Last login: Monday, March 12, 2012
Alright, sports fans. You're going to scare away the wedding fans.
To steer us back on topic: Anyone planning on throwing a shin-dig for the big day?
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I'm with Kyle. Can't wait for the next World Cup.
The United States plays Spain on June 4, for those of you who are curious.
JD: How can we be in touch with your wife and her mother? We'd like to visit with them. Please drop me a note at email@example.com or 361-580-6519.
Thanks -- Gabe
Brady and Vox: We're reporting that story -- how much, if any, of the $100,000 was spent -- this week.
Older Guy: You say, “... UH has now achieved Tier 1 status as a research institution.” That is not fully correct.
UH received designation as a Tier 1 university for research by the Carnegie Foundation. However, receiving such designation by the Carnegie Foundation does not necessarily make it a Tier 1 school in the eyes of the state. The process is more complex than that.
I emailed Richard Bonnin, spokesman for the UH System, to better understand where UH stands on Tier 1. I should note Bonnin offered this info because I requested it; this info was not sent out as a release and is not posted on any UH website.
“Specifically, in the academic community it’s accepted that recognition by any one of these three organizations conveys Tier One status on an institution. These three are:
1) The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/
2) Top American Research Universities (TARU) – run by the Center for Measuring University Performance: http://mup.asu.edu/
3) Association of American Universities (AAU): http://www.aau.edu/
Each organization has its own criteria. As a result, there are “Tier One” schools that may be top-ranked by TARU but may not be in the Carnegie top tier. And vice-versa. Or, a school may not be in either Carnegie OR in TARU, but is Tier One by virtue of being a member of AAU ...
The “Texas Tier One” subject adds to the possible confusion.
Basically, the state legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board agreed they wanted to provide extra support to seven “emerging research universities” IF they could demonstrate they had the potential to become a nationally recognized “Tier One” institution. So the National Research University Fund (NRUF) was set up – along with criteria a school had to meet to show it qualified for the funds. Some of the criteria were announced immediately – like research expenditures, endowment, etc.
But three other benchmarks – concerning faculty, freshman class and grad program – were not specified. That is, until last month.
UH appears to meet the criteria. So we just need the legislature/THECB to take the next step – confirm it and provide us with the NRUF funding.
Of course, meeting these NRUF benchmarks does not “make” us a Tier One university – it shows that we have met the state’s guidelines to receive the funding set aside to help schools achieve (or, in our case, maintain) Tier One status.”
So, currently, there are only three Texas universities -- UT, Rice and A&M -- that the state has confirmed as Tier 1 schools. That, of course, could change soon.
I hope this clears up any confusion.
-- Gabe Semenza
Good questions, loud&clear. The A&M spokesman I have worked with to collect this and other information is Jason Cook, the system's chief communications officer. Cook's and that staff's page is here: http://www.tamus.edu/offices/communic...
At the UH System, I regularly work with Richard Bonnin, a system spokesman.
As for me getting comments from the A&M System about whether it's excited about the bill, we've reported numerous times that universities and system staff cannot advocate for or against state legislation. They also decline to comment about what their plans would entail if the switch occurred, saying that such statements would be premature and could indicate that they are advocating for the bill (which is forbidden).
I think that covers your other questions, too. I've done 13 FAQs about the potential switch, all of which are found here: http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/...
With a little digging in that special section, I think you'll find a lot of answers to your questions.
If anyone else has other questions you'd like to see covered in a story, please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 361-580-6519. Those are the best ways to reach me.
Thanks -- Gabe Semenza
Just in case, I changed the lower case "q" to an upper case "Q." Good spot. Thanks -- Gabe
Thanks, HookEm. I'm not sure it's feasible to publish in the print paper the few hundred inches of FAQ copy I've written, but I can definitely include all Qs and As in a blog. I'll do that later today.
Thank you for reading the series.
Jeff,Thanks again for the note. In the end, we will have to agree to disagree. The way I see it, the greater the number of employees and salaries, the more chances there are for these large pay discrepancies to exist -- and thus the more skewed averaged aggregates can become.Gabe
Hey, Jeff. Good to hear from you. I'm copying and pasting below a comment I just wrote for a story you also commented on. I'm not arguing for or against your points, but I do question the process you use to base your argument (no hard feelings, I hope).
I do a lot of work to examine salaries. The majority of scholars and investigative reporters calculate "median" salary information instead of "average" salary data. Average salary information is often less useful than median salary information because it can be misleading. To calculate an average, you add up the salaries and divide by the number of employees. However, a few high wage earners -- or low wage earners -- can skew findings.
For example: If a company has five employees, and one employee earns $20,000 per year, two earn $40,000, one employee earns $50,000 and another employee earns $350,000 (for a total company payroll of $500,000), the average salary for the company is $100,000. Clearly, $100,000 is not reflective of how much money the "average" employee of this company earns. That figure is skewed higher because of the high wage earner.
That's why it's often best to use median data to illustrate benefits such as salaries. To calculate a median salary, you simply point to the salary in the middle of the heap (if the heap is ordered from smallest to largest, or vice versa).
In the example of my made-up company, $40,000 would be the median salary. This number, when compared to the other salaries, is more reflective of what the typical employee earns.