Friday, August 29, 2014

Still little consensus on role of massive, online courses in higher education

PBS
August 27th, 2014

Massive, open, online courses could be reshaping the typical college classroom. Tonight, PBS NewsHour Weekend Anchor Hari Sreenivasan looks at how in the third story in his Rethinking College series.
The classes, known as MOOCs, were once hailed as the next big disruption to traditional higher education, opening the door to a college education to anyone, anywhere in the world. But the low percentage of students who complete such classes on their own, and the fact that most people who sign up for MOOCs already have a college degree, have educators rethinking how the new format for college coursework can best be put to use.

AAUP Takes UIUC to Task for Apparent Summary Dismissal

AAUP
August 29th, 2014

The AAUP today wrote to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chancellor Phyllis Wise to express deep concern about actions taken against professor Steven Salaita. "Aborting an appointment in this manner without having demonstrated cause has consistently been seen by the AAUP as tantamount to summary dismissal, an action categorically inimical to academic freedom and due process and one aggravated in his case by the apparent failure to provide him with any written or even oral explanation," the letter says, adding that Salaita should receive full pay until the university's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, which has initiated an examination of the case, has concluded its proceedings. See the full letter.

Why August Is the Cruelest Month

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 29th, 2014

If T.S. Eliot had become a tenured professor, he would never have insisted April was the cruelest month. As those of us in the liberal arts know, it is August. Not only must we stir ourselves to bolt together syllabi and prepare lectures—acts that ping-pong between the drearily practical and ludicrously utopian—but we often do so not knowing if our classes will "make." Poor Eliot, who would have shown us fear in a handful of dust. Try showing us just a handful of names on an enrollment sheet—there’s real fear. Ten had long been the magic number at my university: the minimum necessary for a class to make. But as befitted a magic number, it contained a certain amount of swerve. Department chairs had swerve in deciding whether to give a green light to a class that fell shy of this minimum. Perhaps a new course required cultivation; perhaps majors required an old course for graduation. Or perhaps, just perhaps, it was a matter of education: The chair knew that the five or six students who signed up for a particular class

NIH Tells Genomic Researchers: ‘You Must Share Data'

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 29th, 2014

Scientists who use government money to conduct genomic research will now be required to quickly share the data they gather under a policy announced on Wednesday by the National Institutes of Health.
The data-sharing policy, which will take effect with grants awarded in January, will give agency-financed researchers six months to load any genomic data they collect—from human or nonhuman subjects—into a government-established database or a recognized alternative.
NIH officials described the move as the latest in a series of efforts by the federal government to improve the efficiency of taxpayer-financed research by ensuring that scientific findings are shared as widely as possible.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chancellor Resigns Abruptly at Montana State U. Campus

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 28th, 2014

The chancellor of Montana State University-Northern resigned Thursday morning, effective on Friday, the Havre Daily News reports. In an email to the campus, James Limbaugh, who had been chancellor since 2012, said “continuing controversy on campus and in the community” had made it difficult for the institution to move forward.
Mr. Limbaugh has dealt with a handful of controversies during his tenure. In June it was revealed that a former provost had been accused of inappropriately touching a dean. Mr. Limbaugh was accused of retaliating against the dean, who had filed a sexual-harassment complaint against the former provost. Earlier this month the university’s football coach resigned after having been placed on administrative leave.
The university’s faculty union had planned to propose a vote of no confidence in Mr. Limbaugh on Thursday afternoon, according to a Havre Daily News source.

Illinois’s Philosophy Dept. Declares No Confidence in University Leaders

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 28th, 2014

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s philosophy department has approved a resolution expressing no confidence in the university’s leadership, The News-Gazette reported.
The resolution cites concerns about the university’s decision not to hire Steven G. Salaita, a professor who had been offered a tenured position in American Indian studies. Mr. Salaita’s job offer was subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees, and the university decided not to send his appointment to the board for its approval after Mr. Salaita drew scrutiny for tweets that were sharply critical of Israel.




Professor at Israeli University Says He Was Fired Over His Political Views

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 28th, 2014

A professor at Ariel University, in Israel, has accused the institution of dismissing him over his political views, Haaretz has reported.
A disciplinary panel said the professor, Amir Hetsroni, was being dismissed for “conduct inappropriate for a member of the faculty.” He had been accused in a complaint of making disparaging comments on his Facebook page about an Internet forum for women who were victims of sexual assault. The newspaper reported in April that the complaint had been withdrawn at the university’s request.

Up-or-Down Votes on Deans? An Unusual System Feeds Tension at U. of Miami

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 28th, 2014

The University of Miami has an unusual system in which all faculty members get a vote—albeit a nonbinding one—on whether to retain their dean. That’s given Miami an even more unusual problem, now that three leading deans have been rejected.
The deans include the heads of Miami’s most financially important school, medicine, and arguably its most renowned, marine science. And despite the faculty rejections, the university’s president, Donna E. Shalala, has decided to keep both. The third dean, in engineering, agreed to step down after a follow-up review.
The reasons behind the faculty votes are different in each case, said Steven M. Green, a longtime professor of biology and former head of the university’s Faculty Senate. But the trio of rare votes generally reflects professors’ sensing "varieties of incompetence and malfeasance" in their leadership, Mr. Green said.

Syllabus Tyrannus

Slate
August 28th, 2014

When I was an undergrad in the ’90s, there was little more exciting than the first day of class. What will my professor be like? What books will I be reading? How many papers will I have to write? Answers came readily, in the form of a tidy one-page document that consisted solely of the professor’s name and office hours, a three-sentence course description, a list of books, and, finally, a very brief rundown of the assignments (papers, exams) and their relevant dates. This was a course syllabus in 1996, and it was good.
If, like me, you haven’t been a college student since the Clinton administration—but, unlike me, you also haven’t been a professor today—then you might be equal parts impressed and aghast at what is required for a course syllabus now. Ten, 15, even 20 pages of policies, rubrics, and required administrative boilerplate, some so ludicrous (“course-specific expected learning outcomes”) that I myself have never actually read parts of my own syllabi all the way through.

Job Skills Expectations Unmet

Inside Higher Ed
August 28th, 2014

College presidents want to help graduates find jobs but believe their institutions are struggling to do so, according to a recent survey by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed.
Nearly nine in 10 presidents said an emphasis on “critical thinking” skills and personal development is very important throughout college in order for graduates to get jobs. But only about 40 percent of the presidents think their own institution is very effective at proving students with those skills and that kind of development.
Eight hundred and one presidents from all kinds of American higher education institutions filled out the online survey between May 15 and June 5, though the sample is not representative of the nation’s colleges.

'Dirty Money'

Inside Higher Ed
August 28th, 2014

People get furious with Cynthia Jones. Philosophy is known as the blood sport of the humanities, and Jones, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas-Pan American, doesn’t shrink from conflict. But she’d been sparring not just with fellow philosophers in seminar rooms, but with people from all corners of her campus.
UT-Pan American, where Jones directs an ethics center, sits about 20 miles from the Mexican border. The university is not connected to the big money in Texas. To survive, the ethics center needs external funding. In seeking outside grants, however, Jones made enemies -- and ran into ethical quandaries she didn’t expect.
“Pretty much everyone I’ve taken money from over the years, somebody didn’t like,” she said. “There is no moral exemplar of goodness that I can take money from but that no one’s pissed off about … I’ve had people yell at me from all seven colleges on my campus.”

Court Sides With U. of Missouri in Fight Over Teacher-Prep Syllabi

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 27th, 2014

A state appeals court has ruled that the University of Missouri system does not have to release course syllabi, as they are the intellectual property of the faculty and therefore exempt from the state’s open-records law, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.
The decision, handed down on Tuesday, is the latest chapter in a bid by the National Council on Teacher Quality to rank teacher-preparation programs by obtaining course syllabi and other materials from institutions nationwide. The group sued a handful of university systems that would not release syllabi it had requested, including in Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Georgia Professor’s Rule on ‘Bless You’ Is Removed From Syllabus After Uproar

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 27th, 2014

The College of Coastal Georgia said on Wednesday that a chemistry professor had removed a rule from his syllabus that had warned students that they faced grade reductions for disrupting class by saying “bless you” when someone sneezes.
News of the rule went viral after drawing the ire of national conservative news media.
The college said the professor, Leon C. Gardner, had made the rule to stop class disruptions and not to advance any religious or political viewpoint.
On his class syllabus, Mr. Gardner wrote that saying “bless you” is “especially rude” and that disruptive behaviors could result in a deduction of as much as 15 percent of the final grade. Other examples of disruptive behaviors on his list included being late to class and getting up to sharpen a pencil.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Appeals Court Sides With U. of Missouri in Fight Over Teacher-Prep Syllabi

