Items tagged with 'colleges'

The next Union College president is David Harris

Union College president David HarrisUnion College announced Tuesday that its next president will be David R. Harris, a 48-year-old sociologist who's currently the provost at Tufts. He'll succeed Stephen Ainlay, who's set to leave the post at the end of the current academic year after 12 years in the role.

Harris's CV includes undergrad and PhD at Northwestern, academic and administrative positions at Cornell, and time spent working for the US Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama admin. Press release blurbage:

In his time at Tufts, Harris has been a transformational leader with an impressive record of achievement. Shortly after joining the administration, he led a year-long effort to create Tufts' first-ever, university-wide strategic plan. From that plan emerged many new initiatives, including 1 + 4, a program to energize civic renewal by providing students an opportunity to engage in a year of international or national service before starting at Tufts. The strategic plan also led to the creation of Bridge Professorships, which span two or more schools to advance research and teaching on complex issues.
At Tufts, Harris also established the new position of chief diversity officer and associate provost, and he launched Bridging Differences, an initiative to empower the Tufts community to develop the skills necessary to engage in informed and civil discussion around some of today's most challenging topics.

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The next UAlbany president is Havidán Rodríguez

Ualbany president Havidan Rodriguez

Havidán Rodríguez. / screengrab from SUNY Board of Trustees livestream

The next president of the University at Albany is Havidán Rodríguez. The SUNY Board of Trustees approved his appointment to the position at its meeting Wednesday afternoon. He'll start in September.

Rodríguez has been serving as the provost (the top academic administrator) at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, an institution that was formed in 2015 from the merger of two other UT institutions. He had served as provost and interim president for one of those institutions, the University of Texas-Pan American. Other stops in his career include the University of Delaware and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez.

In introducing Rodríguez Wednesday, SEFCU CEO Michael Castellana -- who chaired the search committee -- said his selection was unanimous: "He is going to bring that university outside of its walls and he's going transform this area."

Said Rodríguez in a short speech following his appointment:

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Scanning the reaction to New York's new free public college tuition plan

UAlbany entrance fountain

One of the most notable features of the big blob of legislation that finished off the state budget is the new plan for free tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools for students from families making up to $125,000 a year -- the Excelsior Scholarship. It starts phasing in this fall.

The idea has gotten a lot of attention no just here in New York, but across the nation, in part because of provisions such as the requirement that students live and work in the state for a certain number of years after graduating.

Here's a quick scan of a bunch of commentary about the free tuition plan, much of it skeptical...

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Checking in on UAlbany's plan to convert the Schuyler Building in Albany into the home of its new engineering college

ualbany engineering college downtown campus rendering cropped

A UAlbany rendering of what the converted building could look like.

It was just about a year ago that UAlbany officially announced a plan to turn a former Albany school district building next to its downtown campus into the home for the new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The idea behind the $60 million project is that the conversion of the Schuyler Building would not only provide space for growing a public option for engineering education in this area, it would also be an injection of activity right into the city's midsection that could help set the surrounding neighborhood on a new, vibrant path. And UAlbany has been seeking $20 million from the state go get things going.

So, how's that coming along?

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The proposal for free tuition at New York's public colleges

UAlbany entrance fountain

On Tuesday Andrew Cuomo floated a plan to for the state provide free tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools for students from middle- and low-income households. Details blurbage from the Cuomo admin:

New York's tuition-free degree program, the Excelsior Scholarship, requires participating students to be enrolled at a SUNY or CUNY two- or four-year college full-time. The initiative will cover middle-class families and individuals making up to $125,000 through a supplemental aid program. Currently 80 percent of NY households statewide make $125,000 or less with an estimated 940,000 households having college-aged children that would be eligible for the program. Based on enrollment projections, the plan will cost approximately $163 million per year once fully phased in.
The new initiative will be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019.

The Cuomo admin says the proposed program would work in conjunction with the already existing Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and federal aid.

During the announcement Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo framed the idea as a way of reducing student loan debt -- "Debt is so high it's like staring a race with with an anchor tied to your leg." -- as well as a matter of economic competitiveness for both individuals and the state: "In this economy, you need a college education if you're going to compete."

Bernie Sanders joined Cuomo for the announcement and predicted that if New York runs with the idea, other
states would follow.

