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• The Chronicle of Higher Education has released a survey that ranks the salaries of public university chief executive officers in the 2011 fiscal year.
E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University tops the list of 199 public university leaders at 190 colleges and university systems, earning just under $2 million in total compensation.
KU’s Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little is in a three-way tie for 77th on the list, with $450,000 in total compensation, including a base salary of $425,000 and $25,000 in deferred compensation that she will be able to access after she leaves her position.
Gray-Little was tied with James P. Clements, president of West Virginia University, and Paula Allen-Meares, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Her base salary was the 55th highest on the list.
(Since then, as astute consumers of the news will recall, the Kansas Board of Regents approved salary increases for the state’s top university leaders, and Gray-Little’s base salary was boosted by 1.8 percent, to $432,650.)
That puts her just above the median compensation for public university leaders, which the Chronicle found to be $421,395.
• Bruce Rothschild, a paleontologist at KU’s Biodiversity Institute, noticed in a paper that ichthyosaurs, a sort of “dino-dolphin” (to borrow the New Scientist magazine’s term), appear to have contracted that nasty decompression sickness called the bends much like human divers of today do.
Humans can get the nasty condition if they move too quickly from deep water to shallow water, and that’s likely what happened to the ichthyosaurs, too.
Rothschild and others learned about the condition by examining the fossil record, and noticing the scarring on the bones left from the damage from bubbles in their blood caused by dissolved gases.
While early dinosaurs didn’t get the condition as much as later ones did, Rothschild guessed that might be tied to the rise of bigger marine predators. So, basically, as he told New Scientist, the dinosaurs may have contracted the condition “while running for their lives.”
• KU’s School of Pharmacy has reclaimed the No. 2 spot on the annual list that ranks schools based on the amount of funding received from the National Institutes of Health.
In the 2011 fiscal year, KU received more than $22 million from the NIH, good enough to improve on last year’s No. 4 ranking, when it received $18.5 million from the agency. The school has been in the top five of the rankings for 11 years in a row now, and also ranks No. 1 nationally in the value of awards per funded faculty member. KU’s 20 faculty who receive funds from the NIH bring in nearly $1 million each.
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