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 27th, 2014

A federal judge has ruled that the University of Missouri system does not have to turn over course syllabi, as they are the intellectual property of the faculty and therefore exempt from the state’s open-records law, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.
The decision, handed down Tuesday, is the latest chapter in a bid by the National Council on Teacher Quality to rank teacher-preparation programs by obtaining course syllabi and other materials from institutions nationwide. The group sued a handful of university systems that would not release syllabi it requested, including in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri.

'Minds on Fire'

Inside Higher Ed
August 27th, 2014

The student didn’t probably didn’t mean for her words to sting.
"[A]ll classes are sorta boring,” she said. “Yours was less boring than most.”
But sting they did – a searing capstone to what Mark C. Carnes already knew was a lost semester, both for him and for his students. They said they liked the class well enough, but their disengagement – the blank stares, the palpable ennui – said otherwise.
No one was necessarily to blame; after all, Carnes remembered, he, too, had found his own undergraduate coursework “sorta boring.” And the sentiment went way back in American higher education, he thought; Henry Adams wrote in 1918 that his Harvard professors had “taught little, and that little ill.”
But the notion of being boring ate away at Carnes in the winter break after he heard those words. Luckily, the professor of history at Barnard College didn’t stay down for long. He set about crafting a radical new way of teaching that, nearly two decades later, has a kind of cult following among professors in the U.S. and abroad.

Productivity or Sexism?

Inside Higher Ed
August 18th, 2014

In discussions about the gender gap among tenured professors at research universities, there is little dispute that there are far more men than women with tenure in most disciplines. But why? Many have speculated that men are outperforming women in research, which is particularly valued over teaching and service at research universities. With women (of those with children) shouldering a disproportionate share of child care, the theory goes, they may not be able to keep up with publishing and research to the same extent as their male counterparts.
A study presented here Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association finds that those assumptions may be untrue in some disciplines. The study compared tenure rates at research universities in computer science, English and sociology -- and then controlled for research productivity.
Not only are men more likely than women to earn tenure, but in computer science and sociology, they are significantly more likely to earn tenure than are women who have the same research productivity. In English men are slightly (but not in a statistically significant way) more likely than women to earn tenure.

Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 25th, 2014

At a teaching workshop last week, a new faculty member asked me how I felt about students using laptops in the classroom. I replied, “I ask students not to use laptops in my classroom—unless a student tells me they need or strongly prefer a laptop to take notes (for any reason), in which case we make that work.” She looked relieved to have this endorsement of a learning zone with fewer electronic distractions.

Today's Lesson: Life in the Classroom Before Cellphones

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 25th, 2014

Although I had taught for more than 20 years, I didn’t realize that I had forgotten what it was like to teach in a classroom without cellphones until I came up with a plan to relive those halcyon days. It was near the end of the semester, and I offered one point of extra credit per class period for my psychology students who turned off their cellphones before class and put them on the front desk.
I was sure that no students would part with their phones for such a meager offering. Wrong: Virtually all my students did. They even said they loved the idea, so the next semester I offered all my classes the same deal for the entire semester, and participation continued unabated. In fact, much to my surprise, after the first few days, when I walked into my classes all the cellphones were already on the table in the front of the room.

A Century of Decline and Ascent in Higher Education

Huffington Post - Education
August 27th, 2014

Colleges and universities across the United States are opening for the 2014-2015 academic year, in an era when much seems to be new in higher education. I can recall the wisdom of one of my own professors, who would say, "When you're told that something is new and unknown, reach back for something older and forgotten, and see if it's true." American writer Willa Cather provides a portrait of public university life in The Professor's House, published in 1925. How dated is 90 years ago, in the lifespan of the American university? What's new in higher education, and what's not?