Here are a few other quick things about this idea...

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Interim UAlbany president named

ualbany uptown campus wide 2016-SeptemberThe SUNY Board of Trustees announced Wednesday that James Stellar will serve as as UAlbany's interim president after current president Robert Jones leaves at the end of this month for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Stellar is currently provost and a senior vice president at the university, and has been involved with starting both the new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. Press release blurbage:

Stellar previously served at CUNY's Queens College as vice president for Academic Innovation and Experiential Education from 2013 to 2015, and provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2009 to 2014. Before joining CUNY, Stellar spent 22 years at Northeastern University in Boston, where he served for a decade as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as professor and chair of psychology and associate dean for undergraduate affairs. He began his academic career at Harvard University, serving eight years as assistant and then associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Relations, and as a neuroscience researcher at the McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School.
He earned his doctorate in biological psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa.

UAlbany says Stellar will be paid $390,000 with an additional $110,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation. (That's basically what Jones was paid at the start of his term in 2012, plus a $60k housing allowance.)

For what it's worth: the UAlbany president before Robert Jones -- George Philip -- also started the job with the interim tag.

UAlbany has a lot of notable projects in progress right now, those two new colleges among the biggest. It's planning for $60 million conversion of the old Albany high school building at Western and Lake on the downtown campus into the home of the new engineering college (and, the hope is, for it to also serve as a hub for neighborhood development there). And it's building a $184 million project on the Harriman State Office Campus to house the emergency preparedness project. And it's also aiming to increase enrollment to 20,000 (from about 17,500 right now) by 2020.

UAlbany's plan for a new engineering college in the middle of Albany

ualbany engineering college rendering cropped

Here's a larger view of the rendering. / image via UAlbany

UAlbany has formally announced its intent to turn the convert a former Albany school building next to its downtown campus into the home for the new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The university is seeking $20 million in the state budget to get started on the project, which it says will ultimately cost $60 million.

The building is on the western end of UAlbany's downtown campus, between Western and Washington avenues at North Lake. UAlbany bought the building from the Albany school district a few years back. It had originally served as (the second version of) Albany High School, and then Philip Schuyler Elementary.

Press release blurbage:

All told, the $60 million project will create 127,000 square feet of classroom, research and office space with capacity for more than 1,000 students and 180 faculty and researchers. It will also create a dynamic new community resource, including a 1,000-seat auditorium, space for new collaborations with local schools and community organizations, including a "Summer Science Saturday" program, and other opportunities.

UAlbany president Robert Jones said the new engineering college is "at the center of our vision for UAlbany as we create the largest--and most strategic--academic expansion in fifty years." Two years ago Jones said UAlbany was starting the college in attempt to be more competitive in attracting students. (That also happened to be around the time the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering split to become its own institution, which is now SUNY Poly.)

If the project goes through, it'll be interesting to see how affects the surrounding area. UAlbany already has presence there, of course -- the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy and other programs are based there -- but the new college is a potentially significant addition of people and activity.

The press release included bits about the "comprehensive vision" for the engineering college, which include a maker space and improving the North Lake Ave-Ontario Street corridor. The full list is after the jump, if you're curious.

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Saint Rose faculty vote "no confidence" in college president

college of saint rose signThe full-time faculty at the College of Saint Rose issued a no-confidence vote in college president Carolyn Stefanco Wednesday. The vote stems from the college's move to cut 23 full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty positions in December, along with eliminating a range of academic programs.

The org representing faculty said 158 of approximately 200 eligible faculty cast votes -- 120 for "no confidence," 35 against, and three abstained. The result will be delivered to the college's board of trustees this Friday along with a petition calling for Stefanco to rescind the cuts or resign.

It sounds like the college administration knew this was a likely outcome. Leading up to Wednesday Stefanco gave interviews indicating her intent to the stay the course regardless of the vote. And after the vote the college issued a statement from Stefanco that read in part:

While some faculty members embrace and support constructive change at Saint Rose, others resist it. Regardless of our personal feelings, we share a solemn responsibility to make the changes necessary to meet the changing needs of our students.
I will proudly continue to lead Saint Rose, working alongside our trustees, staff, administration and those members of the faculty who support the efforts to improve our financial standing, increase our enrollment and chart a course for a strong future.

