Month: January 2016

If You Are Looking for “Alternatives,” Please Look in the Right Places


This post is in response to a comment on my previous post that rightly pointed out that Wesley Coopersmith, the author of an article in U.S. News and World Report, is a millennial searching for meaningful “alternatives” to the current, unsustainable cost of getting a university education. The commenter asked whether we should not be offering alternatives, rather than simply dismissing out of hand the alternatives that Coopersmith is offering for consideration. I might have posted this piece simply as a response to that comment, but I think that the issue is important enough and I feel strongly enough about my response on it that I am presenting it as a separate post to insure that it gets somewhat broader attention.

Alternatives to the current model are absolutely required, but the starting place is in beginning to reverse some of the destructive ideas that have undermined affordability, access and the quality of education…

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Linking a Bad Idea with a Slightly Better (or Less Worse) Idea Does Not Make the Bad Idea Any Better


In “The Path to Debt Free College: More School Choice,” an article written for U.S. News and World Report, Wesley Coopersmith argues that “to solve the debt crisis in higher education, lawmakers should let students have many more options.”

Brushing aside proposals to increase Pell Grants, to reduce interest rates on student loans, and to provide free community college, Coopersmith asserts: “Rather than focus on how students pay for their education, these policymakers need to ask why they’re paying so much, and what they’re paying for.”

He addresses the second of these issues first, asserting: “Traditional college degrees are not only increasingly costly but also increasingly less valuable. More than 43 million Americans have taken on debt to pay for college, yet one recent survey showed that over 40 percent of graduates at ‘top’ schools could not find careers in their chosen field.” This passage sets the rhetorical pattern for the essay:…

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COCAL Updates


COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a nearly 20 year old network of contingent activists and their organizations that does a conference (now tri-national – USA, CAN (including QBC) , and  MEX) every other year, usually in August. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee and a website and Facebook page>.


NOTE: Donate to AFT 2121 fund to help the fight for the CCSF that SF deserves. This will help fund their hardship fund in the event of a strike.

1. CCSF rally and boycott of Chancellor’s speech


2. Future of the college is the real issue in CCSF union negotiations


1. Turkish lecturers detained for opposing military action

2. Egyptian gov cancels student union election after their allies lose

3. Global  temps R Us, From…

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UnKoch My Campus Briefing on Jane Mater’s “Dark Money”


This post has been written by Connor Gibson.


New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer’s new book Dark Money includes details that bolster concerns publicized by UnKoch My Campus, and students and professors across the United States who have blown the whistle on Charles Koch’s co­optation of higher education programs.

Universities are at the heart of Charles Koch’s lobbying model, which after four decades of finance has grown into an integrated network of professors, public relations agents, lobbyists, pundits, and politicians. Starting in 2005, Koch foundations started investing in campuses at an exponential pace.

From 2005­2014, Koch spent $109.7 million on 361 distinct campuses, according to IRS data analyzed by Greenpeace USA.

Charles Koch has long advocated for universities to advance the corporate interest. Universities offer a sense of prestige and trust to Koch’s lobbying, serving to influence both current and future policy and regulation efforts. Universities complement…

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“Scott Walker and Higher Education in the Media”


In “Scott Walker and Higher Education in the Media,” the article that I have contributed to the January-February issue of Academe, I have tried to show that it matters how professional journalists frame attacks on higher education, especially when the attacks are ideologically driven. I have focused on Scott Walker’s attempts to “reform” higher education in Wisconsin not just because of their timeliness but also because of their severity. I have tried to survey the coverage of his proposals in the national and Wisconsin media, building to a concluding consideration of the extent to which his higher-education proposals were linked in the media coverage to his presidential ambitions. More specifically, I have analyzed articles that have appeared in publications ranging from the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education to the Capital Times published in Madison.

