Friday, October 24, 2014

Freedom to comply

Indiana Daily Student
October 23rd, 2014


Freedom of speech is a right we champion as an inherent right that all Americans are afforded from birth onward.
In universities across the United States, however, that right is being restricted to the point where exercising it results in punishment.
Professors across the U.S. are having their freedom of speech controlled by administrators.
According to an Indiana Daily Student article from Tuesday, professors from Chicago State University, Colorado State University and the University of Illinois are among the many academics who face opposition from their 
administration.
At Colorado State University, a faculty member had his email account suspended after he criticized recent firings.
In response to these recent events, the Bloomington Faculty Council voted to amend a resolution that asserts their academic freedom of speech at IU.
The amendment had a clause of the resolution that stated teachers or librarians should “exercise appropriate restraint” when expressing their views or opinions, which was removed.
The fact remains that academic freedom is an inherent right of academia. In 1940, the American Association of University Professors released a Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, stating “Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and research.  

How to Treat Adjuncts

Inside Higher Ed
October 24th, 2014

It is the time of year when graduate students, unemployed Ph.D.s, contingent faculty, and various rubberneckers are clogging the lanes of the internet looking for job announcements. And, in spite of improvement in certain areas of the economy, there are few to be seen.
Amid the gloom, as job hopefuls often do, I found myself imagining what I would like to do if I did find myself on the tenure track after this year. One of my increasingly prosaic fantasies is that I would be able to act as a good mentor to future contingent faculty, who will no doubt be a part of our academic labor ecosystem for some years to come. (Only about 30 percent of faculty positions are now full-time, tenure-line positions, although the composition of course varies by the type of institution.) If my years in adjunct purgatory do indeed come to an end, these are some of the basic practices I would like to put in place that would show consideration for adjuncts and lecturers.  (To understand my perspective, here is my story.) And if I spend another year atoning, then perhaps others can do the job for me. Here, then, is a brief guide for tenure-line faculty to treating your contingent colleagues with respect.

What Do I Have to Teach?

Inside Higher Ed
October 24th, 2014

Last post I argued that human beings are central to education. This seems obvious to me and is additionally well-supported by research showing that the most important thing that can happen for a student is to work with a faculty mentor who takes an interest in their development.
But the research also shows we aren’t necessarily all that good at it. The Gallup-Purdue survey of life after college shows that when asked whether or not students “had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams,” only 22% “strongly agree.”
Only 14% of students report “strong” agreement with all three of the questions used to measure faculty support.

Did a Research Project Cross Line Into Election Advocacy?

Inside Higher Ed
October 24th, 2014

State officials in Montana and administrators at Stanford University are looking into whether a project by researchers at Stanford and Dartmouth College may have inappropriately deceived voters, the Associated Press reported. Some voters in Montana received a flyer in the mail this week -- which looked to many like official election material because it contained the state seal -- that rated judicial candidates on a scale of "more liberal" to "more conservative."
The mailer was sent by researchers at Stanford and Dartmouth as part of an experiment of whether residents are more likely to vote if they have more information about candidates. The AP article quotes Montana's secretary of state, Linda McCullough, as saying she believes the researchers "actually crossed the line from research into influencing voters." A spokeswoman for Stanford, Lisa Lapin, told the news service: "We are taking this very seriously.... We sincerely apologize to those voters and we apologize to the secretary of state for the confusion."
 
 

Higher Ed Association Paydays

Inside Higher Ed
October 24th, 2014

Salaries for executives at higher education trade associations rival those of top-paid college presidents.
Compensation for the leaders of these higher ed groups – which are considered nonprofits by the IRS – has climbed in recent years.
Twenty-seven of 48 association heads earned about as much or more than the median salary for a university president, which was about $400,000 in 2012-13.
The highest-paid sitting association leader is Mark Emmert of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He earned $1.7 million from fall 2012 to fall 2013.
The second-highest-paid sitting leader, Michael Lomax, runs the United Negro College Fund. The UNCF, as it is known, supports the nation’s private historically black colleges – many of which are struggling financially – and provides scholarships for students from low-income families. Lomax earned over $1.4 million from spring 2012 to spring 2013, including $101,000 in performance-based incentives and $695,000 in retirement payouts from his previous eight years as UNCF’s leader.

'Dear White Academics ...'