Back in December when it announced the cuts, Saint Rose cited a $9 million deficit and a 16 percent decline in enrollment since 2008. (For some context, the college had a $121 million budget in 2013, according to its 990 form.) It said about four percent of the college's 4,400 students were enrolled in the programs that would be eliminated (12 programs had no students).

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New dean for Albany Law

Albany Law Alicia OuelletteAlbany Law School announced Thursday that Alicia Ouellette is its new dean and will become its next president in July. Ouellette has been the school's interim dean since last fall.

The past handful of years have been challenging for law schools across the country as the job market for attorneys has shrunk and in turn enrollments dropped, forcing schools to adapt. Albany Law has been no exception to this trend. The school offered buyouts last year as part of a tense situation between the administration and some faculty. [ABA] [Biz Review] [Above the Law]

More recently, Albany Law had been in talks with UAlbany about some sort of partnership. [Biz Review]

Ouellette replaces Penny Andrews, who had headed up the school since 2012. Andrews announced last year that she'd be steeping down as president and dean at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Ouellete -- who's name is pronounced "wull-ett" -- is an Albany Law School alum (class of 1994) and her academic focus has been the field of bioethics.

Albany Law has advertised on AOA in the past.

photo via Albany Law School

RPI's Shirley Ann Jackson tops rankings of nation's highest-paid private college presidents

shirley jackson croppedRPI president Shirley Ann Jackson topped the list of the nation's highest paid private college president in 2012, according to an analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Jackson's total compensation -- $7.1 million -- was more than 3.38 million higher than that of the second president on the list.

Jackson's base pay for 2012 was $945k. The bulk of her compensation came in the form of a deferred compensation payout worth $5.9 million. (One reason why her compensation in 2012 was much higher than the somewhat-over-$1 million range it had been in recent years.)

The Chronicle's website has a detailed breakdown of the numbers for each president. In Jackson's case, her total compensation also ranked third in the nation when calculated as compensation per institution total expenditures. And it ranked in the 99th percentile nationally for base pay to faculty salary ratio.

The Chronicle collected the info from the RPI's Form 990 filing, which all non-profits must file. You can look it up for free over at Guidestar. (The compensation figures are from page 14.)

To go along with the top spot in the compensation ranking, the Chronicle also added a long article looking at Jackson's tenure at RPI. It notes Jackson will likely be remembered as "a trailblazing president, whose unparalleled vision and determination transformed a respectable regional private college into a nationally recognized research institution" -- but it also includes extensive criticism of her, describing "tales of an imperial air and cowed staff." Here's a clip:

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Saint Rose adjuncts vote to unionize

Thumbnail image for college of saint rose western aveAdjuncts at the College of Saint Rose have voted to unionize with SEIU Local 200 by a tally of 175-61. In a statement, Saint Rose said it "will work with the SEIU to address the issues concerning the adjunct faculty." [Supporters of Saint Rose Adjunct Faculty FB group] [College of Saint Rose]

Contingent labor is a big issue across higher education right now. Adjuncts make up a majority of nation's faculty work force -- all the while they often make much less than tenure-track faculty and have little job security. And in recent years at campuses around the nation there has been a rising call for unionization. [Chronicle of Higher Ed] [US House Committee on Education and the Workforce] [NYT]

Earlier on AOA: Work Week: Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor

The College of Saint Rose advertises on AOA.


susnset albany nanotech 2011-11

Noted: There's a new(?) name for the merged College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology -- SUNY Polytechnic Institute, or just SUNY PI.

The name pops up in a recent press release from the NanoCollege about its efforts to establish its own police force. The little institution bio at the end also speaks to the "What is the NanoCollege?" question. A clip:

SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY PI) is New York's globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. SUNY PI offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany campus, and degrees in technology, professional studies, and the arts and sciences at its Utica/Rome campus. As the world's most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY PI boasts more than $20 billion in high-tech investments, over 300 corporate partners, and maintains a statewide footprint.

"Educational ecosystem" is a new one to us.