Editorial: More equality measures needed

The Daily Iowan
August 27th, 2014

Aug. 26 has been designated by President Obama as Women’s Equality Day in honor of the date on which the 19th Amendment was certified. The amendment guaranteed all women the right to vote, which had historically been denied to them. Even though this landmark legislation was ratified 94 years ago, just as much emphasis should be placed on the issues that threaten sex equality today. It is important to celebrate past victories as well as ensuring there will be many more to come.
The Obama administration has made great strides in securing equal treatment for women across the board. But while the Constitution guarantees women the right to vote, it does nothing to protect them from the subtle forms of discrimination that exist today.
Women today still make less money than their male counterparts and face unfair treatment from employers for gender-specific circumstances such as pregnancie. This pay gap even exists at the University of Iowa.
According to an April report by the American Association of University Professors, women who are full professors at the UI make 85.3 percent of what men do in the same position. The UI has the largest gap among the three regent universities and Big Ten institutions for full professors.

Starting the Academic Year

Inside Higher Ed
August 27th, 2014

It's all over my social media feeds, and all over campus: school is starting up again. Adjuncts are finding their courses suddenly canceled or taken away (or, possibly worse, their salaries cut for various "reasons"). Everyone is making their syllabus, ordering books, discovering the limitations of the space they've been afforded to teach in. New jobs are starting, old jobs keep going on.
And this year, I'm participating in just about none of it.
I'm not teaching this semester, not really. No five writing-intensive courses to prep for. No pre-semester-even-starts emails from students explaining why they're missing the first week. No last-minute changes. No classes accidentally scheduled in a bathroom (true story, happened to my husband).
No, in my new alt-ac position, teaching undergraduates isn't my focus. I will eventually find my way back into the classroom, but this first semester, I'm facilitating a one-credit, totally voluntary graduate class on teaching, and working on developing my workshops. The one-credit course is a part of a Preparing Future Faculty program for graduate students, and my primary role is to coordinate guest speakers and enter grades. Well, it's a bit more than that (I'm making it more collaborative for the students!) but it's not a three-times-a-week-heavy-lifting class I've had to develop from scratch.

Don't Email Me

Inside Higher Ed
August 27th, 2014

A Salem College faculty member last semester took an uncompromising approach to curbing syllabus and inbox bloat: Why not ban most student emails?
“For years, student emails have been an assault on professors, sometimes with inappropriate informality, sometimes just simply not understanding that professors should not have to respond immediately,” Spring-Serenity Duvall, assistant professor of communications at Salem College, wrote in a blog post last week. “In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more. This is where I make my stand!”
Duvall’s frustration is shared by many in academe -- or anyone with an email account -- from faculty members beset by questions they have answered both in class and in writing to students inundated by university email blasts. This spring, when Duvall taught at the University of South Carolina at Aiken, she adopted a new email policy to cut down on emails from students telling her they would be late, or would miss class, or would have leave early, or any of the countless others that could be handled face-to-face.

Who’s Getting Tenure-Track Jobs? It’s Time to Find Out.

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
August 26th, 2014



As the academic labor market turns grimmer, and tenure-track professorships become scarcer, it’s hard not to wonder: Who’s getting hired to the desperately-coveted positions that remain?
It’s a question with serious implications, both for the academy and for the hordes of job-seeking scholars. Yet it’s been over a decade since anyone made much of an effort to come up with an answer—to find the names of the fortunate and talented few, across disciplines, and put them all in one place.
At The Chronicle, we’re well acquainted with the last serious stab at this. You might remember Lingua Franca, the late, lamented journal of ideas and academia that stopped publication in 2001. You might even recall one of the magazine’s keystone features, Jobtracks. Jobtracks wasn’t fancy—it was essentially a lengthy list of names and institutions, representing new hires and tenure-winners across the country—but it was popular and surprisingly comprehensive. Did you land a top job in linguistics around the turn of the century? If so, Lingua Franca was going to come looking for your name. 


As the academic labor market turns grimmer, and tenure-track professorships become scarcer, it’s hard not to wonder: Who’s getting hired to the desperately-coveted positions that remain?
It’s a question with serious implications, both for the academy and for the hordes of job-seeking scholars. Yet it’s been over a decade since anyone made much of an effort to come up with an answer—to find the names of the fortunate and talented few, across disciplines, and put them all in one place.
At The Chronicle, we’re well acquainted with the last serious stab at this. You might remember Lingua Franca, the late, lamented journal of ideas and academia that stopped publication in 2001. You might even recall one of the magazine’s keystone features, Jobtracks. Jobtracks wasn’t fancy—it was essentially a lengthy list of names and institutions, representing new hires and tenure-winners across the country—but it was popular and surprisingly comprehensive. Did you land a top job in linguistics around the turn of the century? If so, Lingua Franca was going to come looking for your name.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/679-who-s-getting-tenure-track-jobs-it-s-time-to-find-out#sthash.XvWSrGmj.dpuf

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The problem with the ‘problem with tenure’ for teachers

Washington Post
August 26th, 2014

Attacking tenure and job protections has become the rage in school reform circles. In recent years some states have either eliminated tenure or cut back on teacher job protections by legislative means, and the courts have become a new battleground since a California judge last month declared unconstitutional state statutes that give job protections to teachers. There are two similar lawsuits in New York state and more are expected to be filed in other states.
If you ask 10 people to explain tenure for K-12 teachers, most of them would likely say that it is a job guarantee so ironclad that tenured teachers can’t be fired.  While there are cases in which it takes way too long to remove teachers who shouldn’t be in the classroom, tenure is not, in fact, a lifetime job guarantee, as tenured teachers can and do get fired. In this post, veteran teacher David B. Cohen takes apart some of the “the problem with tenure” arguments. Cohen is   National Board Certified, and is associate director of the Accomplished California Teachers group. Cohen is taking a leave this year from teaching to work on a blog and a book about great teachers and schools around California. This appeared on InterACT, his group’s blog.

Professor’s Civil War Book Wins Critics Choice Award

Tennessee Today
August 25th, 2014

The Civil War changed a lot in America. Hundreds of thousands died. Millions of slaves were freed. And the country’s higher education system was transformed. A book by a UT history professor—which explores how the war reshaped colleges—is being honored with a prestigious book award.
Reconstructing the Campus: Higher Education and the American Civil War, by Michael David Cohen, research assistant professor of history and assistant editor of The Correspondence of James K. Polk, has won the 2014 Critics Choice Book Award of the American Educational Studies Association.
The book was deemed to make “an outstanding contribution to scholarship in the social foundations of education field.” Cohen will receive the award at the association’s annual conference in November in Toronto.

Heavy-Handed or Spot On?

Inside Higher Ed
August 26th, 2014

In headline after headline lately, the message is clear: Colleges and universities must do more to stamp out sexual assault and harassment.
But how much is too much? It’s a question some are asking right now at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where two philosophy professors have been sanctioned in recent months for alleged offenses that their supporters say do not merit the punishment they received.
One professor is facing dismissal for allegedly retaliating against a graduate student who said she was sexually assaulted by another philosophy student. The other professor has been reinstated after being barred from campus. His alleged offense wasn’t sexual in nature, but some on campus believe he was targeted for his affiliation with the department; last year, it was put on notice by the administration after an outside report detailed systemic sexual harassment in its ranks.



Can the Board of Trustees Really Revoke My Job Offer?

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
August 21st, 2014

As if there weren’t enough to consider when deciding to accept an academic job, there’s something new to add to the list: the offer’s stability.
Earlier this month the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grabbed headlines when it revoked a written job offer to Steven G. Salaita, a professor who drew accusations of incivility for his fierce Twitter commentary about Israel. You’ve probably heard about the case several times over by now, but if not, here’s a quick recap: Salaita, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, was offered a tenured professorship in American Indian studies at Illinois, subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. He gave notice to Virginia Tech and was expected to begin work at the Urbana-Champaign campus last week.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/670-can-the-board-of-trustees-really-revoke-my-job-offer#sthash.taTnWbuV.dpuf


As if there weren’t enough to consider when deciding to accept an academic job, there’s something new to add to the list: the offer’s stability.
Earlier this month the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grabbed headlines when it revoked a written job offer to Steven G. Salaita, a professor who drew accusations of incivility for his fierce Twitter commentary about Israel. You’ve probably heard about the case several times over by now, but if not, here’s a quick recap: Salaita, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, was offered a tenured professorship in American Indian studies at Illinois, subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. He gave notice to Virginia Tech and was expected to begin work at the Urbana-Champaign campus last week. 

University of the District of Columbia Part-Time Faculty Vote to Join Majority of DC Adjuncts in SEIU

Adjunct Action
August 25th, 2014

Adjunct faculty at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) have voted to join their colleagues at Georgetown, Howard, George Washington and American universities and form a union in SEIU Local 500. A vast majority voted in favor of forming a union, joining a rapidly growing national union movement to address the crisis in higher education and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty.

