Archive for August, 2010

Welcome to the 2010/2011 Academic Year!

We at the Library extend best wishes and felicitations to both new and returning students. Please remember that we are here to help you, no matter what your information needs. The regular hours for the Library look like this:

Monday-Thursday  7:30am – 10pm; Friday 7:30am – 5pm; Saturday 9am – 5pm; Sunday 11am – 5pm.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5pm                                                                                                                                   The Library will be closed from Saturday, 9/4 through Monday 9/6, and    Thursday, 11/25 through Sunday, 11/28; we’ll have extended hours for exams on Wednesday  12/15 through Tuesday 12/21 staying open until 11pm.  A more detailed calendar is here.

Here are some handy NJCU sites for you. When you need to contact a department or faculty member, use the university’s online campus directories. To purchase textbooks for your courses and to see if there are used cheaper copies, access the bookstore. If you need to consult master course lists or catalogs, you may come to the Library or peruse the latest versions here. And let us not forget the Office of Campus Life. All students should read the NJCU Student Handbook – the Gothic Guide(2010 draft)  – and be familiar with NJCU’s Academic Integrity Policy, Copyright Policy and Related Guidelines, and its Responsible Use of Computing Resources; other student policies should also be consulted. Also, please peruse the award-winning Gothic Magazine, read The Gothic Times (your student newspaper) and keep up with the Gothic Knights sports teams at this official and informative site. And read about the history of NJCU and visit the accolade-laden Jersey City Past and Present. Make the most of your time here.

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Rochelle Hendricks – Acting Education Commissioner

After Governor Christie fired Education Commissioner Bret Schundler over New Jersey’s loss in the latest Race to the Top application process, he promptly named Rochelle Hendricks as acting Commissioner. Prior to this appointment, she headed up the Division of District and School Improvement; previous to that position,  she had worked in New Jersey’s education sector for over 20 years. Biographical information can be found at newjerseynewsroom.

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Jersey City High Schools Prominently Featured in “Top High Schools” List

The New Jersey Monthly’s  “Top High Schools” list has McNair Academy as #2 in the state, while Liberty has jumped up 82 places to rank as the second most improved high school in the state, right behind Bergenfield. Rankings are available by county, alphabetically, and by district factor group.

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More News/Reactions to NJ’s Loss of RTTP Funds

Both the NJEA and the NJSBA have issued comments as has Commissioner Bret Schundler. Other analysis can be found at: NJ Spotlight, The Star-Ledger, Asbury Park Press, Education Week, The Press ofAtlantic City, and Bergen Record.

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New Jersey Loses “Race to the Top” Bid

Don’t shoot the messenger, but the winners of the second go-round of RTTP were announced at noon today and New Jersey was not among them. The Star-Ledger has a series of articles on this disappointing announcement and Governor Christie’s hand in it. A previous blog entry has more information.

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Brand Names of Recalled Eggs

Here is a listing of all the brand names of eggs being recalled; it will be updated as warranted. This FDA site provides additional information. And do not forget to visit these pages:  CDC, foodsafety.gov, and this informative article: “A Supplier in Egg Recall Has a History of Violations.”

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New Jersey is the First State Charged by the SEC with Securities Fraud

The SEC yesterday charged the state with not informing investors of the fact that two pension funds – TPAF and PERS -were underfunded, and “As a result, investors were not provided adequate information to evaluate the state’s ability to fund the pensions or assess their impact on the state’s financial condition.” The SEC press release is here; the actual order in also available. For more information, look at: Bloomberg NewsThe Washington Post, The Financial Times,  and The Wall Street Journal. However, this should come as no surprise, please read this New York Times article from April 4, 2007:  “N.J. Pension Fund Endangered by Diverted Billions.”

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Library Hours for Fall 2010 Semester

As horrific a prospect as it may appear to some of you, NJCU is gearing up for another academic year. To that end, here is what the hours look like:  Monday-Thursday  7:30am – 10pm; Friday 7:30am – 5pm; Saturday 9am – 5pm; Sunday 11am – 5pm.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5pm                                                                                                                                   The Library will be closed from Saturday, 9/4 through Monday 9/6, and Thursday, 11/25 through Sunday, 11/28; we’ll have extended hours for exams on Wednesday 12/15-Tuesday 12/21 staying open until 11pm.  A more detailed calendar is here.

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Education Commissioner Opines on Charter Schools and Longer School Years

In testimony before the Senate Education Committee on S2198 which “Enables Rutgers University to authorize charter schools; expedites approval of charter school applications; and permits authorization of special purpose charter schools,” Commissioner Schundler approved of other entities besides the Department of Education establishing and supervising charter schools. Montclair and Kean have also expressed interest in this. In addition, he stated that school years should be longer. A very brief report is found at NJN; fuller reportage is found courtesy of: newjerseynewsroom, The Star-Ledger, The Jersey Journal, The Bergen Record, and pressofAtlanticCity. The NJ Department of Education has a whole site devoted to charter schools; the NCES has a section on charter schools as well; Rutgers sponsors the New Jersey Charter School Resource Center;  the June 2010 report – The Evaluation of Charter School Impact is worth a perusal; and edweek.org has a site replete with articles and excellent links. BTW, Bret Schundler has always been an advocate of charter schools

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NJCU Makes the Grade, Again

In what we hope will be an annual occurrence, NJCU once more appears in the latest Best Colleges 2011 from U S New & World Report. We rank for economic diversity (a true indication of whom we serve) and for campus ethnic diversity in the regional universities(north) category.

