Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why Administrators Should Love Shared Governance

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
September 2nd, 2014



Each fall ahead of its annual meeting, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources offers a workshop on “Understanding Higher Education.” Once again, I am co-facilitating the daylong session, which is designed for people new to academe.The program focuses on academic lingo, trends, and traditions, and on the one concept that tends to baffle newcomers the most: shared governance.
If past workshops are any indication, I can predict the responses we will receive when we meet in late September and ask our icebreaker question, “What has surprised you most?” Participants will say things like:
* “It takes forever to get things done.”
* “I can’t believe I have to check in with so many people.”
* “I’m used to writing a memo to announce changes, but that doesn’t seem to be an option now.”
* “I was hired to be a decision maker, why can’t I just decide?”
From there, the conversation could easily devolve into a rant about academic bureaucracy, the impossibility of pleasing multiple stakeholders, and the absurdity of letting faculty (“people with no business experience!”) have a significant say in running large, complex organizations. 


Each fall ahead of its annual meeting, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources offers a workshop on “Understanding Higher Education.” Once again, I am co-facilitating the daylong session, which is designed for people new to academe.The program focuses on academic lingo, trends, and traditions, and on the one concept that tends to baffle newcomers the most: shared governance.
If past workshops are any indication, I can predict the responses we will receive when we meet in late September and ask our icebreaker question, “What has surprised you most?” Participants will say things like:
* “It takes forever to get things done.”
* “I can’t believe I have to check in with so many people.”
* “I’m used to writing a memo to announce changes, but that doesn’t seem to be an option now.”
* “I was hired to be a decision maker, why can’t I just decide?”
From there, the conversation could easily devolve into a rant about academic bureaucracy, the impossibility of pleasing multiple stakeholders, and the absurdity of letting faculty (“people with no business experience!”) have a significant say in running large, complex organizations.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/686-why-administrators-should-love-shared-governance#sthash.ULHdml87.dpuf
Each fall ahead of its annual meeting, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources offers a workshop on “Understanding Higher Education.” Once again, I am co-facilitating the daylong session, which is designed for people new to academe.The program focuses on academic lingo, trends, and traditions, and on the one concept that tends to baffle newcomers the most: shared governance.
If past workshops are any indication, I can predict the responses we will receive when we meet in late September and ask our icebreaker question, “What has surprised you most?” Participants will say things like:
* “It takes forever to get things done.”
* “I can’t believe I have to check in with so many people.”
* “I’m used to writing a memo to announce changes, but that doesn’t seem to be an option now.”
* “I was hired to be a decision maker, why can’t I just decide?”
From there, the conversation could easily devolve into a rant about academic bureaucracy, the impossibility of pleasing multiple stakeholders, and the absurdity of letting faculty (“people with no business experience!”) have a significant say in running large, complex organizations.

Professor at Malaysian University Is Charged With Sedition

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 2nd, 2014

A law professor at the University of Malaya, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was charged on Tuesday with sedition over comments he made about a 2009 political crisis, Reuters reported. The charge against the professor, Azmi Sharom, stemmed from a recent article in which he was quoted as saying that the collapse of an opposition state government in 2009 was “legally wrong” and resulted from a “secret meeting.”
He pleaded not guilty and requested a trial. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a fine that’s equivalent to $1,600, three years in prison, or both.

Let's Ask More of Our Students—and of Ourselves

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 2nd, 2014

College graduates in general do much better economically than those who do not complete college, which is not particularly surprising given both the level of economic inequality in our society and the role of higher education in sorting, selecting, and signaling differences in prior academic ability. But when we look at how well college graduates have been prepared for a successful transition to adulthood, the results are decidedly more mixed.
For our book Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates, we followed approximately 1,000 students for two years after college graduation to document their successes and failures. We learned that while it certainly still pays to go to college, even with the high costs and debts students often assume, a large proportion of students have not been particularly well served by higher education in their transitions to adulthood.

