Archive for Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Heard on the Hill: Libraries’ online exhibit focuses on James Naismith; unemployment rate for young college grads falling; new policy allows profs to adjust time spent on teaching, research

December 21, 2011


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• I spotted this neat virtual exhibit from the KU Libraries on James Naismith, celebrating the 150th birthday of the inventor of the game of basketball.

You can poke around and see pamphlets, photos and university records taken from the KU archives.

I enjoyed this photo of Naismith instructing the women’s fencing team. (Do we still have a women’s fencing team?)

The exhibit also features a timeline of Naismith’s life. And, apparently, the libraries are looking to create more of these kinds of online exhibits in the future.

• Here’s some good news for college graduates that I first spotted on the KU Career Center’s Twitter feed.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers pointed out an improvement in the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders ages 20 to 24 (if you got your bachelor’s degree by age 20, by the way, there’s no way you shouldn’t have a job).

But anyway, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in September 2011. It fell to 6.2 percent in November 2011.

That’s using figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rate has been falling sharply since a high of 13.1 percent in July 2011 (when many new grads were looking for work).

Still, I imagine that’s no consolation for those still looking for a good job in vain.

A new policy at KU will allow professors to adjust the amount of time they spend on different parts of their jobs.

Typically, tenured and tenure-track professors devote 40 percent of their effort to teaching, 40 percent to research and 20 percent to “service,” which can include serving on university committees, leadership positions or it can be done in other ways.

The new policy is for tenured faculty members only, and any changes in that percentage allotment must meet the needs of the unit in which the faculty member is serving. And in no cases can any one element drop below 10 percent.

I remember having a discussion with at least one KU bigwig about this some time ago. The thought was that professors who were strong in one area and not as strong in others could help out everyone in the department by, say, shouldering more of the teaching load than normal.

It’ll be interesting to see how widespread this practice becomes, and how departments and schools intend for it to be used. If anyone hears of anything, please let me know.

• Even though winter break is here, Heard on the Hill is steamrolling ahead. Shovel some coal in the firebox by sending me a tip at


gsxr600 6 years, 5 months ago

While there are jobs out there, 6.2% is most likely inaccurate. Those numbers are never a true representation of reality.

Horace 6 years, 5 months ago

Great. Now tenured professors will be doing even less teaching!

parrothead8 6 years, 5 months ago

Based on the ones I know, I'd bet that most of them will actually choose to do more teaching. It's why a lot of them got into higher education in the first place...but university requirements regarding service and research take them away from teaching.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 5 months ago

I can't believe those unemployment numbers ... I have a professional Master's degree and I applied for a few jobs that ended up having >300 applicants ...

ahyland 6 years, 5 months ago

One note about the unemployment figures that I didn't point out... they're not seasonally adjusted like many figures you'll see are, so they likely take into account a bit of a boost in temporary hiring around the holidays.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 5 months ago

KU should not be hiring professors who do not have research as their number one priority.

There are liberal arts colleges for professors with primary interests in teaching.

KU is a research university and should only hire faculty who are primarily interested in research.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

well, gee, maybe it would be better if all those pesky students would go to a liberal arts college, We could save a lot of money by dropping the long word University from our name.

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