Trustees of the Minnesota State college and university system approved a labor contract with university professors late this afternoon.

Inter Faculty Organization President Jim Grabowska  says faculty will receive a 7 percent pay hike over two years, retroactive to last year. Adjunct faculty get similar raises.

New professors will also teach three courses their first semester instead of four, so they can adjust to their various duties. Grabowska says that’s because the workload for incoming professors can be overwhelming.

“It becomes difficult for them to do their research and teach a full load and advise students and do committee work all at the same time,” he said.

The tentative contract also gives faculty 6 weeks of paid parental leave — the first such leave they’ve received.

“Children happen when children happen, and it’s not necessarily in line with an academic year,” he said. “And nor should parents have to make a decision about when they have children according to their work schedules.”

Union members ratified the agreement by an overwhelming margin.

Minnesota lawmakers must still approve the contract.

A very good year (Tax Credits via Flickr)

The University of Minnesota endowment was the top investor among its peers this past fiscal year, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

The school posted a return of 20.4 percent on its $1.3 billion fund, which supports scholarships, some research and university initiatives.

The newswire says the U outperformed the University of California, which came in second with 18.7 percent, Penn State, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas.

Chief Investment Officer Stuart Mason says the U has been near the top before, but this is different.

“I don’t believe that we have ever — a least my 12 years’ tenure — we’ve never been identified as perhaps the highest,” he said.

Mason says the great year will help boost the thing that he’s more focused on: the U’s long-term investment performance.

“A very good year like this one obviously increases the long-term averages, but, you know, it’s fun to have a great year,” he said.

The U’s 3-year return is 12.5 percent, he said, and its 5-year return is 11.6 percent.

Bloomberg reports that many private colleges and universities won’t report their returns till later this month.

Koch foundation proposal to college: Teach our curriculum, get millions (The Center for Public Integrity)

Interactive science classes benefit black, first-generation college students, study finds All students in the interactive classes performed better than those in traditional lecture courses, but the greatest benefit was seen with black and first-generation students; the achievement gap was halved for black students and disappeared for first-generation students. (The Washington Post)

Service Loan Forgiveness: Big Benefits, Bad Incentives Consider that for many students who pursue a master’s in education, the federal government will finance the entire cost, without limit, including all living expenses during enrollment. (Washington Monthly)

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Professor’s Angry Tweets on Gaza Cost Him a Job The trustees of the University of Illinois voted to block the appointment of Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American professor who had been offered a tenured position last year, following a campaign by pro-Israel students, faculty members and donors who contended that his Twitter comments on the bombardment of Gaza this summer were anti-Semitic. (The New York Times)

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