Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• Here’s a little Heard on the Hill experiment, as I continue to tinker with what kinds of items to include in this daily mish-mash of goodness.
I’m going to be expanding this out into a bigger story over the next day or so, but I’m giving a sneak peek to the Heard on the Hill faithful followers here in this space.
I inquired back in October about a list of KU programs that give out 10 bachelor’s degrees or fewer each year.
The idea popped in my head to poke around here because Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had asked for a statewide review of programs that only graduated a small number of people.
I thought it would be interesting to look at the programs in Kansas that had low numbers of graduates. KU reports they have 15 programs that have a five-year average of 10 bachelor’s degrees awarded or fewer.
The university offers a variety of reasons for keeping them around, including supporting a quality liberal arts education, providing important research opportunities and service opportunities to the state. Also, a few don’t cost KU additional dollars because they draw on existing faculty from other disciplines. I’ll get into the university’s reasons a little more in the upcoming story.
But, without further ado, here’s the list of KU’s smallest programs, with the average number of bachelor’s degrees awarded from fiscal years 2006-2010.
• Physics: 9.4 degrees
• Germanic languages and literatures: 9.2 degrees
• Humanities: 9.0 degrees
• Slavic languages and literatures: 7.5 degrees
• Visual arts education: 7.5 degrees
• Dance: 7.0 degrees
• Music therapy: 6.0 degrees
• Engineering physics: 4.6 degrees
• Petroleum engineering: 4.4. degrees
• Classics and classical languages: 4.2 degrees
• Classical antiquity: 4.0 degrees
• Astronomy: 3.6 degrees
• European studies: 3.2 degrees
• College special studies: 3.0 degrees
• Russian, East European and Eurasian studies: 2.3 degrees
And here’s the experimental part. I’d like to open this all up for feedback to you all now, before I’ve actually published the story itself. I’d like to know what you think of the story — what questions do you have about this information? What would you like me to find out? Any surprises on that list for you? Some (like Gov. Nixon) say these programs may be a good target for budget cuts. Others say they serve important needs. So, e-mail me, tweet me or leave a comment with your feedback. It’s my effort at true "community" journalism. We’ll see how this works…
• Former University Daily Kansan staffer (and Lawrence Journal-World intern) Aly Van Dyke has placed third in the college feature writing category of the William Randolph Foundation’s Journalism Awards program — the equivalent of the college Pulitzer Prizes. The award comes with a $1,500 prize.
Her entry, which focuses on four women’s experiences with unplanned pregnancies, is a compelling read. If you read one of the four, it’s a good bet you’ll be drawn in to the other three, too.
Be warned in advance, though, a few of the stories contain some salty language.
Today, Van Dyke can be found digging up health care stories at The Kansas City Business Journal.
• With finals week nearly upon us, I found it interesting that there’s a system in place at KU to find replacement classrooms for finals in case of a building evacuation.
KU Public Safety and the Office of the University Registrar have a system that finds backup spaces for finals, in case a building evacuation is necessary.
Of course, we’re just off the heels of a recent evacuation of Malott Hall after a malfunctioning exhaust fan made the fifth floor smell funny.
But it looks like this plan was put in place mainly to discourage students from raising havoc. At least, that’s the sense I get from a memo from the provost’s office that features stern, boldface font.
So if you didn’t study for that French final, you’re going to need a better back-up plan than pulling the fire alarm.
• Today isn’t just the last day of classes for the fall semester, it’s also the last day of work for Warren Corman, KU’s university architect, after 63 years of work in the field. You can read more about him here.
The UDK also did a much larger story on him here.
• I wonder if I have the stamina to work 63 years in journalism. One thing that sustains me, though, is when people send me tips for Heard on the Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.