Earlier on AOA: Three things about the latest big announcement about a new tech something

Con Job screening at The Madison

con job title screen still

A documentary by two Saint Rose professors about the rise in the use of adjuncts in higher education -- Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor -- will screen at the Madison Theater May 12 at 7 pm. After the screening there will be a discussion with some of the people in the film. Tickets are free.

We talked with the two professors -- Megan Fulwiler and Jennifer Marlow -- last year as part of AOA's Work Week. As Marlow said to us then about higher education's increasing reliance on instructors who are paid relatively low wages and have little job security:

I think we like to think of higher ed as protected from or different than that corporatization. That higher ed is not a space that's supposed to be driven by the bottom line and the way that other businesses are. But ultimately it's here and it's happening in the same way it's happening in many other sectors of the economy for the very same reasons. That it's flexible, that it's cheap, that it's ultimately about the bottom line.

This issue has been simmering for a long time, but it's really started to get attention over the last few years as non-tenured faculty have assumed a majority of the teaching load in higher ed. [The Atlantic]

Saint Rose names college's next president

carolyn stefanco saint roseThe College of Saint Rose announced today that its next president will be Carolyn Stefanco, who's currently the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Stefanco is scheduled to start the position July 1. Her selection caps an unusual transition at the college. In a surprise announcement last summer the school and former president David Szczerbacki parted ways after he had spent just one year in the role, with no mention about what caused the split. Margaret Kirwin, the school's VP for academic affairs, has been serving as interim president.

Stefanco has a PhD in history from Duke, an MA in women's history from Binghamton, and an undergrad history degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her scholarly focus has been American women's history, higher education, and international education.

Agnes Scott College, Stefanco's current school, is a private 900-student women's undergraduate liberal arts college in Decatur, which is just east of Atlanta. Prior to Agnes Scott, she was the founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at California State University, Stanislaus, and she held teaching positions at Oklahoma State, Cal Poly (a handful of student reviews) and Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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Work Week: Con Job

megan fulwiler and jennifer marlow, directors of con job

Megan Fulwiler and Jennifer Marlow, producers and directors of the Con Job project. Marlow on the way higher ed uses part-time professors: "I think we like to think of higher ed as protected from or different than that corporatization. ... But ultimately it's here and it's happening in the same way it's happening in many other sectors of the economy for the very same reasons."

It's Work Week on AOA, which is pretty much what it sounds like -- we're talking with people about their jobs and working.

When most of us think about the people who teach at colleges, we probably think of faculty with PhDs and tenure (or working toward it), teaching a few classes a semester, good pay, great job security, maybe a sabbatical.

In many situations, though, the reality of the higher education workforce is much different. Depending on how things are counted, somewhere between half and 3/4 of the people teaching in colleges and universities don't fit in that category of tenured or "tenure-track" faculty. They're part timers, "contingent labor." They're adjuncts.

Modern academia floats on a huge pool of people in this situation. In some cases, that's not a problem -- maybe it's a person teaching a course on the side of their regular job. But for many adjuncts, trying to piece together a full-time job and career, it can mean teaching multiple classes at multiple campuses for pay that approaches minimum wage levels with no benefits.

Prompted by growing restlessness by people in these jobs -- and in part by stories like this one recently in Pittsburgh -- there's a rising call to address the situation surrounding adjuncts in higher education.

Part of that attention is a documentary project titled Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor, by two College of Saint Rose English professors: Megan Fulwiler and Jennifer Marlow. It aims to tell the stories of the adjuncts who teach first-year writing classes at many of the colleges in the Capital Region and beyond.

What they've found: people who say they feel invisible, living paycheck to paycheck, even as their labor makes the current system of modern higher education possible.

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St. Rose president out after one year

Thumbnail image for college of saint rose western aveThis comes as a surprise: St. Rose president David Szczerbacki is out after one year in the job, the college announced this morning.

Szczerbacki "elected not to renew his contract as president for the 2013-2014 academic year," according to a press release, which states that he cited "personal reasons" in his letter to the board of trustees.

Prior to becoming president Szczerbacki had been CSR's provost and vice president for academic affairs, the #2 job there, starting in 2004. He succeeded Mark Sullivan, who had been the college's president for 16 years.

