Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Governor Brown Denounces Indiana's 'Religious Objections' Law

Governors Office
March 31st, 2015


Salem,OR—Governor Brown released the following statement today regarding Indiana's "religious objections" law.

“Indiana's new law offends me. No individual, regardless of where they live or whom they love, should suffer discrimination. I urge state leaders in Indiana to take swift action to prohibit discrimination and reverse the damaging impact of this law. Oregonians continually demonstrate a strong belief in fairness and equal treatment under the law. As recently as 2013, Oregon voters have defeated proposals similar to Indiana's law, underscoring our shared values and rejecting discrimination. I encourage Oregonians to join me in expressing their concerns about this erosion of individual rights in Indiana and anywhere it may occur.”

Tenure Denied for Being Trans?

Inside Higher Ed
March 31st, 2015


The U.S. Justice Department on Monday sued Southeastern Oklahoma State University, charging that it denied tenure to Rachel Tudor, effectively firing her in 2011, over her identity as a transgender woman.
The suit is a strong federal endorsement of the idea that transgender status can be a cause for illegal discrimination.
Tudor was hired in 2004, at the time identifying as a man. In 2007, she started to present herself as a woman. The Justice Department lawsuit outlines a series of issues that point to discrimination against her in a tenure bid.

Oklahoma College Discriminated Against Transgender Professor, Justice Dept. Says

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 31st, 2015

The U.S. Justice Department has sued Southeastern Oklahoma State University, alleging it discriminated against a transgender professor, Reuters reports. According to the lawsuit, Rachel Tudor, an assistant professor of English, was denied tenure because of her gender, and then was fired when she complained. “The university is confident in its legal position and its adherence to all applicable employment laws,” the university said in a statement.

Sweet Briar Faculty Votes No Confidence in President and Board

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 31st, 2015

Faculty members at Sweet Briar College voted no confidence in the college’s president and Board of Directors on Monday, echoing a vote they took two weeks ago opposing the college’s closure. The News & Advance, a Lynchburg, Va., newspaper, reports that a college spokeswoman, Christy L. Jackson, said the administration was “surprised and disappointed” by the vote, which occurred on the same day the Amherst County attorney sued the college, seeking to stop it from closing.

Don’t Go It Alone

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 31st, 2015
I spent much of my writing life “going it alone,” and though I still managed to publish articles and books, I now know that my solitary approach made that life harder — and lonelier — than it needed to be. Joining an academic writing group can make all the difference in your scholarly career.
Trouble is, most advice on creating and using writing groups is geared toward fiction writers. Academic writers need something different.
Fiction writing groups tend to focus on content and critique, and members often read their writing aloud for others to evaluate. That kind of “workshopping” -- in which a bunch of people give off-the-cuff (and sometimes conflicting) feedback about what you’ve written -- is not what academics need. Thanks to the peer-review process, faculty manuscripts receive no shortage of feedback. Papers by graduate students are (or should be) critiqued by their advisers and mentors prior to submission. Meanwhile faculty members often seek guidance on their written work from trusted colleagues, mentors, and peers.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/955-don-t-go-it-alone#sthash.T8U9jM51.dpuf



I spent much of my writing life “going it alone,” and though I still managed to publish articles and books, I now know that my solitary approach made that life harder — and lonelier — than it needed to be. Joining an academic writing group can make all the difference in your scholarly career.
Trouble is, most advice on creating and using writing groups is geared toward fiction writers. Academic writers need something different.
Fiction writing groups tend to focus on content and critique, and members often read their writing aloud for others to evaluate. That kind of “workshopping” -- in which a bunch of people give off-the-cuff (and sometimes conflicting) feedback about what you’ve written -- is not what academics need. Thanks to the peer-review process, faculty manuscripts receive no shortage of feedback. Papers by graduate students are (or should be) critiqued by their advisers and mentors prior to submission. Meanwhile faculty members often seek guidance on their written work from trusted colleagues, mentors, and peers. 

