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Today in academia: buying top MBA applicants, wishing for a celeb speaker, demanding to know how much for-profit CEO's make, and dealing with a rise in on-campus psychological issues.

  • Commencement: Boulder students are looking to top the Chipotle guy.  No offense to the Chipotle CEO, Steve Ells, who spoke at last year's graduation (to reported protests), but it looks like students at the University of Colorado, Boulder would like star power this time around. Ellen DeGeneres or the South Park guys made their "short list of graduation speaker candidates," according to the Daily Camera. Right now, it looks like just a wish-list, even though Matt Stone and Trey Parker were alumni of the school, which might be helpful as a recruiting pitch. But if either DeGeneres or the South Park guys sign on, Boulder may just give the already announced Fareed Zakaria (Harvard), Steve Carell (Yale),  Katie Couric (UVA) speeches a run for their money next spring. [Boulder Daily Camera]
  • It's a good time to be a top MBA applicant.  In an article that makes admissions offices sound as prone to over-spending as NBA owners, Fortune informs that it's a nice time to be top applicant for an MBA program. Schools have "deployed" huge amounts of scholarship spending cash in order to maintain their prominence on all-important rankings lists and students are pitting these schools against each other to get the best deal (real world business skills!). Which sounds great for students. The only losers it seems, at least from this take, are the schools that can't afford to keep shelling out top dollar for their applicants. "It is an arms race," said the dean of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in the article. "The race has gotten so hot, so fast that schools are using operating money to pay for a lot of these scholarships." [Fortune via Inside Higher Ed]
  • Let's take a look at how much are for-profit college CEO's making.  Well not yet. Just like Wall Street executive bonuses, which got scrutinized after they got bailed out with federal funds, for-profit college execs are getting more scrutiny for their institutions share of  federal funds received. And yesterday, one congressman, Elijah Cummings, said it's about time that taxpayers got "detailed information" on these execs compensation to see if it was "appropriately tied to the performance of students they educate”, The New York Times reported. That's gonna be problematic: because, as The Times writes, for-profits have a relatively dismal graduation rate and their execs make "markedly higher than at public and nonprofit schools" ($6 million was a figure in the article). Still remains to be seen whether this call for detailed info will be honored though. [The New York Times]
  • There's more students with psychological issues. Which ones get special accommodations?  First, yes, according to more-than-just-anecdotal information from The Wall Street Journal, there are more students on campus "registering with disability offices for psychological problems." The question The Journal grapples with, and doesn't come to a conclusion about,  is what to do about it--some students get more days to study, some miss exams, others are given longer time to take tests. "Schools are required to extend 'reasonable accommodations' for students with documented disabilities—including psychological ones—to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act." The problem is that schools widely vary on how to deal with many different cases. [The Wall Street Journal]

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