Posts Tagged ‘Oregonian’

Michael Wells
by Michael Wells
Tue Dec 1st 2009 at 4:06pm UTC

Bragging Rights in Academia

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

School and study on a laptop

This Thursday, the University of Oregon and Oregon State will play the “Civil War” game with the highest stakes ever – the winner goes to the Rose Bowl. But for non-jocks there’s a more interesting competition, which a story in last week’s Oregonian covered: the bragging rights in academia.

For 100 years until about 10-15 years ago, this was a settled question. The U of O was the academic flagship and OSU was the backwater agriculture school. But things have changed and now it depends on who you ask. U of O is still the state’s leading humanities, arts, and science institution. But OSU brought in twice the research funding that U of O did last year.

OSU got stronger in engineering, attracting high-tech companies like HP to Corvallis. OSU built the Hatfield Marine Science Center to do research in Newport on the Oregon Coast. Oregon State became a Sea Grant University to match its Land Grant status and hit the jackpot last summer when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it’s moving its Pacific Marine Operations Center to Newport – potentially making it “Woods Hole West.”

What makes this interesting is the shift that may be taking place in academia. While the “old school” schools like U of O rested on their laurels, other public institutions like OSU went off in new directions.

Or in my hometown, Portland State University was long held down by the rural-dominated legislature which, encouraged by U of O and OSU, set enrollment caps and forbid campus housing to keep PSU a commuter school. One of the results was that, in the 1960s, faced with state rules that no public university could duplicate programs offered by another, PSU launched its first Ph.D. programs in areas like Systems Science and Urban Studies. These were the dregs the other schools didn’t want at the time, but that are now hot.

Here’s a bit from the Oregonian story. Unfortunately they didn’t put the chart that was in the print version online:

While neither university is considered among the world’s best, they’re both good schools with plenty of bragging rights, says David Longanecker, president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which works to improve college access and success in 15 states.

“In most states, the ‘university of’ school is considered the uppity institution, and the ’state university’ is considered the institution of the people,” Longanecker says. “It’s less clear in Oregon. They really seem to be head-to-head competitors.”

What sets OSU apart is its more than $250 million in research funding in 2008-09. It was No. 87 in the nation for research funding in 2006, according to the National Science Foundation. UO came in at No. 157.

Still, UO outranks OSU on the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings and has the edge on some other measures, such as fund-raising and graduation rate.

OSU is known for its marine science, agriculture, engineering and geoscience programs, among others. UO’s distinguishing programs include natural sciences, architecture, business and education.

Do others notice this happening elsewhere? Consider UC Davis, long the poor country cousin of Berkeley and UCLA but now gaining respect academically. Are the big traditional universities staying stodgy and losing out  to more nimble schools?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jul 1st 2009 at 10:30am UTC

It’s All About the Bike

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Bikes have replaced cars as the preferred mode of transportation in Amsterdam, according to a new study (reported in the Oregonian via Planetizen):

“The bicycle is the means of transport used most often in Amsterdam,” reports Bike Europe. “Between 2005 and 2007 people in the city used their bikes on average 0.87 times a day, compared to 0.84 for their cars. This is the first time that bicycle use exceeds car use.”

When I started cycling in the Boston area a decade or so, I recall there was a competition between bike, car, and train commuters on designated routes. The bike commuters cleaned up.

It’s getting better in cities from New York to Portland, but American and Canadian cities have a long way to go to catch up – in car too many, commuting by bike remains fraught with risk.

Check out this video of Amsterdam bike commuters:

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jan 9th 2009 at 9:34am UTC

End of the Car as Status Symbol

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Young Japanese men and women are ditching the car as a status symbol, sparking concern for car companies.

That from this story in the Oregonian (via Planetizen). The same can be said of many young Torontonians. I see it in my own life. I am a child of the car culture. Growing up in New Jersey, older kids used to rebuild their GTOs and Barracudas on our street. But now the car I like the most is the one vintage car I own. A couple of years ago, I traded a 10-year-old car for a newer model. Every day now I wish I had the old one back. People will still buy cars, but vintage and used will be back, and more sumptuous Minis, Prius, and their like will supplant today’s luxury cars and SUVs as the aesthetic as well as the economical choice.

Much the same is true of the rise of more compact, energy-efficient (and in some cases modern design) houses or apartments over mega-square-foot McMansions. John Seabrook wrote a fascinating book on consumption trends some years back called Nobrow, where he argued that the old notion of conspicuous consumption as status differentiator is giving way to new, more subtle forms of status differentiation. I have little doubt that the Great Reset will reshape consumption and design more and more along these lines.

Michael Wells
by Michael Wells
Tue Sep 23rd 2008 at 12:45pm UTC

All That Glitters is Not Gold

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Donald Trump has done it again, hitting new lows for sleaziness. A full page ad in today’s Oregonian pushes a scam class to “learn how you can profit from the biggest real estate cash explosion in decades.” It’s tackier than the online version here, but you can get the idea.

These scam classes show up regularly wherever there are images of unlimited money – real estate and grantwriting are two common ones. They have a few things in common:

  • They promise quick, free money.
  • They’re unlikely on the face (if anyone could learn this in a few hours, we’d all be millionaires).
  • They start with a “Free Introductory Class” that pulls you into a class that you pay for, then often into monthly payments from your credit card for “advice.”
  • They target the least able to pay and the least likely to be financially sophisticated.

Every financial crisis brings out the hucksters and this one is no different.