faculty

U. of Texas System postpones implementation of employee disclosure policy

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Professors at U. of Texas say that proposed conflict-of-interest rules would infringe on their privacy and academic freedom.

U. of New Hampshire Lays Off Professor Who Tampered with Student Evaluations

The University of New Hampshire has terminated the contract of Marco Dorfsman, an associate professor of Spanish, after he admitted to altering a colleague's student evaluations. Provost John Aber said in a statement that the "decision reinforces UNH’s commitment to upholding and teaching ethical behavior." In an e-mail to the faculty, Dorfsman blamed an "emotional breakdown ... related to a personal tragedy in my family and other personal and professional pressures that created a perfect storm in which I acted out from a very dark and vulnerable place."

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English teachers' group criticizes machine scoring

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A new position statement from the National Council of Teachers of English says machine scoring of essays is easily "gamed" and can't grasp the same elements people can.

Social scientists criticize scholar who defended controversial same-sex parenting study

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Social scientists criticize scholar who defended study on gay parenting and didn't clarify his relationship with the same-sex-marriage opponents who funded the research.

Dispute Over Adjunct Union at Pacific Lutheran U.

Pacific Lutheran University has become the latest to object to a possible union of non-tenure-track faculty members, saying that collective bargaining could infringe on the institution's religious mission, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported. Several other religious universities are currently making the same argument in various cases before the National Labor Relations Board. They cite court rulings limiting NLRB authority at religious institutions. Union organizers argue that adjuncts want to negotiate over pay and benefits, not religion.

 

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Marshall Faculty Votes No Confidence in President

Faculty members at Marshall University passed a vote of no confidence Wednesday in President Stephen Kopp. Of the 420 faculty members who participated, 290 voted no confidence, 107 voted in support of Kopp, and 23 abstained. The vote at the West Virginia public university comes in the wake of Kopp’s decision to move funds from departmental accounts to a central account to analyze revenues and expenditures, a move that generated a backlash among faculty members. Kopp previously apologized and returned the funds.

In the wake of the vote, Marshall’s governing board released a statement expressing its continued support for Kopp. “Dr. Kopp has succeeded in achieving the goals set by the Board of Governors for Marshall University and he has exceeded the board’s performance expectations in numerous areas,” the board chairman Joseph B. Touma wrote in a letter released Wednesday after the vote. “The board also believes that he is the right person to keep our great university moving in the right direction.”

The lack of administrative reaction is similar to other recent votes of no confidence at New York University, Saint Louis University and Louisiana State University.

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Instructor describes unsettling meeting with graduate student

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Instructor describes unsettling attempts by a graduate student to pass a master's defense.

A Call to 'Commit Sociology'

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently annoyed academics in his country by suggesting that only a law-and-order approach was needed to fight terrorism, and that people should not "commit sociology." In response, "Worldviews 2013: Global Trends in Media and Higher Education," a conference organized by academic and journalism organizations (of which Inside Higher Ed is a co-sponsor), has invited attendees (in a spoof of Britain's wartime slogan) to "Keep Calm and Commit Sociology." Details on the conference and buttons with the new slogan are available here.

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Australian Academics Say Government Betrayed Them

An open letter from 1,000 Australian academics to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, published today in newspapers across that country, calls for an end to cuts in spending at universities, The Australian reported. "Universities have made by far and away the largest saving contributions of any federal budget line item," the letter says. "We feel betrayed and taken for granted. Your government's cuts fundamentally jeopardize the future of our sector."

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Key Lawmaker Drafts Bill to Alter NSF Grant Criteria

The new chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee has drafted legislation that would change the criteria under which the National Science Foundation awards grants, Science reported. Traditionally, peer review panels have had considerable latitude within their subject areas. But the draft legislation by Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, would require that all grants adhere to three criteria. Grants would have to be certified by the NSF director to be:

  • "In the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science."
  • "Groundbreaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large."
  • "Not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies."

The draft is circulating at a time that many science officials believe Republicans in Congress are trying to undercut the traditional peer review system.

Smith released a statement saying the legislation had been misrepresented.

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