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From the Editor: Welcome to the United States After January 20, 2009

By Paula Krebs

This issue of Academe coincides with the inauguration of the forty-fourth president of the United States, a historic occasion by any reckoning. And our concerns in the world of higher education in many ways echo the challenges to the nation at large. First, in this issue of Academe, we address the youth vote—the concerns of graduate students and young faculty members—in a few different ways. Mary Ann Mason, Marc Goulden, and Karie Frasch report on a survey of thousands of doctoral students from the University of California system. Our future colleagues have new priorities, the authors report: they are resisting the pressure of fast-track jobs and want more balanced lives and careers. Jennifer I. Friend and Juan Carlos González explain how new faculty members at their institution created a nurturing group of colleagues to help each other with scholarly production. And James G. Andrews examines the question of extending the pretenure probationary period.

We also address foreign affairs. A cluster of three articles touches on aspects of higher education elsewhere on the globe. Alexandra Bitusikova, who is responsible for issues related to doctoral education for the European University Association, explains the intricacies of trying to standardize doctoral degrees across the range of institutions that make up higher education in the European Union. Academe’s former managing editor, Wendi A. Maloney, fills us in on one project that represents Chinese higher education’s current openness to working with Western institutions. And Beverley Thaver, from the University of the Western Cape, describes what she has found in her study of the role of race in the culture of higher education institutions in South Africa.

Other authors in this issue take on topics that also resonate in today’s political and educational climate. Frances A. Maher and Mary Kay Tetreault discuss their work on the complex ways that privilege, especially racial and ethnic privilege, operates in higher education institutions. Mary Godwyn tackles the difficulties of merging liberal arts and business entrepreneurship, while William M. Timpson returns us to the perennial issues of how we can demonstrate what our students are actually learning—and how we can improve our teaching. Finally, Patrick Sullivan talks to ninth graders directly about how they can best prepare themselves for college.

Visit our website to see Web-only content for this issue, including more data from the survey of UC doctoral students and checklist developed by Sullivan that students can use to track their collegereadiness skills during their four years of high school. And speaking of four years—here’s hoping that the new administration will mean good things for higher education in the United States.

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