Friday, May 26, 2017

A Damaging Budget Proposal

AAUP- National
May 26, 2017

The Trump administration's budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year would make drastic cuts to education, slashing federal student aid and research funding.  The proposal, released May 22, fleshes out the "skinny budget" released by the administration in March.

Read the full article with information on cuts in student aid, arts and humanities, science, and international education at the AAUP website here.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

NLRB Issues Second Decision Allowing the Unionization of Undergraduates

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Peter Schmidt
May 24, 2017

The National Labor Relations Board has cleared the way for the unionization of student employees of the University of Chicago's libraries, marking the second time this spring that it has declared undergraduate students eligible to bargain collectively.

In a ruling handed down on Tuesday, Peter Sung Ohr, director of the NLRB's regional office in Chicago, rejected the university's argument that the paid student workers in its libraries should be precluded from unionization because its relationship with them is primarily educational.  Undergraduates account for the overwhelmingly majority of the more than 220 student workers that the decision allows to on forming a collective-bargaining unit, which would be affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education's website here.

Yale Grad Students' Fast Ends: What Did It Achieve

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Vimal Patel
May 23, 2017

A month long fast by Yale University graduate students advocating for a union ended Monday with mixed success: Protesters attracted plenty of national and even international attention, but the university is no longer closer to taking a seat at the collective-bargaining table.

Graduate students at private colleges won the right to form unions in a National Labor Relations Board ruling in August.  Since then many campuses have held union elections.  Students voted overwhelmingly to unionize at some places, like Columbia University, while drives in others, like Duke University were soundly defeated.

Read the full at the Chronicle of Higher Education's website here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

"I Was a Threat Because I Wouldn't Be Quiet"

AAUP- National
May 16, 2017

An investigative report released today by the American Association of University Professors concludes that the administration of Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, summarily dismissed Erlene Grise-Owens, a long serving professor of social work, in blatant violation of academic freedom and due process.  An AAUP investigating committee visited Louisville and interviewed Professor Grise-Owens and other current and former Spalding faculty members.  Members of the Spalding administration declined to meet with the committee.

Read the full report at the AAUP website here.

Legislation on Free Speach

AAUP- National
May 11, 2017

Several state legislatures have recently passed or reintroduced legislation that addresses issues related to campus free speech.  Given the important role of colleges and universities in debate, dissent, and the free exchange of ideas, the AAUP strongly supports freedom of expression on campus and the rights of faculty and students to invite speakers of their choosing.  We oppose, however, any legislation that interferes with the institutional autonomy of colleges and universities by undermining the role of faculty, administrations, and governing board in institutional decision-making and the role of students in the formulation and application of institutional policies affecting student affairs.  The appropriate institutional regulations on campus free speech and protest, the invitation of outside speakers, and student discipline should be adopted through normal channels of institutional governance, and such regulations should be consistent with Association-approved statements on Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes, Academic Freedom and Outside Speakers, and the Joint Statement on Rights and Freedom of Students.

Read the original post on the AAUP website here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mills College Declares Financial Emergency and May Cut 30 to 35 Jobs

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Charles Huckabee
May 16, 2017

Mills College, a liberal-arts institution for women in Oakland, Calif., declared a financial emergency on Tuesday as a first step toward dealing with financial challenges, including a projected $9.1-million deficit in the coming fiscal year.

In a news release and in a statement emailed to faculty, staff, and students on Tuesday afternoon, the college described the Board of Trustees' approval of the declaration of emergency as a step that authorizes Mills to restructure all of its expenses in pursuit of financial stability.

Read the full article in The Chronicle of Higher Education's website here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bradley Foundation Bankrolls Attacks on Unions

The Center for Media and Democracy
By Mary Bottari
May 8, 2017

Documents examined by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) expose a national effort by the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation to defund and dismantle unions, the most significant force for higher wages and better working conditions in America.

The Center for Media and Democracy
Publicly, the Bradley Foundation spins this agenda as "employee rights."  Behind the scenes, newly disclosed Bradley documents detail an aggressive political agenda.

Read the full article at the Center for Media and Democracy's website here.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Statement on the UNC Center for Civil Rights

AAUP- National
By AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum
May 8, 2017

Founded in 2001 by the legendary African American civil rights attorney Julius Chambers, the UNC Center for Civil Rights brings together students and faculty, as well as policy experts and practicing attorneys, to advocate for the poor and for racial and ethnic minorities.  It focuses on legal and social issues in the area of education, housing, community development, economic justice, and voting rights.

