Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Should You Quit Your Academic Job?

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
September 30th, 2014




We’re a few weeks into the new semester. Plenty of time to get settled into a routine and shake off the preliminary excitement of a new school year.
For many Vitae readers, the job search season is already in full swing. A quick glance at the academic jobs wiki will confirm that. The competition for those coveted positions is strong and many qualified and intelligent people will come up empty-handed.
Those who fall short may consider other options, or may even decide to leave academia entirely. We’ve all read the #quitlit of the post-academics who have chosen to leave. Maybe you have considered joining their ranks. Maybe you’ve decided to make this job search season your last. Or maybe you’ve been working in academia for a while now and you fantasize about the day you walk away and try something new.
Quitting is certainly not always a good idea, but for some, it’s the best option. Whether you are an adjunct or a provost, it never hurts to occasionally re-evaluate your mindset with regard to your work. Of course, anyone considering such a big move should carefully weigh the pros and cons.

We’re a few weeks into the new semester. Plenty of time to get settled into a routine and shake off the preliminary excitement of a new school year.
For many Vitae readers, the job search season is already in full swing. A quick glance at the academic jobs wiki will confirm that. The competition for those coveted positions is strong and many qualified and intelligent people will come up empty-handed.
Those who fall short may consider other options, or may even decide to leave academia entirely. We’ve all read the #quitlit of the post-academics who have chosen to leave. Maybe you have considered joining their ranks. Maybe you’ve decided to make this job search season your last. Or maybe you’ve been working in academia for a while now and you fantasize about the day you walk away and try something new.
Quitting is certainly not always a good idea, but for some, it’s the best option. Whether you are an adjunct or a provost, it never hurts to occasionally re-evaluate your mindset with regard to your work. Of course, anyone considering such a big move should carefully weigh the pros and cons.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/727-should-you-quit-your-academic-job#sthash.Xq7A86JM.dpuf
We’re a few weeks into the new semester. Plenty of time to get settled into a routine and shake off the preliminary excitement of a new school year.
For many Vitae readers, the job search season is already in full swing. A quick glance at the academic jobs wiki will confirm that. The competition for those coveted positions is strong and many qualified and intelligent people will come up empty-handed.
Those who fall short may consider other options, or may even decide to leave academia entirely. We’ve all read the #quitlit of the post-academics who have chosen to leave. Maybe you have considered joining their ranks. Maybe you’ve decided to make this job search season your last. Or maybe you’ve been working in academia for a while now and you fantasize about the day you walk away and try something new.
Quitting is certainly not always a good idea, but for some, it’s the best option. Whether you are an adjunct or a provost, it never hurts to occasionally re-evaluate your mindset with regard to your work. Of course, anyone considering such a big move should carefully weigh the pros and cons.

Steven Salaita: U. of I. destroyed my career

Chicago Tribune
September 29th, 2014

Being recruited for a tenured faculty position at a major university is no small feat, nor should it be; tenure represents the pinnacle of an academic career. In my case, it involved numerous interviews with faculty in the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an intensive review of my scholarship, pedagogy and professional service.
I survived this rigorous review and, having accepted an employment offer from the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, resigned my tenured position at another university and prepared my family to move. A few weeks before classes were to start, and without any warning, I received a letter from the chancellor, Phyllis Wise, informing me of my termination.
How did this happen?

The Future of Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed
September 30th, 2014


With a number of leading for-profits beset by legal and financial woes, enrollment in online education leveling off, and MOOCs off the front pages, one might reasonably conclude that the threats to higher ed posed by what was hailed as “disruptive innovation” have abated.
No so.
At this point, institutions are disrupting themselves from the inside out, not waiting for the sky to fall. True disruption occurs when existing institutions begin to embrace the forces of transformation.
The innovations taking place may not seem to be as dramatic as those that loomed in 2012, but the consequences are likely be even more far-reaching, challenging established business and staffing models.
Let’s begin by looking at ten innovations that are slowly but surely being incorporated into higher ed, and then to five new educational models that are gradually emerging.

Cornell U. Names First Female President

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 30th, 2014

Cornell University has named the provost of the University of Southern California as its 13th president, according to a news release on its website. Elizabeth Garrett will be Cornell’s first female president when she takes office, on July 1, 2015.
Ms. Garrett has been Southern California’s provost since 2010. She is also a professor of law, political science, finance and business economics, and public policy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Organizing to Defend a Professor's Freedom of Speech

New York Times
September 28th, 2014


On a Friday night in early August, Prof. Corey Robin put out a call on his blog. There had been plenty of grumbling over the University of Illinois’s decision to revoke a job offer to Prof. Steven G. Salaita, who gained notoriety for incendiary tweets about Israel. But it had not been enough to persuade the university to reinstate Professor Salaita. So Professor Robin, a political theorist at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, ratcheted up the pressure.
He suggested that scholars in every field begin organizing public statements refusing to accept any invitations to speak on any campus of the University of Illinois, a serious disruption of academic business.
“Nobody’s gonna do this,” Mr. Robin remembers telling his wife. But, to his surprise, they did. Philosophers, citing CoreyRobin.com, took up the challenge. The boycotts snowballed. English professors. Political scientists. Anthropologists. All signed on, and Mr. Robin blogged each fresh step. By his last count, more than 5,000 scholars had joined boycotts.