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Top TV Earners

According to TV Guide, these are the top earners in what was once deemed a “vast wasteland” by Newton Minow, then Commissioner of the FCC in a 1961 address to the National Association of Broadcasters. Oprah does indeed rule the world!

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Free Online Mathematics Journals and Books

For those who love numbers and for those who love people who love numbers(and you know who you are), here is some great news: The American Mathematical Society has put online over 34,000 articles from the Journal of the AMS, Transactions of the AMS, Bulletin of the AMS, Proceedings of the AMS, and Mathematics of Computation. Articles start from volume 1 of each journal and are freely accessible through 2005; in the case of the Bulletin, it is through its current issue. (If you want to search more than one journal at a time, just depress the “control” button while clicking on the titles of interest in the “Specify Journals to Search” section.) Not only that, but the AMS also offers free online versions of some of its monographs. If the AMS journals are not enough, come here to find more than 150 additional math journals freely available. More math volumes are at both Cornell’s Historical Math Monographs and the University of Pennsylvania’s Online Book Page

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For-Profit Colleges Under Scutiny

There has been much news of late (Bloomberg , insidehighered, The New York Times, The Washington Post) about the increased presence of for-profit colleges in the education sector. Questions have arisen around misleading recruiting, an alarmingly high loan default rate of 44%, and the inability of graduates from these institutions to secure employment. PBS’ Frontline program College, Inc. and this NPR Here and Now program examine some of the controversies surrounding for-profits. This Hechinger Report – Putting the Brakes on the Growing For-Profit School Industry? – combined with this damning GAO report – For-Profit Colleges: Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud and Engaged in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices– make for bracing reading. The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has already held two full committee hearings on this topic: one on June 24, the other on August 4. Please read this very informative piece from ProPublica (an organization which won the 2010 Pulitzer for Investigative Reporting). Why all the concern over for-profits? According to the Condition of Education 2010, indicator 43, between 1997/98 and 2007/2008, for-profits increased the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by 456% while public institutions saw a 27% bump; doctorates increased 572% and opposed to 29% increase for public institutions. In addition, according to the aformentioned GAO report, there are almost 2 million students in the for-profits who are getting $24 billion in federal aid.

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High Cost of College Textbooks

As the beginning of a new semester looms up, many parent like ourselves dread the money pit that is the price of college textbooks. Having three sons at various levels of undergraduate/graduate education, we reel each time they come home having spent well over several hundred dollars each on books of dubious value: assigned texts never used by the professor, a hardcover text costing over $200, a “new edition” with virtually no new information but marketed at full price, or an expensive “coursepack” of dated material. For 2009-2010, the College Board estimates that books and supplies will set the student (or parent) back $1122. A widely-cited 2005 GAO report – College Textbooks: Enhanced Offerings Appear to Drive Recent Price Increases –  highlights many of the problems with this sector. Another great place to look is at this National Conference of State Legislatures site: Textbook Turmoil (look at the Online Extra for valuable links). Other reports to consider: Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable (Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance), Affordability of College Textbooks (California State Auditor),  National Association of College Stores, and Are College Textbooks Priced Fairly?(House Hearings).  Solutions? Try textbook rentals. Another innovative solution that professors can employ to help their students is found in this informative  article Taming the Textbook Market. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, section 112, stipulates that institutions that receive Federal funding “…must publish in online course pre-registration and registration materials information about all required texts that will be used in the class, as well as the retail price of course materials.”(From CRS, Higher Education Opportunity Act: Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, 7).

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Economic Crisis – August 2010 Update

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Do New Jersey Public Employees Earn Too Much?

In words of one syllable or less – no. At least that is what this report from the Economic Policy Institute entitled Are New Jersey Public Employees Overpaid? states. This paper observes that: “On average, New Jersey public sector workers are more highly educated that private-sector workers: 57% of full-time New Jersey public-sector workers hold at least a four-year college degree compared to 40% of full time private sector workers.” The report goes on to say how state and municipial governments pay on average 10% less than private employers.(Executive Summary)  However, when you factor in benefits paid to public workers, then the total package essentially evens out. But at no point, according to this report, are local and state workers overpaid.News articles can be found at: The Star-Ledger and NJ Today. This November 2006 research from Rutgers should be consulted if only to form a basis for research: New Jersey Public Private Sector Wage Differentials: 1970-2004.

 

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