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Public Affairs Update

  • AAUP’s survey of retirement policies shows increase in U.S. colleges and universities offering incentives to retire . . . . The survey is a product of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Committee on Retirement. An update of a 2000 study, the 2007 report investigates how institutions might have changed their policies since 2000 to deal with changing faculty demographics and other emerging issues. As faculty members nationwide approach retirement age, institutions are using retirement incentives and phased retirement to renew their faculties. Phased retirement has faculty members work part time after relinquishing tenure, allowing institutions to continue to draw on the expertise of long–time professors. “The 2007 survey provides important new information on the nature of college and university faculty retirement programs, on the availability of health–insurance benefits for retirees and their spouses, and on retirement policies for part–time faculty,” says Cornell University economist Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a consultant to the AAUP’s retirement committee and author of the 2000 report. “Academic institutions and their faculty members can use the information provided by the survey to see how their faculty benefit programs compare to those of their competitors,” Ehrenberg adds. The 2007 report was written by Valerie Martin Conley of Ohio University, a member of the retirement committee. The survey was co–sponsored by the American Council on Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The TIAA–CREF Institute and the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute financed the survey. The sample included 1,361 public and private doctoral–, masters–, bachelors–, and two–year–degree–granting institutions, with a response rate of 42 percent. Visit www.aaup.org/AAUP/issuesed/retirement/2007retsurv/default.htm for a copy of the report.

  • Urban Institute reports on gender gaps and gains in K–12 math and reading . . . . This new report, Gender Gaps in Math and Reading Gains During Elementary and High School by Race and Ethnicity, focuses on analyzing the differences in math and reading test score growth rates by gender for four different race and ethnic groups—white, black, Hispanic, and Asian students—for six different time periods. The data cover both the earliest years of education and the crucial years of adolescence. The report also uses data bracketing of a non–schooling period to yield a more complete picture of how gender gaps evolve over the course of early elementary and high school years and how these trajectories differ by race and ethnicity. The statistically significant results suggest that males learn more math and females more reading during early elementary school and again during high school. The report was written by Laura LoGerfo, Austin Nichols, and Duncan Chaplin. The paper can be accessed at www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=411428.

  • Update on the National Children’s Study . . . . The National Children’s Study is moving forward and stepping up preparations to recruit eligible women and their families. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in March to award contracts of 15 to 20 new Study Centers. These Centers will manage operations in up to 30 study locations in addition to those “Vanguard Centers” awarded in 2005 (see November 2005 Footnotes, p. 3), but whose startup has been stalled by federal budget shortfalls. Sociologist Barbara Entwisle, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, is a Principal Investigator of one of these six Vanguard Centers. “We are delighted about this next step in the Study’s progress,” said National Children’s Study Director Peter Scheidt. “We can now begin the true work of the Study, working with families and communities to uncover the root causes of what makes children sick and what keeps them healthy. This is a giant step forward for our children,” he said. The study will recruit and enroll eligible participants across the United States, and track them from before birth until age 21. This latest RFP has been made possible through recent belated congressional action to appropriate funds for fiscal year 2007. The National Children’s Study is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information is at nationalchildrensstudy.gov.

  • New fact sheet on naturalization rate estimates . . . . The Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) has announced the release of Naturalization Rate Estimates: Stock vs. Flow. The report compares stock and flow measures of naturalization and discusses why immigrant naturalization rates differ depending on the data source used. The fact sheet takes the two primary data sets, U.S. Census Bureau’s decennial census and surveys and the administrative records of the Department of Homeland Security. The data sets are used to compute naturalization rates. The report explains why these two data sources, however, may be quite different. The report is available at www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/
    ois_naturalizations_fs_2004.pdf
    .