Month: October 2015

First Eliminate Job Security; Then Have Faculty Bid on Their Salaries

ACADEME BLOG

In one of my recent reviews of recent news items on higher education [http://academeblog.org/2015/10/23/u-s-higher-education-news-from-september-29-2015/], I opened with an item on the elimination of continuing contracts for faculty at Florida State College.

Now the member of the college’s board of trustees who initiated that change of policy has been emboldened to advance a proposal that faculty bid on their annual contracts so that the college can keep instructional costs as low as possible. The proposed policy might have applied only to applicants for open positions, but the elimination of any job security means that all faculty might easily be asked to submit such a salary bid as a precondition of their being considered for a renewal of their contracts.

Writing for Inside Higher Ed, Colleen Flaherty has reported on this newest proposal at the college. Her article opens with these paragraphs:

“Putting a project out to bid is typically…

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Why No Professor on Gov. Kasich’s University Affordability and Efficiency Task Force?

ACADEME BLOG

This is an op-ed written by John McNay, president of the Ohio Conference, and published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Gov. John Kasich’s task force on affordability and efficiency in higher education released its recommendations to the General Assembly recently, and the results were to be expected. The task force was headed by Geoff Chatas, Ohio State University’s chief financial officer and the architect behind the Ohio State parking privatization deal, so it is no surprise that one of the key recommendations is to have colleges and universities lease or sell what the members of the task force refer to as “non-core assets” and “non-academic operations.”

Chatas nearly left OSU earlier this year to take a position with the investment firm that now leases the university’s parking system. As eyebrows were raised at the seeming impropriety of such a move, he changed his mind.

Chatas, who last year made $773,579…

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The Corporatization of Higher Education: Crib Notes

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for Nation of Change, Paul Buchheit has provided a very succinct but comprehensive overview of how corporatization has had a very damaging impact on higher education.

In his article “Higher Education: Capitalism at Its Most Despicable,” Buchheit focuses on five inter-linked phenomena that are undermining the value of higher education because they undermine the core principles to which American higher education has long adhered:

1. The Rise of the All-Administrative University

2. The Coming of the “All-Adjunct” University

3. Tuition Shock: 12 Times More than What Your Parents Paid

4. Today’s Jobs: Food Stamps on the Side

5. College Sports as Modern Minstrel Shows

Again, the article is as substantive as it is succinct and well worth reading.

The full text is available at: http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/10/26/higher-education-capitalism-at-its-most-despicable/.

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University Endowments and Student Aid

ACADEME BLOG

In “OSU Fund Managers Pig Out: Scholarships Not Awarded to Students,” an article published by the Columbus Free Press, John Lasker has focused on Ohio State University’s growing endowment and on the degree to which those assets are benefitting the students who attend the university.

Here are some of the relevant facts, culled from Lasker’s article:

–The Ohio State University endowment reached the $3.6 billion mark in 2014 and ranked 22nd out of 800-plus US public and private colleges and universities.

–The Ohio State endowment, or “Long Term Investment Pool,” is managed by both internal and external fund managers, and like many college endowments, is managed for the long-term with relatively low risk. The endowment’s yields for the most part are earned from global equity, hedge funds and real assets.

–The endowment for 2012 received $365 million in contributions from over 200,000 donors. Then towards the end of 2012 the…

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University of Phoenix Loses Military Students

ACADEME BLOG

Earlier this month, Business Insider reported that Apollo Education Group, the for-profit education company that operates the University of Phoenix, “is getting destroyed” on the stock market.

Dawn Bilodeau, Chief of the Defense Department’s Voluntary Education Program, had released the following statement: “The institution will not be authorized access to DoD installations for the purposes of participating in any recruitment-type activities. Further, no new or transfer students at the institution will be permitted to receive DoD tuition assistance.” She did add, however, that the enrollment of continuing students will not be affected, at least for now.

In response to this decision, Apollo attempted to downplay the situation, asserting that the Department of Defense had “put it on probation for using its logos without permission and holding events on military installations without the proper clearance.”

Technically, that statement is true.

But, very clearly, investors have taken the decision by the Department…

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What’s So Radical about Defending Public Education?

ACADEME BLOG

Being antagonistic to corporatization should not necessarily be conflated with being broadly antagonistic to corporations. Universities and corporations have long had mutually beneficial relationships that have caused relatively infrequent controversies. And, just to be clear, although some faculty with more progressive political values have been very skeptical of those relationships between their universities and corporate interests, very, very few faculty have been categorically opposed to the development of such relationships because, for the most part, they have clearly been mutually beneficial.

Corporatization, on the other hand, is the recent manifestation of a historically recurring attempt to redefine public higher education as a business enterprise. In the 1980s, it started with the premise that universities had become such complex institutions, with very large budgets and multifaceted operations, that they would benefit from the adoption of more formal, and perhaps some cutting-edge, business-management practices. American corporations were beginning to respond to post-industrial…

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Op-Ed on Presidential Search at Miami University

ACADEME BLOG

The following op-ed titled, “AAUP: Miami U Making a Big Mistake,” was published several weeks ago in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The authors are Karen Dawisha and Keith Tuma, co-presidents of the Miami University chapter of AAUP, and John McNay, president of the AAUP’s Ohio Conference.

_________________________

Last week, news emerged that the Miami University board of trustees has chosen to conduct a secret search for the new president of the university. This is an alarming development.

Putting three elected faculty on the search committee and swearing them to secrecy – they will be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement – does not represent an open process in which the input of all members of the university community is considered. It does not suggest that the board takes shared governance seriously. Faculty should be widely consulted and have input in all important decisions at the institution. They do the work…

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U.S. Higher Education News from September 29, 2015

ACADEME BLOG

The board of trustees at the State College of Florida have voted to phase out continuing contracts for the college’s faculty. Those contracts have been available to faculty who have five years of seniority. Although the phasing out of such contracts seems consistent with Governor Rick Scott’s professed interest in restricting, if not eliminating, tenure and shared governance statewide, the trustees at the State College of Florida had previously extended the probationary period for faculty from three to five years. The existing contracts will not be rescinded, but once they have run their course, they will not be renewed. The college’s president, its faculty, and others with a special interest in the State College of Florida have expressed concerns that the lack of any employment security will prevent the college from attracting and keeping excellent faculty and will erode the quality of the education that the college provides to its…

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Craigslist Ad Satirizes the Corporatization of the University of Akron

ACADEME BLOG

Craigslist Ad Selling UAkron

The ad was placed by someone who is obviously incensed by the increasing corporatization of the university that has been reflected in the decisions made, without faculty input, by President Scarborough’s administration.

About two hours after it was posted, the ad was removed by the Craigslist administrators.

I would like to note that I have no reason to believe that the design or placement of the ad is attributable to anyone in the leadership of the AAUP chapter at the University of Akron. The ad was sent to me by a friend who came across a link to it in a news feed of items related to higher education in Ohio.

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