Monday, March 19, 2018

Inspired by West Virginia, Teachers Spread Red for Ed Movement across Arizona

Labor Notes
By Rebecca Garelli
March 15, 2018

While Oklahoma teachers and school employees gear up for a possible statewide strike starting April 2, a teacher uprising is also brewing in Arizona.  Teacher pay in Arizona ranks last in the country by some measures.  Educators there, inspired by their counterparts in West Virginia, are rapidly organizing to change that.  Within the last 10 days, 30,000 Arizona teachers have flooded into their own Facebook group, Arizona Educators United, and begun a series of highly visible actions, sporting their "Red for Ed" T-shirts wherever they go.  Labor Notes interviewed Phoenix, Arizona, seventh-grade math and science teacher Rebecca Garelli, a leader in the group.

This all got started two Fridays ago, March 2.  I had become friends with Jay O'Neal from West Virginia, who helped start the teachers and public employees Facebook group there, and he let me into their group.  I'd been hanging out, just watched things, thinking, "Why is nobody in Arizona doing this?"  So my Chicago blood got boiling, and I said, "I'm just going to spark the fire, I'll be the catalyst."

Read the full article at the Labor Notes website here.

In Transparency Lawsuits, The University of Wisconsin Ends Up On The losing Side

WUWM Milwaukee Public Media
By Joy Powers
March 13, 2018

It's Sunshine Week, and that's not a crack about the weather.  The annual event is an effort led by news organizations, that seeks to inform people about their right to access public information.  It's a right that has had many enemies - both historically and currently - but it's also a right that has endured many tests.

As a young journalist in Madison, David Pritchard found himself testing the strength of this right.  Pritchard is now a journalism professor at UW-Milwaukee, but in the 1970s he was on the opposing side of the state's university system when he sued UW-Madison for access to public records.

Read the full article at the WUWM website here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

AAUP Calls for Sensible Gun Control Measures

March 6, 2018

The recent mass shooting of fourteen students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has refocused efforts to stem the epidemic of gun violence plaguing the nation.  This time the effort has been initiated and led by the surviving students, supported by their teachers, parents, and students across the country.  The American Association of University Professors salutes these brave and eloquent young people, many of whom will soon enter colleges and universities.  We hope they will continue their activism on our campuses.

Read the full post at the AAUP website here.

Off-Campus Bigotry

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
March 7, 2018

A professor of career counseling at Golden West College is on leave for the next two weeks after she was recorded telling an Asian-American man and his family to go back the their "home country."

The college declined to say whether the professor, Tarin F. Olson, was suspended or took voluntary leave, saying it was a "personnel matter."

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

Race and Gender Bias in Online Courses

Inside Higher Ed
By Scott Jaschik
March 8, 2018

Many proponents of online education have speculated that the digital learning environment might be a meritocracy, where students are judged not on their race or gender, but on the comments they post.

A study being released today by the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University, however, finds that bias appears to be strong in online course discussions.

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

U. of Wisconsin at Stevens Point Proposes Cutting 13 Programs, Mostly in Liberal Arts

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez
March 5, 2018

The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point wants to eliminate 13 academic programs, primarily in the liberal arts, and the cuts, if carried out, could result in the layoff of tenured faculty members, according to a university news release.

Administrators cited the campus's $4.5 million deficit and declining enrollment as reasons for the cuts, according to the release.  To increase enrollment, officials want to add 16 programs "in areas with high-demand career paths" such as computer information systems, finance, and chemical engineering, among many others.  Eight other existing programs, including environmental engineering and captive wildlife, would be expanded into majors or degrees under the plan.

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

Harvard Professor Will Retire After Chronicle Investigation Revealed Harassment Allegations

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Tom Bartlett and Nell Gluckman
March 6, 2018

A prominent Harvard professor and former vice provost accused of groping, kissing, and other inappropriate behavior by close to 20 women announced on Tuesday that he would retire on June 30.  Jorge Dominguez, a professor of government, was placed on administrative leave pending a review after a Chronicle investigation published last week.

"I am retiring from my job at Harvard at the end of this semester," Dominguez wrote in an email to colleagues.  "It has been a privilege to serve the university."  He also noted that he is not teaching this semester and has stepped down from his administrative roles.

