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AAUP Chapter at Miami University Hosts Presentation by Howard Bunsis

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

In the late afternoon on Thursday, September 24, between 80 and 100 faculty and students at Miami University attended a presentation by CBC Chair Howard Bunsis on the university’s finances. The event was hosted by the relatively new but quickly growing AAUP advocacy chapter at the university.

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The presentation received fairly detailed coverage in the regional media, including an article by Amanda Seitz that appeared in the Dayton Daily News, from which the following paragraphs are taken:

“Miami University officials are saving too much money, hiring fewer tenure professors and funneling a large chunk of student fees to subsidize athletics . . .

“’The way the classes are being delivered to the students has changed drastically,’ said Bunsis, who works at Eastern Michigan University and analyzed Miami’s finances for the advocacy chapter for free. . . .

“Miami’s ratio of reserves and net income is the highest in the…

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U.S. Higher Education News for September 28, 2015

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

The Christian Science Monitor includes a commentary on how universities and colleges are trying to measure the development of their graduates critical-thinking skills. It turns out that Mitch Daniels was concerned that Purdue University could not demonstrate that its graduates had acquired significantly improved critical-thinking skills. So he convinced the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers to sponsor the development of a mechanism for measuring critical-thinking skills. Although the otherwise very detailed article describes that mechanism only as a “general rubric,” it sounds very much like a standardized test. Oh, and no surprise here, only a third of the students passed it.

Heather J. Carlson, a political columnist for the Post-Bulletin in Rochester, Minnesota, reports on a proposal to direct a significant part of the state’s $1 billion surplus toward tuition-relief and a tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota. Apparently…

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Out with the Old, In with More of the Same Old Thing

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Today, it has been announced that Arne Duncan, who has “rescued public education” by promoting the expansion of corporate-operated charter schools and corporate-provided standardized testing, is leaving his post as Secretary of Education.

That would be cause for a deep sigh of relief, if not a loud cheer—except that his replacement will be John B. King, Jr., the current Deputy Secretary of Education.

Here is a summary of King’s “accomplishments” as provided by the Washington Post:

“King  is a Brooklyn native who often credits teachers with guiding him toward a successful path after he was orphaned at age 12. A former charter school leader in Boston and New York, he joined the education department in January after a turbulent tenure as commissioner of education for the state of New York. In that role, he was a key architect of new teacher evaluations tied to test scores and played a…

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Course on 9-11 at the University of North Carolina Attacked by Young Republicans and the Pope Center

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

At the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Neel Ahuja is teaching a course on the literature related to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In response to concerns raised by both the Young Republicans group on the campus and by the Pope Center, the Faculty Council has issued a resolution unanimously affirming the academic integrity of the course and the academic freedom of Neel Ahuja.

In an article titled “Faculty Backs Professor in UNC 9/11-Lit Dispute,” published by the Herald-Sun in Chapel Hill and Durham [28 Sep. 2015], Ray Gronberg notes that the College Republicans charged that the course is being “’used to indoctrinate students against the very civilization that supports our studies financially and defends the freedoms we enjoy.’” Likewise, Jay Schalin, an analyst at the Pope Center, charged that his review of the works included in the course’s reading list has convinced him that the overall slant of the…

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U.S. Higher Education News for September 27, 2015

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

DiPaola, Jerry. “Stipend to Offset College Athletes’ Costs Could Unbalance Playing Field.Pittsburgh Tribune Review [PA] 27 Sep. 2015.

For decades, the scholarship model in college athletics remained unchanged: room and board, tuition and books, miscellaneous fees. . . .

This year, those items will be supplemented for the first time at 65 of the richest schools: those in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC “” the Power 5 conferences. At Pitt, the first cost-of-attendance checks will be issued in October to about 350 full and partial scholarship athletes.

Dan Bartholomae, Pitt’s executive associate athletic director for compliance and administration, said four $824 checks totaling $3,296 will be distributed in October, December, February and April to athletes on full scholarship. Those with partial scholarships will get less. Graduate students, who generally have more personal expenses than undergraduates, will get a total of $5,922, he…

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Updates on Two Legal Cases with Relevance to Higher Education

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

First, the Chronicle of Higher Education has provided this update on former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannion’s suit to receive some of the revenue generated from the sale of products bearing his image:

“A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday upheld the main thrust of a judge’s landmark decision last year declaring that NCAA rules violate federal antitrust law by restricting players’ ability to trade on their images. The decision also struck down part of  last year’s ruling, by Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., which would have allowed football and men’s basketball players to be paid deferred compensation of up to $5,000 per year.

“Stating that the NCAA ‘is not above the antitrust laws’ and that its rules ‘have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports…

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Neologisms That Sound Ridiculous Usually Are Ridiculous—and Telltale Indicators of the Corporatization of the Professions

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

It is, of course, one of the great linguistic ironies that education in general and higher education in particular are among the most jargon-ridden of the disciplines. Indeed, it may be that our penchant for almost endlessly creating and re-creating jargon has made us especially susceptible to the jargon invented by the “educational reformers,” the “educational innovators,” and the “educational transformers”—almost none of whom actually have any educational credentials as educators. I think that their impulse to generate a jargon of their own that mimics the jargon of the discipline may, in itself, undercut their arguments that they are bringing a fresh perspective to the resolution of education-related issues.

Writing for Dissident Voice, Walter Brash reminds us that this subversion of the profession in new quagmires of corporate jargon extends to professionals beyond academia—and is never to the benefit of those professions.

Here is Brasch’s account of the circumstance…

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Very Few Tears at Lloyd Jacobs’ Departure from the University of Toledo; The Former President Will Be Remembered for His Almost Singular Disdain for Shared Governance

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

In June 2010, Jack Stripling wrote a piece for Inside Higher Ed reporting on faculty responses to a survey about the performance of University of Toledo president Lloyd Jacobs. Here are the first few paragraphs of that piece, titled “Toledo Chief Raked over Coals”:

“In a scathing review of his controversial presidency at the University of Toledo, faculty are calling Lloyd Jacobs a tyrannical micromanager who ‘obviously thinks we are idiots.’

“The faculty’s evaluation of Jacobs is yet another black mark for a president who has drawn fire in the past three years for attempts to partner with a for-profit company, inserting himself in the tenure review process through brief interviews with all candidates and contemplating in an e-mail whether throwing a dean ‘under the bus’ would be the most convenient way to move forward with his agenda.

“With few exceptions, the Faculty Senate’s performance review, which was…

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Invitation to Norman Finkelstein to Speak at the University of Pittsburgh Withdrawn at the 11th Hour

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

An opinion piece, titled “Missed Opportunity; A Canceled Speaker Deserved to Be Heard at Pitt,” was recently published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [September 26, 2015: A, 6].

After indicating that Finkelstein had been invited to participate in the university of Pittsburgh’s inaugural National Security Symposium, the op-ed writer offers this pithy summary of the very dubious and conflicting reasons given for the withdrawal of that invitation:

Dean of students Kenyon R. Bonner released a statement that the decision was made by a student organizing committee. Others said the organizers ran short of money or that Mr. Finkelstein had not returned his contract in time. But the voice mail message in which Mr. Finkelstein was uninvited, left by visiting professor Luke Peterson on Sep. 16, said an ‘office’–a specific one was identified, but was inaudible on the message—‘refused to sign off on your contract” and “raised a number of issues…

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