Cornell Looks for New Ways to Address Mental Health Problems

December 28, 2007

Cornell’s initiative to curb its student suicide rate makes it into the pages of The Wall Street Journal:

After years in which many colleges have said privacy rules prevent them from interceding with troubled students, Cornell is taking the opposite tack. Its “alert team” of administrators, campus police and counselors meets weekly to compare notes on signs of student emotional problems. People across campus, from librarians to handymen, are trained to recognize potentially dangerous behavior. And starting this year, Cornell is taking advantage of a rarely used legal exception to student-privacy rights: It is assuming students are dependents of their parents, allowing the school to inform parents of concerns without students’ permission.

Notice the story slug: “safety school”. Good one, WSJ.


Cornell Named Hottest Ivy by Newsweek

August 13, 2007

Cornell must be doing something right to be labeled one of 25 hottest schools in the nation.


Unlike the other Ivies, Cornell is a land-grant college emphasizing problem solving as well as scholarly debate. The university boasts a world-class engineering college and top-flight liberal arts, science and fine arts. The hotel school is considered the world’s best. Cornellians, proud of the variety on campus, point to the president, David Skorton, a cardiologist, jazz musician and computer scientist who is the first in his family to have a college education.

Via IvyGate.

NY Times Profiles Cornell Residential Colleges

July 29, 2007

The New York Times published a piece today on the growing popularity of residential colleges around the country. It was given a clever title – The Residential Collage. Taking the center stage is none other than Cornell University’s own West Campus Residential Initiative.

It presented an interesting history of the project:

The West Campus Initiative at Cornell is emblematic of how residential life shapes a campus. It began under Hunter R. Rawlings III, the university’s president from 1995 to 2003. Mr. Rawlings arrived to find what he called “a divided campus.” The dorms then on West Campus, undistinguished buildings popularly known as U-halls, were located near many fraternity houses, and tended to attract white suburban students interested in a “pre-fraternity experience,” Mr. Rawlings says. Most minority students gravitated to the dorms on North Campus. Seeing an opportunity both to cross-pollinate the campus and to provide incoming students with greater supervision during their first year, Mr. Rawlings herded all the freshmen to North Campus. Then he embarked on the West Campus project, which he saw as a way of combating another tradition at Cornell — very hard work offset by very hard partying.

Missing from the article completely are Lehman and Skorton, but let’s not get distracted. It gets better:

“It had become clear that there was a 4:30 p.m. cutoff at the university, after which many students entered an intellect-free zone,” says Mr. Kramnick, who was named the first vice provost for undergraduate education in 2001. Cornell, he adds, prided itself on giving students independence in their choice of housing, “but for some students, better students who were looking for more intellectually oriented living arrangements, we didn’t have it.”

Also missing from the story are any real student opinions:

Indeed, interviews with a dozen students at Cornell would indicate that in loco amicus is thriving. They don’t think the West Campus houses have changed campus life – not yet – and most students see them not so much as a new learning philosophy as a snazzy new place to live.

Out of that dozen, only two make it into the article. Both were West Campus residents last semester.

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.

David Skorton Already Has Too Many Friends

September 12, 2006

Courtesy of IvyGate:
facebook - david skorton already has too many friends

Looks like David Skorton reached Facebook’s friend limit. On the bright side, Cornell’s other president still has plenty of room.

Iowa Growing Top University Leaders

May 23, 2006

The media is obsessed with David Skorton’s Facebook presence. From the January 23 Inside Higher Ed article “Cornell Turns to Iowa (Again) for a President” :

At Iowa [Skorton] has placed an emphasis on connecting with undergraduates — notably creating a profile for himself on Facebook, and using the popular Web site as a way to stay in touch with his hundreds of undergraduate Facebook friends.

And later on a little bit of trivia:

The University of Iowa may increasingly be seen as a market place for — among other things — university presidents. Skorton’s three immediate predecessors left for the top jobs at the University of Michigan (Mary Sue Coleman), Cornell (Hunter R. Rawlings III, who preceded Lehman and has been back in Cornell’s president’s office since Lehman left) and Dartmouth College (James O. Freedman). In 2003, Texas Tech University hired Jon Whitmore, then Iowa’s provost, as president.

That is something.

Skorton Inauguration Date Announced Yet Again

May 2, 2006

As declared in today’s Cornell Daily Sun, “David J. Skorton will be inaugurated as Cornell’s 12th president Sept. 7, the University announced yesterday.” “The Ivy League school announced Monday that Skorton’s installation will take place Sept. 7, on Cornell’s historic Arts Quad,” wrote the Ithaca Journal. Other area news outlets had similar stories.

I was under the impression that the news outlets should report news. The Cornell Chronicle Online ran a story on April 12 that read, “Thursday, Sept. 7, has been set as the date for David J. Skorton’s inauguration as Cornell’s 12th president.”

Maybe the Chronicle piece was edited later on. If only there was some sort of a web publication that tracked changes. Wikipedia’s entry for Cornell University from as far back as March 15, 2006, clearly stated, “Inauguration: September 7, 2006.”

I certainly hope that more research is done for the important stories hot off the press.