Karen Hitchcock

Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: The Ebola Outbreak - The Time To Act Is Now

 Just two weeks ago, the first case of Ebola in the United States had been confirmed. My Commentary at the time reflected my belief that our nation’s colleges and universities needed to exercise “an abundance of caution” in their reaction to this entry of Ebola to our country. Universities and colleges not only host large numbers of functions where large numbers of people come together in close proximity – concerts, athletic events and the like – but they are also places which welcome thousands of West African visitors – students and faculty – from the very countries at the center of the Ebola outbreak. They also participate in international study programs where their faculty and students visit – often for prolonged periods of time – these very countries. As I stated at the time, I was very concerned by the apparent lack of rigorous protocols for prevention and management at most universities and, perhaps worse, the feeling expressed by many student health professionals that the chance of an outbreak is so low in the U.S. that more aggressive responses are not, at the moment, really necessary.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: The Ebola Outbreak - The Need For An Abundance Of Caution

Yesterday, we all woke up to the news that the first case of Ebola in the United States had been confirmed in Dallas, Texas. A person recently arrived from Liberia, here to visit family, was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and is currently being treated for the disease. Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the “CDC”, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has stated that he is confident that this single case will be contained.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: Growing the Creative Economy: A Strategy Well-Worth Pursuing

Across the country -   in Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Vermont, Massachusetts, and on and on -  economic development experts are paying increased attention to the creative organizations which add so much to the vibrancy, productivity and quality of life of their regions.  New York is no exception; and, a particularly strong initiative in this regard is ongoing right here in the Capital Region, embracing such industry segments as design, media, museums and preservation, performing arts, visual arts and hand-crafted products.  

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: The Many Faces Of The Common Core Debate

Over the last several months, discussions of the Common Core State Standards have been eclipsed by the public’s reaction to major issues which have arisen in their implementation – issues such as declining student test scores, and the role of such test scores in teacher evaluations, evaluations mandated if a state was to receive its share of federal money from the “Race to the Top” funds. The Common Core, we remember, is a set of standards or goals which has been developed to describe what our students should achieve at various points in their education. Accepted by some 45 states and the District of Columbia, these standards are meant to ensure that our young people will be prepared for whatever futures our rapidly evolving society creates, that they will be college-ready and employment-ready, that they will be globally competitive.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: In Honor of Dr. James J. Gozzo

On June 30th, this coming Monday, an era will end at one of the Capital Region’s most respected institutions of higher education, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. President James Gozzo will leave the helm of this exceptional college – turning its leadership over to the new president, Dr. Gregory Dewey. I have been fortunate to have known President Gozzo for virtually all of his 16-year tenure at the college, a college which has been transformed by his presence.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:52 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: Commencement - A Time To Be Celebrated And A Time To Learn

Each year, graduates of our nation’s colleges and universities participate in an ancient ritual known as “commencement.” They don medieval garb and participate in a ceremony designed to honor their accomplishments and be celebrated by their final “teacher”, the famed “commencement speaker.”

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Commentary & Opinion
3:50 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: The Need to Communicate the Crisis Looming For Our Nation’s Research Enterprise

In a recent commentary, I raised the question of whether the United States is losing its global competitiveness in the area of scientific research. And yet, despite the fact that major reductions have been made in our research infrastructure and productivity due to cuts arising from sequestration and over a decade of federal research budgets which have not exceeded inflation, I was startled to learn that “only 38% of Americans feel science [research] is getting too little funding” (reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education article, “Strapped,” February 28, 2014). Why isn’t the message getting out? Why do so few Americans see the risk in falling behind in areas of research critical to understanding disease processes, to addressing environmental issues, to developing alternative energy, and on and on?

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Commentary & Opinion
3:46 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: Problems With Big-Time College Sports - Are Unions The Answer?

On March 26, 2014, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, Peter Sung Ohr, issued a ruling which has sent shock waves throughout the world of big-time college sports.  In short, he ruled that football players receiving full scholarships at the Big Ten school, Northwestern University, qualify as employees and are, therefore, able to unionize under federal law. Northwestern, as expected, has formally requested a review of this decision, a ruling which has engendered spirited debates around the country. On the one hand, Northwestern football players cite the requirements and restrictions applied to them as scholarship-holding  athletes, conditions which they feel render them de facto employees, while Northwestern contends that  college athletes are students, first and foremost, and therefore do not qualify as employees. 

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Commentary & Opinion
3:50 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: Scientific Research - Is The U.S. Losing its Global Competitiveness?

On a number of occasions over the last couple of years, I have shared my concerns with you regarding the decreasing level of support provided by the federal government for research at our nation’s universities. Indeed, as reported in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, entitled “Strapped”, by Paul Basken and Paul Voosen, the budget of the National Institutes of Health hasn’t exceeded inflation for more than ten years. This lack of growth in the N.I.H., and other federal granting agencies, coupled with the major cuts related to the recent “sequestration” process, endangers this nation’s  research infrastructure and the productivity of our research scientists. To quote the authors, “Budgets are tighter than ever. In [a survey administered by the Chronicle], more than half of the researchers who had led a lab for more than six years said this year was the toughest” …. 62% had reduced lab staff, 78% had reduced the recruitment of graduate students and fellows and 47% had had to drop an area of inquiry that was central to the scientist’s research programs.

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Commentary & Opinion
3:50 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Karen Hitchcock: The “New” SAT - Meaningful Improvement or “More of the Same”

Over the last several weeks, the media has been filled with news of the revised SAT to be implemented in the spring of 2016 by the College Board. Championed by the relatively new President of the College Board, David Coleman, this newly-conceived SAT has received praise as well as criticism in terms of content, design and potential impact on college admissions.

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