Thursday, November 10, 2016

AAUP Warns of Historic Threat to Academic Freedom Posed by Trump

The American Association of University Professors warned in a statement on Wednesday that many college faculty members fear that President-elect Donald J. Trump “may be the greatest threat to academic freedom since the McCarthy period.”

The organization’s first public statement on the election cited statements made by Mr. Trump and policies he has proposed that it said would threaten academic freedom.

“His remarks about minorities, immigrants, and women have on some campuses had a chilling effect on the rights of students and faculty members to speak out,” it said.

The AAUP also took issue with Mr. Trump’s lack of “clear and detailed policy proposals for higher education.” It urged him and Congress to listen to faculty members and educational leaders when devising  higher-education policy.

READ THE STATEMENT

Friday, November 4, 2016

Can Colleges Train Professors to Steer Clear of Microaggressions?

Tiffany C. Martínez, a sociology major at Suffolk University, made waves last week when she blogged about an experience in which she said her professor had called her out in front of her classmates and accused her of copying parts of an assignment. Ms. Martínez said she was particularly upset that her professor had circled the word "hence" and written in the margin, "This is not your language."

Though she said she understood that her professor was questioning whether the paper was plagiarized and probably didn’t intend for the comment to carry a racial tone, the words still hurt.

The incident is a clear example of a perceived microaggression, and prompts a question: How can institutions ensure instructors enjoy academic freedom while also pushing them to be mindful of students’ racial backgrounds and experiences?

READ MORE  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Universities in Pennsylvania State System Brace for Possible Faculty Strike

October 18, 2016 from the Chronicle of Higher Ed [Originally from the Pittsburgh Post]
Faculty members in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education plan to go on strike Wednesday morning if contract negotiations do not yield a new contract, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
System officials and union representatives continued their talks Monday evening in order to avert a strike. An embargo on the negotiations has kept students, staff members, and the public in the dark, but an agreement seems possible. The union signaled in a statement on Friday that it would stay at the table past Sunday if there was progress.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

With Campus Carry in Place, Some Texas Grad Students Make Bars Their Offices

Chronicle of Higher Ed Oct. 7, 2016

Texas’ campus-carry law has had well-publicized effects on the state’s public colleges: A handful of professors have resigned in protest, thousands of dollars have been spent on educational materials, and mobs of students have strapped dildos to their backpacks in protest.
But in the conversation about the effects of the law, one campus constituency has been largely overlooked: graduate students. At the University of Texas at Austin, that’s changed, as a small handful of graduate students have started holding office hours in a bar — admittedly, a softer kind of protest.

Friday, October 7, 2016

University bureaucracies grew 15 percent during the recession ...


But numbers also show some are centralizing services, which could save money

 The Hechinger Report

Post-it notes stick to the few remaining photos hanging on the walls of the University of Maine System offices, in a grand brick, renovated onetime W.T. Grant department store built in 1948.
The notes are instructions for the movers, since the pictures and everything else are in the midst of being packed up and divided among the system’s seven campuses.
Only 20 people work here now, down from a peak of 120, and the rest will soon be gone, too, following their colleagues and fanning out to the campuses. Disassembled cubicles and crates of documents are piled in the corners of the 36,000-square-foot space, and light shines from the doors of the few lonely offices still occupied. All of the agency’s three floors in the building, in a quiet part of town near a statue of Bangor native hero and Abraham Lincoln’s first-term vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, have been put up for sale.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"Our Compelling Interests' essays for diversity

Book Review from Inside Higher Ed 10/04/16

In new collection of essays, scholars make the case for diversity as essential to higher education and society generally.

This summer, advocates for diversity in American higher education won a major victory when the Supreme Court upheld the right of colleges to consider race and ethnicity in admissions. This fall, American colleges have experienced numerous racist incidents, leaving many minority students angry and feeling unwelcome.

 READ MORE

Monday, September 26, 2016

Behind the LIU Lockout

The Long Island University lockout is over. A rank-and-file librarian explains how faculty won and why it matters for public education around the country.

READ MORE

Friday, September 16, 2016

Accidental Gunshot Is Reported on Texas Campus That Now Allows Firearms

A gun was accidentally discharged on Wednesday night in a dormitory at Tarleton State University, The Texas Tribune reports. The incident occurred less than two months after a Texas law allowing permit holders to carry weapons on public-college campuses took effect.

READ MORE

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Faculty at 14 Pennsylvania Universities Vote to Authorize a Strike

Faculty members at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities could soon go on strike.
More than 80 percent of faculty members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) took part in a vote last week, and 93 percent of those who participated voted to authorize a strike. Contract negotiations predating the June 2015 expiration of the union’s pact with the state system have failed to produce any results.