U. of Illinois Willing to Settle With Salaita

Inside Higher Ed
September 2nd, 2014

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is willing to make a financial settlement with Steven Salaita, the controversial scholar whose hiring was blocked last month by Chancellor Phyllis Wise amid debate over Salaita's anti-Israel comments. To date, Illinois has suggested that because the hiring never received required board approval, there was no firing. But in an interview Saturday with The Chicago Tribune, the board chair, Christopher Kennedy, said that the university was open to a financial settlement, but had been delayed because Salaita -- who has not commented -- changed lawyers. "Our intention isn't to hurt him financially," Kennedy told the Tribune. "We don't like to see that. We are not trying to hurt the guy. We just don't want him at the university."

Morgan State U. Professor Gets 3 Years in Prison for Grant Fraud

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 1st, 2014

A professor at Morgan State University has been sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of defrauding the National Science Foundation of grant money, according to the Associated Press and a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore.
A judge also ordered the professor, Manoj Kumar Jha, to pay $105,726 in restitution. According to trial testimony, Mr. Jha fraudulently obtained $200,000 in grant money to finance a highway project and then used the money for personal expenses.
Mr. Jha was convicted in April of wire fraud, mail fraud, falsification of records, and theft of government property.

School District Cuts Ties With Christian College Over Hiring Protection for Gays

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 2nd, 2014

A school district in Massachusetts has cut ties with Gordon College, citing its president’s plea for an exemption to a rule preventing federal contractors from discriminating against gay and lesbian people, The Boston Globe reports.
The Lynn School Committee, which governs the city’s public-school district, is the latest institution to protest D. Michael Lindsay’s signature on a letter asking the federal government to exempt religious colleges from the executive order. The city of Salem, Mass., in July nixed a contract that allowed Gordon College to use its town hall.

Do Americans Expect Too Much From a College Degree?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 2nd, 2014

In times like these, data points get wielded like cudgels.
Student-loan debt tops $1-trillion. As many as half of recent graduates are out of work, earn trifling wages, or have jobs that don’t require college degrees. Clearly, such numbers suggest, college isn’t worthwhile.
At the same time, remedies for what ails the economy often invoke higher education as a solution. Policy makers and foundations want more people to earn postsecondary degrees because they increase wages. Politicians press colleges to align programs with the needs of industry.
Together these sentiments show how deeply intertwined higher education and the economy have grown.

University's Rescinding of Job Offer Prompts an Outcry

New York Times
August 31st, 2014

Several weeks ago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign abruptly revoked a job offer to Steven G. Salaita in the wake of controversial Twitter posts by Mr. Salaita, a former professor of English at Virginia Tech, about Israel.
Now, two scholars have signaled their protest by pulling out of speaking engagements at the campus, while a program that was set to host a national gathering there has called its conference off. Meanwhile, the American Indian studies program, which Mr. Salaita had been set to join, is scrambling to make up for his absence.
Mr. Salaita had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment was contingent upon approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. Earlier this month administrators told Mr. Salaita in a letter that they would not bring his appointment before the board after all. An affirmative vote, they said, was unlikely.
The decision, which raised questions about contractual loopholes and academic freedom, almost immediately drew pushback from the academic community. Thousands of scholars in a variety of disciplines signed petitions pledging to avoid the campus unless it reversed its decision to rescind the job offer. A number of prominent academic associations also urged the university to reconsider.

Read more here

National AAUP Adds Heft to Salaita Case vs. UIUC

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 30th, 2014

In a letter I received as an email attachment last night, Anita Levy of the AAUP agrees with many of us that Steven Salaita was shafted (not the word she used.) Levy also points out that, although Salaita’s #HireFire is widely believed to be an outcome of his Tweets on Gaza, University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise gave him no reasons for her unwillingness to bring the appointment before the board of trustees, other than her belief that there would not be a positive vote. Most importantly, the idea that Salaita could not function ethically and effectively in the classroom, or as a colleague, is an argument that has been made entirely by public insinuation (see comments on my Salaita posts, for example.) It has no basis in fact, has never been formally articulated as a charge, and has not been investigated through the university’s own procedures.
Most importantly, the fact that documents were signed, classes were scheduled and Salaita was put through all the steps that would prepare him to teach in the fall, make him an employee of the University of Illinois in the eyes of the AAUP. This means they must treat him as an employee, according to their own written regulations. They cannot simply dismiss him without any warning or explanation,

More Workers Are Claiming ‘Wage Theft’

New York Times
August 31st, 2014


Week after week, Guadalupe Rangel worked seven days straight, sometimes 11 hours a day, unloading dining room sets, trampolines, television stands and other imports from Asia that would soon be shipped to Walmart stores.
Even though he often clocked 70 hours a week at the Schneider warehouse here, he was never paid time-and-a-half overtime, he said. And now, having joined a lawsuit involving hundreds of warehouse workers, Mr. Rangel stands to receive more than $20,000 in back pay as part of a recent $21 million legal settlement with Schneider, a national trucking company.
“Sometimes I’d work 60, even 90 days in a row,” said Mr. Rangel, a soft-spoken immigrant from Mexico. “They never paid overtime.”