Read more here

How One Professor, One Student and One Class Showed that One Dollar Can Change the World

Huffington Post - Education
September 29th, 2014

Speech Professor Tammy Voigt is a favorite among students at Indiana University Southeast. With a rare 5.0 score on RateMyProfessors.com, it's no wonder undergrads flock to her classes, but even this veteran instructor can still be surprised by her students now and then.
Junior level speech class, SP 324 -- Persuasion, has always opened with a warm-up speech. The goal for this assignment is for students to use the persuasive techniques that come naturally to them prior to diving into a curriculum of theory and techniques to identify where they could improve their rhetorical skills. In the past, these speeches were hypothetical in nature ("What would you do with a million dollars?"), which never seemed to be fully effective -- students were not personally invested in the process (beyond a letter grade), nor did it feel "real" to them.
So this year, Professor Voigt asked each student to bring in one dollar, which was put into an envelope, then she added a few bucks to round up to $25. This time, it was real money -- their money -- on the table. The assignment was for each student to present a persuasive discourse about why he or she deserved the cash, with the class voting and the winning speaker getting it all (and no, no one was allowed to vote for themselves).

Adjuncts, Retirements and Sexual Harassment: A Survey of Campus HR Leaders

Inside Higher Ed
September 29th, 2014


Chief human resources officers overwhelmingly believe their institutions are doing enough to prevent sexual harassment by employees – but are far less confident that higher education in general is doing enough to combat such behavior.
HR directors – especially those at public colleges and universities -- are growing increasingly concerned about faculty members working well past traditional retirement age, leaving little flexibility for their institutions to hire a new generation of professors.
And while half of HR officers say their institutions fairly compensate adjunct faculty members, fewer strongly agree that that’s the case than was true last year, and the proportion of public university HR directors who say their institutions offer appropriate job security and due process protections for part-time instructors had tumbled from a year ago.

U. of Arizona Reprimands Professor in Wake of Plagiarism Inquiry

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 29th, 2014


The University of Arizona has reprimanded a professor after an investigation into allegations that she plagiarized the work of a former student, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
The student accused Susannah Dickinson, an assistant professor in Arizona’s School of Architecture, of lifting material from his master’s thesis and presenting it as her own work. Ms. Dickinson was the faculty adviser for the student’s thesis.
A university committee reviewed three allegations of plagiarism. Andrew C. Comrie, the university’s provost, described the committee’s findings in a letter to Arizona’s president, Ann Weaver Hart. He wrote that the university had found that the professor’s conduct had risen to the level of misconduct in the form of plagiarism in one of the cases. He determined that Ms. Dickinson should be issued a “formal admonishment” acknowledging the misconduct.

Why Academics Stink at Writing

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 26th, 2014


Together with wearing earth tones, driving Priuses, and having a foreign policy, the most conspicuous trait of the American professoriate may be the prose style called academese. An editorial cartoon by Tom Toles shows a bearded academic at his desk offering the following explanation of why SAT verbal scores are at an all-time low: "Incomplete implementation of strategized programmatics designated to maximize acquisition of awareness and utilization of communications skills pursuant to standardized review and assessment of languaginal development." In a similar vein, Bill Watterson has the 6-year-old Calvin titling his homework assignment "The Dynamics of Inter­being and Monological Imperatives in Dick and Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender Modes," and exclaiming to Hobbes, his tiger companion, "Academia, here I come!"
No honest professor can deny that there’s something to the stereotype. When the late Denis Dutton (founder of the Chronicle-owned Arts & Letters Daily) ran an annual Bad Writing Contest to celebrate "the most stylistically lamentable passages found in scholarly books and articles," he had no shortage of nominations, and he awarded the prizes to some of academe’s leading lights.

It's No Joke: Humor Rarely Welcome in Research Write-Ups

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 29th, 2014

Stephen Heard once wrote a paper about how pollen spreads among the flowers of a certain endangered plant. In it he speculated that the wind might play a role by shaking loose the pollen. To support his point, he cited "Hall et al., 1957"—a reference to the songwriters of the Jerry Lee Lewis hit "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On." But a reviewer nixed Heard’s little joke. "Although I appreciated the levity of the reference," he wrote, "I think it is not appropriate for a scientific publication."
So is levity ever appropriate in a scientific publication? Mr. Heard, a professor of biology at the University of New Brunswick, thinks so, and in an essay titled "On whimsy, jokes, and beauty: can scientific writing be enjoyed?"—published in the always hilarious Ideas in Ecology and Evolution—he bemoans the buttoned-up super-seriousness of most published research, noting that amusing moments in the literature are "unusual enough that finding one is like sighting a glow-throated hummingbird or a Salt Creek tiger beetle: beautiful, but rare, tiny, and glimpsed in passing."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chicago to Close Confucius Institute

