday said the steps taken by the university had been portrayed
primarily in a negative light, when they have had positive effects.
“You could take five facts and build a case that all we’re interested in are the rankings,” wrote Ms.
Sams. “You could take another five facts and build a case that we’re completely ignoring them.”
She said the university has had to raise tuition because of significant cutbacks in state funds. It has
plowed that revenue into hiring faculty members and into academic support for students. “The
primary factor influencing those investment decisions is the desire to help students succeed and stay
on track for graduation, not rankings,” said the university statement.
Doris R. Helms, Clemson's provost and vice president for academic affairs, also issued a statement,
which said: “We would not tolerate any efforts to manipulate data, and neither President Barker nor I
would manipulate the data in ranking other institutions. We are proud of other institutions that
represent quality higher education in this country and would not want to detract from their
In issuing the statements, Clemson was furthering a fight with one of its own. Ms. Watt was director of
the institutional‐research office from 2002 to 2006. She is now director of the Alliance for Research on
Higher Education, which is part of Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public
Affairs. She is also a member of the faculty at the institute, but she does not have tenure.
In a brief telephone interview on Wednesday, Ms. Watt said, “I really didn’t think I was giving away
any information. Apparently, I said too much. This paper was a different perspective that I thought was
worth discussing among my colleagues in the academic‐research community.”
She acknowledged that she might have chosen her words "more carefully” if she had known
beforehand that reporters would attend the session, which took place at the annual conference of the
Association for Institutional Research. “Someone gave me the comment that I was pulling the covers
off this issue," she said. "I think I was just discussing publicly what we all say privately.”
Ms. Sams, the Clemson spokeswoman, said that while the administration was perturbed by the
comments, it had no intention of taking any action against Ms. Watt. “That’s what academic freedom
is all about,” she said.
Ms. Watt said she wished the university had said nothing more than that—that “she is an academic
researcher presenting a paper.” Now that the university has fired back, she said, “I just want to crawl
back under my rock.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Researcher offers unusually candid description of university’s effort to rise in rankings
By MARTIN VAN DER WERF
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Atlanta – Clemson University is run in an almost single‐minded direction, with nearly all policies driven
by how they will help the land‐grant institution rise in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, according
to a university official whose candid comments stirred debate among conference‐goers here on
Clemson has doubled its tuition this decade, manipulated class sizes, and even sought to downgrade
the academic reputations of other institutions when answering surveys, all in an attempt to meet the
goal of pushing the university into the ranks of the top‐20 public research institutions, said Catherine
E. Watt, the former director of institutional research at Clemson.
In terms of the rankings, the strategy has worked. Clemson was 38th among public research
universities in the magazine’s 2001 rankings, she said. In 2008, it had risen to 22nd.
Ms. Watt, who is now director of the Alliance for Research on Higher Education, part of the
university’s Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs, spoke at a session at the
annual conference of the Association for Institutional Research, which concludes here today.
University representatives could not be reached for comment late Tuesday, after Ms. Watt's afternoon
The U.S. News rankings are built on seven basic categories meant to measure the quality of colleges
and universities, including academic reputation, financial resources, and graduation rates. Academic
reputation, which is determined by surveying officials at institutions about how they rate other
universities, carries the greatest weight in the rankings formula, accounting for 25 percent of the total.
While many institutions pay close attention to the rankings, Ms. Watt’s description of the methods
used by Clemson was startling in its bluntness and for how pervasively she said the rankings figure in
every decision made by administrators.
Robert Morse, who directs the rankings for U.S. News and is attending the meeting, said after the
session that her comments probably gave public voice to conversations held privately at many
universities about how to rise in the rankings.
A Vision and a Goal
In her presentation, Ms. Watt said that Clemson’s president since 1999, James F. Barker, had
established in 2001 the goal of reaching the top 20. Soon thereafter, the university adopted a policy to
“affect every possible indicator to the greatest extent possible,” she said.
“Clemson has a specific, year‐directed vision,” said Ms. Watt. “I can promise you, everyone on the
Clemson campus can tell you what the campus vision is. Every president’s speech starts with the
ranking; every policy starts there. Like it or not, you always know where you stand.”
For example, the university has doubled its tuition since 2001, she said, reasoning that the extra
proceeds could be dumped into the academic budget and used to reduce student‐faculty ratios, one of
the criteria used by U.S. News. When course sections had 21 to 23 students in them, administrators
ordered that more sections be opened to reduce the class size to 19 students or less, she said. The
percentage of courses with fewer than 20 students is another of the criteria used in the magazine's
Conversely, if a course was looking as if it would have more than 50 students, Clemson administrators
would simply let it continue to grow. “Any class over 50 may as well grow larger,” she said. “There
wasn’t much containment there.”
The percentage of courses with more than 50 students is also a factor in the rankings. But Clemson
decided to direct its resources toward reducing the percentage of classes under 20 students, she said,
and didn’t worry about the number of classes with more than 50.
In the magazine's academic‐reputation surveys, Ms. Watt said, administrators rated all institutions
other than Clemson as below average.
Following the session, Ms. Watt clarified that administrators had not been directed to deride the
reputations of other institutions as far as she knew, but she said, “I saw copies of a couple of surveys
myself that had that effect.”
Faculty salaries are another factor in the rankings. Ms. Watt said Clemson attempted to inflate its
faculty salaries by including the value of benefits.
Mr. Morse later clarified, however, that Clemson was supposed to be including the value of benefits all
along, and had previously been misreporting salary information.
People attending the session seemed stunned by some of Ms. Watt's comments. The presentation was
met with gasps, guffaws, nervous laughter, and incredulity. “You’re pandering,” said one audience
member. “What are you trying to accomplish? How does this help the students?” said another. “How
can you justify doing it?” asked another.
“Well, to do anything else is not an option,” said Ms. Watt. “It’s just that frank.”
