Posts tagged with Kansas University
If you watched President Obama's State of the Union address last night, you may have heard him mention a new "College Scorecard" to help prospective students figure out where they'll get the most educational value.
Well, the Scorecard is up and running now on the White House website. If offers a database of colleges and universities around the country with four basic numbers on each: the average cost to attend, six-year graduation rate, the rate of student-loan defaults and the median amount borrowed by students in federal loans.
One category of information it does not have yet — which might be the most interesting — is job and wage information for graduates. But it suggests that info might come later.
I, of course, took a peek at KU's page. Each metric includes a graphic comparing it to the rest of the country. KU ranks on the low end of the "medium" range when it comes to average net costs; in the "high" range with its 60.7 percent graduation rate (though KU leaders want to bump that number up to around 70); and right about in the middle in the area of median borrowing. Its loan default rate, 4.3 percent, is well below the national average of 13.4 percent of federal student-loan borrowers who default within three years.
Below are the numbers for KU and a few other big state universities in the middle of the country:
KU — Average net cost: $14,768 per year. Graduation rate: 60.7 percent. Loan default rate: 4.3 percent. Median borrowing: $214.34 per month.
Kansas State University — Cost: $14,352. Grad rate: 56 percent. Default rate: 4.5 percent. Borrowing: $225.85/month.
Iowa State University — Cost: $13,554. Grad rate: 67.5 percent. Default rate: 4 percent. Borrowing: $250.30/month.
University of Iowa — Cost: $14,245. Grad rate: 70.8 percent. Default rate: 2.9 percent. Borrowing: $235.91/month.
University of Missouri-Columbia — Cost: $15,759. Grad rate: 68.9 percent. Default rate: 3.9 percent. Borrowing: $223.29/month.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln — Cost: $13,108. Grad rate: 66.7 percent. Default rate: 3.7 percent. Borrowing: $218.66/month.
At that point, I had to pull myself away. But poke around yourself for more.
You can fill out a scorecard for Heard on the Hill, if you like, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. But please also include a KU news tip, if you've got one.
Before his talk about George Washington on Sunday, I chatted with presidential historian and former Dole Institute of Politics director Richard Norton Smith about what he's up to these days (finishing up a 1,200-page book, plus a "couple thousand footnotes," on Nelson Rockefeller, for one).
But we also chatted about where the Dole Institute is now compared with his time there, when he oversaw the construction of the building in which we were sitting. (Not that I had to ask many questions; that guy is a talker, which might have something to do with why his presidential talks are pretty popular.)
He said he's thrilled with where the institute is now and how it's progressed under Bill Lacy's leadership. It attracts crowds to its events while staying lean and efficient in a way that Bog Dole himself would appreciate, he said. "It's more than lived up to our hopes," says Smith, who left the institute in 2003.
But he also couldn't help dreaming a bit about what it could still become. The Dole building was purposefully designed so that it could be expanded, Smith said, and, boy, wouldn't it be nice if there were an auditorium tacked on to the north end, or an outdoor amphitheater around the artificial lake out front?
Right now the Institute holds its events in its main hall. It's certainly nice to look at, and it seats several hundred folks, but I've often seen crowds overflowing into a media room where people can watch on a projector screen. I can certainly see how an auditorium would come in handy.
The KU administration has always been supportive of the Dole Institute, Smith emphasized, and he thinks the building is beautiful. But if any potential donors out there would like to make a 90th birthday tribute to Bob Dole this July 22 (also the building's 10th anniversary), he has an idea: chip in for a bolstered endowment.
"When you succeed, it's easy to be taken for granted," Smith said, "but hopefully there's no one around here taking the success of the Dole Institute for granted."
By the way, even though Smith will be talking about John Adams over at the Dole Institute when President Obama starts his State of the Union address tonight, he previewed Obama's talk for the Wall Street Journal in this web video. He Skyped in straight from the Dole Institute, you'll notice.
And here's your final reminder in this space: My first Heard on the Hill office hours are tomorrow (Wednesday), 9 a.m. to noon in the Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union. This is your chance to ask me a question, tell me about something I should be writing about or just tell me what you really think of me. You can always send your KU news tips to email@example.com, of course, but still: Come see me!
A new feature here at Heard on the Hill, which we'll pull out every week or whenever enough news piles up to merit it: a roundup of recent KU faculty/staff news and media mentions:
• KU psychology professor Paul Atchley, who's no stranger to the national media, talked to the Washington Post about using psychological methods to get people to use less energy in their homes.
• Jeffrey Hall, assistant professor of communication studies, chimes in on the effect of technology on courtship in the Vancouver Sun.
