The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has placed Kean University on probation, citing questions about whether the university is adequately measuring student learning, and whether there is an atmosphere that promotes respect among students, faculty members and administrators, The Star-Ledgerreported. Dawood Farahi, the president, and Ada Morell, the board president, issued a statement blasting the accreditor, accusing it of carrying out a "staff-driven agenda" designed to hurt the university's reputation.
The University of Illinois announced Tuesday that it will pay $175,000 to Lisa Troyer to give up her tenured position in the psychology department at the Urbana-Champaign campus. A brief statement said that the university "has not initiated, and will not initiate, any disciplinary process." Troyer moved to the faculty position after quitting as chief of staff to Michael Hogan, who had a brief and controversial tenure as president of the university system. Faculty members believed that she was sending anonymous messages to faculty discussion groups, urging professors to take positions backing Hogan. An outside investigation by the university found that the messages came from Troyer's laptop at a time that she had possession of the laptop, and that there was no evidence of hacking. Troyer's lawyer sent reporters an e-mail Tuesday quoting her as saying: "I have always stated that I never sent any anonymous emails, and the investigation report never concluded that I did."
Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, and some higher education leaders in Washington State are criticizing Western Washington University officials for agreeing to a faculty contract that grants raises of 5.25 percent this year and 4.25 percent each of the following two years, plus an increase of 15 percent in stipends for department chairs, The Seattle Times reported. "Your agreement seems to ignore the shared sacrifice that other state employees in general government and institutions of higher education have made during the Great Recession," Gregoire wrote in a letter to Bruce Shepard, the university's president. She added that Western's raises "will hurt current and future efforts to protect and increase funding for public higher education." A spokesman for the University of Washington, where faculty members have not received a raise since 2008, said that officials there were surprised that Western Washington agreed to salary increases. Shepard defended the raises, saying that they came only after administrators cut the budget where they could. The raises were needed, he said, to recruit and retain quality professors.
Feniosky Peña-Mora, dean of Columbia University's engineering college, has resigned amid widespread faculty criticism of his performance, The New York Times reported. Peña-Mora pushed to expand the engineering college, but faced a revolt from professors who said he wasn't paying enough attention to preserving the quality of existing programs or of keeping commitments he made to them. Some minority leaders have said that the criticism is racially based (Peña-Mora was born in the Dominican Republic), and Al Sharpton is planning a rally for him in September. Two other high ranking minority administrators have left their positions at Columbia in recent years, but university officials have said that the departures are unrelated.
The University of Birmingham, in Britain, has withdrawn a job advertisement seeking people to be unpaid research assistants, Times Higher Education reported. Birmingham withdrew the ad after the university was criticized for not paying people in the position. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, the primary faculty union in Britain, said that not paying researchers “undermines the principles of equal pay and is discriminatory."
The Illinois Labor Relations Board has certified the University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty Union as the exclusive bargaining representative (through two units) of full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty members, and of full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members. The union originally wanted to represent both groups in the same unit, but the university objected. After several rounds of legal fighting, the union filed for -- and now has won recognition -- for two separate units. United Faculty is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors.