Month: July 2015

The Popularity of College Football—and the Very Thin Line between the Cute and the Macabre

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for the Lansing State Journal, Judy Putnam reports that a taxidermist named Nick Saade (well, at least it’s not “de Sade”) has attempted to capture the passionate gridiron rivalry between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines in a diorama featuring 22 stuffed chipmunks wearing tiny versions of the football helmets worn by each team. The diorama, which captures the moment just before Michigan State scores the winning touchdown, will be complete when the uniforms for the four chipmunks representing the referees are completed.

Putnam reports: “Each mounted chipmunk takes five to six hours to skin, stuff (using Styrofoam figures) and sew up. Putty and wires are used in the legs to put the chipmunks into realistic passing, throwing, catching and tackling positions. . . . Saade said he doesn’t kill animals for his projects. Instead he uses road kill, trapped nuisance animals and leftover parts from…

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How Access to College Educations Is Linked to the Decline in the Average Intelligence of Marine Corps’ Officers since the 1970s

ACADEME BLOG

A recently completed study by Michael Klein of the Brookings Institute and Michael Cancian of Tufts University, a veteran of recent U.S. military conflicts, explores the paradox that, since the inception of the all-volunteer force, the percentage of those with above-average intelligence who are serving in the military has dramatically increased while the percentage of officers with above-average intelligence has steadily declined. This finding is especially pronounced in the Marine Corps, in which the scores on the military’s General Classification Test (GCT) have shown an especially marked decline over the last 34 years: specifically,

1. Eighty-five percent of those taking the test in 1980 exceeded a score of 120, which was the cut-off score for officers in World War II. In 2014, only 59 percent exceeded that score.

2. At the upper end of the distribution, 4.9 percent of those taking the test scored above 150 in 1980 compared to…

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Academic Freedom, Freedom of Speech, and the Far Right

ACADEME BLOG

In a number of instances, I have been told that many on the Far Right are every bit as concerned about constraints on academic freedom as Progressives are. When I have pointed out that most of the attacks on academic freedom seem to have come from Far Right political figures and commentators who are responding to what they see as the deeply entrenched liberal bias in academia, I have been told that the Far Right is not homogenous—that there is a grassroots movement for whom academic freedom is a core value to be protected and for whom campus speech and civility codes are very problematic for the same reasons that I find the legislative undermining of academic freedom to be so problematic.

I am very willing to grant that at both ends of the political spectrum there are those who are too willing to sacrifice academic freedom and the broader…

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The Department of Labor’s Guidelines on the Distinctions between Independent Contractors and Employees—and Their Application to Adjunct Faculty

ACADEME BLOG

One can argue that adjunct faculty whose primary employment is outside the college or university at which they are teaching are “independent contractors” in the strictest sense of the term.

But, for those increasing numbers of adjunct faculty whose primary employment is as instructors employed by multiple colleges and/or universities, the case can clearly be made that those institutions have been abusing the “independent contractor” classification every bit as much as employers in other sectors have been doing so. In fact, although increasing numbers of occupations requiring baccalaureate degrees or even graduate degrees are being “transformed” under this reclassification scheme, it seems very clear that higher education has almost singularly used this scheme to exploit those who hold advanced degrees.

Up until about a year or so ago, a significant percentage of those trying to earn their livings as adjunct faculty taught the equivalent of full-time loads at single institutions…

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The AFT Questionnaire for Presidential Candidates: Hillary Clintons’ Responses

ACADEME BLOG

The American Federation of Teachers has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

But the AFT asked each of the candidates to respond to a questionnaire covering a wide range of topics, starting with K-12 public education but ranging far beyond that.

Excerpted in this post are the responses of Hillary Clinton on topics of most direct interest to college and university faculty.

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Escalating tuition and fees are leading to a growing number of students leaving college with overwhelming debt from student loans. This burden of rising costs and rising debt makes access to higher education increasingly difficult for many students and their families. What is the role of the federal government in ensuring that higher education is affordable and accessible?