And the strategy has had positive effects for students, she said. They have smaller classes and have
more professors in classrooms, rather than teaching assistants. The six‐year graduation rate, another
factor measured by U.S. News, has increased from 72 percent to 78 percent this decade, possibly in
part because of the increased attention to academic resources, Ms. Watt said.
“Clemson has always had a happy, loyal student body,” she said. “It still is, and, by some measures, it’s
even happier today.”
However, the university is probably guilty of neglecting its mission, she said. “We have favored merit
over access in a poor state,” she said. “We are more elite, more white, more privileged.”
But in measuring the tradeoffs, the university has not wavered from the policy, she said.
“We have been criticized for not fulfilling the mission of a public land‐grant institution,” she said. “On
the other hand, we have gotten really good press. We have walked the fine line between illegal,
unethical, and really interesting.”
Following her presentation, Ms. Watt said she had left the institutional research office, in part,
because of her objections to the direction the university had taken.
Mr. Morse, of U.S. News, said, “We don’t want our rankings to drive the mission of a university.”
The rankings, he said, “are meant for prospective students and their parents as a means of measuring
college quality and fit. They are not meant for presidents as a means of proving their administrative
The Chronicle of Higher Education
More than 100 colleges fail Education Department’s test of financial strength
By GOLDIE BLUMENSTYK
Friday, June 5, 2009
A newly compiled analysis by the U.S. Department of Education and obtained by The Chronicle shows
that 114 private nonprofit degree‐granting colleges were in such fragile financial condition at the end
of their last fiscal year that they failed the department's financial‐responsibility test.
Colleges that fail the test are subject to extra monitoring on their use of federal student‐aid funds. The
65 of these that scored the lowest also have to post letters of credit with the department to help
protect the safety of the loan and grant money that flows through their institutions.
Although not designed as such, failing the test can be an indicator that a college is in danger of not
surviving. Over the past year, at least five of the institutions that show up as failing the financial test
based on data from their 2007 or 2008 fiscal years have either shut down, merged with a wealthier
nonprofit college, or sold themselves to a for‐profit college company.
Those include John F. Kennedy University in California, which affiliated with the National University
system in April, Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire, which announced in April it would be
acquired by ITT Educational Services Inc., and Myers University (renamed Chancellor University) in
Ohio, which was bought in August 2008 by some of the same investors who bought Grand Canyon
University a few years ago. It also includes Waldorf College in Iowa, which is in talks to be bought by
the for‐profit Columbia Southern University, and the College of Santa Fe, which closed in May and is
now in purchase discussions with Laureate Education Inc.
Other institutions on the list have recently made headlines for failing to make their payroll (Lambuth
University in Tennessee), or for cutting retirement contributions for employees (Dana College in
Wells College appears in department records as having a failing score, but officials there said last week
that they had been assured by the department that its score was still "under review." Department
officials did not respond by press time to inquiries by The Chronicle about Wells.
Those that scored below 1.0 (on a scale of minus‐1 to 3) must post letters of credit with the
department equal to 10 percent of the federal aid they award, which further crimps their liquidity. In
addition to a number of religious colleges, these geographically diverse institutions include Ava Maria
School of Law in Michigan, Concordia University in California, Newbury College in Massachusetts, and
Paul Quinn College in Texas. (See table, Page A22.)
A Financial Burden
Colleges are required to submit audited financial statements to the Education Department within nine
months of the end of their fiscal year. Since that is June 30 for most institutions, the list obtained by
The Chronicle under the Freedom of Information Act is based on the most current data available.
(Some of the department's scores are based on 2007 fiscal‐year data.) It does not reflect the difficult
financial pressures many colleges are facing this fiscal year.
Although colleges that do not meet the test can continue to award federal student aid, the added
scrutiny that comes with a failing score can be a management and financial burden. "Our goal is to get
ourselves out of the letter‐of‐credit situation," said Joyce Hanlon, vice president for finance and chief
financial officer at Newbury, which was required to secure a letter of credit guaranteeing $550,000 in
February 2008 because of its 2007 financial condition.
Newbury's finances improved by the end of its 2008 fiscal year, but not by enough to have the letter‐
of‐credit requirement lifted. "We are just in the beginning phases of turning the college around," Ms.
Colleges that stumble one year sometimes recover the next.
Phillips Graduate Institute, in California, for instance, had been posting a $600,000 letter of credit until
January of 2009, when, based on its 2008 fiscal‐year financials, it scored high enough to pass.
"We're out from under. We're going to stay out from under," said Linda Perez, the institute's chief
financial officer. In Phillips's case, the master's and doctoral institution shored up its finances by
expanding enrollment, refinancing some debt, and reducing expenses. "It was a wake‐up call," Ms.
The test involves calculation of a composite score based on three ratios that take into account such
factors as debt load, expenses relative to income, and overall resources of the institution.
"It doesn't take much to throw off a ratio," said Todd S. Hutton, president of Utica College, in Upstate
New York. "Our margins are razor thin." Utica failed the test based on its 2008 financials despite
record enrollment that year. But the college also drew down its cash reserves that year to undertake
some construction projects.
Though Utica's score wasn't low enough to trigger a letter‐of‐credit requirement, Mr. Hutton said it
was partly out of concern about its score that Utica decided to hold off on some expensive energy‐
improvement projects it had been considering. Even though the additional liabilities would have been
temporary, it didn't want them on its balance sheet "because of these kinds of issues."
The financial circumstances of every institution differ, so it would be wrong to assume that every
college that fails the test is in financial trouble. Tiffin University, in Ohio, said its finances are strong,
but it has failed the test for the past few years because of the way it accounts for liabilities related to a
university‐owned retirement complex. Now that it has sold the complex (for "a modest profit"
according to an official there,) it expects to pass the test when it submits its latest financial
Still, with so few other public indicators of colleges' financial health available, particularly of smaller
colleges that are not subject to scrutiny by credit‐rating agencies, this roster of colleges may be a
bellwether of trouble.
