Archive for Monday, May 2, 2011

Heard on the Hill: Nebraska kicked out of prestigious Association of American Universities; specialty Texas license plates go beyond just Jayhawks; KU represented on state blue ribbon history panel

May 2, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• It looks like KU Provost Jeff Vitter is right to worry about KU’s low rankings among fellow members of the prestigious Association of American Universities. KU has been a member of that group since 1909.

That’s because on Friday, that organization took a historic step. It kicked out one of its members — the University of Nebraska — for the first time in its history.

For Nebraska, the move raises a number of different questions and concerns. One particularly interesting one is its impending move to the Big 10 Conference. Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman has said he doubted that Nebraska’s application to the conference would have been approved if not for the school’s membership.

Two-thirds of the 63-member group had to vote against Nebraska for it to be booted from the organization.

For those wondering how KU voted, the Lincoln Journal-Star quoted Perlman as saying all of Nebraska’s Big 12 counterparts in the AAU supported its membership, along with “most of” the 11 Big 10 schools.

Perlman argued that the AAU should have considered Nebraska’s performance as a system — and not at just the Lincoln campus. The state’s medical school, for example, is in the system, but not affiliated with the Lincoln campus, the Chronicle of Higher Education pointed out.

When the AAU invited Georgia Tech to become a new member last year, it put Nebraska and another unidentified institution under review, but only Nebraska was placed before the membership for a vote this spring, the Chronicle reported.

That institution turned out to be Syracuse, which will voluntarily withdraw from the AAU instead of facing a vote like Nebraska did. It all just goes to show that KU’s focus on improving its research efforts is likely time well spent.

• Here’s a fun extra tidbit from a story I did recently on a KU license plate design from Texas. In addition to distributing a variety of different plate designs through an outside vendor, My Plates, the state also recently held an auction for a number of different personalized plates.

The auction was held in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, and the company (which handles the design, marketing and sales of personalized and speciality plates in Texas) picked 32 different plates to sell to the highest bidder.

The state got a majority of the funds raised from the auction. FERRARI was the most expensive plate sold — someone paid $15,000 to have that plate for the next 25 years.

Here’s a complete list of the auction results.

An interesting way to use license plates as a revenue-generator, I thought.

• A KU professor and the Kansas Public Radio news director have been announced as members of a “blue ribbon panel” for Kansas history.

James R. (Pete) Shortridge, a KU geography professor, will join news director J. Schafer on the panel that will review submissions of Kansas people and events as part of the state’s sesquicentennial celebration.

Others on the panel include: Don Chubb, Topeka; Virgil Dean, Kansas Historical Society; Gayle Garrelts, Hays; James Hoy, Emporia State University; Bob Keckeisen, Kansas Historical Society; Bruce Mactavish, Washburn University; Leo Oliva, Woodston; Mary Regan, Finney County Historical Society; and Raymond Wilson, Fort Hays State University.

The group will select 25 people and 10 events. Nominations can be made on

• Like every journalist, I’m only as good as the stuff people tell me. Keep sending in awesome tips for Heard on the Hill to


KU_cynic 6 years, 10 months ago

No comments from KU insiders about Nebraska getting kicked out of the AAU?

Whistling past the graveyard?

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

Nope, you just posted, KU_cynic.

You are correct about the whistling.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

The AAU doesn't waste time. Nebraska is already off the list on their website.

Hiroyuki Kato 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe KU is next. I'm just worried. We need better chancellor who has strong leadership. Is Gray-Little sleeping?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.