HRC: First, too many young people are struggling under the burden of student debt and too many families are struggling to pay the rising…

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The AFT Questionnaire for Presidential Candidates: Bernie Sanders’ Responses

ACADEME BLOG

The American Federation of Teachers has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

But the AFT asked each of the candidates to respond to a questionnaire covering a wide range of topics, starting with K-12 public education but ranging far beyond that.

Excerpted in this post are the responses of Bernie Sanders on topics of most direct interest to college and university faculty.

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Escalating tuition and fees are leading to a growing number of students leaving college with overwhelming debt from student loans. This burden of rising costs and rising debt makes access to higher education increasingly difficult for many students and their families. What is the role of the federal government in ensuring that higher education is affordable and accessible?

BS: Skyrocketing college tuition has left college out of reach for hundreds of thousands of students, and left millions more deeply in debt…

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The AFT Questionnaire for Presidential Candidates: Martin O’Malley’s Responses

ACADEME BLOG

The American Federation of Teachers has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

But the AFT asked each of the candidates to respond to a questionnaire covering a wide range of topics, starting with K-12 public education but ranging far beyond that.

Excerpted in this post are the responses of Martin O’Malley on topics of most direct interest to college and university faculty.

_________________________

Escalating tuition and fees are leading to a growing number of students leaving college with overwhelming debt from student loans. This burden of rising costs and rising debt makes access to higher education increasingly difficult for many students and their families. What is the role of the federal government in ensuring that higher education is affordable and accessible?

MO’M: The federal government plays an essential role in making higher education affordable and accessible. While states like Maryland have worked hard to…

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Campaign Proposals for Higher Education from Martin O’Malley

ACADEME BLOG

The following is taken from the website of Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign. O’Malley is the first candidate to provide extensive proposals for higher education.

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Governor O’Malley Believes Higher Education Should Be Affordable, Accessible, and Accountable for All Americans.

Just as the GI Bill allowed his father, a WWII bombardier, to go to law school debt-free and pursue his dreams, the next generation of Americans should have the same opportunity to attend college debt-free.

Yet today, the cost of obtaining a college degree is skyrocketing. American families are being crushed by $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans. And in our increasingly competitive economy, attaining a college degree is more important than ever before.

This is a crisis: Unless we act now, more and more students will not be able to afford higher education at all, putting the American Dream even further out of reach.

PROPOSAL: Set, as a national goal…

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Administrative Staffing 1987-2011, A Statistical Profile by Institution, Part 12: Connecticut

ACADEME BLOG

The federal data that will be presented in this series of posts was analyzed by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NCIR) in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research. The NECIR story on the data and its implications, written by Jon Marcus, who is currently an editor at the Hechinger Report, is available at: http://necir.org/2014/02/06/new-analysis-shows-problematic-boom-in-higher-ed-administrators/.

NECIR is one of a number of foundation-supported nonprofits that produce journalism in collaboration with other media, in this case the Boston NPR station and the Huffington Post, where this story also ran.

The data is being re-posted here with the permission of Jon Marcus.

I believe that it is worth presenting the data state by state because, in its totality, the material is so extensive as to be overwhelming. I also hope that presenting it state by state may encourage some further use of it by our chapters and conferences…

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The Debate over an Academic Boycott of Israel–in Ireland

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for University World News, John Kelly reports on the debate over an academic boycott of Israeli universities that is now occurring in Ireland. Kelly notes that the issue has become prominent in Ireland considerably later than in most member nations of the European Union, 14 of which have governmentally endorsed the boycott. In Ireland, the issue has thus far been confined to whether academics and their professional associations would endorse the boycott.

Kelly is a professor emeritus and former registrar of University College Dublin, as well as chair of the , a non-profit supporting the only Roman Catholic university in the “Holy Land.” So, his interest in the issue is undoubtedly colored by his own direct interest in higher education in the region.

Kelly reports that the newly established Academics for Palestine forum in Ireland has gotten “many hundreds of signatures from academics in the universities and higher…

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