Or, for a growing cadre of companies, investors, and entrepreneurs who scour the country in search of
ailing nonprofit colleges as acquisition targets, it might also become a shopping list. Said Joseph
Schmoke, chief executive officer at the all‐online Andrew Jackson University, one investor looking to
acquire a brand‐name campus: "The trail has been blazed."
The Chronicle of Higher Education
When it comes to saving money on electricity, colleges see the light in LED
By SCOTT CARLSON
Thursday, June 4, 2009
James Dishaw's lighting revolution began about a year ago, when a salesman dropped by his office in
the facilities department at Le Moyne College. The salesman came from a company that manufactures
highly efficient LED lighting.
"He wanted to sell me a bunch of specialty items," Mr. Dishaw, the college's facilities director, says.
Mr. Dishaw knew about the efficiencies of LED lights, but he wanted something he could put right into
the fixtures he already had in abundance. He pointed out the rectangular, 2‐by‐4 fluorescent lights
seen in offices everywhere. "I said, You know, what we really need, and what you're going to sell a lot
of, is these four‐foot tubes. Everyone has a gazillion of them."
The salesman came back sometime later with a four‐foot LED light that offered a brighter, more
natural light than the fluorescents with half the electricity usage and a longer life — but at a premium
price of $75 a bulb, compared with $2.50 for the old fluorescents. Mr. Dishaw has installed the LED's in
his office and in classrooms, hallways, and even his boss's office — 200 in all.
"People see the lighting and say, Can I get that in my office?" he says.
Now he is trying to figure out how the college can raise the money to replace some 25,000 bulbs
across the campus with the new LED's, which some energy experts say are the next generation in
A buzz about LED lighting is growing at colleges across the country, but it is a trend that probably few
people would notice. Electric lighting, after all, is the most basic service a facilities department
provides, so ubiquitous that people might not think about it, unless there is a problem. An institution
with financial troubles might be said to have trouble keeping the lights on, but most colleges keep
their lights on night and day, burning money and energy.
Making the Leap
In recent years, the spiraled compact fluorescent bulb has stood as a symbol of environmental
sensibility. But the LED — or "light‐emitting diode," which can feature scores of little plastic bulbs on a
light device — may soon eclipse it. The consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu predicted in early
2008 that the LED would replace the conventional light bulb within the year. That prediction did not
come to pass, but it conveyed a sense that LED technology is on its way.
The question with any new energy‐efficiency technology: Should colleges invest in a relatively new,
expensive, and unproven technology now, or should they wait until more institutions adopt the
technology and prices drop? There is already talk of lighting technology that may succeed LED's, like
organic light‐emitting diodes and superefficient plasma lighting.
Russell D. Dupuis, an LED researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says many experts believe
that lighting infrastructure will switch over to LED's around 2012. But he points to major companies
that are already buying into the technology. Wal‐Mart, a company that has tried to establish a green
image in the past several years, will use LED's to illuminate its refrigerator cases and its gigantic white
logo outside stores, Mr. Dupuis says. LED's are already widely used in streetlights and street signs,
hand‐held flashlights, and the red and blue light bars on police cars.
Others, including James Brodrick, who is in charge of the solid‐state lighting and testing program at the
U.S. Department of Energy, think that LED technology — particularly for some interior lighting — may
need more time to mature. "There are products out there today that work fine and have payback," he
says. But the department has tested several four‐foot replacement lights, and "we haven't found one
yet that works well. If colleges are interested in that, they better do their homework."
About a dozen institutions, including Marquette University, Madison Area Technical College, the
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and some of the University of California institutions, are part of
an LED‐testing program supported by Cree, a manufacturer.
Barry A. Olson, the associate facilities director in the housing department at North Carolina State
University, which was the first to join the program early last year, says his college has purchased 1,500
LED light fixtures for installation around the campus, ranging in price from $100 to $400 apiece. "We
have been a guinea pig," he says. The good: The light quality is better, and the energy savings can be
more than 60 percent. The bad: Because the fixtures are new, electricians charge more to install them,
and they are expensive. "They are a hard sell in a down economy," he says.
Weighing the Options
For Mr. Dishaw, the question of whether to buy 25,000 LED's comes down to potential payback versus
a significant investment of around $1.8‐million. Each fluorescent is 32 to 34 watts, while an LED is 18.
Each fluorescent fixture requires a ballast, which controls the current flowing to the light and
consumes 10 watts; LED's don't need a ballast. If LED's were installed on Le Moyne's small campus,
with lights on an average of 12 hours a day, the savings would amount to almost $200,000 a year, with
a payback in about 10 years — or faster, if electricity prices go up. The college's annual carbon
emissions from purchased electricity would drop by more than 780 metric tons, or 17 percent.
The light provided by the LED's was more than enough — in fact, in some four‐bulb fluorescent
fixtures, only three LED replacements had to be used to provide the same light. There was no
"shadowing," or harsh light like that produced by a spotlight, as Mr. Dishaw feared there would be.
And because LED's provide a constant light, rather than the very fast, imperceptible flicker of
conventional lights, he finds that his eyes are less strained.
Here is the irresistible question: How many people in facilities does it take to change all the light
bulbs? At Le Moyne, and at any college, quite a few. Mr. Dishaw estimates that he has six building
mechanics who spend up to 15 percent of their time just changing dead fluorescent bulbs, which last
10,000 to 20,000 hours. LED's last 60,000 to 80,000 hours — or around 18 years at 12 hours a day. And
unlike fluorescents, LED's contain no mercury or other hazardous materials, so disposal is easy.
The initial investment is the main barrier, Mr. Dishaw says, but the college is considering jumping in
now — with some help. "I want to see what kind of funding I can get," he says, adding that he might
approach the state energy‐research agency, the regional energy company, or even local politicians. "I'd
say, Here is an opportunity. Why don't we fund something like this that can reduce the draw on the
grid and reduce the harmful heavy metals that are going to landfills?"