Read the full article at The Chronicle for Higher Education website here.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Hawaii Legislators Abandon Plan for Faculty Mandate on OER

Inside Higher Ed
By Lindsay McKenzie
February 27, 2018

Hawaii legislators last month backtracked on a bill that would have forced faculty members in the University of Hawaii system to use open educational resources -- freely accessible and openly licensed teaching materials.

The legislation, proposed as a way to reduce high textbook and other costs for students, was reportedly inspired by the early success of existing OER initiatives in the university system, which are collectively saving students hundreds of thousands of dollars a semester.

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

Posttenure Review or a Plan to Undercut Tenure?

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
February 27, 2018

A joint committee of faculty members and administrators from across the University of Tennessee's four campuses spent months revising the system's posttenure review policy, which it acknowledged was outdated and needed strengthening.  The committee included the university system's Board of Trustees in its process and its recommendations were adopted this year, with the goal of making posttenure review clearer and more meaningful.

So professor's from across the system are baffled and alarmed by a new, hastily written add-on proposal from the trustees, with some saying it challenges the idea of tenure altogether.

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

HBCUs and the Trump Administration

Inside Higher Ed
By Andrew Kreighbaum
February 28, 2018

WASHINGTON -- Officials from the Trump administration have faced intense protests when visiting historically black colleges and universities, and leaders of those institutions themselves have taken heat from students and faculty for even meeting with administration officials.

But groups that represent historically black colleges have pursued a highly public, if controversial, strategy of courting influence with the White House and Republican lawmakers.

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

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Inside Higher Ed
By Colleen Flaherty
February 28, 2018

Real estate on the University of Texas at Austin campus is scarce -- so scarce that the College of Fine Arts and the University of Texas Libraries have already moved tens of thousands of books, journals, music scores, CDs and other works from Austin's Fine Arts Library off-site with little input from the faculty.  That, along with a proposal to keep culling and moving the collection, has many professors up in arms.

"The declared aim is to move libraries into the 21st century, and nobody's opposing that here," said Thomas G. Palaima, Robert M. Armstrong Centennial Professor in Classics and director for Austin's program in Aegean scripts and prehistory.  "But don't move it into the 21st century by destroying a resource that's been built up over decades and decades."

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

Ending 'Mom and Pop' Governance

Inside Higher Ed
By Rick Seltzer
March 1, 2018

The challenges colleges and universities face are well documented and often intimidating. 

Population trends will leave institutions in some parts of the country without enough traditional-age local students to fill classrooms, while stretching others' capacity.  Costs keep escalating, high sticker prices are a consistent source of angst and constantly rising discount rates leave many private colleges in the difficult position of not having enough money coming in even as they're perceived by students as being too expensive.

Read the article at the Inside Higher Ed website here.

When Journals Play Favorites

Inside Higher Ed
By Coleen Flaherty
March 2, 2018

Academic publishing is supposed to favor the strongest research -- regardless of who's producing it.  Yet we know that isn't always true.  Various studies suggest that the system leans toward significant or favorable results over null ones, research coming from elite institutions, and male authors over women, for example.

A new study examines another possible kind of bias: whether journals favor research affiliated with their publishing institutions.  The short answer is yes.

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

Michigan's State's Ex-President Now Holds a Prestigious Professorship. Some of Her Colleagues Aren't Happy About It.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Sarah Brown
February 26, 2018

When Lou Anna K. Simon stepped down under pressure last month as Michigan State University's president, she signed her resignation letter with a nod to her new faculty title: "John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor."

The Hannah professorship, named for one of Simon's predecessors, is the highest faculty honor at the university.  The posts are often awarded to star scholars as part of their recruitment to Michigan State.

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

She Left Harvard. He Got to Stay.

The Chronicle for Higher Education
By Tom Bartlett
February 27, 2018

Terry Karl lost count of how many times he tried to kiss her.  In his office, in her office, at a hotel during a conference.  She remembers the night in her car when he confided that he would be the next department chairman, and that he woud review the book she was writing.  It was unfortunate, he said, that he had to decide the fates of people he liked.  He moved his hand to touch her thigh, beneath her skirt, and leaned in for a kiss.

It was November 5, 1981.  Karl had been at Harvard University for less than a year.  She was an assistant professor of government, and Jorge Dominguez was her senior colleague.  He had tenure; she didn't.  Dominguez would soon be president of the Latin American Studies Association; she studied Latin America.  He sat on the editorial boards of prestigious journals like American Political Science Review and Social Science Quarterly.  He was already named in the field, while she was still establishing hers.  He could be helpful to her - or not.

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