Your Daily Briefing, a New Feature for Chronicle Subscribers

January 19, 2017

Subscribers to The Chronicle now receive an email newsletter called the Daily Briefing. Through it, readers are presented with everything they need to know in higher ed to start their day. Below is an example of the Briefing, from Thursday. To receive this newsletter, subscribe to The Chronicle.

Welcome to Thursday, January 19. Today, we dig into a New York Times project on colleges and mobility, professors prepare to become administrators, and we consider the pedagogical aptitude of Kanye West.

Where do the top 1 percent and the bottom 60 percent go to college?

At 38 of the country's top colleges, including five Ivy League institutions, more students come from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the bottom 60 percent, The New York Times reports. While elite colleges claim that they will help needier students go further, less than one-half of 1 percent of students from the bottom fifth of American families are actually enrolled at those colleges.

How many students in the top 1 percent are enrolled in your college? And does that number outweigh the students in the bottom 60 percent? See for yourself here.

Making professors into leaders.

From The Chronicle's Audrey Williams June:

Lots of people believe that great leaders are born, not made. But in higher education, as this week's Idea Lab details, a growing number of institutions are treating that adage as a myth. They're tapping faculty members to participate in programs designed to help them develop the leadership skills they need to move into the administrative ranks and succeed.

These future academic and senior-level administrators learn plenty of behind-the-scenes information about their institutions, as well as about the people who help run them. Since most professors don't get get into academe to manage their peers — or the expectations of countless stakeholders — getting a better sense of what life is like as an administrator can be eye-opening.

Quick hits:

Responding to student protests.

The research and technology company EAB has put together a briefing that highlights the importance of getting institutional responses to campus activism right.

Noting that activism among incoming students is at an "all-time high," the briefing warns that failure to get responses right can hit donations and enrollment, and lead to possible legal action. For example, an institutional scandal that is featured in The New York Times can lead to a significant percentage drop in applications. The briefing is available to members only, but a shorter preview of the briefing is available here.

What's new on the site for subscribers.

The messy business of climate conclusions.

Scientists announced on Wednesday that 2016 was the planet's hottest year on record, making it the third year in a row to earn that distinction. When people fret over climate change, what they're often worried about is rising oceans. So if the trends scientists observe every year hold up, how much are sea levels likely to rise?

The Chronicle's Paul Voosen in 2013 documented the work of a United Nations committee that was charged with answering that very question. Coming up with an answer that the scientific community would be happy with turned out to be a messy business.

Comings and goings.

  • Joseph Jones, vice rector at Forman Christian College, in Lahore, Pakistan, was named president of Fresno Pacific University.
  • Shai Butler, chief diversity officer at the College of Saint Rose, will also serve as vice president for student success and engagement.
  • Mick Starcevich, president of Kirkwood Community College, plans to retire next year.
  • Mark Hussey will resign as vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University at College Station once a successor has been named.
  • Richard Feldman plans to step down as the University of Rochester’s dean of the college at the end of this academic year.
  • Kumea Shorter-Gooden, the University of Maryland’s first chief diversity officer and associate vice president for diversity and inclusion, plans to resign.

AAUP weighs in on sanctuary campuses.

The American Association of University Professors is urging colleges’ faculty members to push their institutions to become sanctuary campuses. Its call for such action is contained in a new document produced jointly with the American Federation of Teachers, that offers faculty members guidance on how to protect their academic freedom and their students’ rights in the wake of the 2016 election.

It also offers advice on discussing the election and other controversial issues in the classroom, dealing with hateful or intolerant statements by students, and helping defend non-tenure-track faculty members from administrative retaliation over efforts to manage student behavior in classrooms. —Peter Schmidt


I might have gone to class more if Kanye West, the fashion designer and rapper, had been the teacher or the subject of a course (Andy tells me he still would've skipped).

While students at Washington University in St. Louis may not be able to say, "Yeezy taught me," they can enroll in the course, "Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics." This isn't the first time the rapper, with album titles like Graduation and The College Dropout, has had a role in higher ed.

In 2015, Mr. West gave a guest lecture at the University of Oxford and, of course, he mentioned that he would have wanted "to become Picasso." What a guy. Let's not forget the lucky students at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College who were taught a class by Mr. West in 2014. The lecture was part of his required community service for attacking a photographer.

I'm sure Yeezy could teach me a thing or two, but it wouldn't be his song lyrics. I already know them all.

—Andy and Fernanda

Andy Thomason is The Chronicle's breaking-news editor, and Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz is a web writer. Reach them at and