4‐year colleges graduate 53% of students in 6 years
By MARY BETH MARKLEIN
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Even as colleges nationwide celebrate commencement season, hundreds of schools are failing to
graduate a majority of their students in six years, a report says today.
Nationally, four‐year colleges graduated an average of just 53% of entering students within six years,
and "rates below 50%, 40% and even 30% are distressingly easy to find," says the report by the
American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. It's based on data reported to the Education
Department by nearly 1,400 schools about full‐time first‐time students who entered in fall 2001.
Some findings aren't surprising. Harvard University boasts one of the highest rates, 97%. Southern
University at New Orleans, which faced upheaval in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, reported 8%.
Even so, the report documents a "dramatic variation" even across institutions with comparable
admissions standards, which suggests some schools are more effective in educating similar students.
"While student motivation, finances and ability matter greatly when it comes to college completion,
the practices of higher education institutions matter, too," says lead author Frederick Hess. When
similar colleges have a large gap in graduation rates, "it is fair to ask why," the report says.
Education leaders said the report could be useful. "We can learn from universities who are beating the
odds," says Geri Malandra of the American Council on Education.
Examples from the study, which grouped schools by categories in Barron's Profiles of American
• Among schools that require only a high school diploma for admission, Walla Walla University and
Heritage University, both in Washington state, reported graduation rates of 53% and 17%,
• Among colleges that require high school grades averaging a B‐minus or better, John Carroll
University in Cleveland and Chicago State University in Illinois graduated 74% vs. 16%,
• In the "most competitive" group, Amherst College in Massachusetts and Reed College in Portland,
Ore., graduated 96% vs. 76%, respectively.
The data have limits: They don't account for students who transfer, for example. And they should not
be used as a sole measure of quality, the report says, because "schools should not be unfairly
penalized for maintaining high standards."
But as graduation rates grow increasingly central to discussions about accountability, co‐author Mark
Schneider says, families ought to be thinking that way, too. "We are emphasizing transparency" and
urging students to factor graduation rates into decision‐making, he says. "It's one of these little secrets
that everybody in the industry knows. We're just trying to highlight it."
The New York Times
Women are seen bridging gap in science opportunities
By CORNELIA DEAN
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The prospects for women who are scientists and engineers at major research universities have
improved, although women continue to face inequalities in salary and access to some other resources,
a panel of the National Research Council concludes in a new report.
In recent years “men and women faculty in science, engineering and mathematics have enjoyed
comparable opportunities,” said the report, issued Tuesday. It found that women who applied for
university jobs and, once they had them, for promotion and tenure were at least as likely to succeed as
But compared with their numbers among new Ph.D.’s, women are still underrepresented in applicant
pools, a puzzle that offers an opportunity for further research, the panel said.
The panel said one factor outshined all others in encouraging women to apply for jobs: having women
on the committees appointed to fill them.
In another report this week, in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at
the University of Wisconsin who reviewed a variety of studies concluded that the achievement gap
between boys and girls in mathematics performance had narrowed to the vanishing point.
“U.S. girls have now reached parity with boys, even in high school and even for measures requiring
complex problem solving,” the Wisconsin researchers said.
Although girls are still underrepresented in the ranks of young math prodigies, they said, that gap is
narrowing, a development that undermines claims that a greater prevalence of profound
mathematical talent in boys is biologically determined. The researchers said this and other
circumstances “provide abundant evidence for the impact of sociocultural and other environmental
factors on the development of mathematical skills and talent and the size, if any, of math gender
The research council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, convened its expert panel at the
request of Congress. The panel surveyed six disciplines — biology, chemistry, mathematics, civil and
electrical engineering, and physics — and based its analysis on interviews with faculty members at 89
institutions and data from federal agencies, professional societies and other sources.
The panel was led by Claude R. Canizares, a physicist who is vice president for research at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz of the Yale School of Medicine, an
expert on learning.
The Wisconsin researchers, Janet S. Hyde and Janet E. Mertz, studied data from 10 states collected in
tests mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act as well as data from the National Assessment of
Educational Progress, a federal testing program.
Differences between girls’ and boys’ performance in the 10 states were “close to zero in all grades,”
they said, even in high schools where gaps had existed earlier. In the national assessment, they said,
differences between girls’ and boys’ performance were “trivial.”
The New York Times
Department tackles visa delay for researchers
By CORNELIA DEAN
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
After months of complaints by university groups and scientific organizations, the State Department is
acting to speed up the delay‐plagued visa process for foreign graduate students and post‐doctoral
researchers, an official said Tuesday.
The official, David Donahue, the deputy assistant secretary of state for consular services, said the
department started attacking the backlog of requests on Friday. “I am not sure when we will get all of
them cleared up,” he said, but eventually routine requests should be dealt with in two weeks. He said
the department had brought in extra staff to handle the applications and had revised procedures to
Albert H. Teich, the director of science and policy programs at the American Association for the
Advancement of Science called the moves “very gratifying.” Dr. Teich said he and representatives of
the National Academy of Sciences, the Association of American Universities and other groups learned
of the changes in a conference call last week.
Since last year, science and engineering researchers from abroad seeking to obtain or renew visas
have routinely encountered delays of months. The problem became so acute that researchers who left
the country often found themselves stranded abroad, not knowing when their visas might be
The delays have caused problems for American universities, which rely on foreigners to fill slots in
graduate and post‐doctoral science and engineering programs. Foreign talent also fuels scientific and
technical innovation in American laboratories, and the visa difficulties discouraged scientific
organizations from holding meetings in the United States. Some researchers said the apparent
reluctance of the United States to accept them encouraged them to seek work in other countries.
Mr. Donahue said the clearance process was important, especially as it related to “guarding against
proliferation of science and technical information.” But he said people in the department were
unhappy about the delays. “We should not have been behind, but we will be glad to be caught up,” he
Dr. Teich said he attributed the action to the Obama administration’s support for scientific and
technical research. But he added: “So far all we know is what they have said. Let us hope it takes
John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which helped
develop the new procedures, said the United States should encourage researchers from other
countries to employ their skills here.