Inside Higher Ed
September 26th, 2014

The University of Chicago has suspended negotiations to renew its agreement to host a Confucius Institute after objecting to an unflattering article that appeared in the Chinese press. The decision follows a petition, signed by more than 100 faculty members this spring, calling for the closure of the institute. The petition raised concerns that in hosting the Chinese government-funded center for research and language teaching, Chicago was ceding control over faculty hiring, course content, and programming to Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, which is also known as Hanban.
The decision means that the Confucius Institute at Chicago will cease to exist when the current five-year agreement expires this Monday, Sept. 29, although its director, Dali Yang, said that the institute continues to support existing projects.

Salaita Will Give Lecture at Centenary College of Louisiana

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 26th,2014


Steven G. Salaita, the scholar at the center of an academic-freedom controversy that has rocked the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will give a public lecture on Monday at Centenary College of Louisiana, the college announced on Thursday.
Illinois had offered Mr. Salaita a tenured professorship in American Indian studies, but later withdrew it after the scholar attracted scrutiny for a stream of profanity-laced tweets that criticized Israel. Many academics have denounced the university’s treatment of Mr. Salaita, questioning the university’s justification for its actions and saying that it had violated his academic freedom. He has said that he is prepared to take legal action if the university does not reinstate him.

The Job Market Recovery that Never Came

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
September 26th, 2014



Six years ago this month, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, inaugurating a global recession that decimated nearly every sector of the economy, including higher education.
The “recovery” that began in 2009 has been illusory and often used to deny people benefits and pay under the pretext of “hard times.” Full-time teaching jobs became part-time, income inequality soared to heights unseen since the Gilded Age, and the cost of living rose while wages fell. Those now entrenched in elite positions reap the benefits, while those attempting to simply survive pay ever higher costs – or abandon their fields if they cannot pay to stay.
For academics, in certain respects, this is nothing new. Adjunct positions – contingent, poorly paid, lacking benefits or job security – have risen steadily in number since 1975, while the proportion of positions that are tenure-track has declined.
The academic job market in many fields has always been bad. The rise of contingent labor and loss of job security has been decades in the making. But the post-recession economic landscape is something else.


Six years ago this month, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, inaugurating a global recession that decimated nearly every sector of the economy, including higher education.
The “recovery” that began in 2009 has been illusory and often used to deny people benefits and pay under the pretext of “hard times.” Full-time teaching jobs became part-time, income inequality soared to heights unseen since the Gilded Age, and the cost of living rose while wages fell. Those now entrenched in elite positions reap the benefits, while those attempting to simply survive pay ever higher costs – or abandon their fields if they cannot pay to stay.
For academics, in certain respects, this is nothing new. Adjunct positions – contingent, poorly paid, lacking benefits or job security – have risen steadily in number since 1975, while the proportion of positions that are tenure-track has declined.
The academic job market in many fields has always been bad. The rise of contingent labor and loss of job security has been decades in the making. But the post-recession economic landscape is something else.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/724-the-job-market-recovery-that-never-came#sthash.ESf5PbJo.dpuf

The Man Who Ranks Philosophy Departments Now Rankles Them, Too

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 26th, 2014


Brian Leiter may be a law professor, a philosopher, and the editor of an influential report that ranks universities’ philosophy departments. But when it comes to dealing with people he regards as being out of line, a different feature comes to the fore: "I’m a New Yorker."
Over the past year, for example, the Manhattan native has told one fellow philosopher that she is "a disgrace" who works for "a shit department," has threatened to sue another he dismissed on Twitter as a "sanctimonious arse," and has suggested on one of his three blogs that still another professor should leave the profession "and perhaps find a field where nonsense is permitted."
"I don’t pull punches. I never have," said Mr. Leiter, director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, in an interview on Thursday.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

In the Role of College President, Many Politicians Shed Their Partisanship

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 25th, 2014

The controversy it has caused may be intense, but State Sen. John E. Thrasher’s appointment as president of Florida State University has a very familiar ring to it. Florida State’s Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday to name the Republican lawmaker as president despite the concerns of many faculty members and students, who said he was unqualified to lead the institution and who argued that his appointment smacked of partisan favoritism.
A similar scene played out earlier this year, when Glenn F. McConnell, South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, was named president of the College of Charleston, sparking concerns that his interest in Confederate memorabilia was antithetical to the college’s mission.
Another controversy arose last year, when Janet Napolitano was chosen to lead the University of California system, and some students protested the immigration policies she had enforced as secretary of homeland security. And at Purdue University, faculty members opposed the appointment of Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. as president, saying the research university needed a leader who understood academe.