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
October 24th, 2014



“Wow, you’re so articulate.”
“Are you the cleaning lady?”
“Do you have a Ph.D.?”
“James? What’s your real Asian name?”
You’ve heard (or heard of) statements like these. Students and scholars call them “microaggressions”—casual, everyday comments and questions that might not rise to the level of a verbal altercation or a physical beatdown, but are rooted in stereotyping and racially-biased assumptions nevertheless.
Some microaggressions are obvious. But it can take a well-tuned ear to perceive the subtleties and nuances in others. The people delivering coded comments might actually intend them as compliments, not realizing that they are holding on to stereotypes that are invisible to them.
Added over time, these slights and jabs—at scholars of color’s appearance, intelligence, scholarly work, and their mere presence on campus—can take an emotional and physical toll. Some underrepresented scholars have told me they’re exhausted from being battle-rammed in interactions with hiring committees, with students in the classroom, and in department meetings with fellow faculty members.


“Wow, you’re so articulate.”
“Are you the cleaning lady?”
“Do you have a Ph.D.?”
“James? What’s your real Asian name?”
You’ve heard (or heard of) statements like these. Students and scholars call them “microaggressions”—casual, everyday comments and questions that might not rise to the level of a verbal altercation or a physical beatdown, but are rooted in stereotyping and racially-biased assumptions nevertheless.
Some microaggressions are obvious. But it can take a well-tuned ear to perceive the subtleties and nuances in others. The people delivering coded comments might actually intend them as compliments, not realizing that they are holding on to stereotypes that are invisible to them.
Added over time, these slights and jabs—at scholars of color’s appearance, intelligence, scholarly work, and their mere presence on campus—can take an emotional and physical toll. Some underrepresented scholars have told me they’re exhausted from being battle-rammed in interactions with hiring committees, with students in the classroom, and in department meetings with fellow faculty members.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/775-dear-white-academics#sthash.NdS5ZYEo.dpuf

The Ethicist Who Crossed the Line

The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 24th, 2014

She was everywhere, and seemingly everyone’s friend, a compassionate do-gooder who worked long hours with underprepared students while balancing several jobs, including directing a center on ethics.
On Wednesday the world learned something else about Jeanette M. Boxill: Her own ethics were malleable.
Most of the blame fell on Julius E. Nyang’oro, a former department chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his longtime assistant, Deborah Crowder, after they were identified as the chief architects of a widespread academic scandal there.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Obama on Affirmative Action in Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed
October 23rd, 2014

In an interview in The New Yorker, President Obama expressed support for affirmative action in higher education, and questioned how precisely a Supreme Court deadline for phasing out the consideration of race should be viewed. The article looks broadly at President Obama's influence on the federal court system, and touches on affirmative action toward the end of the piece. In a landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the right of public colleges to, under certain circumstances, consider race in admissions, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested that they should no longer be needed in 25 years. Justice O'Connor, since retired from the court, wrote the decision in 2003. Asked about that deadline, Obama told the magazine that Justice O’Connor would “be the first one to acknowledge that 25 years was sort of a ballpark figure in her mind.”
Generally, Obama signaled continued support for affirmative action. “If the University of Michigan or California decides that there is a value in making sure that folks with different experiences in a classroom will enhance the educational experience of the students, and they do it in a careful way,” the universities should be allowed to consider race and ethnicity, he said.

Communication Jobs Are Up

Inside Higher Ed
October 23rd, 2014

The number of faculty job openings in communication has doubled since 2009, and rose 12 percent in 2013, according to new data from the National Communication Association.
The data and analysis from the association are much more optimistic than are reports coming out of other humanities and social sciences disciplines, many of which are seeing modest growth if any, and are struggling to get their openings back to pre-recessionary totals.
Also unlike some disciplines, the number of faculty job openings in communication outpaces the number of new Ph.D.s in the field.
Like many disciplinary associations, the NCA tracks openings in the various places it provides for departments to announce searches. Many openings in various fields are not listed with their associations, so the communication data aren't complete. But generally, the association reports mirror overall hiring trends, even if their may understate the total number of openings.

Two Decades of 'Paper Classes'

Inside Higher Ed
October 23rd, 2014

A "woeful lack of oversight" and a culture that confused academic freedom with a lack of accountability helped more than 3,100 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- many of them athletes -- enroll and pass classes they never attended and which were not taught by a single faculty member.
A report released Wednesday by Kenneth Wainstein, a former official with the U.S. Department of Justice, found that the academic fraud was systematic and far-reaching, lasting for nearly 20 years and consisting of 188 classes in the African and Afro-American studies department. About half of the 3,100 students were athletes, and investigators concluded that some university employees were aware of the fraud and actively steered athletes and other struggling students toward the classes.
At least nine employees have been fired or disciplined so far, though Carol Folt, UNC's chancellor, said the university will not name the employees. 