Seventy-five percent of adjunct faculty in Washington, DC are now united in SEIU Local 500.
Professor Juan Laster, a UDC adjunct, said. “We worked very hard for this victory, but this is only the first step. I am looking forward to working with the administration on a first contract that respects our work as educators and faculty and as a key part of the UDC community. I am also proud to be joining Howard University as the second HBCU to have a union for part-time faculty.”

How Professors in St. Louis Are Teaching the Lessons of Ferguson’s Unrest

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 26th, 2014

As college students return to classrooms in St. Louis this week, many will find that lesson plans have been hastily revised to include sensitive issues of race and policing that were ignited by the fatal shooting on August 9 of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in the suburb of Ferguson, Mo.
On Monday, as thousands of mourners gathered nearby for Michael Brown’s funeral, area college students were engaging in conversations about racial profiling, the use of force, and tensions caused by economic disparities. The links were obvious in fields like criminal justice and sociology, where professors were able to put a familiar face on their case studies. But faculty members in education, English, history, and a wide range of other disciplines also saw teaching opportunities in a tragedy that has gripped the nation and prompted calls for change. The Chronicle talked with local professors about how they planned to tackle such issues in the classroom. Following are four examples of their plans, in their own words.

Monday, August 25, 2014

University of Illinois Repeals the First Amendment for Its Faculty

Huffington Post - Education
August 23rd, 2014 

Late Friday afternoon (August 22), the University of Illinois broke its three-week long silence on the controversy regarding the Chancellor's revocation of a tenured offer to Steven Salaita, who had accepted a faculty position in the American Indian Studies Program at the flagship campus at Urbana-Champaign. Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy both issued statements explaining the revocation, but in terms far more alarming than the original decision itself. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees have now declared that the First Amendment does not apply to any tenured faculty at the University of Illinois.

A bit of background to Friday's bombshell statements. Last October, Professor Salaita, then teaching at Virginia Tech, accepted a tenured offer from the Urbana-Champaign campus. He went through the regular appointments process at the University of Illinois, and received approval by the relevant departments and deans after a review of his scholarship and teaching. The offer, which he accepted, was conditional on approval by the Board of Trustees. Such approval clauses are typical in all teaching contracts and had, previously, been pro forma at Illinois, as they are at all serious universities: it is not the job of the Board of Trustees of a research institution to second-guess the judgment of academics and scholars. Well before the Board took the matter up, even University officials were describing Salaita as a faculty member, and he moved to Illinois and was scheduled to teach two classes this fall.

Anticipating Cost Hikes

Inside Higher Ed
August 25th, 2014

Institutions say complying with the Affordable Care Act has caused them to pass on some costs to employees, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
Since the act began to take effect, some 20 percent of institutions have made changes to benefits in an effort to control associated costs, the survey says. About the same percentage of colleges are considering making changes, or making further changes, in the year ahead. Of those institutions that have made changes so far, 41 percent have increased employees’ share of premium costs. Some 27 percent have increased out-of-pocket limits, while about one-quarter increased in-network deductibles or dependent coverage costs, or both.  Some 20 percent increased employees’ share of prescription drug costs. 

The Emails on Salaita

Inside Higher Ed
August 25th, 2014

On Friday, officials of the University of Illinois offered their first public explanations of the decision to block the hiring of Steven Salaita. They denied that his criticism of Israel was the reason, and said that they were committed to promoting an atmosphere in which people and ideas are not demeaned.
"What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them. We have a particular duty to our students to ensure that they live in a community of scholarship that challenges their assumptions about the world but that also respects their rights as individuals," said an email from Phyllis M. Wise (below right), chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus where the American Indian studies program offered Salaita a tenured position that he and the department believe he accepted.

UNLV Professor Is Investigated for Career-Spanning Plagiarism

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 21st, 2014

Plagiarism appears to be an act that some in academe cannot resist duplicating.
Mustapha Marrouchi, a professor of postcolonial literature at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, is facing accusations of dozens of acts of plagiarism over the past 24 years, even after twice previously being publicly called out for lifting the words of other scholars.
The documented instances of Mr. Marrouchi’s quoting the works of others without attribution include passages in his books, essays, blog posts, and course descriptions. They begin with his 1990 dissertation as a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, extend through his four years on the faculty of Louisiana State University’s English department, and continue up through three journal articles published last year.