Median Salaries of Higher-Education Professionals, 2014-15

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 31st, 2015

The median base salaries of professional staff members on college campuses rose by 2.2 percent in 2014 — a rate of salary growth that was a tenth of a percentage point higher than the previous year, according to the results of an annual survey released on Monday by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
The increases for academic professionals at public colleges were slightly greater than that at private institutions, at 2.3 and 2.1 percent, respectively. The figures below reflect the salaries of more than 186,000 academic professionals at 1,104 public and private colleges nationwide. A dash indicates insufficient data. View recently released survey data on the salaries of tenured and tenure-track professors at four-year colleges, and senior college administrators.

Monday, March 30, 2015

How Sweet Briar's Board Decided to Close the College

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 28th, 2015

Hilary Bowie remembers when she made the mental jump from being a college student to being a member of her college’s Board of Directors. It was at her first board meeting, in November 2012, six months after she had graduated from Sweet Briar College.
The college had announced a new strategic plan a year and a half earlier. Ms. Bowie, then a junior, had been taken in by the upbeat language in the title: "A Plan for Sustainable Excellence." Her college, already excellent, was going to get even more excellent. There was a plan — a beautifully worded one, at that.
Sitting in her first board meeting, Ms. Bowie realized that the words in the plan didn’t really mean much. It was the numbers that counted. Sweet Briar had missed its target numbers for enrollment and per-student revenue, explained Jo Ellen Parker, then the president. The college really needed to start hitting those numbers, the president told the board.

The Silencing of Harvard’s Professors

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 24th, 2015

Today Harvard faces a serious governance problem that requires institutional change. When we first came here, the university was organized on the constitutional principle: “Each tub on its own bottom.” This meant first of all that each of the component schools (arts and sciences, medical school, law school, and so on) had not only a high degree of budgetary independence but also that its faculty and dean had a large measure of autonomy. And at the level of the schools such administrators as there were worked under the direction of the dean and in close cooperation with faculty committees. Correspondingly, the central administration was very small: There were four vice presidents to oversee administration, alumni affairs and development, finance, and government relations, and a general counsel.
In 1991, when Derek Bok left office after 20 years, there was no provost. The president managed his academic duties alone, with a small ministerial staff. He chaired the ad hoc committees that considered permanent appointments, read the supporting materials, heard the witnesses, and submitted his conclusion to the governing boards. The president’s establishment was small, so of necessity much of the business of the university — academic and administrative — was conducted at the level of the individual faculties. There, individual faculty members took on many of these administrative tasks, though not always to their delight.

Gagged in Kansas? Bill Would Deny Free Speech to Public-College Employees

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 30th, 2015

Oh Dorothy, we are indeed in Kansas. Under a bill pending in the state’s Legislature, public-college and public-university employees in Kansas would be barred from using their official titles in newspaper opinion articles written in their capacity as private citizens.
The bill would prohibit public postsecondary employees in the state from “providing or using [the] employee’s official title when authoring or contributing to a newspaper opinion column.” But … don’t worry. The restriction applies “only when the opinion of the employee concerns a person who currently holds any elected public office in [the] state, a person who is a candidate for any elected public office in [the] state, or any matter pending before any legislative or public body in [the] state.”
Given various pressing issues likely to need attention in Kansas, it’s reassuring to know that the bill’s sponsors are hard at work to make sure that hapless elected officials are protected from bullying by public-college and -university employees.

Right-to-Work Threats, State by State

Labor Notes
March 25th, 2015




Right-wing legislators and pressure groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council continue their push to expand “right to work” across the country, though it appears Wisconsin will be the only state to enact it in 2015.
Such laws allow private sector workers represented by unions to dodge paying their fair share of dues. Wisconsin becomes the 25th state with such a law; the previous two were Indiana and Michigan, both in 2012.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, related bills were introduced in 20 states last year. Visit their database to track the progress of this year’s legislation. Here’s the status of some of 2015’s crop:
The Missouri House approved a right-to-work bill, and a different version is scheduled for Senate debate, but Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has said he will refuse to sign any such law.


