College Leaders Turn to Blogging

November 22, 2006

If there was ever a relevant story, this has to be it. Small selection:

While some colleges and their presidents have seen their reputations shredded on student blogs, and others have tried to limit what students and faculty members may say online, about a dozen or so presidents, like Dr. McGuire, are vaulting the digital and generational divide and starting their own blogs.

Veterans of campus public relations disasters warn that presidents blog at their peril; “an insane thing to do” is how Raymond Cotton, a lawyer who advises universities and their presidents in contract negotiations, describes it. But these presidents say blogs make their campuses seem cool and open a direct line, more or less, to students, alumni and the public.

There is also a section discussing student blogs, a topic that has recently been receiving a fair amount of attention at Cornell:

Bob Johnson, a consultant to many universities on marketing, said he was mystified that university officials had not generally embraced blogs. Mr. Johnson said student blogs, for example, could be a “hugely effective” recruitment tool, even if they carried the implicit promise — or threat — of uncensored truth, however unflattering.

There you have it.


Lehman One of the Top-Earning Educators

November 20, 2006

According to an annual survey of compensation by The Chronicle of Higher Education, seven college presidents received over $1 million during the 2004-2005 academic year. From the International Herald Tribune:

Audrey Doberstein, who stepped down in June as president of Wilmington College in Delaware, ranked first in total compensation, receiving $2.7 million in the 2004-05 academic year. That package comprised about $705,000 in salary, $798,615 in deferred compensation and $1.2 million in benefits.

Her successor, Jack Varsalona, said Doberstein’s total compensation had been increased by a change in the university’s retirement plan that required her to take the deferred compensation in a lump sum.

“It’s a really inflated figure,” Varsalona said.

Other presidents in the million-dollar club were Peter Traber from Baylor College of Medicine (more than $1.3 million), E. Gordon Gee of Vanderbilt University (nearly $1.2 million) and Karen Pletz of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (more than $1 million).

Three other presidents who stepped down recently also earned more than $1 million: Jeffrey Lehman of Cornell University, Roger Hull of Union College and Donald Ross of Lynn University.

Bloomberg had a slightly different spin on the numbers:

Cornell University President Jeffrey Lehman earned more than $1 million in his final year, the most in the Ivy League and almost twice as much as his Harvard counterpart.

Also recently released is the salary list for Iowa state workers. The Des Moines Register spotted a familiar name:

Then-U of I President David Skorton was paid $350,769 last fiscal year. Skorton left in June to become president of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Looks like he received nice raise.

Cornell Blog Roundup

November 18, 2006

Old media meets new media. Chronicle Online posted a story about the Life on the Hill project that rocked the Cornell blogosphere back in August:

“Life on the Hill,” a pilot project online since late August, is an initiative of the Office of Web Communications, intended to give prospective students and parents a view of how students balance academic, social and recreational life. Six bloggers were chosen from the ranks of tour guides and Cornell Tradition members, out of more than 40 students who applied. Their blogs add to the dozens of others maintained by Cornell students and alumni (see list below).

Surprisingly, the list of blogs is comprehensive and uncensored:

Cornell in the blogosphere

Student blogging project
– Alex Payne ’09:
– Ben Crovella ’07:
– Caroline Dias ’08:
– Jennifer Lin ’09:
– Jenna Bromberg ’08:
– Nikki Gusz ’08:

Other student blogs
– Charlotte Acharya, Grad:
– Elliott Back ’06:
– Christian Montoya ’07: and
– Stephen Miller:
– Erica Mallare ’08:
– Shane Murphy, Grad:
– Claudia Rodriguez ’08:
– Dean Strelau:
– Center for Jewish Living student residence:
– President of Facebook:
– AdmitSpit: — Polina Minkin ’10 contributes to this nationwide group blog on admissions and academics.

Semi-anonymous freshman blogs
– Bungee Jump:
– Cornell Days: — group blog by three freshmen, one of them also blogs at
– Karma Moths:
– Wasting Forty Grand:

General Cornell blogs
– Overheard at Cornell: (inspired by the popular “Overheard in New York” site)
– Livejournal message boards: and
– MetaEzra: — a group blog by Matthew Nagowski ’05 (also blogging at, Andy Guess ’05 (also at and Marc Zawel ’04.

Ivy League-wide blogs
– IvyGate:
– IvyLeak:

Even this one made the cut. Although I am not sure how it got classified under “Other student blogs” while Overheard at Cornell and MetaEzra are “General Cornell blogs.”

Rawlings on NY Governor-Elect’s Transition Team

November 12, 2006

From Chronicle Online:

Former Cornell President Hunter Rawlings and Cornell Trustee Elizabeth D. Moore ’75 have been named to the transition team of New York State Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer.