Monday, December 21, 2009

Harvard's Toxic...

Assets, that is.
A long article in Bloomberg (via The Awl, via Jesse) details just how risky and faulty Harvard's economic bets were during the 00's credit madness. Not only did they lose 30 percent of their endowment, and $1.8 billion in cash reserves, they had to borrow at least $1 billion from the state of Massachusetts to get out of some bad credit swaps that were bets on interest rates.

Most of the wrong-way bets were made in 2004, when Lawrence Summers [pictured] now President Barack Obama’s [Chief!] economic adviser, led the university.

Harvard has had to freeze their multimillion dollar campus expansion plans.

“They have a structural problem,” one observer says. “There’s something systemically wrong with Harvard Corp. It’s too small, too secretive, too closed and not supported by enough eyeballs looking at the risks they are taking.”

Hubris? Probably. Greed? Sure. But the worst part is the last: the lack of transparency. That is no way to run a university in the 21st century.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Quadruplets All Accepted To Yale.

But their decision will hang on financial aid, of course. They have applied to over 30 colleges total. Wow, how can you not love this family! They are so cute. TV producers should be ringing them off the hook!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pyramid Scheme

"Nick Lemann and pretty much everyone else up at Columbia are perpetuating an obviously-failing scheme, in which they send young people into tens of thousands of dollars of debt while teaching them some basic skills that those students could and should learn by doing. That some of these professors discourage their students from actually working, for money, in the field while in school is outrageous."
---Choire Sicha, The Awl.

Said of journalism schools; true of how many other university departments and graduate programs across the nation?

What's a College Degree Worth?

Sue Shellenberger at the Wall Street Journal delivers a nuanced view., focusing on not only a "path to a better-paying job" but separately "finding work you love."

" a new tool is available that predicts how much money a student is likely to make after graduating. The online calculator,, will generate a 10-year range of students' likely postgraduation income based on their test scores, high school and college attended, grades and major."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

State Colleges Hit Hardest By the Recession

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, Via Good Magazine. Confusingly, the lighter the blue, the bigger the budget cuts--up to 12% and higher. Florida is the "winner" with 22 % cuts compared to 2008.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Become a Beta Tester of New Online Teaching Network

Omniacademy is a fascinating and creative educational startup that originates from a brilliant woman, Dr. Stacey Simmons, and from my native Louisiana:

"Omniacademy is an educational portal that allows universities to share their course content. Students from any university may take courses for credit from approved academic partners through Omnicademy.

Omnicademy is a free portal, with tools that work with existing LMS’s and utilize innovative technology, like massively multiplayer classrooms, learning quests, and social networking.

We are asking for institutions, professors, proctors, and students to be beta participants. Course participants who wish to receive courses or offer courses can send an email to our developers to discuss how to participate. There is an opportunity for course proctors in the beta phase to earn some additional compensation. To learn more about being a beta site, email:"

Radio Silence

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I updated the blog. Life has taken over, the most important bit of that being my book ,

DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education (Paperback)

which is in final edits and currently available for pre order on Amazon (!!).
I guess I also have found that Twittering sometimes scratches the itch that used to be available for blogging.

In 2010 I'll be migrating over to a new website with more information on the book. In the meantime, thanks for reading!