Right-wing legislators and pressure groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council continue their push to expand “right to work” across the country, though it appears Wisconsin will be the only state to enact it in 2015.
Such laws allow private sector workers represented by unions to dodge paying their fair share of dues. Wisconsin becomes the 25th state with such a law; the previous two were Indiana and Michigan, both in 2012.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, related bills were introduced in 20 states last year. Visit their database to track the progress of this year’s legislation. Here’s the status of some of 2015’s crop:
The Missouri House approved a right-to-work bill, and a different version is scheduled for Senate debate, but Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has said he will refuse to sign any such law.
- See more at: http://www.labornotes.org/blogs/2015/03/right-work-threats-state-state#sthash.aBSq2cfF.dpuf

Rights to Scholarly Work

Inside Higher Ed
March 26th, 2015

For many years, Ohio State University -- like lots of peer institutions -- had an understanding with its faculty: the institution might claim intellectual property rights to innovations, inventions and patentable research, but scholarly works belonged to professors alone. Now a new draft intellectual property policy is threatening that agreement in the eyes of some faculty members. Ohio State says the policy is preliminary and the final document will result in no new limits on faculty property rights. But the ongoing debate and others like it elsewhere in recent years have implications for defining scholarly work in the digital age and for just how much of an academic’s work -- digital or not -- his or her institution can claim to own.
Earlier this month, an ad hoc, faculty-led committee charged with updating Ohio State’s 14-year-old intellectual property policy presented a draft to the Faculty Council. According to a copy obtained by Inside Higher Ed, “All rights, title and interests in intellectual property (I.P.) are the sole property of the university” if the faculty, staff or student creators were “acting within the scope of their employment,” using “funding, equipment or infrastructure provided by or through the university,” or carrying out the research at any university facility. (The language mimics state code on the matter.)

The End of College? Not So Fast

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 30th, 2015

In his new book, The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere, Kevin Carey lays out a dystopian future for American higher education as we know it. Colleges and universities will cease to exist, with the exception of perhaps "15 to 50" of them, and will be replaced by the "University of Everywhere," which will provide "abundant and free" educational resources that for centuries have been locked up in the monopoly enjoyed by universities. The reasons for this revolution? Carey ascribes his predictions largely to the availability of massive open online courses and the coming revolution in badging, or microcredentials.
In Carey’s educational future, students will no longer need to spend tens of thousands of dollars per year for four (or often, six) years on a bachelor’s degree. Any courses they could take at an accredited institution will be available for free on the Internet, and third-party certification organizations will crop up that will attest to the learning achieved in each of these courses. These certification badges, in Carey’s model, will verify free or at very low cost the equivalent education and training that students today receive in a bachelor’s-degree program. Voila! The end of college.

Guilt by Association

Inside Higher Ed
March 27th, 2015


Most medical researchers have a mantra about relationships with industry, financial and otherwise: disclose, disclose, disclose. It’s a position with which most professors (and journal editors) in other fields -- even those without life-and-death implications -- agree. But should colleges and universities be held to the same standard, and just how much disclosure is enough?
Those are questions faculty members at the University of California at San Francisco are raising this week, ahead of a decidedly controversial medical conference co-sponsored by the university and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative think tank that the professors view as anti-science and pro-tobacco. The university meanwhile, says that such questions are important but that the event in question is about the future of medicine, not partisan politics.

Professional Salaries Up 2.2%

Inside Higher Ed
March 30th, 2015

Professional positions in higher education administration saw an overall median base salary increase of 2.2 percent in 2014, according to a report issued today by the College and University Professional Association of Human Resources.
The increase  a year ago was 2.1 percent. Reversing a trend of recent years, increases at public colleges and universities were greater than those at private institutions (2.3 percent vs. 2.1 percent).
Of the various positions covered by this report, the best compensated positions (excluding coaches) were (on average): staff physician ($148,722), followed by staff lawyer, veterinarian, pharmacist, senior technology licensing officer. The lowest paid position was that of student residence hall manager ($31,470 plus room and board).

Faculty Critic of NYU’s Role in Abu Dhabi Is Target of Secret Investigation

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 27th, 2015

Andrew Ross, a faculty member at New York University who has been a sharp critic of the abuse of migrant workers in the construction of its campus in the United Arab Emirates, is the target of a mysterious investigation, The New York Times reports. An investigator has been seeking out “people to comment negatively” about him, the Times says, but has refused to disclose who hired her.
The investigation has also taken aim at a reporter, Ariel Kaminer, who co-wrote an article for the Times about the exploitation of workers in NYU’s project in Abu Dhabi, the emirates’ capital.