Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• I’m currently working on a couple year-ahead stories for KU, focusing on the issues and concerns of KU leaders in 2011.
I always enjoy writing these stories because not only do they usually provide me (and readers) with a good barometer for the major issues everyone’s anticipating next year, there’s usually a bit of news that pops up, too.
One nugget that seemed to fall into the “news” category this year was something Provost Jeff Vitter told me about faculty raises.
Actually, he e-mailed it to me on Saturday after our interview the previous week, because neither of us thought to discuss it then. So the issue was important enough to merit an additional contact.
And he didn’t seem to mince words about it, either.
“As part of cost cutting, we have foregone salary increases for faculty and staff for two straight years, and we have passed on to faculty and staff higher health-care premiums,” Vitter wrote. “We can’t go a third year without salary increases. It would be demoralizing to the KU community; they have worked so hard to do so much, and they deserve to be supported. Both the chancellor and I place salary increases for faculty and staff as a priority.”
Look for that and other tidbits from KU top officials in the year-ahead stories coming up soon.
• KU’s Monarch Watch program is looking for people interested in selling milkweed as part of a regular plant fundraiser, according to a recent blog post from the organization.
It’s part of the program’s Bring Back the Monarchs campaign, which looks to place the plants on which monarch caterpillars feed across the country.
Monarch butterflies had a rough go last winter, as bad weather in the overwintering sites in Mexico devastated the population.
Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch, and other monarch butterfly groups across the country have teamed up to make an effort to spread milkweed all across the country to build safe havens for the insects and get the population rising again.
Monarch Watch has taken care to place the milkweed species in regions where they can thrive — and have plans to get down to the county-by-county level.
Click through to the project for more information.
• And about that Christmas Eve Skype call with Coach Bill Self that his Assists Foundation put up on eBay?
When I first wrote about it, the call was going for around $300 or so, if memory serves. And it eventually sold for $4,050. I’d love to take credit for pumping up the winning bid, but the idea generated some national coverage, too, both before and after I wrote about it.
Kudos to the foundation for an inventive idea, and for coming up with a quick, easy way to generate four grand for a good cause.
• And if anyone needed any reasons to send me good Heard on the Hill tips, I put my complete and utter lack of Captain Kangaroo knowledge on full public display yesterday. So I need people to tell me all about Mr. Green Jeans, all the people who bid Bob Keeshan “Good Morning, Captain” and any other tales from the Treasure House at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guess I’ll take stuff about KU, too, but for now, I’m lost in old YouTube videos…