Archive for April, 2015

FY 2016 Budget Allocations to State Colleges

In the upcoming budget document, on page D-290, one can see how much the state is giving to each state college/university; it isn’t pretty.

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European Parliamentary Research Service

Much like the Congressional Research Service or the UK Parliament Research Briefings, the European Parliamentary Research Service provides unbiased reports, in this case to the European Parliament. The publications range from in-depth analyses and studies to briefings on a wide variety of topics. Recent reports have touched upon higher education in the EU and asylum in the EU. In addition, its graphics warehouse contains a plethora of informative graphs. Another worthwhile source for authoritative information, this time with a European-centric flavor.

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8th Graders’ Knowledge of U.S. History Hasn’t Improved According to Nation’s Report Card

The results of the U.S. History NAEP 2014 assessment reveal that students’ understanding of U.S. history, civics, and geography has not noticeably advanced since the last version of the test was given in 2010. “This interactive report presents average score and achievement level results of the nation’s eighth-grade students by gender, race/ethnicity, parental education levels, and other student groups.” Highlights and graphs are given for the three fields under examination; summary data tables with information back to 1994 can be accessed as well. PDF infographics are also online.We still have a long way to go.

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Copyright – Fair Use Decisions Database

The murky and confusing world of fair use litigation has been partially illuminated by the U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index. The stated purpose of the Index is that it”… tracks a variety of judicial decisions to help both lawyers and non-lawyers better understand the types of uses courts have previously determined to be fair—or not fair. The decisions span multiple federal jurisdictions, including the U.S. Supreme Court, circuit courts of appeal, and district courts. Please note that while the Index incorporates a broad selection of cases, it does not include all judicial opinions on fair use.” It is a user-friendly interface, allowing the researcher the ability to limit decisions to specific jurisdictions as well as to direct the search to certain contextual categories within fair use. Results will list the cases in reverse chronological order and contain the case name/citation, year, key facts, the contested fair use issue, holdings (findings), and outcome. For instance, limiting the jurisdiction to the Supreme Court elicits only four cases  A surprising drawback of this site is that the case citation is not linked to the full text of the decision. That can be rectified by accessing Federal Law: Judicial Opinions that has rulings back to the 1990s; bound decisions by the Supreme Court, called the United States Reports, are available from before its beginning. (We know, law is sometimes confusing.) Summaries of Fair Use Cases from Stanford is also a worthy site and Copyright Timeline: A History of Copyright in the United States makes for informative reading as well.

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Supreme Court to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Arguments Today at 11am

This very important case, Obergefell v. Hodges, will be heard this morning. SCOTUSblog provides excellent coverage and numerous links; the site will provide live-blogging as the arguments are presented. Transcripts of the oral arguments will be made available later in the day on the court’s website as is its policy for all hearings. An audio version will be made available late this Friday (audio recordings are made available on the Friday of the week the arguments are presented). FYI: The Supreme Court does not permit filming of its proceedings. C-SPAN is providing “… LIVE coverage of the sights and sounds outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices hear oral arguments on cases dealing with the legalization of same-sex marriage, plus reaction from lawyers arguing the cases and advocates on the issues.”

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2014/15 Median Salaries of Tenure-Track Professors and Other Higher Education Professionals

Broken down into 32 broad subject categories, subdivided by faculty rank, and arranged by Carnegie Classification, Median Salaries of Tenured and Tenure-Track Professors at 4-Year Colleges, 2014-15 provides a snapshot of pay levels across various disciplines and types of institutions. Compare these data with Median Salaries of Higher-Education Professionals, 2014-15; Median Salaries of Senior College Administrators, 2014-15; and Salaries of Hourly Workers in Higher Education Rise by 2%.

