Archive for April, 2019

The Need to Fund Community Colleges

This report from the Century Foundation – Recommendations for Providing Community Colleges with the Resources They Need – states that “…the lion’s share of the blame lies with policymakers who systematically shortchange community colleges financially, giving two-year institutions the fewest resources to educate those students who tend to have the greatest needs.”

More than 9 million students are enrolled in this country’s 1000+ community colleges, yet many do not progress to four-year institutions, nor do they graduate from the two-year colleges.

The report calls for extensive research into what resources are necessary to provide community colleges with the tools needed to help students succeed. Heavily referenced and replete with charts/tables, this report outlines priorities and steps to achieve adequate support for community colleges.


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Who is Running for President in 2020?

As far as can be tabulated – everyone is. With Joe Biden stepping into the ring this morning, there are at least 22 confirmed candidates. This feature from The New York Times serves as a handy guide for this crowded field. For more information, please go to this Ballotpedia site to see the more than 600 individuals who have filed with the FEC to run for president; this page also offers up a host of salient reference points.

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Historian Robert Caro and Doing Research in the Digital Age

This is an enlightening interview of interest to anyone who does historical research.

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Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2018

Containing data from 2015 through 2017 this voluminous compendium details various aspects of crime at all levels of the education sector. Bullying, victimization, active shootings are some of the topics highlighted. Handy “Spotlights” add to the utility of this work.

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2019 Survey of Community College Presidents

What keeps these esteemed individuals awake at night: diminishing financial support, student success, graduation/retention rates? This report, based on results from a Gallup survey that is the product of 235 returned questionnaires, reveals some salient points:

“One in 10 community college presidents indicate their institution offers bachelor’s degree programs, though only 1 percent say it offers a wide range of four-year degree programs.

Community college leaders largely endorse the idea of community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees and believe doing so would increase access to higher education and reduce the racial gap in degree attainment. They do not, however, believe states provide enough financial support to ensure the degrees are high quality.

Two-thirds of presidents at four-year colleges strongly disagree or disagree that community colleges should be able to offer baccalaureate degrees. Their greatest concerns are lowering degree quality and mission creep.

Community college presidents’ greatest concern about offering bachelor’s degree programs is that their budgets will be stretched too far.” (7)

Numerous graphs and charts add to the utility of this timely document. An added bonus is to have the reactions of four-year college presidents intermixed on the question that pertains to the perceived “mission creep” inherent in community colleges awarding bachelor degrees. (see p.13)



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2018 Population Estimates for Counties Released

The Census Bureau has just made available the 2018 population estimates for every county in the country. To review these figures and find out if the population has increased or decreased over the years since 2010,  come here.

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Women in Congress: Statistics and Serving History

There have been 365 women elected to Congress since 1917. These two 2019 reports from CRS will provide apposite information: Women in Congress: Statistics and Brief Overview and Women in Congress, 1917-2019; the latter report details committee memberships in its 120 pages. See on what committees AOC is serving. Additional biographical information can be garnered from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.


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Early Drawings, Photos, Prints of Notre Dame Cathedral

The Library of Congress has a collection of the above while the Bibliotheque national de France possess thousands of images, some from the 17th century. And please consult this most informative piece – The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Art (1460-1921) from The Public Domain Review.

Here is an 1853(?) French monograph liberally supplied with drawings and photos – Monographie de Notre-Dame de Paris, et de la nouvelle sacristie de MM. Lassus et Viollet-Le-Duc : contenant 63 planches, gravées par MM. Hibon, Ribault, Normand, etc., 12 planches photographiques, de MM. Bisson frères, 5 planches chromolithographiques, de M. Lemercier / précédée d’une notice historique et archéologique par M. Celtibère, architecte-archéologue.

Also, visit Google Arts & Culture for additional images.

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OAH Distinguished Lectures

The Organization of American Historians has a YouTube channel featuring eminent historians discussing certain topics ranging from the War of 1812 to the 1960s. Each lecture runs between about an hour and an hour and a half. Well worth a visit. And let’s not forget the OAH’s podcast series.

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Book Lovers Discuss Their Collections

A point of transparency here – I label myself a book lover; my collection is north of 8,000 volumes. This delightful piece in The Washington Post interviews several people, including the Librarian of Congress, on their collections and their attitudes to the tomes they possess.

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First Photos of a Black Hole

The announcement of this scientific discovery was made public through a series of six brief papers presented in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, 875(#1, April 10, 2019). These articles are rather dense and not meant for the layperson (at least not this layperson). More accessible information can be gleaned from the Event Horizon Telescope site as well as from NASA.

For those who do not know what a black hole is, this explanation is for you. Black holes are featured prominently in science fiction literature as well as films.

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Who’s Speaking Where? 2019 Commencement Speakers

This is not a comprehensive list, but it does indeed give quite a number of speakers; see how many of them are speaking at more than one event. I found three.

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Projections for Library Occupations

Did you know that there are only 25,900 college/university librarians in the country? And that the number who will be leaving the profession in the next few years exceeds the average exit rate for other occupations? These and other data points, along with links for additional information, can be found here.

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Historic Music Recordings

Before Spotify, streaming services,  MTV, CDs, cassettes, 8-track tapes, vinyl albums, or 45 records, there were 78rpm records and cylinders. This musical heritage dates back to the 1880s and is close to extinction. However, preservationists are protecting these fragile artifacts while simultaneously digitizing them with all their glorious imperfections. A collection of more than 150,000 is available courtesy of the Internet Archive for your listening pleasure. There are various filters that allow you to modify your search of this special repository.

Another collection worth investigating is the Cylinder Audio Archive housed at the University of California, Santa Barbara. You can browse by genre, instrument, topical subject, or foreign/ethnic nationalities.

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2019 AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey

Salaries and compensation across academic ranks are displayed in this latest iteration that 950 institutions voluntarily participated in. Again, income disparity between the sexes is all too apparent. You can filter by state (here is New Jersey) and category. Compare trends (but not specific institutional information) as presented in the overview of the CUPAHR 2019 Faculty in Higher Education Annual Report.

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State Financing for Higher Education, 2018 Report

While a few states have rebounded from the recession in their support of higher education, a vast majority have certainly not supported their state institutions. The State Higher Education Finance report for 2018 reveals the abysmal level of support for “state” institutions that in certain instances should negate the appellation of “state” due to the miserly amount of funding sent to these schools. New Jersey’s record of support has seen a steady erosion over the years and has dropped 27% since the recession, placing it among the least supportive governments. The report is replete with tables, charts, and figures along with additional supporting resources.

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National Security Reports – March 2019 Update

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Watch Free Movies and TV Shows on IMDb

IMDb Freedive offers a selected number of films and TV programs for free watching. All it takes is free registration. You might want to try it out.

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New Jersey’s Plan for Higher Education

For years New Jersey has been without a comprehensive plan for higher education; now Where Opportunity Meets Innovation: A Student-Centered Vision for New Jersey Higher Education has just been released outlining the steps to be undertaken to make higher education in New Jersey a more viable and supportive environment for all students. As the executive summary makes clear: “The key to making these changes starts with a renewed commitment to students. This commitment is embodied in the vision for New Jersey’s Student Bill of Rights, which holds every New Jerseyan, regardless of life circumstances, should have the opportunity to obtain a high-quality credential that prepares them for life after college.” Steps and processes to achieve this goal are enumerated and expanded upon.

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