“It is more important than ever that we remove unnecessary impediments to collaborative innovation
and technical advancement,” Dr. Holdren said.
U.S. News & World Report
Twitter goes to college
Students and professors use the micro‐blogging service to communicate inside and outside the
By ZACH MINERS
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
At the University of Texas‐Dallas, history professor Monica Rankin needed a better way to get
students involved in the classroom. The 90‐person lecture hall was too big for back‐and‐forth
conversation. So, with help from students in the school's emerging media program, she had her
students set up accounts on Twitter—a micro‐blogging service—and then use the technology to
post messages and ask questions that were displayed on a projector screen during class. Rankin
says that although the technology has its limitations, the experiment encouraged students to
participate who otherwise would not have done so.
Though Twitter might not yet be quite as popular among students as Facebook or MySpace, a
growing cadre of professors and administrators are embracing it and using it to introduce their
classes to a different kind of communication and networking—one that doesn't involve "poking"
friends or posting photos.
At Champlain College in Vermont, marketing and online business professor Elaine Young went
from using Twitter—which lets people send 140‐character messages, or "tweets," out for anyone
to see—as a tool to help teach in the classroom to something that business and marketing
students can call on to build networks and make connections in the professional world. Compared
to other social networking sites, "Twitter is more about creating connections with others who
may not be your real friends," she says.
The biggest challenge, Young says, is getting students who are convinced that they will never
need the technology to give Twitter a try. But many of her students are jumping in and have taken
on business projects with local companies and made recommendations on whether the firms
should use services like Twitter, blogs, or E‐mail newsletters. When the Internet‐based marketing
class ended in May, the Twitter accounts that were created were still active, Young says.
Young even had several of her students "tweeting" from their BlackBerrys and cellphones during
the school's 2009 commencement. The result was a play‐by‐play of quips on the ceremony, right
down to one student complaining that her "sash is falling off." And because all the tweets were
uniformly tagged and updated, other members of the audience—as well as those watching online
and on the local public‐access TV channel—stumbled upon the Twitter feed and posted their own
tweets. "It's all right in the moment," says Young.
Another educator who's leveraging that instant‐access information is David Parry, a professor of
emerging media at the University of Texas‐Dallas. Parry uses Twitter to enhance his classes and as
a means of keeping students engaged in course content beyond the classroom walls. He has them
create Twitter profiles and "follow," or track, his updates along with those of friends and others
outside the university. Many of his students go one step further and use the site to alert their
classmates to world events or issues that are relevant to the course .
"One thing that has changed about higher education is the idea that people come and sit in a
dorm and after class, they share ideas," says Parry. "A lot of that is gone now, because students
work two jobs, they don't live in dorms.... But Twitter is making up for it, in a way."
Parry's students helped Rankin use Twitter in her classroom. And a former student of Parry's, who
now works for the Children's Medical Center, Dallas, made history when she, along with other
hospital staffers, provided the first Twitter log of a kidney transplant. Family members were able
to view timely updates of the six‐hour procedure as they were posted. (The Twitter account is
Howard Rheingold, who teaches at the University of California‐Berkeley and Stanford University,
was an early adopter of Twitter and often turns to it for teaching advice. He explains to his digital
journalism students how to use the site to establish a network of sources and, using tweets, how
to entice those sources to follow them in return. In his social media course, he has his students
employ Twitter for what he describes as "student‐to‐teacher‐to‐student ambient office hours."
Bringing sites like Twitter into an academic environment is a teaching style that has seen a fair
share of criticism. Some say that restricting users to 140‐character blurbs ruins students' writing
skills and destroys their attention spans.
Rheingold says that how useful Twitter is depends on the individual person. "If you want to share
information in small bites with a group of people who share your interest," he says, "that's what
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Appropriators question Duncan about proposals on Pell Grants and loans
By SARA HEBEL
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Washington – Appropriators in Congress questioned Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday
about the administration’s budget priorities, pressing him to defend the White House's proposals to
overhaul the federal student‐loan system and make Pell Grants an entitlement.
The education secretary received a mostly warm reception as he testified separately before the
Democratic‐led appropriations subcommittees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that
oversee education spending. President Obama's plan for the 2010 fiscal year calls for providing the
Education Department a total of $46.7‐billion, about 3 percent more than the agency currently
Mr. Duncan reiterated his arguments for ending the bank‐based, guaranteed‐student‐loan program
and switching all federal loans to direct lending. He touted the plan as one that would make the
student‐loan program "more efficient" to operate and that would generate at least $4‐billion a year
that the federal government could use to expand the Pell Grant program “without going back to
taxpayers and asking them for an additional dollar.”
The education secretary also repeated several times that the department is placing an emphasis on
giving money to programs, states, and institutions that do a good job of helping students complete
degrees. “The goal is not just access,” he said. “It’s attainment.”
Questions About Lending
In the Senate hearing, Mr. Duncan fielded a series of pointed questions about the plan to move to 100‐
percent direct lending. Sen. Arlen Specter, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, asked whether the $500‐
million the president has requested to support the federal student‐loan program would be enough to
pay for the kinds of borrower services, like financial‐literacy programs, that private and nonprofit
lenders have provided under the current system.
Mr. Specter also wanted to know what would happen to the jobs of the many people employed by
nonprofit lenders like the one in his home state, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
Mr. Duncan responded that the department wants to enhance the services borrowers receive. He
called the $500‐million "a starting point" but one that he considers a "significant investment" toward
He also told Mr. Specter that private‐sector companies and agencies would do all of the servicing of
the student loans issued under the president's plan. Mr. Duncan argued that those entities would
benefit from having an increased market share of the loan‐servicing business. "I am hoping job loss will
be minimal," he added.
Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa and the subcommittee's chairman, had a different concern.