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Remaking the Intelligence Community in the mid-1970s

More than 80 documents on the above process can be perused in The Intelligence Community: Investigation and Reorganization (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXVIII, Part 2, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; Public Diplomacy, 1973–1976. Documents 1-83). Memos, letters, conversations, and editorial interpolations are included

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New York State Governors’ Public Papers

The Public Papers of New York State Governors presents digital versions of some, but not all, of the governors’ papers generated in the official discharge of their duties. The oldest records belong to the first post-colonial governor, George Clinton  (1777-1795) while the most recent compilation is that of Mario Cuomo (1983-1994).  Other luminaries include Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. While all the governors are not represented at this site, a sedulous search of such sites as HathiTrust may elicit results. For example, while Governor Horatio Seymour’s works are not included in the above site, certain examples can be found courtesy of

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Online Primary Sources: Travel Accounts of France

Among other sources of information, contemporary travel accounts are many times ignored or missed by beginning researchers. But they, too, provide valuable information if you apply the same stringent criteria you use when evaluating any other primary source material. Included here are accounts of the Terror, weather conditions, the beheadings of monarchs, and the depredations of conflict.

Travel Narratives (provide eyewitness accounts)

Other accounts:

Account of a Tour in Normandy 2 vols, 1820

After Waterloo 1908

Englishman’s vade mecum at Paris : containing five descriptive routes from the coast to Paris, with directions to strangers on their first arrival 1814

A few weeks in Paris, during the residence of the Allied sovereigns in that metropolis 1814

France and the republic; a record of things seen and learned in the French provinces during the “centennial” year 1889 1890

A Handbook for Travellers in France. (various editions, 1854 -)

A journal during a residence in France : from the beginning of August, to the middle of December, 1792, to which is added, an account of the most remarkable events that happened at Paris from that time to the death of the late king of France 2 vols, 1794

Journal of a tour through part of France, Flanders, and Holland, including a visit to Paris, and a walk over the field of Waterloo: made in the summer of 1816 1817

Journal of sentimental travels in the southern provinces of France : shortly before the Revolution (abridged English translation, 1821)

Letters describing the character and customs of the English and French nations. With a curious essay on travelling. 2d ed, 1726

Letters from France : written by a modern tourist in that country; and descriptive of some of the most amusing manners and customs of the French 1815

Letters written during a tour through Normandy, Britanny, and other parts of France, in 1818: including local and historical descriptions 1820

Memorandums of a residence in France, in the winter of 1815-16, including remarks on French manners and society 1816

Notes of a journey through France and Italy 1826

Notes on a journey through France, from Dieppe through Paris and Lyons, to the Pyrennees, and back through Toulouse, in July, August and September, 1814 1815

Observations in a journey to Paris by way of Flanders, in the month of August 1776 2 vols, 1777

Paris, in eighteen hundred and two, and eighteen hundred and fourteen 2d ed, 1814

Paris revisited, in 1815, by way of Brussels; including a walk over the field of battle at Waterloo 1816

Recollections of Europe 2 vols, 1837

Round my house; notes on rural life in France in peace and war 3d ed, 1876

A tour through several of the midland and western departments of France, in the months of June, July, August, and September, 1802 1803

A tour through some parts of France, Switzerland, Savoy, Germany and Belgium, during the summer and autumn of 1814 1815

Travels during the years 1787, 1788 and 1789 2 vols, 1793

Travels in France and Italy, in 1817 and 1818 1821

Travels in France in 1818 1819 (In its opening pages, the author remarks on the sheer number of travel books written in the past decade on France.)

Travels in France, during the years 1814-15. Comprising a residence at Paris during the stay of the allied armies, and at Aix, at the period of the landing of Bonaparte 2d ed, 2 vols, 1816

Travels through France and Italy. Containing observations on character, customs, religion 2 vols 1766

Travels through France and Spain, in the years 1770 and 1771 : In which is particularly minuted, the present state of those countries, respecting the agriculture, population 1776

Travels through the south of France and in the interior of the provinces of Provence and Languedoc in the years 1807 and 1808 by a route never before performed 1809

A view of society and manners in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy 2 vols, 1783

A view of the agriculture, manufactures, statistics, and state of society, of Germany, and parts of Holland and France. Taken during a journey through those countries, in 1819 1820

A visit to Paris in 1814 : being a review of the moral, political, intellectual, and social condition of the French capital 2d ed, 1815

A year’s journey through France, and part of Spain 1777

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Child Well-Being in New Jersey 2015

Kids Count New Jersey 2015 provides both state and county statistical profiles on how well children are faring across multiple metrics. For the first time, this annual report has a special focus on race; it states: “New Jersey’s black, Hispanic and mixed-race children are more likely to live in poverty, experience negative health outcomes, be involved in the state child protection and juvenile justice systems and struggle in school. These statistics are sobering.”(2) Counties are ranked within the state; Hudson County stands at 15 out of 20 having dropped from the 14th slot last year.(news report here) The Kids Count Data Center is a portal to much more data than contained in the above report and also provides breakdowns by congressional district within the state. Other state and national data are also available.