Performance funding policies in higher education have had little effect on student outcomes

The London School of Economics and Political Science
August 2014


Historically, oversight of higher education has been oriented toward regulating inputs and procedures, but over the last few decades policymakers have increasingly demanded that universities be held accountable for their performance, particularly with respect to undergraduate student outcomes. The average public four-year college in the United States graduates less than 60 percent of its students in six years, and graduation rates for many racial/ethnic minority groups are much lower. As student outcomes have continued to lag at public colleges and universities, there has been a significant shift in the way that many people think about the need for accountability and transparency with regard to higher education.
Performance funding, initially adopted in 1979 by Tennessee, became increasingly popular during the 1990s as a number of states began to implement a wide range of results-oriented reforms. When states felt the impact of a series of economic recessions during the mid-2000s, performance funding (which often centered on awarding bonus funding) waned in popularity, and several states dropped the performance component of their funding criteria. In the last few years, however, these policies have reemerged, largely due to the efforts of reform-oriented organizations such as Complete College America and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Still little consensus on role of massive, online courses in higher education

PBS
August 27th, 2014

Massive, open, online courses could be reshaping the typical college classroom. Tonight, PBS NewsHour Weekend Anchor Hari Sreenivasan looks at how in the third story in his Rethinking College series.
The classes, known as MOOCs, were once hailed as the next big disruption to traditional higher education, opening the door to a college education to anyone, anywhere in the world. But the low percentage of students who complete such classes on their own, and the fact that most people who sign up for MOOCs already have a college degree, have educators rethinking how the new format for college coursework can best be put to use.

AAUP Takes UIUC to Task for Apparent Summary Dismissal

AAUP
August 29th, 2014

The AAUP today wrote to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chancellor Phyllis Wise to express deep concern about actions taken against professor Steven Salaita. "Aborting an appointment in this manner without having demonstrated cause has consistently been seen by the AAUP as tantamount to summary dismissal, an action categorically inimical to academic freedom and due process and one aggravated in his case by the apparent failure to provide him with any written or even oral explanation," the letter says, adding that Salaita should receive full pay until the university's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, which has initiated an examination of the case, has concluded its proceedings. See the full letter.

Why August Is the Cruelest Month

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 29th, 2014

If T.S. Eliot had become a tenured professor, he would never have insisted April was the cruelest month. As those of us in the liberal arts know, it is August. Not only must we stir ourselves to bolt together syllabi and prepare lectures—acts that ping-pong between the drearily practical and ludicrously utopian—but we often do so not knowing if our classes will "make." Poor Eliot, who would have shown us fear in a handful of dust. Try showing us just a handful of names on an enrollment sheet—there’s real fear. Ten had long been the magic number at my university: the minimum necessary for a class to make. But as befitted a magic number, it contained a certain amount of swerve. Department chairs had swerve in deciding whether to give a green light to a class that fell shy of this minimum. Perhaps a new course required cultivation; perhaps majors required an old course for graduation. Or perhaps, just perhaps, it was a matter of education: The chair knew that the five or six students who signed up for a particular class

NIH Tells Genomic Researchers: ‘You Must Share Data'

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 29th, 2014

Scientists who use government money to conduct genomic research will now be required to quickly share the data they gather under a policy announced on Wednesday by the National Institutes of Health.
The data-sharing policy, which will take effect with grants awarded in January, will give agency-financed researchers six months to load any genomic data they collect—from human or nonhuman subjects—into a government-established database or a recognized alternative.
NIH officials described the move as the latest in a series of efforts by the federal government to improve the efficiency of taxpayer-financed research by ensuring that scientific findings are shared as widely as possible.