He asked Mr. Duncan how the department would select the lenders it would use to service federal
loans. A company like Sallie Mae, the nation's largest student lender, would have an advantage over
others because its size would allow it to undercut everyone else on how much it would charge for loan
servicing, Mr. Harkin argued.
The education secretary assured him that the department would consider other factors, too, when
making its choices. “It’s got to be cost and the ability to help these students,” Mr. Duncan said.
Opposition to Pell Proposal
Appropriators in both chambers told Mr. Duncan they had concerns about the president's proposal to
make financing of the Pell Grant program mandatory.
Under the plan, Congress would retain a role in setting annual spending levels for the need‐based
grants, but legislators wouldn’t have as much discretion as they do now. The president proposes to
automatically increase the maximum Pell award each year by a rate equal to that of the Consumer
Price Index plus a percentage point, rather than allowing appropriators to continue to set the
maximum amount each year. Congress, though, could choose to provide additional Pell aid if it
Mr. Harkin was the first to question the idea on Wednesday. "There may be a little bit of concern on
this committee and others" about the plan, he told Mr. Duncan.
The education secretary said the plan would help ease the minds of families and students who worry
about whether they can afford college. By automatically increasing Pell Grants each year, Mr. Duncan
said, students would be able to know at a young age that the aid will be available for them.
Mr. Harkin suggested that there might be other ways to provide early assurances and incentives, such
as by guaranteeing aid to students who keep their grades above a certain level. But the senator said he
was open to discussing the administration’s idea further, adding that he doesn’t have a “closed mind”
on the topic.
Hours later, in the House subcommittee's hearing, Rep. David R. Obey, a Democrat from Wisconsin
and the panel's chairman, said he was "dubious about the wisdom" of creating a new entitlement
program "in the midst of trying to convince people that we're financially responsible."
"We're all friends here, but I have to be honest and lay out my misgivings," he told Mr. Duncan.
He warned that indexing the maximum award to a measure of inflation could "have a perverse reverse
effect by putting a ceiling on the maximum award."
The education secretary responded that he appreciated Congress's "commitment" to the Pell program
but added that "even with your dedication, the maximum grant has not kept up with the average cost
of attending college."
Later, Rep. Dennis R. Rehberg, a Republican from Montana, suggested that the president spend the
increased money on the TRIO college‐preparatory program, rather than Pell Grants, arguing that it
would be a "more holistic approach to helping students move forward so they can compete when they
get to college."
Improvements Sought for Job Training
On another topic discussed in the Senate hearing, Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington,
applauded the goal President Obama set in his speech to a joint session of Congress this year to have
all Americans complete at least one year of postsecondary training.
But she told Mr. Duncan that she wants to make sure the career‐oriented training students receive in
high schools and colleges aligns with business needs. She said she often hears complaints from
businesses in her state that the skills students come to them with don’t match with job requirements.
She asked whether the Education Department would encourage local partnerships among employers,
schools, and colleges to improve job training.
Mr. Duncan told Ms. Murray that he shares her concerns. Employers, he said, do need to be involved
in shaping the curriculum in high schools and community colleges. “We have to tie education to the
real world,” he said.
Kelly Field contributed to this article.
Recession offers hard lessons in paying for college
By CLAUDIO SANCHEZ
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
This is the last in a yearlong series of stories tracking Emmanuel Garcia and Marlo Johnson's post‐high
school journey amid the college loan crisis. The series won the 2008 radio award from the Education
Emmanuel Garcia sometimes shakes his head in amazement: He made it to college and just finished
his first year at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
It wasn't easy navigating his way through student loans amid a worldwide financial crisis — as well as a
private family crisis.
Emmanuel's classmate Marlo Johnson wasn't quite so lucky. Despite having a scholarship to a private
university, she couldn't come up with the money to pay for tuition, housing and books. She spent the
year working for minimum wage and took a few courses at a community college.
Emmanuel and Marlo were among the thousands of graduating seniors who were broadsided by the
economic crisis. The two Harrisburg, Pa., teenagers with big dreams and no money both say they
learned a lot about the real world in the past year.
A Universal Crisis And A Personal Crisis
Paying for school seemed like an insurmountable problem to Emmanuel last summer. "My parents
said, 'We're here for you,' but I knew how much they're in debt," he said. He scraped together the
scholarships, loans and donations to pay for school without needing his parents' help.
He says his first semester at a small private college was a big adjustment from his neighborhood in
Harrisburg. He's the first in his family of immigrants to go to college, and he felt a little out of place.
But he settled into college life, made some friends and got high grades. Then, he came home for
Christmas break and discovered that his father was on his way to jail.
"It was like the worst time in the world," Emmanuel said. He worried about how his mom would
survive without him. "It was sad to see everybody crying in my family. At that point, I actually thought
about leaving college." His mother's sister moved in with the family, and Emmanuel felt like she could
help out enough to allow him to go back to school at Shippensburg.
His grades took a dramatic turn for the worse over the next few months. "It hit me really hard:
Everything is on you," Emmanuel said. When all the dust was cleared, he had pulled a B average for
the year. He gets to keep his scholarship.
A Year In Limbo
Marlo Johnson couldn't go to the college that she'd dreamed of, despite her stellar high school
transcript. Her family barely made enough money to pay all the bills every month — yet it was too
much for her to qualify for Pell Grants. "In order for you to qualify, you might as well be dirt poor," she
Marlo spent most of the year working at McDonald's. A few weeks ago, she got fed up with the job
and walked out. "I was coming home greasy every single night, later than 1 o'clock in the morning."
She lamented that one of her co‐workers with less seniority got promoted before her. The hours were
long and the pay lousy.
Marlo soon got a job in the call center at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. It's the
state's biggest provider and guarantor of student loans. She now spends most of the day talking to
anxious students about their financial situation. She says she's become a student loan "expert."
Marlo plans to enroll in Shippensburg University this fall. It wasn't her first‐choice college, but she likes
what she's heard about their nursing program. Even though she'll be a year behind, she says not going
to college was never an option. "I see my dad struggling, and he never finished college," she says.