Scholars Sound Alarms About Being Judged on Their Civility

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 23rd, 2014

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s defense on Friday of its decision not to hire Steven G. Salaita riled some academics who have raised fears about the prospect of being subjected to tests of their civility.
Mr. Salaita was offered a tenured professorship in the university’s department of American Indian studies, but his appointment was withdrawn after he drew scrutiny over tweets that were harshly critical of Israel.
(Looking to catch up on the details of this case? Read this Chronicle article and this piece, which explains one of the dispute’s key details: Mr. Salaita’s job offer was subject to approval of the university’s Board of Trustees. This month Phyllis M. Wise, the campus’s chancellor, and Christophe Pierre, the University of Illinois system’s vice president for academic affairs, told Mr. Salaita that the university would not send his appointment to the board, saying that the board’s approval was unlikely.)

U. of Illinois Feels Backlash From Scholars Angered by Salaita Case

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 23rd, 2014


Weeks after the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign abruptly revoked a job offer to Steven G. Salaita in the wake of his controversial tweets about Israel, two scholars have signaled their protest by pulling out of speaking engagements at the campus, and a program that was set to host a national gathering there has called its conference off. Meanwhile, the American Indian studies program, which Mr. Salaita had been set to join, is scrambling to make up for his absence.
Mr. Salaita, a former professor of English at Virginia Tech, had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment was contingent upon approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. Earlier this month administrators told Mr. Salaita in a letter that they would not bring his appointment before the board after all. An affirmative vote, they said, was unlikely.

Adjunct professors fight for crumbs on campus

The Washington Post
August 22nd, 2014


We are the stoop laborers of higher education: adjunct professors.
As colleges and universities rev for the fall semester, the stony exploitation of the adjunct faculty continues, providing cheap labor for America’s campuses, from small community colleges to knowledge factories with 40,000 students. The median salary for adjuncts, according to the American Association of University Professors, is $2,700 per three-credit course. Some schools raise this slightly to $3,000 to $5,000; a tiny few go higher. Others sink to $1,000. Pay scales vary from school to school, course to course. Adjuncts teaching upper-level biophysics are likely to earn more than those teaching freshman grammar.
There is no uniformity, but similarities abound. Benefits, retirement packages, health insurance? Hardly. Job security? Silly question. An office? Good luck. A mailbox? Maybe. Free parking? Pray. Extra money for mentoring and counseling students? Dream on. Chances for advancement? Get serious. Teaching assistants? Don’t ask.
AAUP reports that part-timers now make up 50 percent of total faculty. As adjuncts proliferate, the number of tenured jobs falls. Why pay full salaries when you can get workers on the cheap?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Average Salaries of Full-Time Faculty Members, by Rank and Type of Institution, 2013-14

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 18th, 2014

Nonreligious private colleges gave professors and instructors higher pay across all ranks than did institutions in other sectors, with the largest gap at the full-professor level. Women still lagged at least somewhat behind in pay at most institutions and at most ranks; they came closest to gender equity at two-year institutions. (Find more-detailed salary data, sortable by institution, here. See average faculty salaries at four-year colleges, by discipline and rank, here.)

Fastest-Growing Colleges, 2002-12

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 20th, 2014

Only one research institution, Benedictine University, more than doubled in size over the 10-year period, but all the private nonprofit master's institutions on the top-20 list did, and so did six of the public master's institutions.

Background of Newly Appointed Provosts, 2013-14

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 18th, 2014

Almost as many women as men were appointed as provosts in the past academic year. Nearly a third of new provosts moved up in their own institutions. The most-common previous position was dean.

Behind an Ex-President, a Band of Loyalists

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 11th, 2014

Even the banished have their company.
Graham B. Spanier saw his towering reputation as Pennsylvania State University’s president left in tatters in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal, and many of his old allies have faded away. But a few people are gathering in the corner of this ousted administrator, who is fighting to clear his name in court and to rehabilitate his image in public.
More than 20 months have passed since Mr. Spanier was charged with what prosecutors call a conspiracy to cover up the crimes of Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted, in 2012, on 45 counts related to child molestation. With Mr. Spanier’s criminal trial looming, a loose affiliation of lawyers, trustees, professors, investigative bloggers, and a high-profile public-relations executive have formed a protective circle around the former president.