St. Rose says it's starting a national search for a new president. In the interim, the duties of the president's job will be shared by current provost and VP for academic affairs Margaret Kirwin and VP for finance and administration Marcus Buckley. Sullivan will also be advising. (And the school is set to get a new provost starting July 1 -- Hadi Salavitabar, former dean of the School of Business at the SUNY New Paltz.)

Earlier on AOA: New president for College of St. Rose

The College of St. Rose advertises on AOA.

The State University of New York

ub basketball court

The word "Buffalo" is there at the bottom.


So, apparently, the University at Buffalo is making a move toward some sort of claim on being the "State University of New York" via its athletics program. The new floor design for its basketball arena makes the intention pretty clear. [Buffalo News] [UB Sports]

As state university systems go, New York is unusual in that it doesn't have one (or two) huge main universities a la Ohio or Michigan or Pennsylvania. Instead, there are the "flagship" or "university center" campuses -- Buffalo, Albany, Binghamton, and Stony Brook -- which always seem to be formally or informally angling to get to the head of the line. Which arrangement -- huge central campus, or distributed system -- is better is an interesting question (and probably hard to answer).

Anyway, New York's system keeps any one school from claiming to be the New York State University (as at least one university officially claims to be in its state). Maybe that's not a big deal functionally, but from a marketing standpoint the tag seems like it could be valuable, especially out of state -- even if it's just for sports. (Syracuse University has been trying to stake a claim in that space for years.)

Now UB's taking a shot at it, though in a limited way. Zooming out a bit, it looks like another move in the ongoing competition by SUNY schools to differentiate and highlight themselves via sports. (Tangental fact: Combined athletics spending at the four flagship SUNY schools increased more than 52 percent between 2003 and 2011. Details here.) [NYT 2009]

Interestingly, all this is perhaps to the chagrin of some people in Buffalo, who feel like the move is a slight toward the city. Hey, if anything, it does away with the awkward "university at" phrase. [UB Bull Run/SB Nation]

NYSU: This sort of talk isn't new. About 10 years ago, according to the Buffalo News' Bob DiCesare, Tom Golisano reportedly offered UB "unspecified millions" if the school changed its name to New York State University.

Empire State University: There's already an Empire State College, which specializes in distant learning and "non-traditional" college classes. It has offices in Saratoga Springs. There is not an Empire State University -- at least, outside comic books.

image: UB Athletics

Even with home court advantage, Siena to the "Catholic 7" seems like a long shot

times union center overhead

Attractive because of its ample... seating.

Surprising bit from a recent John Feinstein report in the Washington Post about plans for the new college basketball conference being formed by the seven Catholic schools exiting the crumbling Big East: Siena is in the conversation for the new conference. From the article:

The conference leaders want six eastern and six western -- really, midwestern -- schools. The eastern division of the league will consist of Georgetown, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence and either Richmond (also a non-Catholic school) or Siena -- a late entry but a potentially appealing one because it's a Catholic school that (more importantly) plays in a 15,500-seat arena in Albany, N.Y.

Being picked for your gym probably isn't the reason most schools hope they'll draw suitors -- though, hey, if you got it, flaunt it. Also: it's nice to be considered.

But Siena's athletic director has already poured cold water on the speculation. [TU]

And that's not surprising, because the move would be a stretch, for a few reasons...

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Lawsuit against Albany Law dismissed

Thumbnail image for albany law school exteriorA New York Supreme Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit in which recent graduates of Albany Law School alleged the school misrepresented employment statistics about its graduates. [Reuters]

The school's employment stats include grads who are working in jobs that are either part time or don't require a law degree -- and the plaintiffs argued that is a deceptive business practice. [New York Law Journal] From the decision by judge Richard Platkin (himself an Albany Law alum) [New York Law Journal]:

Here, the alleged deceptive acts or practices are directed principally at college graduates deciding whether to pursue a legal education at ALS ... These individuals are called upon to decide whether to pursue a legal education and, if so, which law school to attend. While highly consequential in their own right, these decisions generally are intertwined with an individual's choice of career. Thus, in considering a reasonable consumer acting reasonably under the circumstances, the Court is mindful that it is dealing with a reasonably well-educated (though not necessarily sophisticated) group of consumers who are called upon to make major life decisions. As such, this case is unlike those involving representations made to the general public in connection with the sale of modestly priced consumer goods (cf. Guggenheimer v Ginzburg, 43 NY2d 268, 273 [1977] [sale of dictionary]).

