Month: February 2016

In Ohio, More Higher-Ed “Innovation”

ACADEME BLOG

Here is the lead item, a legislative update, in the latest weekly communication to our members statewide from the Ohio Conference’s Communications Committee:

On February 22, Department of Higher Education Director John Carey unveiled changes and new initiatives to Ohio’s higher education system that will be addressed in a mid-biennium review (MBR) bill. The highlights can be found in this document.

The stated aim of these proposals is to drive down college costs. They believe the way to do this is by giving students college credit for remediation courses, pushing three years of community college, allowing community colleges to award up to 10 bachelor’s degrees, and partnering with Western Governors University to award competency-based credit.

We can appreciate that there is a desire to find ways to make earning a degree more affordable for Ohio students. As faculty, we hate to see our students going into debt for achieving an education. Unfortunately…

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University Protests in India

ACADEME BLOG

Students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi have been physically attacked, have been held in judicial custody, and have had charges of sedition filed against them for espousing views challenging to the state. There have also been vociferous calls from the Indian political Right to shut down this premier institution, which has a long history of fostering vigorous debates and producing critical scholars. This attempted political suppression of free expression and academic freedom has led to an uprising on campuses across India in support of JNU students and faculty and against the Indian government.

Academics around the world have signed onto statements supporting the students and faculty of JNU. The following are links to two of those statements:

https://kashmirobserver.net/2016/local-news/academicians-455-varsities-extend-support-3338

http://thewire.in/2016/02/16/scholars-worldwide-back-jnu-students-21737/

And this is a link to some photos from the Feb 18th protest march in Delhi:

https://www.facebook.com/arun.worldpeace/media_set?set=a.10153371453475814.1073741846.661700813&type=3&pnref=story

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As Illinois Becomes Louisiana

ACADEME BLOG

Governor Bruce Rauner is doing Scott Walker one better and turning Illinois into Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana without even pausing along the way to replicate what Walker has done in Wisconsin.

What is occurring in all of these states is also occurring in Kansas, in Maine, and in a slew of states in the South from Texas to North Carolina. But in those other states, the gutting of public education, as well as other public services and public institutions, has been accomplished in a more pedestrian way: that is, there has been at least a pretense of actually governing—if, that is, the conventional sense of the word “government” still retains any meaning for these people. (It is like someone drawing a paycheck for cutting hair but just opening and closing the scissors as if the air were hair.) In Louisiana, Jindal operated what was quite blatantly a governmental Ponzi scheme, shifting…

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How to Be Malignant and Sound Benign

ACADEME BLOG

In a recent post, “Faculty Become Drowned Bunnies, Too” [https://academeblog.org/2016/02/09/faculty-become-drowned-bunnies-too/] Aaron Barlow reported and commented on the words and actions of Simon Newman, president of Mount Saint Mary’s University. Newman, whose previous professional experience was with private-equity firms, abruptly fired two professors, one tenured, and demoted a dean after his remarks about actively culling marginal students to improve retention rates were reported in the student newspaper.

What made all of this newsworthy nationally was that Newman had advised the academic deans that they had to stop coddling those marginal students as if they were bunnies—that they needed, instead, to “drown some bunnies.” What is ironic, to me, is that his choice of words, rather than what he was telling the deans to do, has been deemed especially outrageous. The annual cost of attending the university is $51,610, and even with scholarships and grants averaged in, it is $28,326…

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ACLU Files Suit on Behalf of Danny Ledonne

ACADEME BLOG

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed suit this morning on behalf of Danny Ledonne, a former professor who was banned by school officials from the Adams State University campus in Alamosa, CO after he created a website criticizing various university administration practices.

From May 2011 to June 2015, Ledonne taught in the Mass Communications program and performed video production work for Adams State University.  In September 2015, after his employment at the university had ended, he launched WatchingAdams.org, a website that “provides ongoing coverage of critical news and information about Adams State University, a public institution of higher education in southern Colorado.”  The website includes public compensation data and interviews with former students, faculty, and staff.

On October 12th, Ledonne posted a series of articles criticizing the pay disparity between faculty and the administration and alleging that the university had violated the Colorado Wage Act by not making timely payments…

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Confessions of a White Professor

ACADEME BLOG

This very nuanced reflection on race and its impact on faculty-student assumptions, communication, and effectiveness is sub-titled “How Ferguson, John Roberts, and an Anonymous Student Helped Me Understand Diversity in the Classroom.”

The author of the essay is Margaret Williamson, an Associate Professor Emerita of Classics and Associate Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College.

The essay is reprinted here with the permission of Margaret Williamson and of Pacific Standard, the magazine in which the essay was originally published [http://www.psmag.com/].

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Amid the celebrations of Martin Luther King Day at colleges across the land, it was easy to forget that classroom diversity is still some way from being accepted as a universal good. In Fisher v. Texas, the Supreme Court case that could determine the future of affirmative action admissions policies at universities, Chief Justice John Roberts asked: “What unique perspective does a minority…

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Larycia Hawkins Resigns from Wheaton College

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for NPR, Camila Domonoski has reported the following:

“A professor at an evangelical Christian college who was suspended for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God will no longer be teaching at the school.

As we’ve reported, Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science who had tenure at Wheaton College in Illinois, was suspended from her job in December.  She was put on paid administrative leave after vowing to wear a hijab for Advent in solidarity with Muslims—not because of the headscarf, but because of a Facebook post about her decision where she wrote about the relationship between Islam and Christianity and said, “as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

“Wheaton administrators said they were concerned that post contradicted the school’s statement of faith.

“Hawkins faced the possibility of being terminated from her job. But before her scheduled hearing, she…

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Akron Senate Votes No Confidence in Scarborough

ACADEME BLOG

On Thursday, February 4, the Faculty Senate at the University of Akron voted no confidence in President Scott Scarborough’s administration—by a vote of 50-2.

Before the vote was taken, Scarborough had spoken at some length about his plans for the coming year and had answered several questions. He was not, however, present for the vote.

Scarborough’s tenure at the university has been marked by almost continuous turmoil. From the start, he has undermined shared governance in not soliciting meaningful faculty input on a litany of substantive issues–including but not limited to budget reductions and significant, sudden, and seemingly arbitrary re-allocations of resources, furloughs of staff and faculty, the elimination of academic programs, the closure of campus facilities, and even the “re-branding” of the university as Ohio’s Polytechnic University. At every turn, his administration has seemed tone deaf and has provided its critics with damaging symbols. Most notably, at the same time that the…

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An Architectural Take of the Collapse of Corinthian Colleges

ACADEME BLOG

I just came across the following description of the closing of Corinthian Colleges, written in May 2015 by Lawrence Biemiller for The Week:

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Corinthian Crumbles

In classical architecture, Corinthian is the most elaborate of the orders, recognizable by the acanthus leaves carved into column capitals. In higher education, however, Corinthian is a company accused by state and federal regulators of being, basically, an elaborate scheme for soaking up student-aid money, with a commitment to educating students that was uneven at best.

Last week what remained of Corinthian’s edifice crumbled when four of its subsidiaries closed abruptly–Everest College, Everest Institute, Heald College, and WyoTech–and some 16,000 students at 28 campuses, mostly in Western states, found themselves with no classes to attend. The company, which had previously closed its other campuses after coming under intense federal scrutiny, said it had hoped to sell the remaining outlets but couldn’t do so…

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