Looking back at her senior year in high school, Marlo feels like she was under a "protective shelter"
that didn't actually help her. She wishes her school had warned her about how bad the economy really
was, and had prepared her for the roadblocks she would face trying to get to college. "You need more
than that checklist. You need a reality check," she says.
A Shrinking Pool Of Money
At SciTech High School in Harrisburg, from which Marlo and Emmanuel graduated last year, Principal
Mike Reed says he learned a few things through the economic crisis, too. He's trying to get his
students ready for the worst.
"Last year, towards the end of the year, when the banks were pulling out and our students were left
with lots of questions that couldn't be answered, we developed a plan to better educate our students
and parents," he says.
Reed introduced a course for ninth‐graders called Financial Planning for College. He says getting
student loans isn't nearly as big of a crisis for graduating seniors this year, although it's still a problem.
This year's valedictorian, Alizah Thornton, is a perfect example. She is thousands of dollars short of
what she needs to pay for college.
"I worked hard throughout my high school career," in the hopes of going away to college, she said. She
took three advanced placement classes and three classes at the community college before graduating.
"It doesn't seem like I have anything to show for it," she said. At the same starting point Emmanuel
and Marlo were at a year ago, she worries that all the talk about rewards for hard work is just talk.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Blog: Poll finds most Americans oppose affirmative action when defined as ‘preferences’
By PETER SCHMIDT
Thursday, June 4, 2009
A new poll of American voters has found that 55 percent favor the abolition of “affirmative‐action
programs that give preferences to blacks and other minorities in hiring, promotions, and college
In breaking down its survey’s results by race, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute found that
most white voters oppose such preferences, most black voters support them, and Hispanic voters
are split on them — even when specifically asked about preferences that have Hispanics as their
intended beneficiaries. The only segment of the population that a majority of all respondents
wanted to see given preferences are people with disabilities.
“The American public seems to have gotten to the point where it believes the statute of
limitations has run out on the wrongs that led to affirmative action, and it wants these programs
ended,” Peter A. Brown, the polling institute’s assistant director, said in a Wall Street Journal blog
posting discussing the poll’s results.
The results of such polls on affirmative action are often hotly debated, however, because their
findings can be skewed by the wording of questions and the order in which questions are asked.
After asking voters whether they favor the continuation or the abolition of “affirmative‐action
programs that give preferences to blacks and other minorities,” the Quinnipiac poll asked
whether they believe affirmative‐action programs “disadvantage members of other groups” and
also posed the question: “Which do you think is the best term to describe these programs —
affirmative action or preferences?” The Quinnipiac institute posed various questions on voters’
views of preferences for specific racial or ethnic groups after asking: “If affirmative‐action
programs giving preference to blacks and other minorities do result in less opportunities for
whites, do you think that’s a price worth paying to help blacks and other minorities, or not?”
The Boston Globe
Career counseling draws alumni back to campus
By ERICA NOONAN
Thursday, June 4, 2009
WALTHAM ‐ When Brandeis University alumni arrive from across the country for reunions this
weekend, the most popular event may not be the academic lecture on President Barack Obama's
first 135 days, or even a luncheon with the university's president, Jehuda Reinharz.
The hottest ticket of the weekend looks to be the first‐ever Alumni Day at the Hiatt Career Center,
with one‐on‐one counseling sessions, career management lectures, and full access to the center's
career development resources.
College career offices aren't just for directionless seniors anymore.
These days, a degree from many prestigious schools in the area comes with free job counseling
for life, a perk that has been drawing back graduates who have hit a bump in their career paths, in
some cases decades after leaving campus.
It's a sea change from recent years, when the most common alumni sightings ‐ if they were seen
at all ‐ were within five years of graduation, said Joseph DuPont, director of the Hiatt Center,
which serves 30,000 Brandeis alumni.
"We have seen a great upsurge in people who are 10 to 20 years out, if not beyond," he said,
noting that 50 to 60 alumni had already registered for this weekend's career sessions, and dozens
of others have attended college‐sponsored networking events in New York City, Washington, D.C.,
and Chicago in recent months.
Wendy Morris Berliner, a 1995 Brandeis graduate who calls herself a "recovering lawyer," is
contemplating her next career move. She's also president of the school's Boston‐area alumni
chapter, and says more people are turning out for events.
"They are coming for the networking, no question." said Berliner.
People being squeezed by the recession often feel safer in a peer gathering, she said.
"It's fun, it's social, and it's a group you already have something in common with," Berliner said.
"I've had friends who are going through a tough job search tell me they feel less conspicuous and
less like a failure when they come to one of our events."
A group exclusively for job‐seeking alumni from Brandeis was launched on the LinkedIn
professional networking site in January. It is already topping 600 members and is the second‐most
popular Brandeis group on LinkedIn, DuPont said.
"I think people are becoming much more savvy about using all of their resources, and that
includes the place where they received their education," he said.
Career counselors at another Waltham school, Bentley University, as well as Babson College in
Wellesley, Wellesley College, and Boston College in Chestnut Hill all said they have seen a boom in
alumni interest in career services and requests for passwords to college Internet sites and job
boards during the past six months.
Officials at several schools, speaking anecdotally because they had not gathered statistics on
contacts from laid‐off alumni, said they noticed the first wave of calls and e‐mails last fall after a
series of cuts at several high‐profile financial services companies.
But now it seems as if just about all career fields are affected by the troubled economy, said
Andrea Dine, associate director of career development at the Hiatt Center.
The most challenging alumni are the ones who felt most at home in their careers and are reeling
after being laid off.
"They may need to do some grieving," Dine said. "They may need to rethink whether to do
something that maybe they have never done before."
At Wellesley College, the motto for the career center is "Translating the Liberal Arts Into Action."
There is a lively job board, with 250 listings at any one time, and the W Network of alumnae
willing to help out other Wellesley women, said Irma Tryon, director of recruiting at the college's
Center for Work and Service.