• After the Chinese calendar turned to the Year of the Snake, KU Biodiversity Institute herpetologist Andrew Campbell talked with National Geographic about how the traits ascribed to snakes by astrology compare to what they're like in real life.
• And Lorraine Haricombe, KU's dean of libraries, was elected chairwoman of the steering committee for a national group of academic libraries: the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (per a KU release).
Keep this thing stocked by continuing to send those KU news tips my way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your weekly sampling of upcoming events around KU:
• The KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute will show off its newly completed $3.5 million renovations during a reception from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Tours will show visitors all the high-tech stuff there that will help scientists and students expand their research, including the cryogenic tanks I saw last week, which I thought were pretty cool. The space at the event will be limited, though, so organizers ask that you RSVP if you want to go: email@example.com, or 864-4540.
• Historian Richard Norton Smith's second lecture on America's first presidents, on John Adams, will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Dole Institute of Politics. I checked out his talk on George Washington on Sunday, and he promised his Adams discussion would include the rise of the first U.S. political parties, which he said were far nastier than the parties we sometimes consider so polarized today.
• From 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday will be my first-ever Heard on the Hill Office Hours at the Media Crossroads in the Kansas Union. Please come say hello and tell me what's on your mind.
• A Nobel Prize winner will pitch "A Next-Generation Solution for Funding Retirement" in a talk at the Dole Institute at 1 p.m. Friday.
• And an "It Gets Better" program featuring the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles will address youth bullying, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lied Center. Check out that link for some other related events during the week, as well.
There are far more events than this, of course, and if there are any you'd like to add, chime in via the comments below. And get those KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know, when I started writing about KU, I was enchanted by the idea of getting back on the campus. In my mind, I'd be strolling down Jayhawk Boulevard again, calculating in my head how long it would take me to walk from Budig Hall down to the Kansas Union, pretending I was back in college. (Students: When you're not in college anymore, you're going to want to pretend you're back in college.)
And sure, I'm no stranger to campus these days. But, you see, I've got all this "work" that occupies a lot of my time: writing stories, firing off phone calls and emails, crafting these blog entries that you follow so very devotedly.
So I end up spending most of my time cooped up in the Journal-World's News Center. It's a lovely building, but it does not allow me to soak in that campus feeling. And more importantly, you are not here.
Hence, an announcement: Next week I'll be holding my first-ever Heard on the Hill Office Hours on the KU campus. From 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, my "office" will be the Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union. That's the room just to your right when you come in the main entrance on the fourth floor, near Alderson Auditorium, with one bright green wall. I'll be there with my laptop and perhaps a cup of coffee.
Yes, it will give me an excuse to come to campus. But the real point is that you, a person on campus, can come talk to me. Whether you're a student, staffer or faculty member, please come tell me what stories you think I should be telling, what you didn't like about my article last week or what else is on your mind. Or ask me anything you want.
Cal Butcher, the Media Crossroads director, has kindly offered up the space for me to use Wednesday morning. I like to think this fits nicely into the School of Journalism's goal with that space: to help people tell stories. I may continue to have Heard on the Hill Office Hours there every week or two, or I may rotate times and spots on campus so everyone who wants to can make it.
But for this to work, I need you to come see me. Please come say "Hi."
And if you want to come by but that time and place doesn't work, let me know at email@example.com. And, as always, send your KU news tips that way, as well. (Or, better yet: Come tell me in person on Wednesday.)
Perhaps you recall that KU's Student Senate was considering a bill that would announce its opposition to any legislation allowing concealed carry on campus.
Well, that bill passed last night, pretty easily. The margin was 46-8 with three students abstaining, per the minutes from the Senate's meeting Wednesday night.
Also according to the minutes, a couple of students spoke against the bill. (That is, they spoke against being against concealed carry, just to make sure you've got that straight.)
According to the bill, the Student Senate will notify Gov. Sam Brownback as well as a litany of state legislators about its opposition to on-campus concealed carry.
I am against being against the practice of sending your KU news tips to me. So send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KU's student radio station, KJHK (90.7 FM), is getting a bit of national attention: mtvU, MTV's college-oriented TV channel, asked the students there to be part of its "College Radio Countdown."
That means they submitted a list of their 10 favorite music videos for the channel to play (apparently this is one MTV division that actually does play music videos).
The KJHK folks also produced a quite funny and well-choreographed video clip to introduce the playlist, giving a quick tour of the studio in the Kansas Union. And student Alex Applegate, the station's music director, wrote an introductory passage that incudes not one but two haikus.
I found the students' video quite entertaining, though I must confess their playlist made me feel quite old, as I do not know what any of the songs are. Which is to say they probably have quite good musical taste.