One of the critical functions of the center is to train students by giving them hands on experience with litigation.  Clearly the work of the center, including its litigation work, is consistent with the mission of the University of North Carolina, of which it is a part.  UNC's mission statement recognizes the value of public service in that it contributes "to the solution of societal problems and enriches the quality of life in the State."  Efforts to prevent the center from engaging in litigation represents a challenge to both the principles of academic freedom and shared governance.

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.


University of Chicago Graduate Employees File to Form Union

AAUP-National
May 8, 2017

Today a strong majority of graduate employees at the Unversity of Chicago filed authorization cards with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a formal union recognition election.  Members of the Graduate Students United (GSU) personally visited the regional NLRB office to deliver the cards, signed by grad workers from six of the university divisions.  The union will be affiliated with the AAUP, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

The next step is an official election for union recognition, which will conclude by the end of June, with more than 2,000 graduate workers eligible to vote.

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.


Better Prospects for Unemployment Compensation

AAUP- National
May 5, 2017

New guidance from the United States Department of Labor heightens the potential for faculty on contingent appointments to get unemployment compensation over breaks between semesters.  The guidance, Unemployment Insurance Programs Letter No. 05-17, explains the unemployment compensation standards applied to contingent faculty members and increases the likelihood that they will be eligible for unemployment.

The AAUP, along with a coalition of other organizations provided information to the labor department regarding the changed reality of contingent faculty on university campuses.  The recent guidance, echoing themes raised with the department and articulated by the AAUP for years, explicitly acknowledged that "the employment model educational institutions follows has changed appreciably, particularly for institutions of higher education.  In higher education the use of part-time instructors, often referred to as "adjunct" or "contingent" faculty, has increased significantly."

Read the full article at the AAUP website here.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Women in Leadership Searches

Inside Higher Ed
By Rick Seltzer
May 1, 2017

A study presented Friday at the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting shines some light on the way women are hired for top higher education leadership positions in searches involving third-party executive search firms.

For the study, Harvard Ph.D. student Jeraul C. Mackey obtained access to proprietary data from a search firm that remained anonymous.  The data covered almost 500 searches over an eight-year period starting in 2009.  Mackey ultimately analyzed a subset of the data covering 250 searches for two- and four-year public and private nonprofit institutions.

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.


'Volatile' but Growing Online ED Market

Inside Higher Ed
By Carl Straumsheim
May 2, 2017

In fall 2012, the University of Phoenix soared above other distance education providers.  At the time, more than 256,000 students took at least one online course there--nearly 200,000 more than the next institution on the list.  Southern New Hampshire University, by the same metric, ranked 50th.

Three years later, Phoenix still topped the list, but the number of students taking at least one online course there had dropped by nearly 100,000.  SNHU, meanwhile, had seen roughly fivefold increase, climbing 46 spots to No. 4.

Read the full article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.


3 Deans Are Suddenly Dismissed at Florida A&M

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Alex Arriaga
May 2, 2017

Florida A&M University's deans of pharmacy, journalism, and education were dismissed on Monday, effective immediately.

Rodner Wright, the interim provost, announced that Ann Kimbrough, of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication; Michael Thompson, of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Services; and Traki L. Taylor, of the College of Education, had been removed from their posts.  Interim replacements will take their positions immediately, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education's website here.

With Final Exams Looming, Faculty Strikes at U. of Illinois at Springfield

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Adam Harris
May 2, 2017

Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Springfield began a strike on Tuesday after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract with the administration, The State Journal-Register reports.  A message posted Monday evening on the website of UIS United Faculty, the faculty union, by its executive board and negotiating team opened plainly: " Bad news. Strike is on."

Both tenured and tenure-track faculty members took to the picket lines on Tuesday, during the last week of classes and just a week before final examinations are scheduled.  "As you know, we have been bargaining for some time now on reappointment, tenure, and promotion language that recognizes existing policy, and which would have protections to ensure the fairness and integrity of the process," the union's website said.  The university has been negotiating with the faculty union for several months.

Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education's website here.

Want Happier Professors? Try Being Nice

The Chronicle of  Higher Education
By Peter Schmidt
April 28, 2017

When it comes to keeping tenured professors content in their jobs, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with big faculty-focused strategic narratives, a new study suggests.

The study, based on survey data from more than 3,600 recently tenured associate professors at doctoral universities, found that their organizational commitment hinged far more on whether they believed they worked in a caring, supportive environment than on their sense that administrators had undertaken broad efforts to support the faculty.

Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education's website here.