Wellesley has also planned a special career program during its June 12‐14 reunion weekend. The
two‐day "Shifting Gears" session is aimed at alumnae in transition, and features several authors
and consultants, including Carol Fishman Cohen, author of "Back on the Career Track: A Guide for
Stay‐at‐Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work," and Pam Lassiter, author of "The New Job
Security." All of the regional Wellesley alumnae clubs have additional one‐night career programs
planned this spring as well.
Theresa Harrigan, director of Boston College's career center, said her office is also busier than in
past years with requests for phone interviews and Internet counseling resources from alumni, but
recent grads continue to make up the bulk of its business.
Sometimes what is most needed by alumni is a quick catch‐up tutorial on social networking
services, such as Twitter, or some clues on how to leverage alumni connections, said Megan
Houlker, director of undergraduate career development at Babson College.
She said calls and e‐mails to her office are now as likely to be from someone who graduated in the
1980s, when career services were a few resource books and personality surveys.
Older grads are happy to find so much job‐help material and networking forums available through
the college website, but sometimes are a little hesitant to use them.
"Many of them are looking or needing to make a transition and they need some reassurance that
it's OK to reach out. People want to ask, 'Am I doing it right?' " Houlker said.
Business‐oriented programs like Babson's have for years offered fairly sophisticated and popular
networking and affinity groups for graduates focused on such careers as marketing, real estate,
and consulting. Many grads don't need to come back because they never left, said Effie Parpos,
Babson's director of MBA alumni relations.
But participation at recent networking breakfasts is booming, she said, adding, "Folks are finding
these programs even more valuable." The school launched a new site May 1, and its Immediate
Hire Job Networking Board, for people needing a new position right away, has had hundreds of
postings this year.
Bentley, too, has long offered lifelong career services, including a free, five‐week refresher course
on networking, resume writing, and interviewing that currently has close to 40 participants, far
more than last year, said Len Morrison, executive director of corporate relations, which oversees
the school's Miller Career Center.
A more advanced five‐week course on reinventing careers, offered for alumni who want a major
change, is nearly filled, and is so popular that nonalumni are willing to pay $150 to join. The
Bentley Success Network, launched just last month, has attracted 70 midcareer job‐seeking
alumni who meet monthly to help each other, said Morrison. He'll even roll up his sleeves and
make calls to a company to offer support or references for an alumni applicant, if appropriate.
The current demand for alumni services may be a result of the recession, but it may have the
long‐term effect of shifting the traditional relationship between an institution and its graduates,
administrators said, with the old notion of alumni‐as‐perpetual‐donor seemingly giving way to
more of a partnership in the career paths of its graduates.
"We ask so much from them, this is one of the ways we can give back," said DuPont.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
A poor team player? Evaluation of flagship’s leader sheds light on power struggle at Texas A&M
By KATHERINE MANGAN
Friday, June 5, 2009
A power struggle between the chancellor of the Texas A&M University system and the president
of its flagship campus escalated Thursday night with the public release of a scathing evaluation of
the president that followed her first full year on the job.
The chancellor, Michael D. McKinney, rated Elsa A. Murano “very poor on carrying out board
system decisions with which she disagrees” and, over all, a poor team player.
The evaluation, which The Chronicle obtained through an open‐records request, sheds light on the
conflict between the president and the chancellor.
Dr. McKinney, who is also a medical doctor, alarmed many faculty members and upset the
president when he told a local newspaper reporter that combining the positions of chancellor and
president was one of many cost‐cutting moves the A&M system was considering.
Faculty critics, who have complained that they were not consulted about a possible merger, said
the suggestion appeared to be an effort to remove the president without having to fire her. The
chancellor insists there are no immediate plans to remove Ms. Murano, the first Hispanic woman
to hold the post, or to combine his position with hers.
In the evaluation, the chancellor said the president “refused to acknowledge her commitment” to
the system’s Board of Regents or to his office regarding the appointment of a vice president for
research at College Station.
Faculty leaders believe the criticism refers to President Murano’s refusal to immediately accept a
candidate that the chancellor and the regents put forward. A national search was under way and
a different candidate was eventually chosen.
The evaluation also stated that the president was too slow in decision‐making and “very
inclusive,” and added that she “should work with faculty, not for.”
Dr. McKinney is a former chief of staff of Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican and Texas A&M alumnus
whose behind‐the‐scenes involvement in the university’s matters has frustrated some faculty
members. The governor appointed all nine of the current regents.
In a written response to the evaluation, Ms. Murano outlined a lengthy list of accomplishments,
including enhanced communication with students and faculty and staff members, and an
emphasis on shared governance. She strongly disputed the conclusion that she was a poor team
player and said she found “personally insulting” the chancellor’s low rating for her honesty and
The evaluation also stated that the president built a team that was responsive to her, but not to
the goals of the regents or the system office. The chancellor found the president average in
planning and good in crisis management, citing her response to accommodating more than 1,500
students last year from Texas A&M’s Galveston campus. The “Sea Aggies” moved to the College
Station campus for a semester because of flooding caused by Hurricane Ike.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent, the president received four 4’s and no 5’s out of 40
categories. The rest were marked 3 or below. Her top scores included focusing on the
organizational mission and working with professional associations. The chancellor praised Ms.
Murano’s work on an academic master plan and a scholarship program for low‐income students.
Spokesmen for both the chancellor and president said Thursday night that they could not
comment further because it involved a personnel matter.
Faculty members who oppose the idea of merging the top positions of the system and the
flagship say it would put too much responsibility in the hands of one person. The system includes
11 universities, seven state agencies, and a health‐science center, and it educates more than
109,000 students a year. Opponents also say that such a merger could hurt the university’s
reputation and its ability to recruit top faculty members.
The evaluation and Ms. Murano’s response were posted Thursday evening on the Web site of The
Bryan‐College Station Eagle.