Send your KU news tips, or perhaps your music recommendations that can help me feel like I have some sort of grasp on what those darn kids are listening to these days, to email@example.com.
Some 45 years ago, it was an interesting idea from a KU ecologist. Now it's taken on a new importance, thanks to climate change.
A feature from the scientific journal Nature today tells the story of a hypothesis made in 1967 by Daniel Janzen, a young KU scientist, that's being re-examined anew.
Janzen, who's now a professor of biology at the University of Pennsylvania, theorized that organisms in tropical areas where the weather almost always stays the same have difficulty adapting to other areas that get terribly hot, cold, wet or dry in comparison.
He said the seed for the idea came when he was on a Costa Rican trip with an assistant who lived in the city of San José, where the weather stayed pretty moderate. When the group went to a hot area, the assistant was sweating buckets; when they went up in the mountains, the assistant piled on layers of blankets.
Amid today's concerns of global warming, his theory could imply that species in tropical areas could be in serious trouble if things change too much in their environment. Sparked by these implications, now some researchers are testing Janzen's theory by comparing insects from streams in Colorado with similar ones from Ecuador.
We had our own environmental change here at Heard on the Hill a few months back, though to my knowledge no species were harmed. But I'm going to remind you because someone asked me about it today: The best way for you to stay up-to-date on Heard on the Hill nowadays is to bookmark this page right here, and check it often. That's where you can see all of the posts on this blog, now that it's really a blog.
Of course, you can also follow the LJW_KU Twitter account to keep abreast of Heard on the Hill and all other KU-related news from the Journal-World. And I don't even have to tell you that you should also send your news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The KU chancellor's office today released a 2013 "State of the University" video, which you can watch on YouTube:
Narrated by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, the six-minute video starts with a nice piece of symbolism: a shot of the flags atop Fraser Hall as Gray-Little says her first words, "Flagship university" — a phrase you'll hear KU leaders use often.
The chancellor then runs through a list of accomplishments, developments and ongoing efforts at KU: student and faculty honors, National Cancer Institute designation for the KU Cancer Center, faculty hiring efforts and a lot more.
And there's a lot of footage of faculty and students in classrooms, labs, libraries and elsewhere, so there's a good chance you'll spot a face you know.
An accompanying report from the chancellor is also posted on her office's website.
The state of Heard on the Hill is quite satisfied, because we just finished lunch. Keep us feeling that way by sending your KU news tips to email@example.com.
KU's endowment wasn't alone in having a less-than-great return on investment during the most recent fiscal year, judging from a survey released last week. Its investment returns were a bit worse than the average for North American colleges and universities, though.
The average return on investment for endowments during the 2012 fiscal year — roughly the 2011-12 academic year, running from July 2011 to June 2012 — was negative 0.3 percent, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports from an annual survey of North American institutions. It's a bit unusual for investments to remain that flat, the story says. Usually endowments experience a lot of peaks and valleys.
The KU Endowment's investments declined by about 3.4 percent during that time, the Endowment Association reported in October.
That decline, in addition to record spending of $119 million and some other factors, caused the total value of KUEA's endowed funds to fall from about $1.25 billion in June 2011 to around $1.18 billion in June 2012. That's a 5.4 percent decline.
Those funds placed KUEA 59th among North American endowments as of June 2012, right between the University of Nebraska ($1.21 billion) and Texas Christian University ($1.18 billion). (A sortable table of all endowments is here.)
Other notables on the list:
• The University of Missouri system's endowment gained 4.7 percent in value, bringing it up to $1.17 billion — No. 63.
• The Kansas State University Foundation's value declined by 2.4 percent, falling to $329 million. That ranked 200th. Other Regents university endowments: Wichita State, $199 million, No. 268; Emporia State, $67 million, No. 494; Pittsburg State, $57 million, No. 536; Fort Hays State, $50 million, No. 565.
• The University of Texas system's endowment dwarfs those of all other public universities: Its value rose 6.5 percent to $18.3 billion, third on the list.
• And this is just crazy: Harvard University's behemoth of an endowment fell in value by an amount greater than the entire KU Endowment: $1.29 billion. But that was just 4.1 percent of its 2011 value, and its $30.4 billion in funds was still $11 billion more than second-place Yale.
Finally, this year-by-year graph shows that KU's endowment has followed roughly the same value trends as Harvard, Yale and other big dogs over the past six years — just on a much smaller scale.
Of course, all these numbers are from more than six months ago. Back in October, KUEA president Dale Seuferling said the endowment's investments had bounced back since the end of June 2012.
Here at Heard on the Hill, the value of our endowed funds stayed steady at $0 billion during the 2012 fiscal year. I guess you could donate to change that, if you want, but we'd really rather you just send your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.