Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Politico's "insiders"

I enjoy reading Politico every morning, though I refuse to use all-caps for its name. I also wonder about its "Insiders" series of stories based on semi-anonymous interviews with, obviously, campaign insiders from key states as we grind our way through the presidential nomination process.

So far we've had Iowa, in which the "insiders" predicted Trump and Clinton wins. Trump didn't win, and Clinton barely did (and some Sanders fans dispute even that, but like Cam Newton can we just set aside the sulking and whining?). In all fairness, the "insiders" didn't write off a Cruz victory in Iowa (which he won). So a point for that.

How about tonight, in New Hampshire?

The "insiders" predict Trump and Sanders will be the winners. Safe bets, both. The insiders also kinda like Cruz and Rubio as second-place finishers. We'll see on that one. If Google searches are any indication, we may be in for a surprise there.

Friday, February 5, 2016

UGA Recruiting Class

So how well did the Dawgs do in this year's recruiting class? Good, by most standards. I took the Scout.com site's data and looked from 2002-2016 in terms of the rankings. See the graphic below. Lower is, of course, better when it comes to how UGA ranks in recruiting classes compared to other schools. In 2016 we're ranked 9th (higher by others). The best was in 2005-2006 when Scout had us with two #4 classes in a row. UGA has never been higher than #4 by this site, the last time in 2011.

Story Idea Friday

Often on Friday's I like to recommend a story idea or two that student journalists at UGA should pursue. I'm not saying they'll end up being good stories. You don't know until you sniff around, ask a few questions, read a report or two. So here's my idea for the day from the monthly EITS (our computer folks) report:
Housing Residents Give Feedback about Wireless Service: Based on student feedback, EITS recently conducted a survey of residents in University Housing about PAWS-Secure wireless service. The survey focused on specific residence halls with wireless issues and times of service degradation. Of the 8,000 residents in University Housing, about 40 percent completed the survey. EITS and University Housing will soon determine the next steps to quickly address gaps in wireless service for the residence halls. For more information about the survey, please contact Kerri Testement at kerriuga@uga.edu.
How about that. We have a survey, we have a topic students care about (Wifi), and we hav a friggin contact person.

Make sure, on the survey, you get the questionnaire and the raw data. If they fudge because there's "identifying information" in the survey (there shouldn't be), ask them to strip all identifying info and give you the raw data either as a spreadsheet or ASCII test, and then pull it into the appropriate program. Also ask for any reports they've generated from the data, such as an executive summary.

There's a story there. I promise.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

UGA Travel Winners

One of the oddities of the UGA salary data (fresh out for 2015) is it includes travel monies. You know what I mean, the hundred bucks here, the hundred bucks there, that some of us use to attend scholarly conferences or engage in research.

Well, there's travel money, and then there's travel money. Here are the top folks, according to state data out this week. The names have been removed to protect the frequent flyer. In parentheses is that person's salary for 2015 as well, just for fun). Oh, and the top person is a scientist in the college of ag and environmental sciences, so that kinda makes sense and probably paid for by grants.

  1. $55,268.46 ($194,529.80)
  2. $46,745.38 ($168,885.96)
  3. $38,865.51 ($103,173.00)
  4. $35,516.28 ($104,213.90)
  5. $34,245.79 ($30,018.79) 
OK, hold on. What the hell with that last one with travel higher than salary? This person is a research professional with an institute on campus. I can only assume this individual travels a lot as part of a grant. You do see that kind of thing, though for the most part the travel money seems to line up well with the salary money. How well? Well, Mr. Correlation tells us it's r = .51. That's a fairly significant correlation.

Oh, by the way, I get about a thousand dollars a year in travel money. A thousand bucks. Just thought I'd add a little bitter context.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Assistant Prof Salaries

For those among you unversed in academic titles, the rankings go from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor to Professor (sometimes called full professor, and this sets aside lecturers and the like). Promotion from assistant to associate usually includes tenure, though a handful of overachievers will seek promotion two years early to get the salary bump and then make us read their packages again for tenure. Academic asses.

Anyway, the 2015 salary data are out and I'm looking at the UGA slice, playing with job titles and salaries and all the rest. I listed the Top 20 UGA salaries earlier. In this post let's look at the very public data and the assistant professors who make, well, a lot of money compared to certain full professors in journalism who write a blog and can afford to be bitter about such stuff.

By my count there are 16 assistant profs who make more than $200,000 a year, roughly double my overly generous full professor salary. Three are tied for #1 with exactly the same salary. Yes, all three are in the Terry College (business school) and all make, according to the state salary data, $262,474.80. Yes, the same exact amount, even down to that last 80 cents. Go figure. Best I can tell, all the very top assistant profs are in Accounting. Better pay than H&R Block, I suppose, even in income tax season. 

Indeed, every assistant professor who makes over $200,000 a year works in the business school. Yup, every single one. 


I could plop their names here and engage in a little salary shaming. It is a public record, after all, but hopefully they're embarrassed enough come payday. After all, the average assistant professor pay at UGA appears to be about $83,000, give or take. This number is fuzzy as it lists any and all assistant profs in 2015, even those who left. For example, the lowest salary is $1,384 and we know that makes no sense.

On another post I'll list the top salaries for faculty who do not have some administrative duties, such as department head or dean, etc. Those? They're in the mid $300k range. Yeah, scary, and I even vaguely recall one of them complaining on a different discussion board last year about how the lack of competitive salaries at UGA. Dude. Just stop.

UGA Salary Data

The 2015 state salary data is available (thanks, AJC), which means it's time for me to break down the UGA salaries. Who are the winners? Today, just a quick-and-dirty look at the top money makers at UGA. On another day I'll break it down every more, as I've done in the past.

Okay, so let's keep it simple. The UGA Top 20 are below. No promises on the quality of the formatting and I had to shrink the text size to make it fit. Sorry. I'm just cutting and pasting from a spreadsheet. Keep in mind that a lot of these top folks aren't here any more (Adams, Landers, Richt). But these are 2015 data.

RICHT,MARK A COACH $399,999.96
LEO,DONALD  DEAN AC $306,800.04

On another day I'll have fun and show you all the assistant professors who make more than most full professors. Yes, they're in the business school and, yes, it kinda sucks. Unless of course you happen to be in the business school.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Poll About ... Condiments?

So I'm innocently reading Twitter, minding my own public opinion scholarly business, and I see this tweet from my nearby major metro paper:
A poll? About condiments? Really?

So I go to the page to see my "response alternatives," which is pubopspeak for the choices given to me in a poll. They are:

Hot Sauce

Which seems a likely enough list. Me being me, I voted for hot sauce (Cajun wife) and discovered readers of the poll are clearly misinformed about their own favorite condiments, at least so far. See to the left the results when I voted, one of 132 people and one of 20 who got it right.

Now, what can we make of this? Nothing at all, of course. It's a silly poll, just for fun, filled out by people with an odd affection for mayonnaise. Such silly online polls are fine if they're not taken seriously, not used to drive a news story.

But mayo? Really? Sheesh.