Not on the Job Market

Inside Higher Ed
October 22nd, 2014

It sort of snuck up on me this year; I am in a new position, I’m not really teaching, and so the creeping inevitability stayed off of my radar for a change. So while I wasn’t surprised when the first job-advice tweets and think-pieces started showing up on my screen, I was surprised by how vehemently negatively I reacted.
Exhibit A.
Maybe being freed from actually being on the market allowed me to unleash my … frustrations. Maybe it’s because I feel some survivor’s guilt for getting off of the contingent merry-go-round and am instead in a satisfying, rewarding, enjoyable alt-ac position, so I am particularly sensitive to job advice pieces that ignore adjuncts on the market.
(I even toyed with the idea of offering my own job advice to adjuncts, but really, I know not nearly enough. And, again, I think they would end up being entirely too ragey.)
Inevitably, however, because I am friends with academics and graduate students and member of a number of academic listservs, plenty of academic jobs, both traditional and alt-ac, come into my field of view (not to mention the ones that are algorithmically selected for me here on IHE).

North Carolina Academic Fraud Went on for Years Amid Lax Oversight, Report Finds

The Setonian
October 22nd, 2014


Faculty on the South Orange campus have formed the Seton Hall University Advocacy Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).
The chapter upholds the mission of the AAUP “to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good,” found at the organization’s website.
Elected officials of the Seton Hall AAUP chapter are Vice President Mary Balkun, chair and professor of English; President Roseanne Mirabella, chair and professor of the department of political science and public affairs; and Secretary and Treasurer Michael Taylor, associate professor of political science. 

9 University of North Carolina employees fired or disciplined in academic scandal

Oregonian
October 23rd, 2014


More than 3,100 students — nearly half of them athletes — enrolled in classes they didn't have to show up for and received artificially inflated grades in what an investigator called a "shadow curriculum" that lasted nearly two decades at the University of North Carolina.
The report released Wednesday by former high-ranking U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein found more far-reaching academic fraud than previous investigations by the school and the NCAA.
Many at the university hoped Wainstein's investigation would bring some closure to the long-running scandal, which is rooted in an NCAA investigation focused on improper benefits within the football program in 2010. Instead, findings of a systemic problem in the former African and Afro-American Studies department could lead to NCAA sanctions. At least nine university employees were fired or have had disciplinary procedures started against them in light of the report, chancellor Carol Folt said. She wouldn't identify them.

Impacts of MOOCs on Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed
October 23rd, 2014

An international group of higher education institutions—including UT Arlington, Stanford University, Hong Kong University and Davidson College—convened by learning researcher and theorist George Siemens gathered last week to explore the impacts of MOOCs on higher education (full list of participating institutions below).
The takeaway? Higher education is going digital, responding to the architecture of knowledge in a digital age, and MOOCs, while heavily criticized, have proven a much-needed catalyst for the development of progressive programs that respond to the changing world.
After sharing challenges, key innovations and general impacts, we were collectively awed by our similarities. Sure, Harvard and Stanford have larger budgets and teams, and the Texas system is, well, a system, while Davidson College enrolls a little under 2,000 students; yet, these fundamentally different institutions voiced similar challenges in their transitions to digital environments.

Postal Workers Take on Harvard President

Inside Higher Ed
October 23rd, 2014


Criticism of Harvard University is coming from an unusual quarter: postal workers.
The American Postal Workers Union is calling for President Drew Gilpin Faust to resign her seat on office supply store Staples’ board of directors if she won’t criticize the company.
The attack on Faust, who usually makes news only when she wants to, is an unlikely extension of the union’s fight with the United States Postal Service. But Faust is apparently the first sitting Harvard president to serve on a corporate board.
In particular, the union has rallied around the idea that the postal service is trying to outsource some of its jobs because of a deal it struck last year with Staples to offer mail service in the company’s stores.
Under the deal, which has since been scaled back amid union pressure, Staples employees – not unionized postal workers – would be handling the letters and packages.
The postal workers' union, which boasts over 200,000 members, argues that Faust failed to speak out against the plan. That, union President Mark Dimondstein said, means she is complicit in an effort that could cost postal workers their well-paid jobs and transfer the work to relatively low-paid, non-unionized retail workers.