Monday, September 2, 2013

The State of Academe

As we begin a new academic year, what is the state of American Colleges?

The Profession - Divisions grew on many campuses in 2012-13. Administrators and faculty members clashed over the direction of their institutions, and several campus leaders were the subject of no-confidence votes. Disparities in working conditions between segments of the professoriate persisted or increased, with full-time adjuncts continuing to earn far less than their tenured counterparts, and public-college professors falling even further behind their peers at private colleges in pay.

Students - With national attention focused on college affordability and completion, proposals were made both to alter the federal financial-aid system and to measure students’ progress more effectively. Enrollment appears to have tapered off after a decade-long surge, and the total supply of high-school graduates is expected to fall slightly in the next few years. Meanwhile, a group of organizations studying financial aid suggested that students automatically enter income-based repayment plans after graduation.

Diversity - As the college-going rates of Hispanics increase and minority representation among high-school graduates grows, colleges and advocacy groups are expanding efforts both to recruit students from historically underrepresented groups and to see them through to graduation. Colleges can still consider race in admissions across most of the country, but such policies could come under strict scrutiny following a decision in June by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving admissions policies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Finance - Thirty state governments allotted more tax dollars to higher education in the 2013 fiscal year than in the previous one, a move welcomed by public colleges in those states. Over all, higher-education institutions were plodding through a slow economic recovery and at the same time trying meet higher expectations for performance. They got little help from their endowment portfolios, which declined 0.3 percent, on average.

Technology - A hotly debated experiment in higher education was the offering of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, to large numbers of students across the world, free. As a growing number of colleges embraced that format, a vocal backlash against it emerged, mainly from professors concerned about the long-term implications. And not all colleges are going in the direction of offering free courses. Many of them set up online programs to offer entire degrees at a distance, at costs similar to those charged for on-campus programs.

International - Two issues dominated international education in 2013: a potential slowdown in the flow of foreign students to the United States and a heated debate over whether global partnerships threaten academic freedom. The number of graduate applications from Chinese students fell 5 percent, while the number from international students over all rose just one percent. At the same time, university administrators dealt with tricky issues as they opened and maintained campuses abroad.

Next Week: The Academic / Real World Twilight Zone

LABOR DAY - Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

BEST READ OF THE WEEKEND : N.Y. Times three-part series, "Remote Control: Inside the Power of ESPN," on the sport giant's role in creating financial and marketing winners in college football. From the first part, by James Andrew Miller, Steve Eder and Richard Sandomir: "The network's right to wait until as few as six days in advance before announcing which games it will show, and at what times, encompasses all but the first three weeks of the season, when game times are set far in advance. At the Monday morning meetings in Building 12, executives also apportion the games among the network's channels: ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and even the online platform ESPN3. ...

"Underscoring ESPN's special relationship with college football is the fact that it created and owns the software used for scheduling games. The online portal, known as the Pigskin Access Scheduling System, or PASS, is now used by virtually all conferences and colleges, as well as competing networks. Generally, the colleges work together to set up nonconference matchups, but sometimes they reach out to ESPN for a suggestion, or even to play matchmaker."

DEBT CEILING SCENARIOS – the four ways the debt ceiling debate could play out this fall: A Big Mess:  1.) The caucuses split. One real danger isn't just that the Democrats and Republicans won't see eye to eye. That's expected. Rather, a more problematic scenario is if the Democrats and Republicans can't even formulate their own bargaining positions. ... 2.) Negotiators? The White House says it isn't negotiating. Period. Okay, well then who will negotiate on behalf of Democrats? For that matter, who will negotiate on behalf of Republicans? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is facing re-election heat back home ... top budget and fiscal aides to Mr. McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) have recently departed ...

Painless: 1.) A gimmick. If there's one thing lawmakers know how to do, it's be creative and pull a rabbit out of a hat. It was Mr. McConnell who came up with the idea of essentially deferring to the White House the ability to increase the debt ceiling in 2011. ... Perhaps they'll try something like that again. ... 2.) A deal. This remains a longshot, but there are members of both parties who would prefer some sort of global budget agreement to give everyone cover for increasing the debt ceiling."

WALL STREET GIANTS RACK UP LEGAL BILLS -  "The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp., have piled up $103 billion in legal costs since the financial crisis, more than all dividends paid to shareholders in the past five years.

"That's the amount allotted to lawyers and litigation, as well as for settling claims about shoddy mortgages and foreclosures, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The sum, equivalent to spending $51 million a day, is enough to erase everything the banks earned for 2012. The mounting bills have vexed bankers who are counting on expense cuts to make up for slow revenue growth and make room for higher payouts."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Terry Bradshaw (65), Carly Fiorina (59), Jessica Naccache ….famous financial consultant, Bob Newhart (84).

The football season is now in full throttle, and Rink Rats will be making their picks each week for the balance of the season. Remember, bet with your head, not over it.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/7, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN: #17 ranked Michigan Wolverines (1-0) entertain in the Big House the #12 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0). The advantage is the Big House, Michigan 24 The Irish 17.  Season to date (1-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/7, 10:00 PM ET, HGTV: #3 ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (0-0) visit the Redlands Bulldogs (0-0) at Ted Runner Stadium. The Crusaders from Belton, Texas will show no mercy on their SCIAC host – Mary Hardin-Baylor 45 Redlands 14. Season to date (0-0)

Rink Rats NFL Preseason Picks –

East – Dallas              North – Green Bay                South – New Orleans                       
West – Seattle            Wild Cards – San Francisco and New York Giants                       
Conference Champion – Seattle Seahawks

East – New England              North – Cincinnati                 South – Indianapolis
West – Denver           Wild Cards – Pittsburgh and Houston
Conference Champion – Denver Broncos

Super Bowl Champion – Denver Broncos

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 9/5, 8:30 PM ET, NBC: Defending Super Bowl Champions Baltimore Ravens (0-0) vs. Denver Broncos (0-0). A magical year ahead in Denver, Broncos 28 Baltimore 14. Season to date (0-0)


(NCAA, Sept. 7) South Carolina Gamecocks 32 Georgia Bulldogs 28
(NCAA, Sept. 7) Pomona-Pitzer Saghens 32 MIT Engineers 10
(MLB, Sept. 7) Boston Red Sox 5 New York Yankees 3
(NFL, Sept, 8) San Francisco 49ers 20 Green Bay Packers 17
Season to date (18-12)

QUOTE OF THE MONTH - “It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.”   RenĂ© Descartes

Next week: words of the month, Dear Rink Rats, and The Twilight Zone.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 2, 2013

#IV-20, 177

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