All of the articles in Academe are available in print and…

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Florida State Reaches Almost $1 Million Settlement with the Victim of Jameis Winston’s Non-Rape


Trying to find and provide any sort of coherent explanation for how all of the threads of this story can be concurrently accurate would be like trying to pull apart a 500-pound ball of scotch tape:

“Florida State University has settled a lawsuit filed by Erica Kinsman, the woman who accused Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston of rape back in 2012. According to a statement from her attorneys as reported by USA Today, the university agreed to pay Kinsman $950,000 and make a five-year commitment to awareness, prevention, and training programs.

“’I will always be disappointed that I had to leave the school I dreamed of attending since I was little,’ Kinsman said in a statement. ‘I am happy that FSU has committed to continue making changes in order to ensure a safer environment for all students.’

“The lawsuit alleged that the university was ‘deliberately indifferent’ to her report of sexual assault, and that Florida State…

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Why a Doctoral Student’s Suicide Is Provoking Protests across India


In a post to Quartz India, Vivekananda Nemana has reported on the suicide by hanging of Rohith Chakravarthi Vemula, a doctoral student at the University of Hyderabad, which is also known as the Hyderabad Central University.

Namana reports: “College students are up in arms across major Indian cities. Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Pune have witnessed massive demonstrations since [the suicide was reported].

Vemula was one of five students “banned from the hostel, libraries, and other common areas in the campus following a dispute with a rival students group.” The university has been investigating charges that he and the other students, part of the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA), had assaulted Nandanam Susheel Kumar, a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) student wing. Kumar has claimed that “the ASA members had attacked him in August after he criticized the group’s decision to protest…

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Guns on Campus, Florida Edition


Writing for the website of Channel 10 News in the Tampa Bay-Sarasota metro area, Sarah Hollenbeck has reported on two bills currently being considered in the Florida state legislature that would legalize guns on the campuses of the state’s colleges and universities.

Here are the highlights of the article:

“Some college leaders estimate the cost could be more than a million dollars each for the state’s 83 public colleges and universities, but supporters say you can’t put a price tag on security. Supporters elaborate if someone were to bring a gun on campus, you’d be happy you or the person beside you is armed and able to fight back.

“Universities we talked to say they’d have to hire extra police officers and arm them with new firearms. . . .

“Some schools tell us they fear adding guns to the equation will invite violence onto campus and take away from…

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When Universities Have to Compensate the Victims of Campus Police


In June, Kate Briguelet, writing for the Daily Beast, reported on the death of Sam DuBose, 43. Dubose had been pulled over by a University of Cincinnati campus police officer Ray Tensing about a mile from the campus because his automobile was missing a front license plate.

The campus police have a “mutual aid” agreement with the city police; so the fact that the traffic stop took place a mile off campus is at least somewhat less puzzling than it might otherwise seem. Many students live off-campus, and patrolling the neighborhoods adjacent to the campus has become a priority for both police forces. Likewise, Ohio law requires that license plates be placed on both the front and rear ends of vehicles; so, even if the traffic stop was somewhat frivolous, it was not completely unjustified.

But what ensued after the traffic stop remained somewhat as shocking as it was…

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Education Dive’s Most Read Articles in 2015


The Time Is Ripe for Competency-Based Higher Ed

Competency-based programs have been around for decades, in small numbers, providing plenty of lessons for schools looking to implement new programs.

Perkins Loan Program Dies as Alexander Blocks Funding Bill

An extension to the program passed in the House, but Alexander blocked its advance out of the Senate’s education committee.

Threat of Crisis at Illinois Universities Could Break Budget Impasse

A deal between the state’s legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner could be forced by the potential that state schools won’t be able to keep their doors open.

U of Georgia Has Saved Students Nearly $2M with OER

The university adopted open educational resources for a number of its courses since 2013.

MoodleCloud Launches as Free Service

Educators can now design and host content on the Moodle platform at no cost for their classes of fewer than 50 students.

Carnegie Mellon Tests Impact of Blended…

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