Also from the decision:

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RPI's Jackson was second-highest paid private college president in 2010

shirley jackson croppedThe Chronicle of Higher Education has posted its latest analysis of private college president compensation, and RPI's Shirley Ann Jackson is #2 on the list at a little more than $2.3 million. The total is for 2010.

Bob Kerrey -- the former US Senator -- ranked ahead of Jackson for his $3 million in compensation from the New School. Kerrey left the school at the end of 2010. The Chronicle says his compensation total includes a $1.2 million retention bonus the school gave him to stay on through the end of his contract. (Kerrey had been flirting with a job heading up the MPAA -- it fell through). [New School Free Press] [LAT]

If you take out Kerrey's retention bonus, Jackson would hold the top overall spot, though her base pay ranks 8th. (The president of NYU had the highest base pay.)

The Chronicle draws much of its information for this analysis from the Form 990 that non-profits must file with the IRS. You can check out those forms for yourself at Guidestar -- here's the 990 for RPI.

Earlier this year we pulled compensation data for all the college presidents in the Capital Region. Like the Chronicle's report, it's for 2010.

[via @SeanPCollins]

This just in: college continues to be expensive

The website Campus Grotto recently released its annual list of the 100 most expensive colleges -- and, as in years past, RPI, Union, and Skidmore are on the list (table above).

Both Union and Skidmore have been sliding down the list over the last few years. For 2008-2009, they were both in the top 20.

Other schools in the greater region that also made this year's list: Bard College (#10, $57,580) Bennington College (#27, $56,990), Williams College (#33, $56,770).

Of course, these totals are like the list price on a car -- not everyone ends up paying that. In fact, at a lot of schools, very few students end up paying full price because of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid.

Campus Grotto notes this school year marks a new era -- for the first time a school's total cost has exceeded $60,000. Sarah Lawrence -- #1 on the total cost chart again -- checks in at $61,236.

St. Rose, Siena, Sage, and UAlbany did not make the top 100 list. Their 2012-2013 total cost figures are post jump.

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Capital Region college president compensation

UAlbany entrance fountain

UAlbany's uptown campus.

When it was announced last week that Robert Jones will become the next UAlbany president, there were a few eyebrows raised about his compensation -- he'll receive a total of $555,000. That includes salary, money from the Research Foundation, and a housing allowance.

That's a lot, no matter what job you're doing. And given that the SUNY system has faced budget cuts recently, it's understandable that the figure would catch attention.

But is it too high? That's a hard question. And people are going to have different answers based on their own perspectives.

To get some context, we pulled data about presidential compensation at UAlbany, RPI, Union, Skidmore, St. Rose, Siena, and the Sage Colleges -- and broke it down to see how it compares across multiple categories.

Here's the result...

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New UAlbany president

robert jones ualbanyUAlbany announced today that the SUNY Board has appointed Robert J. Jones as the university's next president. He's currently a VP in the University of Minnesota system. He'll start at the beginning of 2013.

Jones' background is as a scientist. From the UAlbany press release online:

A native of Dawson, Georgia, Dr. Jones has more than three decades of higher education leadership experience as well as academic expertise spanning plant physiology and urban and international development. He earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a Master of Science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After earning the Ph.D., he joined the University of Minnesota faculty as a professor of agronomy and plant genetics. He is an internationally recognized authority on plant physiology and has published numerous scientific papers, manuscripts and abstracts. His research focuses on the role of cytokinins in stabilizing grain yields of maize against environmental stresses and global climate change. Over his career, he has trained many students who have gone on to leading careers in higher education and research.

Jones will be paid $385,000 plus "a supplement of $110,000" from the SUNY Research Foundation, along with a $60,000 housing allowance. George Philip, UAlbany's current president, got $281,230 in 2011, according to SeeThroughNY. (Philip also has a large pension from his time as head of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System.)

As Nick points out, Jones is a bit of a surprise pick (publicly, at least) -- his name wasn't on the list of finalists leaked to the Times Union in July.

