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Academic Leadership

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education revealed that an audit shows California University of Pennsylvania inappropriately used university employees to raise money for its private foundation and improperly diverted nearly $6 million to the same nonprofit.

The audit led to the firing of university President Angelo Armenti, who led the institution for nearly 20 years. Armenti says the audit findings are "baseless" and "unfounded."

Higher education is a dynamo for economic growth, powering the supply of high-level skills and the technological advances for improving productivity and opening up new markets. Where higher ed flourishes, so can an economy.


As any administrator with presidential aspirations knows, fundraising goes along with the institution-leading territory.


It’s a fact that Webster University (Mo.) President Beth J. Stroble knows well. “When I arrived in the summer of 2009, one of my goals was to successfully close the campaign,” she says of “Webster Works,” which concluded about $1.5 million beyond its $55 million goal.


Jim Yong Kim

Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim has been named president of the World Bank, effective in June. Kim’s career has been devoted to improving the lives of people in developing countries and championing the cause of global health, which aligns with the World Bank’s mission to reduce poverty and support development, serving as a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries across the globe.

Today’s financial aid director wears many hats: counselor, manager of budgets, supervisor, implementer of regulations, and keeper of data, to name a few. As the role of financial aid director has become increasingly complex and challenging, so has filling this position. A job posting could read something like a hybrid circus performer: juggler/tight-rope walker/magician with excellent communication, supervisory and financial management skills, and at least five years of experience in financial aid.

How much are your employees worth? The struggling economy has prompted many institutions to make serious changes in how staff and faculty are evaluated. While politicians claim education is the key to attracting quality jobs, millions of dollars have been slashed from higher education appropriations. Every budget dollar spent must be justified more than ever. Campus leaders have begun scrutinizing employee performance, and at some institutions uniform salary increases have been replaced with thorough evaluations that link pay to job performance.

I brought my hard hat when I arrived in Terre Haute, Indiana, to begin my freshman year at Indiana State University nearly 50 years ago. I had worked for two years as a steelworker in Gary and the hard hat was a reminder of my roots—I am one of 10 children of parents of modest means—and of the hardy people who made a decent and honorable living operating blast furnaces that transformed molten iron. It also was a reminder of the great new journey I was embarking upon.

Left in the wake of Jerry Sandusky’s alleged crimes at Penn State University are a highly regarded university president, a legendary football coach, and two high-level administrators charged with perjury for lying to the grand jury. The only person left standing is former Penn State Wide Receivers Coach Mike McQueary. McQueary testified before the grand jury that he personally witnessed Sandusky in the shower with a young boy, engaging in acts so distasteful that they need not be recounted here.

flowers

The 20-year-old “bubble era” of rapid expansion and leveraged prosperity in American colleges may have been a novelty; it did not, however, fund or build much that now seems original. Too bad, because there is a difference between movements or institutions (as there is for poets and scientists) that are original, truly springing from fresh inspiration, and those that are merely novel, highly derived forms growing from already familiar soils. The Great Recession continues a residual perplexity like a weather front hovering upon the shoreline.

Here we are at a coffee shop in South Boston, commiserating over the latest higher education buzz. Boston, a place that hosts 50 colleges and universities, is the kind of college town that often drives national higher learning megatrends. The talk here is about President Obama taking aim at at student debt load, gainful employment, and health care.  For Obama, “The question isn’t how we can afford to focus on healthcare. The question is how we can afford not to…because in order to fix our economic crisis and rebuild our middle class, we need to fix our healthcare system, too.”

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