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MMR Vaccine Does Not Cause Autism – Another Scientific Affirmation

Despite numerous research findings, some parents/guardians believe there is a causative connection between MMR vaccines and the occurrence of autism. However, another study, this one from JAMA (April 21, 2015) – Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism – reinforces previous findings that there is no relation between the two. Many of the references are linked to the full text.

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Earth Day, 2015

In honor of Earth Day, here is a blog entry from five years ago that has now been recycled. All links are still active, mirabile dictu.

“Earth Day can–and it must–lend a new urgency and a new support to solving the problems that still threaten to tear the fabric of this society….Environment is all of America and its problems. It is rats in the ghetto. It is a hungry child in a land of affluence. It is housing that is not worthy of the name….” So spoke then-Senator Gaylord Nelson, the passionate founder of Earth Day, on April 22, 1970. Earth Day has evolved over time from teach-ins to “going green.” However, concern for the environment and its conservation are not  20th century phenomena. The Library of Congress has some excellent resources that provide needed background information: Documentary Chronology of Selected Events in the Development of the American Conservation Movement, 1847-1920 (with links to original sources); and The Evolution of the American Conservation Movement, 1850-1920 (containing historical full text documents). John Burroughs, a native New Yorker, was one of the country’s most influential nature writers. He befriended both John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt and spent time hiking and camping with them.  His writings can be found here and here. Other names not to be ignored include John Muir, a Scot immigrant who became our most ardent conservationist and helped found the Sierra Club; many of his writings are available online. Muir was the head of a group called the Preservationists who wanted the land left pristine; he was opposed by the Conservationists led by Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the Forest Service, who believed in managed use of our natural resources. Their divergent views came to a head during the Hetch Hetchy Dam controversy, a landmark event in conservation history. This occurred during the Theodore Roosevelt’s administration. Among other accolades bestowed on him, he is considered our first environmentally-minded chief executive. Some of his writings are available online. An excellent bibliography – Conservation, Preservation, and Environmental Activism: A Survey of the Historical Literature – should be perused.

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Deepwater Horizon Five Years After

On April 20, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began; it took three months to finally cap the flow of oil. In that time period, over 200,000,000 gallons were released into the ocean. Five years later: what have we learned? it such an occurrence either preventable or stoppable? what are the long-term effects or has not enough time passed to truly gauge the extent of the ecological damage? what other energy options are currently available to prevent more deepsea drilling? (A point of transparency here. We worked for a major oil company back in the day and have firsthand experience of North Sea oil platforms and deepsea drilling rigs.) For reports that address these and other topics, we recommend: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (an ongoing series from NOAA); The BP Oil Disaster Five Years Later (Diane Rehm Show, April 19, 2015); Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Recent Activities and Ongoing Developments (CRS, May 12, 2014); 5 years after BP spill, drillers push into riskier depths (Houston Chronicle with this observation: “…drillers have been hit by a steady string of “well losses,” reportable incidents when a drilling operation temporarily loses control of a well. Since the Macondo blowout [Deepwater Horizon], 22 such incidents have been reported to authorities.”); An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (National Academies Press 2013, also consult its Deepwater Horizon Collection of documents); Double, double, oil and trouble (The Economist, April 17, 2015); Emerging from Deepwater (Royal Society of Chemistry, April 20, 2015 with important links); Using Natural Abundance Radiocarbon To Trace the Flux of Petrocarbon to the Seafloor Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (Environmental Science & Technology, web publication, 12-12-14); Gulf of Mexico Environmental Recovery and Restoration (BP, March 2015); Rebuttal to the BP report (Natural Resources Damage Assessment Trustees, March 16, 2015); Deepwater Disaster: Five Years On (Huffington Post, April 18, 2015); BP oil spill plus 5: Why it’ll happen again (The Washington Post, April 20, 2015); and Deepwater Horizon five years later (podcast, Science, April 3, 2015).

