Today in academia: Finals season begins, the highest paid college presidents, Oxford's many trademarks, and Obama's scheduled chat about steep tuition. 

  • A 99 percent themed college president pay disparity survey. This is more interesting than "college president pay disparity survey" sounds, really. This year, the Chronicle of Higher Education spiced up what could've been a dry summary of 519 college presidents' salaries by adding a chart where you can see how much each of these executives made compared to the professors at the same institutions, showing that it's usually several times more. As the news outlet writes, the survey "helps identify outliers whose take-home pay appears disproportionately high." One of those outliers: Charles H. Polk at Mountain State University, who took home $1.8 million. "No other college in the survey devoted such a substantial share of its resources to a president." Polk's school didn't get high marks: "Mountain State’s six-year graduation rate of 2.5 percent for bachelor’s degree-seeking students also is extremely low when assessed by federal standards." [Chronicle of Higher EducationIncome Chart]
  • Obama, college presidents will briefly look urgent about keeping rising tuition at bay today. Speaking of college presidents, a lucky handful will be meeting with Obama in the Roosevelt Room in the White House today to chat about their institutions' astronomical tuition costs. There's word that this may mean Obama intends to make tuition costs an election issue, which is great news in theory. Except, there's not much that the president can do in reality. As The New York Times reported last week, when Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a similar plea, "the Obama administration has little power to force change" when it comes to tuition costs. [Inside Higher EdWashington Post]
  • Oxford is very serious about its trademark. What's going on in the gilded halls of one of Britain's finest universities? A lot of trademarking, apparently. One of Oxford's schools, New College, Oxford, is in a trademark race against another UK institution, New College of the Humanities, reports BBC News. But that's not really the interesting part here. The 600+ year-old college already has its name suitably protected: "Oxford University has already trademarked itself, in a form so comprehensive that it covers its use for underwear, hair lotions, bleaching preparations, fat removing agents and Christmas trees." [BBC News]
  • A 'Black Friday-meets-Walking Dead-Adderall-driven frenzy.' In other words, it's finals season as the semester ends at many colleges (and law schools). Naturally, pepper-spraying, our new national past time for when we get annoyed with people, makes an appearance during the mad rush to find a library seat at the College of William & Mary. A student-run publication, the Virginia Informer reports, "One girl in line told me she had pepper spray and was ready to use it if things got rowdy. Another student, clearly ready for the long haul, showed me the coffee maker he planned to smuggle in." Gawker had video of the scene here. [Virginia Informer via Gawker]