Monday, April 20, 2015

College faculty oppose provision in new budget bill that would limit collective bargaining

Cleveland.com
April 20th, 2015

A measure inserted into the new state budget bill that critics call "anti-union" has drawn strong opposition from college faculty at Ohio's public universities.
The language included this week in the Ohio House Republicans' version of the state budget bill would reclassify full-time professors who participate in almost anything other than teaching and research as supervisors or managers, and thus exempt from collective bargaining.
Nearly identical language was part of the controversial Senate Bill 5, which weakened collective bargaining for public employee unions and was overwhelmingly overturned by Ohio voters in 2011.

Which Groups Are Favored?

Inside Higher Ed
April 20th, 2015


Last week a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stunned many with its conclusion that women are more likely than men to be hired for faculty positions in science, mathematics and technology. To many who are familiar with the widespread reports of bias against women in STEM, the findings just didn't make sense.
This weekend another study was released at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association -- and this new study also found that men (and specifically white men) do not have the advantage that many assume they do in being hired in STEM fields. Women and black and Latino researchers instead have an advantage, the study found. It also found an apparent disadvantage for Asian researchers starting their careers.
The research suggests mixed patterns for those who are not white men when it comes to winning tenure. And women with a young child (a demographic group that includes many women) appear to be at a disadvantage in hiring and tenure.

Tenure, Not Hiring, Is Chief Bottleneck to STEM Faculty Diversification

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 17th, 2015

The researchers examined the career trajectories of people with doctorates in the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — and related fields to try to determine why women and black or Hispanic people remain especially underrepresented in college faculty positions in those areas. The analysis used recent data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a long-term National Science Foundation study that collects information on doctoral recipients in the STEM fields, social sciences, psychology, and economics over the course of their lives.
The researchers looked at about 31,300 doctoral recipients surveyed from 1993 to 2010, examining both their likelihood of obtaining tenure-track positions and their likelihood of obtaining tenure. The researchers were scheduled to present their findings on Friday at the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference, in Chicago.

U. of Wisconsin Flagship Will Cut 400 Positions in Response to Budget Cuts

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20th, 2015

The University of Wisconsin at Madison will cut 400 positions, merge or close academic programs, and reduce support programs in response to anticipated state budget cuts, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The announcement, from the flagship’s chancellor, Rebecca M. Blank, is the latest development in a battle over funds between the university system and the state government.
“I want to emphasize that these changes, as difficult as they are, cannot and will not stop with this year’s budget,” Ms. Blank wrote on her blog on Friday. “We will continue a thorough review of university operations, guided by our new strategic framework, to invest in our strengths and reduce or eliminate underperforming programs.”

A College’s High Ranking Often Means Less Time With Professors

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 17th, 2015

The researchers sought to determine what, if any, relationship existed between student engagement at any given college and how highly that institution was ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, or Washington Monthly. Their study examined data on more than 80,000 freshmen and seniors at 64 colleges ranked by each of the three magazines in 2013. The student data came from that spring’s administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement, or “Nessie,” which annually asks students a raft of questions about their campus experiences and their interactions with students, faculty members, and administrative staff members.
The researchers compared colleges’ rankings and Nessie results using a formula that took into account differences in the characteristics of institutions and students. They were scheduled to present their findings on Friday, at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association.

Female Faculty in UCLA Center Faced Hostile Workplace, Inquiry Finds

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20th, 2015

Female faculty members at the University of California at Los Angeles medical school’s research center on Alzheimer’s disease worked in “a climate of conflict, tension, hostility, and mistrust” and faced “unprofessional, demeaning” treatment, reports the Los Angeles Times, citing a letter that describes the results of an external investigation. The letter, from Jonathan Hiatt, vice dean for faculty, said the inquiry had confirmed complaints filed by three women, who said their treatment was retaliation for reporting violations of research protocols. The Times could not reach Mr. Hiatt for comment. The letter did not identify the women or the men found to have discriminated against them, and did not indicate whether anyone had been disciplined as a result of the findings.

Northwest Nazarene U. Puts Layoffs on Hold After Faculty Protest

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20th, 2015

Northwest Nazarene University, a Christian institution in Idaho, has put on hold a plan to lay off six employees, including a popular professor of theology whose pending removal had prompted protests and a faculty vote of no confidence in the university’s president, the Idaho Statesman reports.
The professor, Thomas Jay Oord, and the other affected faculty and staff members had been expected to leave Northwest Nazarene at the end of the academic year, as part of budget shifts announced by the university’s president in March. But on Saturday the president, David Alexander, said in an email to university staff members that he was placing the layoffs on hold while a panel reviewed the budget decisions. The university’s Board of Trustees commissioned the review as part of its response to the controversy last week.
Faculty critics had accused the university of trying to get rid of Mr. Oord because of theological differences. In an open letter last week, Mr. Alexander apologized to Mr. Oord for the manner in which his changes had initially been handled, but he denied that the move had been driven by theological issues.