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2014/15 AAUP Faculty Survey

The latest iteration of this annual report – Busting the Myths: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2014-15 – provides a look at the profession over the past year: “The analysis that follows—by demonstrating just how drastic state budget cuts have been, how much full-time tenure-track positions have dwindled, and how little faculty salaries and benefits influence college and university general budgets—addresses common misperceptions about higher education.” Tables detailing current salaries at many higher education institutions are added as appendices; NJCU is NOT represented.

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Photos of Groundbreaking for NJCU School of Business

For those who could not attend, here are more than two dozen photos of the ceremony.

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Governor Christie’s Platform for Reforming Social Security and Other Programs

This three-page factsheet outlines the Governor’s proposed revamping of the Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and disability insurance programs. Actions range from needs-base assessment to raising the retirement age for full Social Security benefits. A transcript and audio of his New Hampshire speech where he outlined his proposals is online. Highlights of the speech are also available from NJ Spotlight; this site also hosts the Christie Page – its motto: All Christie All The Time.

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Today in History: The Assassination of President Abraham Lincolnh

While attending a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth (fragments of his diary). With the bullet lodged in his brain, the President was taken across the street to a boarding house; he lingered throughout the night and died at 7:22am on April 15 prompting Edward Stanton, the Secretary of War, to intone “Now he belongs to the ages.” Newspapers obviously reported on this tragic event; here is the  initial report The New York Times. Other relevant articles from this paper should also be reviewed. Jersey City, then as now, was a major transportation hub and Lincoln’s funeral train stopped here:

At four o’clock, on the morning of the 24th of April; the funeral train took its departure for New York. Marching in solemn state through the crowds of people, which seemed to line the track all along the route, it reached Jersey City, opposite New York, and passed into the spacious depot, which had been clad in mourning, to the music of a funeral dirge, executed by a choir of seventy singers, and under the roar of heavy and loud artillery. The coffin was lifted from the car and borne on the shoulders of ten stalwart veterans, followed by a procession of conspicuous officials, marching to the music of ” Rest in the Grave,” sung by the choral societies, to the hearse prepared for its reception. (Henry Raymond, The life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, 1865. p.708)

Contemporary sources concerning subsequent events; i.e., the hunt for Booth, the trial of the conspirators, and the final verdicts are all online. Additional sources – tributes, memorial, recollections –  are here. Foreign governments’ condolences are also available online.

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“History as a Book Discipline”

This is the theme of the April 2015 of Perspectives in History. Among other items four historians discuss: is digital publishing making books obsolete, and the difference between a book and a dissertation. Well worth the read. Some articles (here and here) by Robert Darnton are also recommended.

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The Future of Nursing

Core competencies and data management/utilization are among the major topics discussed in this 2015 NAP report – Future Directions of Credentialing Research in Nursing. Exploring the various strategies needed to equip an ever-expanding workforce as it embraces new technologies and responsibilities, this workshop summary provides a framework for discussion. This report owes its genesis to the groundbreaking 2011 study – The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health published under the auspices of the IOM and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; key recommendations are available. Since that time Charting Nursing’s Future has produced a series of policy briefs that address pertinent questions and concerns about the role of nurses in the provision of health care. The American Nurses Association has an apposite section on workforce advocacy that directly supports the conclusions advanced in the above publications.

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How Much Does Each NJ School District Spend On Its Students?

You can find that out by utilizing the 2015 version of the Taxpayers Guide to Education. Data are arranged by various indicators, by school district, and by group; charter schools are listed by their name as if they were separate districts. State averages and median costs are also available for consultation. Comparisons to the previous year are given in the current reports; reports back to 1999 are here. For the Jersey City school district (excluding charters), the budget for the 2013/14 year was $678M, down slightly from the previous year’s figure of $680M; per pupil support rose to $23,435 from $23,273 over the same time span. The number of pupils declined.

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