Month: January 2015

The Gates Foundation Profiles American College Students


The following infographic was produced by designer Eleanor Lutz and journalist Linda Kennedy for the Gates Foundation. It has been publicized under the lead “If There Were Only 100 College Students in America,” but it basically presents percentages rounded to the closest integer.

Gates Foundation Infographic

The sources of the statistics in each category are indicated on the Gates Foundation website at:

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Postscript to My Post on the McAdams Case


John Wilson’s post containing the letter from the national AAUP to the Marquette administration somewhat clarifies several of the issues with McAdams—that is, clarifies the issues without presuming to resolve them. The university’s position has become that McAdams has repeatedly referred to students by name in his personal blog or other public communications–not simply that he has engaged in various types of unprofessional behavior. That specific behavior is, indeed, a serious breach of professional standards, especially if it has been repetitive.

But, and this is a big “but,” that behavior would warrant discipline as serious as a suspension only if the student were actually harmed and only if the university had formally documented and disciplined him in some way for the previous instances in which he did this.

I’ll address the second “if” first. The basis for the suspension cannot simply be, as the one newspaper headline cited in my…

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The Salaita Case and the Case for Faculty Unionization


In early August, I came across an op-ed on the Salaita case on the Huffington Post Politics blog, and now that just about everything else has been said about that case on this blog, I think that it may be time to consider the argument made in that op-ed. Written by Lennard Davis, a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the op-ed makes the case that the Salaita case demonstrates the continuing erosion of shared governance and that unionization of faculty is one of the few remaining mechanisms for safeguarding long-accepted faculty prerogatives. Here is an excerpt containing those points:

“These are obvious issues [with the Salaita case], but I think the less obvious but very important one is the continuing fall out from the corporatization of the American university. In the past, when search committees and departments chose a candidate, the approval of the upper tier…

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Why Inside Higher Ed Faces a Dubious Future


On January 19, David Halperin published a piece with the Huffington Post on the purchase of a controlling interest in Inside Higher Ed by the private-equity firm Quad Partners, which has invested heavily in for-profit colleges and educational consulting firms.

Here are the opening paragraphs of Halperin’s article:

“Quad Partners, a New York private equity firm that is invested heavily in the for-profit college industry, and whose founder has aggressively opposed regulation of that troubled industry, has acquired a controlling stake in the respected trade publication Inside Higher Ed (IHE), which often reports on for-profit colleges and the policy disputes surrounding them. There has been no public announcement, but the Quad Partners website now lists ( Inside Higher Ed as one of its investments, among a range of education-related companies. . . .

“Doug Lederman, one of IHE‘s two top editors, confirmed to me that Quad purchased ( a…

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Very Frustrated but Fearful


This past week, we received “over the transom” the following e-mail from a non-tenure-eligible full-time faculty member. I am reprinting it with his permission but with all identifying details removed. I think that the e-mail itself conveys the predicament of these faculty more pointedly than any paraphrase and comment that I might provide.


I am attaching a form that my supervisor sent out this last week. I work at ____________ University.  I am a lecturer in the ____________ department.

We work a yearly contract and can be terminated at the end of any academic year and our supervisors do not have to state cause.  We sign our letters of appointment in early summer. So, basically, [the university is] instituting a new assessment procedure mid-year. The assessment mirrors that of tenure track faculty rather than my job description (which concerns teaching and advising, not publishing and service to the university). An…

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More from the Florida State University Progress Coalition


New FSU President John Thrasher is taking a stance on controversy surrounding the Koch-funded faculty positions at the university that echoes the stance now being taken by those at the University of Illinois who have rescinded the offer letter to Steven Salaita and those who support that decision. Now that they have expressed their determination to stand by that decision, they think that their critics should simply accept it, shut up about it, and move on. Similarly, instead of addressing the long-unaddressed issues at FSU, Thrasher is advising his critics simply to wait several years until the Koch Foundation grant expires—adding that the Koch brothers are unlikely to extend the grant given the current controversy.

That stance seems very disingenuous on two counts: first, the grant will have accomplished its purpose by the time that it expires and, second, the Koch brothers seem very determined to ignite controversies, rather than…

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Putting the John McAdams Case in Some Context


I agree that John McAdams should not be suspended for his speech. Like his colleague Daniel McGuire, but from a much greater distance, I find little in his political views with which I agree. Moreover, although I think that the way in which he handled the situation with a graduate student, which led to his suspension, should have been handled much differently, I am very uneasy that such an action on that should be an offense that warrants the suspension, even with pay, of any faculty member, let alone one who has earned tenure.

(Please note, I am not going to provide links to all of the items that I mention in this post. If you are interested in reading any of the items, you can cut and paste the titles into the Google search box.)

The incident that led to the suspension is reported in Coleen Flaherty’s article for

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Dr. King and Public Education


Today Diane Ravitch has made several posts to her blog that mark Martin Luther King Day.

The first [] provides a link to Dr. King’s speech that was the culmination of the March on Washington [ and, as well as to the text of his “Letter from a Birmingham City Jail” [].

The second [] links to a post by Yohuru Williams, who strongly disputes the frequent claims that so-called “school reform” represents progress on civil rights:

“Yohuru Williams, professor of history at Fairfield University, has written a brilliant and powerful piece about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the current effort to privatize large sectors of public education, especially in urban districts.

“He scoffs at the idea that turning public schools over to private management is ‘the civil rights issue of our time,’ as so many ‘reformers’ say. He cites a…

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