Faculty Against Rape

Inside Higher Ed
August 20th, 2014

Most faculty members aren’t trained counselors, but they may find themselves on the front lines of the campus sexual assault problem anyway. Based on course content, a personal connection, or a feeling that they have nowhere else to turn, students sometimes disclose their experiences with assault or harassment to trusted professors who want to help but aren’t sure how. Other faculty members who don't have students confiding in them may still want to do more to curb sexual violence on their campuses. And others have been outspoken about the issue and faced pushback from fellow faculty members or administrators.
A new national organization, Faculty Against Rape, or FAR, aims to help professors obtain resources on campus sexual assault and to build a sense of community and protection among like-minded peers (FAR’s website tagline is “Protect your academic freedom”).

College Trustees Are Urged to Be More Active in Governance

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 20th, 2014

A group of 22 individuals that includes college presidents, business leaders, academics, and others has signed on to a report calling on trustees to take a more active role in college governance.
The report, “Governance for a New Era: A Blueprint for Higher Education Trustees,” was released on Tuesday by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. It stemmed from a project led by Benno Schmidt, chairman of the City University of New York’s Board of Trustees and a former president of Yale University.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Harvard Keeps Top Spot in Global University Ranking

New york Times
August 17th, 2014

Harvard University has retained the top spot in the annual Academic Ranking of World Universities, a position it has held for the past 12 years. The rankings, compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, based on indicators such as academic quality and research performance, were released Aug. 15.
Stanford University was second, followed by, in order, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Cambridge.
The United States had 146 universities in the top 500, followed by Germany with 39, Britain with 38 and China, excluding Hong Kong, with 32.

Read more here

Macau Scholar Says He Lost His Job Over Pro-Democracy Activism

New York Times
August 19th, 2014

An academic at the University of Macau says that he believes that his contract was not renewed because of his political activism, raising concerns about academic freedom in the Chinese territory.
Bill Chou Kwok-ping, an associate professor of political science, has been a vocal proponent of increased democratization in Macau, a former Portuguese colony. In July, he was elected vice president of the New Macau Association, one of the territory’s leading pro-democracy organizations.
The university began investigating Professor Chou last year, and in June, it announced that it was suspending him for 24 days without pay over complaints that he attempted to impose his political beliefs on students, failed to provide different perspectives in class and discriminated against students.

Read more here


MLA and Other Groups Urge U. of Illinois to Rethink Decision Not to Hire Critic of Israel

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 19th, 2014



The leaders of the Modern Language Association and other scholarly groups have added their voices to the chorus of academics calling on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to reconsider its decision not to hire a professor who has drawn scrutiny for his harsh criticisms of Israel.
Steven G. Salaita had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment was subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. The university told Mr. Salaita it would not bring his appointment before the board, saying it believed the board’s approval was unlikely.


The leaders of the Modern Language Association and other scholarly groups have added their voices to the chorus of academics calling on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to reconsider its decision not to hire a professor who has drawn scrutiny for his harsh criticisms of Israel.
Steven G. Salaita had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment was subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. The university told Mr. Salaita it would not bring his appointment before the board, saying it believed the board’s approval was unlikely.
- See more at: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/mla-and-other-groups-urge-u-of-illinois-to-reconsider-handling-of-israel-critic/84257#sthash.3en1ip7o.dpuf
The leaders of the Modern Language Association and other scholarly groups have added their voices to the chorus of academics calling on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to reconsider its decision not to hire a professor who has drawn scrutiny for his harsh criticisms of Israel.
Steven G. Salaita had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment was subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. The university told Mr. Salaita it would not bring his appointment before the board, saying it believed the board’s approval was unlikely.
- See more at: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/mla-and-other-groups-urge-u-of-illinois-to-reconsider-handling-of-israel-critic/84257#sthash.3en1ip7o.dpuf
The leaders of the Modern Language Association and other scholarly groups have added their voices to the chorus of academics calling on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to reconsider its decision not to hire a professor who has drawn scrutiny for his harsh criticisms of Israel.
Steven G. Salaita had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment was subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. The university told Mr. Salaita it would not bring his appointment before the board, saying it believed the board’s approval was unlikely.
- See more at: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/mla-and-other-groups-urge-u-of-illinois-to-reconsider-handling-of-israel-critic/84257#sthash.3en1ip7o.dpuf