George Philip has served as UAlbany president since 2007, first as interim president, then in a permanent role starting in 2009. The school announced last November that Philip was retiring.

photo via UAlbany

St. Rose goes SAT/ACT optional

Massry exterior mainSt. Rose announced this week that it's making the SAT and ACT optional for many of its applicants. From the press release:

The new Saint Rose admissions process will continue to place the greatest weight on the level of, and success in, college preparatory courses taken in high school along with recommendations from teachers and participation in other school and outside activities. As part of the pilot, an applicant who does not submit scores will be required to complete an essay designed to help further identify the individual and provide a glimpse as to what he or she might bring to the Saint Rose community. ...
"Our own data show that there is a wider pool of students who perform well in college preparatory high school courses who we believe would be successful at Saint Rose but for the fact that they do not perform well on one four-hour standardized test. Our new policy eliminates that roadblock," said Mary Grondahl, vice president for enrollment management.

A bunch of schools around the nation have adopted SAT/ACT-optional admissions policies during the last few years. Here in the Capital Region, both Union College and the Sage Colleges are already test optional. [FairTest] [Union] [Sage]

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Here's your diploma -- and a payment schedule

One of the interesting things in a recent NYT package about student debt is an interactive listing that includes school-by-school breakdowns of the average student debt for each school.

We were a bit surprised by the numbers from Capital Region schools (above). Even though Skidmore and Union College both have expensive sticker prices (both locally and nationally), their average graduate debt figures were among the smallest in this area -- and they had the lowest percentage of grads carrying student debt.

That result probably speaks to a few things about those schools: a) a not insignificant share of the students attending come from families that can help them cover the price and/or 2) many of the students whose families can't cover the cost probably aren't paying the full sticker price. In fact, Union says more than 60 percent of its students "receive some kind of financial assistance."

Contrast that to St. Rose and UAlbany. CSR had the highest average graduate debt -- with 86 percent of its graduates carrying debt. And UAlbany, though having one of the lower debt numbers probably as a result of its relatively inexpensive tuition, had by far the highest debt-to-tuition ratio.

The NYT interactive feature has more info and is worth checking out.

Noted: Americans now owe more in student debt than they do in credit card debt -- the total amount of outstanding student debt in the country is roughly $1 trillion. [USA Today]

Fine print: All the tuition and debt total numbers are for 2010 and via NYT, with one exception: NYT didn't have a tuition number for Union. So we pulled it from College Grotto's rankings for 2009-2010. It appears NYT pulled the numbers from The Project on Student Debt, from which we pulled the "grads with student debt" percentages. The debt:tuition ratio is our own calculation.

Sage Colleges receive another big gift

Lucile Corey Rosenfeld Shea items sage colleges

A few items from Shea's time at Sage.

You know those scenes in movies where a person is approached by an attorney, and the person's all like, "No, not me, I think you have the wrong person..." And then the attorney says, "Your long lost aunt has passed away. And left you a million dollars."

It sounds like that's sort of what happened to the Sage Colleges. The school(s) announced today that it was recently surprised by a bequest from Lucile Rosenfeld Shea, who attended Sage in the 1930s. The amount: $9 million -- one of the biggest gifts in school history.

From the announcement:

The Sage Colleges were notified recently that Lucile Rosenfeld Shea, who attended Russell Sage in 1937 and 1938, willed Sage a bequest valued at more than $9 million. Shea, who most recently lived in a retirement community in North Carolina, had donated modestly to the college during her lifetime and did not reveal the details of her bequest before her death.
A lifelong lover of books, Shea dedicated the gift to benefit the Troy Campus Library. The designation of the gift could not have been more fortuitous, as the library has been identified as a priority need for capital improvements, in anticipation of a centennial campaign for Sage's 100th anniversary in 2016.

We've heard from Sage that Ms. Shea was a very private person, and the school doesn't know much about her life -- her husband passed away in 2003, they didn't have any children. She loved flower arranging and books. (Full press release after the jump.)

This is the second large gift Sage has received recently. In March, Donna Esteves -- the chair of school's board an an alumna -- gave $10 million to the school, the largest gift in its history.

(there's more)

New president for College of St. Rose

David Szczerbacki St RoseThe board of trustees at the College of Saint Rose has picked David Szczerbacki to the college's next president. Szczerbacki is currently the school's provost and vice president for academic affairs, the #2 job there.