The Professor Is in: Asking About the Adjuncts’ Work

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20th, 2015



In applying for a tenure-track job, I know I need to mention how my research plans fit in with the scholarship of the department’s tenured and tenure-track professors. But should I also talk about how it complements the work done by all of the non-tenure-track instructors in the department -- i.e., those with titles like adjunct, lecturer, or clinical faculty member?
Interesting question, and one that gets to the heart of a fraught issue over the have and have-nots in academia today. It reminds me of a controversial column published last month in The Chronicle by a tenured professor complaining about the role of adjuncts in a failed tenure-track search. Be sure and read it.
In the old days, the quick-and-dirty answer to your question would be: Adjuncts don’t count; don’t mention them. And that would still be true in many departments today. The fact is, even if 70 percent of a department’s courses are being taught by adjuncts, major departmental policy and hiring decisions are still monopolized – in many (and maybe most) places -- by tenured and tenure-track professors. The tenured, of course, make a case that they are the ones with years of past history and future investment in the department, compared with adjuncts and other contingent instructors who come and go. 

To Be a Featured Speaker at a Scholarly Meeting, It Helps to Be Male

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20th, 2015


Four speakers, all distinguished scholars, all men: That was the plenary lineup at the Renaissance Society of America’s annual meeting, held last month in Berlin. The lopsided demographics set off an active conversation on Twitter about the imbalance. A group of self-described early-career scholars got together and wrote a statement of polite but firm protest, which a senior scholar read on their behalf at the society’s business meeting.
One skewed year doesn’t demonstrate a bigger problem. But the debate among Renaissance specialists is just the most recent example of a broader conversation that has been gathering momentum as scholars at conferences, on email lists, and on Twitter do their own tallies of speakers and panelists at professional gatherings. Many of those counts turn up disparities that don’t favor women.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Tenured Professor On Why Hiring Adjuncts Is Wrong

TPM
April 13th, 2015


It’s also no secret that they are getting a raw deal. Overworked and underpaid, they often struggle to get by and, when taken to an extreme, the consequences can be tragic.

Fight for 15K

Inside Higher Ed
April 16th, 2015


Low-wage workers in cities from New York City to Los Angeles participated in national day of protest Wednesday to draw attention to their fight for a living wage. Most of the workers were from home health and child care, retail, fast food, and other traditionally low-paying fields, but a significant number of protesters represented what is -- for some -- surprisingly low-wage work: non-tenure-track academic labor.
“I’ve been involved in adjuncting for 4 years teaching 10 to 12 classes a year, which is more than a full load and, quite frankly, I’m sick of it,” said Cole Bellamy, an adjunct instructor of composition at Saint Leo University who participated in a rally in support of adjuncts on the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. “I work 50 percent more than a full-timer in order to make more than a living wage, and something needs to be done about that.”

Professor Manager

Inside Higher Ed
April 17th, 2015

Full-time faculty members at Ohio public institutions are objecting to proposed legislation with big implications for their right to organize unions. Tucked deep into a 3,090-page budget bill pending before the state’s House Finance Committee is language that would reclassify professors who participate in virtually anything other than teaching and research as supervisors or managers, and therefore exempt from collective bargaining. So serving on a committee, for example, turns a professor into a manager.
The language is nearly identical to another, ultimately failed piece of state-level legislation from four years ago, but faculty members consider the new bill a serious threat -- and they’re warning legislators of the possible consequences of its success.
“What would happen if this passes, I think, is that faculty would choose simply not to do service and without that, universities would grind to a halt,” said John McNay, chair of the history department at the University of Cincinnati’s Blue Ash campus and president of the Ohio conference of the American Association of University Professors. “People ought to be aware that we volunteer to do those things.”

Free Community College, Structured Pathways: Survey of 2-Year-College Leaders

Inside Higher Ed
April 17th, 2015


For all the talk about the prospect of free community college, most two-year-college leaders are skeptical about the feasibility that the concept will come to pass in their states.
Even with the federal support that President Obama has proposed as part of the initiative, community college presidents surveyed by Inside Higher Ed remain pessimistic that their state legislatures would support the idea.
The Obama administration's free community college initiative is just one of the issues covered in Inside Higher Ed's first-ever Survey of Community College Presidents, released today in advance of the annual American Association of Community Colleges convention.

A Field Guide to American Higher-Ed Reformers

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 6th, 2015


This short and easy-to-use field guide is designed to help both academics and lay audiences quickly identify some of the important species and subspecies that now occupy the higher-education landscape in the United States. Recognizing these various species, many of which are new to this environment, has become particularly important in this period of drastic university climate change and species migration.

Adjunct Professors Demand $15,000 per Course in National Protests

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 16th, 2015

Adjunct instructors joined low-wage workers on Wednesday in a national protest to demand higher pay. The Fight for 15 campaign — in which fast-food, retail, and health-care employees demand a $15 minimum wage and adjuncts demand $15,000 per course — was organized by the Service Employees International Union, which represents many part-time instructors.