READ MORE

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Your Annual Reminder to Ignore the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings

The annual college rankings by U.S. News & World Report are out today, and with their release will come a predictable round of excoriating assessments from journalists, college officials, and others. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson has called this annual chorus a “national carpfest.” Consider mine an early voice in this year’s bray-a-thon.
READ MORE

Monday, September 12, 2016

As Lockout Continues at Long Island U., Students Report Meager Classroom Instruction

When Kiyonda Hester started the final year of her master’s program in social work, on Wednesday at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, an instructor began a course by acknowledging he was unqualified to teach it.

The temporary instructor, who is an administrator, told the students that he had to be there so he wouldn’t be fired, Ms. Hester said. He took attendance and noted that the syllabus had been posted online.
When students asked why the syllabus bore a date from another year, Ms. Hester said, the administrator responded by saying he hoped things would get back to normal next week.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Downfall of ITT Technical Institutes Was a Long Time in the Making

Doors were bolted shut and parking lots emptied at ITT Technical Institutes around the country this week after the chain of for-profit colleges announced it was closing for good.
At some campuses, though, this was not the first time students and employees found themselves locked out. More than a decade ago, in 2004, federal agents, search warrants in hand, swooped into the company’s offices in eight states, closing schools briefly as they hunted for evidence of fraud related to student recruitment, enrollment, dropout rates, grade inflation, loans, and reported job placements and salaries.
_________________________________________________
For-profit colleges were a magnet for billions of dollars in federal student loans and grants to low-income students. In 2010, they gobbled up more than $32 billion, a quarter of all federal financial aid, nearly double their share less than a decade earlier, the Senate committee inquiry found. Hundreds of millions more flowed in from the Pentagon and veterans’ programs through the G.I. Bill.
READ MOREhttp://nyti.ms/2bV9oE1

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

As For-Profit ITT Announces Closure, Thousands of Students and Employees Face Uncertainty


Closure includes Breckenridge Nursing School at Cascade Station in Portland.


The more than 40,000 students and 8,000 employees of ITT Educational Services Inc. on Tuesday grappled with the fallout of the for-profit’s announcement that it would close in response to heightened scrutiny from the federal government.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Unionizing of Graduate Students

The Atlantic
By Matt Vasilogambros
August 23, 2016


Graduate students at private universities can now unionize.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 Tuesday that graduate students working as teaching or research assistants are entitled to collective-bargaining rights. The case, brought forth by Columbia University graduate students and the United Automobile Workers (which already backs the university’s clerical workers, in addition to graduate students at New York University and the University of Connecticut), is a reversal of a 12-year-old ruling by the federal board.


Monday, August 8, 2016

What's Missing in the Student Debt Debate

Inside Higher ED
By Mark Huelsman
August 8, 2016

Since student debt, free tuition and debt-free higher education have emerged as presidential campaign-level issues, a narrative has begun to emerge among elite news media that the rising price of college and ever-increasing student debt are phantom problems given the overall lifetime benefits of a college degree. Unfortunately that narrative, which has been highlighted over the past few weeks to varying degrees by major media outlets, including NPR and Vox, rests on a pretty narrow set of assumptions about college and its benefits. And, in fact, it misunderstands the entire point behind the push for debt-free public college.

For instance, a recent editorial in The Washington Post titled “Democrats’ Loose Talk on Student Loans” makes the case that we have more of a nuisance than a crisis on our hands. It argues that bold reforms to address student debt -- including the plan offered up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign -- are overkill and that we should presumably make large investments in other areas (like paying down the national debt). Unfortunately, however, like other news media these days, the Post editorial board appears to have overlooked some crucial facts, many of which have been reported by its own newspaper.

It is absolutely true that some form of postsecondary education and training has become more important, and nearly essential, in today’s workforce. Unemployment rates for college graduates are consistently low, and the average lifetime earnings boost remains high relative to a high school degree. Anyone who argues that college “isn’t worth it” is doing so with anecdotal examples or bad data.

But the reason college is so important is not because earnings for college graduates keep rising. In fact, bachelor’s degree holders earn about the same amount as they did 30 years ago. Earnings for everyone else -- including those with only some college experience -- have gone down rapidly. In effect, a degree has become more a necessary insurance policy than an investment.
This matters because students are now on the hook for financing more and more of their own education than ever before. As a result, graduates are taking on rising levels of debt while contending with stagnant incomes and the rising cost of health care and child care, all while attempting to save for retirement or for their own child’s education.

And they are some of the best-off of the bunch -- they’re able to stretch and make their minimum monthly payments. The true crisis in student loans is among those who take on student debt but do not graduate, many of whom attend high-cost for-profit institutions. Those students are more likely to default or become delinquent on student loans, potentially setting themselves up for a lifetime of economic hardship. But while some argue that what we really have is a “completion crisis,” college completion is no better or worse than it’s been in decades.