The school says Szczerbacki take over in July of this year. He's succeeding Mark Sullivan, who's had the top spot at CSR for 16 years. The school announced last summer that Sullivan would be retiring this year.

Szczerbacki has been at St. Rose since 2004. Before that he held a similar position at Alfred University. He has a PhD in policy studies from SUNY Buffalo, and a master's degree in urban systems. He went to Gannon in Pennsylvania for undergrad, where he got a degree in political science. In the press release, the school says his professional work outside of academics has "focused on the fields of urban and regional planning, economic development, leadership training, environmental management, strategic management and organization development."

It's interesting that Szczerbacki has a background in urban planning. St. Rose has been very active in recent years developing the neighborhood around it in Albany, with a bunch of new buildings that have influenced the character of the area and, more recently, signage that's more clearly defined its neighborhood campus.

Oh, and we hear his name is pronounced: "sir-BAH-kee."

Full press release after the jump.

(there's more)

RPI's Jackson stays in top 10 for private college president compensation

shirley jackson croppedRPI president Shirley Ann Jackson's salary is the 7th highest in the nation among private college presidents, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education's annual salary rankings. The Chronicle reports Jackson's 2009 total compensation was $1,771,877, up 7 percent from the year before.

The average professor at RPI gets almost $154k/year in compensation, according to the Chronicle -- giving RPI an 11.5/1 president to professor pay ratio. (A few quick comparisons: the ratio is 4.7/1 at MIT, and 3.7/1 at Cal Tech.)

Said RPI's VP of strategic communications and external relations to the TU about Jackson's salary: "[it is] a reflection of her extraordinary accomplishments, and of the desire of the Board of Trustees to have her continue the comprehensive transformation at Rensselaer."

Jackson topped the Chronicle's chart for the 2007-2008 academic year with reported total compensation of $1,598,247. In March 2009, the school announced she was giving 5 percent of her salary to a student scholarship fund.

There have been a lot of impressive developments at RPI during Jackson's tenure. But there also has been what seems like a not insignificant amount of discontent. The most recent sign was a student senate resolution calling for Jackson's removal if "significant changes" aren't made at the school. And a group calling itself the "Alliance for Responsible Governance" has also been pushing for change. [RPI] [Reddit RPI]

The Chronicle also lists compensation for other local private colleges. Those are after the jump.

(there's more)

Still expensive, but less so (relatively)

nott memorial

Nott as expensive (relatively). (We never get tired of Nott puns.)

The website College Grotto recently released its annual list of the most expensive colleges -- and again Union, Skidmore, and RPI are on the list.

Here's how local schools rank on the list for 2011-2012 (the list for 2010-2011):

Skidmore's ranking has dropped considerably over the last few years -- it was #5 in 2009. RPI has been headed the other direction -- it was ranked #62 in 2009.

Sarah Lawrence topped College Grotto's list this year at $59,170, followed by NYU ($56,787), Columbia ($56,310), Harvey Mudd ($55,998), and The New School ($55,890). Here's Forbes' recently-released list -- it also has Sarah Lawrence #1.

Earlier on AOA:
+ US News ranks for Capital Region colleges 2011
+ Union, RPI in top 20 for "return on investment"

Albany metro an "economically vibrant college town"

UAlbany walkthrough fountainThe Albany metro area ranks 15th in a list of the "most economically vibrant college towns" from The Atlantic and Richard Florida.

They applied the term "college town" somewhat loosely:

Our measure is not limited to smaller, more traditional college towns, but also includes larger metros like Boston, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York, which are home to major college campuses and large numbers of students and faculty. We measure economic vibrancy in terms of six key variables: per capita income, high-tech industry concentration, the rate of innovation (measured as patents per capita), human capital (the percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher), percent of the workforce in the creative class, and the affordability of housing.

Boulder was #1 on the list. (Tangent: Should we start nurturing Boulder envy? Is Boulder the new Portland? The new Austin?)

(Thanks, Jess!)

US News ranks for Capital Region colleges

nott memorial

Union will probably Nott be disappointed.

US News released its vaunted college rankings today (not important, of course... unless your school ranked well). Here's how local schools ranked.

(Plus a ranking in which UAlbany tops RPI.)

(there's more)

The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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