Why the Big 10?

During the potential expansion extravaganza that gripped the Big 10 as well as the rest of the country in the summer of 2010, one of the factors that cropped up regarding a school’s “fit” in the conference was academics. However, not many people really took this insight seriously, which to me is a shame. Apparently the public doesn’t realize that the Big 10 is home to some of the top research universities in the country, public or private.

For example, did you realize that five of the top ten research institutions – as measured by fiscal year expenditures on research by the National Science Foundation – are in the Big 10? Or that every single Big 10 institution is in the top 50 of that same list? How about that the 3rd, 4th and 10th biggest research campuses in the country are the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University?

Notice that none of those – nor any of the top 15 – are the Big Ten’s “token academic institution” of Northwestern. Nor is it the conferences little-known academic partner, the University of Chicago.

In fact, I’ve bet you’ve never even heard of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, or the CIC for short. It is the institutional body that mirrors the Big Ten’s athletic conference, with the addition of the aforementioned University of Chicago.

So since nobody seems to know just how important this handful of universities is to progressing the country forward in rigorous academic fields, I’m going to make it my mission to show them.

This blog will feature my insights, comments and attempts at humor in order to make the most interesting research papers understandable and even entertaining to the common person, i.e. you.