Thursday, April 23, 2015

UGA Raises

My local paper says today that UGA faculty and staff will receive a 5 percent raise.  Two percent will come from the state, 3 percent from a tuition hike.
UGA President Jere Morehead said on Wednesday that he plans to boost pay by 5 percent next fiscal year, but admitted the salary hike won’t increase faculty pay to a competitive level with comparable institutions of higher learning.
So let's all celebrate.

Except ... hold on.

The story doesn't get into this in any detail, but this is a merit raise. Here's how the math works. A unit's total salary budget will be multiplied by 5 percent to create a "raise pool" for that unit. And then, based on merit, raises will be allocated. You could end up with a 2 percent raise, maybe, or a 10 percent raise. 

Or, look at this previous fiscal year UGA document. As it notes on a 4 percent raise:
Individual salary increases must align with documented performance performance evaluations and range from zero (0%) percent to eight (8%) percent.
So far I haven't found this fiscal year's document, but I do know administrators are hard at work on my 25 percent raise (meaning my fellow department members will just have to go without, sorry).


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

State of the State Poll (Georgia)

So Georgia College has released its "State of the State" poll. I got there by this story via Peach Pundit. It's a nice summary. You can see the actual poll here.

Before we get to the findings -- which you can read on the Pundit site -- let's look at the methodology. This is a survey of 500 Georgia adults between February 9-16 using landline and cell phones. The data were weighted to reflect the accepted population parameters. In other words, it looks like a good piece of work.

Here's the deal. The poll breaks down some questions by race and ethnicity (white, black, Hispanic). But it reports a 4.4 percent margin of error.

No. No. No.

That N=500 is far too small. Figure you have, at most, a hundred or so blacks (and fewer Hispanics). The margin of error for 100 respondents is about 10 percent, rendering analysis kinda uselessness. This makes that "most trusted level of government" chart that breaks it down this way kinda hard to interpret. In most cases, it's a statistical tie. The same caution goes for examining differences between self-described liberals and conservatives.

Okay, but how about the results not broken down that way? The poll notes it's pretty much a tie. Peach Pundit, however, says:
Most respondents said they trusted the federal, county and city governments more than the state government.
But look hard at the numbers. Asked the most trusted level of government, all respondents, 25.6 percent identified the federal government while 19.9 percent said state government. Add 4.4 to that 19.9, subtract 4.4 from that 25.6, and, yup, they overlap. That means the results are within the margin of error. Easily. And the other levels are even closer. You have to be careful not to over-interpret results.
I'd love to break this survey down more, because there's some interesting stuff, but gotta go do a hospital thing. Sigh.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Best Hospitals

Someone on Twitter mentioned this site and its list of hospital rankings, so I downloaded the Excel file and, of course, wondered how Georgia hospitals did. Below, the rankings (in terms of # of stars):

5 Stars

Bacon County Hospital (Alma)
Northside Medical Center (Columbus)
Southeastern Regional Medical Center (Neunan)
Emanuel Medical Center (Swainsboro)

4 Stars

A whole lot of them, including St. Mary's Hospital (Athens), Emory, etc. Interesting that Emory only gets 4 stars. Very interesting.

3 Stars

Athens Regional Medical Center (oh great, I have a procedure there next week), and a whole crapload of other hospitals.

2 Stars

Bah, skip it.

1 Star

Scary places, I assume. Only two Georgia hospitals get a measly 1-star vote -- Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale and Emory-Adventist in Smyrna. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Enough with the __palooza

I detest cliches. Overused words. And I hate ___palooza.

A palooza, according to that source of sources, is a promotional event that "emphasizes or exaggerates the element of a situation."

Yeah, that about sums it up.

I mention this because this coming weekend is Plantapalooza. I'm told we have to go and buy some plants for the yard, apparently despite my hatred of the palooza term.

There are a lot of 'em. There's


and, well, you get the idea.

Searching for UGA and UF

The University of Georgia and University of Florida are, of course, rivals. UF, being bigger (and with large medical and engineering schools), gets a bit more attention, though UGA is much older. Both, it seems, are not searched for as much, at least according to the magic of Google Trends. See below. The blue is UGA, the red UF.

What are those cyclical blips up? Septembers. I can only assume that's a football effect, though I suppose it could also be a "back to school" effect. Impossible to tell from these data, but it's interesting how both schools blip up (or down) in the same months.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mental and Physical Health -- Georgia Data

There's a site with 2015 health data, which you can analyze by state or all the counties in the U.S. Looking at Georgia, I wondered how the counties ranked in terms of "mentally unhealthy" and "physically unhealthy" days.

And I really figured, Athens-Clarke has gotta be mentally unhealthy.

First, a couple of caveats. Not every county has data. And there are some wide margins of error here. Okay, those aside, let's have some fun.

Counties with the most "mentally unhealthy" days were Turner and Chattooga. Counties with the most "physically unhealthy" days were Warren (by far on this measure), followed by Evans and Atkinson.

Yeah yeah, but how about the Athens area? Athens-Clarke is pretty far down the list on mental health, 81st (high rank is bad as I reversed it, with a rank of #1 meaning the best, with 4.3 bad mental health days (not sure if a week, a month, or what, can't find it). Clarke is better on physical, ranked 28th.
  • Oconee -- apparently it doesn't measure mental health (insert your own joke here). In the number of physically unhealthy days, though, Oconee ranks as the second lowest. Nice.
  • Jackson -- kinda like Athens-Clarke, 81st in mental, 58th in physical.
  • Oglethorpe -- bad, with 81st on mental, 116th on physical

Checking the Mail

Four in 10 Americans look forward to checking the mail, says Gallup. I have to admit, I'm one of them despite the fact my mail is mostly bills.