Academics should provide more platforms to learn from each others at their own institutions (essay)

Before we travel to national and international conferences to hear from other scholars, perhaps we should provide more platforms to learn from those within our own institutions, writes Ruth Gotian.

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Supposed campus guidelines on costumes not always what they seem

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Colleges are pilloried each October by conservative media for being overly concerned about students offended by Halloween costumes. But do those stories miss the hands-off approach colleges often take?

University investigating professor's anti-Semitic Facebook posts

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Recalling a case at Oberlin College, Rutgers investigates a professor for anti-Semitic Facebook comments he says he can't be sure he made.

Will Paul Quinn President Run for Texas Governor?

Texas Democrats are attempting to recruit Michael Sorrell, the president of Paul Quinn College, to run a long-shot campaign against incumbent Governor Greg Abbott next year.

Sorrell, 50, has a history of working on underdog campaigns, including the 2008 campaign that elected President Barack Obama, according to a column in The Dallas Morning News. He has previously been pitched as a potential candidate for Dallas County judge and Dallas mayor.

Nonetheless, a college president attempting to run for governor would be an unusual move, especially given the steep odds a challenger faces attempting to unseat the incumbent Republican. At least 850,000 new voters would be needed for Democrats to have a shot at winning a statewide race, according to some projections. A challenger would need as much as $60 million to compete with Abbott’s resources.

Sorrell has been president of Paul Quinn College, a faith-based historically black college in Dallas, since 2007. He’s credited with improving the college’s facilities and curriculum, as well as turning its football field into an urban farm. The college has about 430 students and bills itself as the country’s only urban work college.

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Loyola Won't Negotiate With Graduate Student Union

Loyola University in Chicago will not engage in collective bargaining with graduate assistants who teach or do research, it informed its new graduate student union. That’s despite an earlier statement from the university that it would bargain a contract with the Service Employees International Union-affiliated graduate assistants. Steve Christensen, Loyola spokesperson, said via email that teaching and research assistants are “fundamentally students, and therefore, do not qualify as ‘employees’ within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act.” He added, “We will continue to give voice to Loyola graduate assistants and take steps to provide them with a rewarding and fulfilling student experience.” 

The National Labor Relations Board decided last year that graduate teaching and research assistants on private campuses are in fact employees under the labor act, but other private institutions have said they’ll challenge the decision for the same reasons cited by Loyola. Some campuses have committed to bargaining with students, however. Christensen noted that Loyola recently announced stipend increases, among other changes for assistants, which “reflect our commitment to Jesuit, Catholic values and a fair and just academic environment.” The union said in a separate statement, “Regardless of what the university claims, we are a union and will continue to push for improvements, a contract and a voice in our working conditions. We are prepared to hold Loyola’s administration accountable."

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Vanderbilt Must Count Non-Tenure-Track Union Election Ballots

Vanderbilt University must count all ballots from a June election in which non-tenure-track faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, a hearing officer from the National Labor Relations Board said. The recent decision could still be appealed by Vanderbilt and must be approved by the NLRB regional director, but non-tenure-track professors in the college described it as bringing them one step closer to collective bargaining.

Some 193 instructors were eligible to vote in the election, with 55 voting for a union and 40 opposed. The university challenged the validity of 28 votes, but NLRB ended up counting 27 of those.

“We call on the administration to accept the NLRB hearing officer’s decision and begin negotiating with us in good faith,” Heraldo Falconi, a senior lecturer in Spanish, said in a statement. “We have lawfully completed the steps required for union certification, and it's time to get started negotiating a clear set of policies and guidelines that's consistent for all non-tenure-track employees.”

The university said in a separate statement that it is evaluating the NLRB hearing officer’s report “and in the process of determining next steps at this time. We continue to approach this process in good faith and with the well-being of the Vanderbilt community and its faculty at the forefront.”

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Flipping the Classroom booklet and webcast

Inside Higher Ed has released its latest print-on-demand compilation, "Flipping the Classroom and Other Techniques to Improve Teaching." You may download the free booklet here, and you may sign up here for a free webcast on the themes of th

How Seton Hill University assures online course quality

Seton Hill University takes a collaborative campuswide approach to developing, refining and assessing distance education classes.

Drexel allows controversial instructor to teach online

As reported by Inside Higher Ed, Drexel University, which this month placed a controversial professor on leave and barred him from teaching his courses, now says he can teach online.

Inside Digital Learning: Quality in Online Courses

In today's "Inside Digital Learning":

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Inside Digital Learning -- Assuring Quality in Online Courses
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Inside Digital Learning Newsletter -- Oct. 25, 2017
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