administrators

Political Science Group's Report Examines Inequality

Political science has faced criticism as a discipline for not paying enough attention to the causes and consequences of inequality, beyond rising income inequality and its effect on political representation. A major new report from the American Political Science Association, under the direction of Rodney Hero, association president and professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, begins to address some of those concerns.

The Double Bind: The Politics of Racial and Class Inequalities in the Americas” examines the how race and class shape inequalities throughout the Americas and how countries respond to them, for better or worse. A major finding is that racial and ethnic minorities struggle to translate their demographic potential and political activity into meaningful socioeconomic gains due to low socioeconomic status, along with political party incentives. That’s true even in countries where minorities make up a large proportion of the active voters, according to the report.

“The report provides us with an excellent framework for thinking critically about the ways in which the racial and economic inequalities that we currently see in the Americas are the legacies of settler colonialism, slavery and the exclusionary politics that shaped the development of the entire region,” said Alvin J. Tillery Jr., associate professor of political science at Northwestern University and co-chair of the report task force, said in a statement. “It also shows that governments can develop policies to begin to ameliorate these inequalities under the right mix of conditions.” Report chapters include “Race, Partisanship and the Rise of Income Inequality in the United States” and “Learning From Ferguson: Welfare, Criminal Justice and the Political Science of Race and Class,” as well as several on Latin America and Canada.

New presidents or provosts: Albany APUS Cambridge Coast Mount St. Mary's Rock Valley Wilmington

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  • LaVerne Harmon, executive vice president at Wilmington University, in Delaware, has been named president there.
  • Douglas J. Jensen, president of the Alabama Technology Network, has been chosen as president of Rock Valley College, in Illinois.

At Knight Commission meeting, worries over spending and stability of Football Bowl Subdivision

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At meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, sports leaders express concern about "out of control" spending among top conferences. So far, colleges don't appear to be trying to reverse course.

Morehouse Criticized for Housing Requirement

Morehouse College is facing criticism over its recent decision to require students to live on campus for at least three years. The change would require sophomores and juniors to pay the historically black college an additional $13,000 in mandatory room and board fees, in addition to the $26,700 the students already pay per year in tuition. An online petition is calling for the college's president, John Wilson, to be fired. A spokeswoman for the college told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the change was not related to finances but was an attempt to encourage more student interaction, which she said is critical to the "Morehouse mystique."

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Bizarre Flash Mob Attack on Temple U Students

Many Temple University students were unnerved and some were attacked Friday when a flash mob-style group of youths gathered near the campus, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. More than 150 people gathered, and some of them, for no known reason, attacked Temple students. Four of the participants -- aged 14 to 17 -- were arrested. At one point about 20 youths attacked three people, two of them Temple students, who were kicked and punched repeatedly.

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Concern on Writing Instructor Jobs at Ohio State U

Faculty members in English at Ohio State University say 18 non-tenure-track lecturer jobs have been saved, at least for this year. The university maintains that their jobs were never at risk. Faculty members said earlier this week that Ohio State had been struggling to come up with approximately $500,000 to fulfill the 18 contracts for first-year writing instructors, which extend through summer. They organized against midyear cuts on social media and in a stock letter to Bruce McPheron, provost. Some traced the funding issue to the university’s conversion from quarters to semesters, but were unsure why it became an urgent problem now, several years after the change and well into the academic year.

Faculty members said they were told Monday that their contracts would be honored, but the university said it was always its intention to fulfill them and attributed concerns to miscommunication. Benjamin Johnson, university spokesman, said via email that Ohio State "values the role that our lecturers and other associated faculty play in supporting and furthering our overall educational mission" and that the College of Arts and Sciences "will be working with the Department of English to address these budget challenges. We acknowledge the concerns expressed regarding the associated [faculty] and regret any confusion."

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New America Paper on Predictive Analytics

New America today released a paper that analyzes the use of data to predict student success, so-called predictive analytics. The practice, which is spreading rapidly, allows colleges to better intervene when students struggle, helping them chart a more direct line to graduation and better enabling the use of customized digital learning tools.

However, the use of predictive analytics also comes with risks, the think tank warned, including privacy concerns and a heightened possibility of discrimination, such as by profiling and discouraging capable students.

“There are a number of examples of colleges using predictive data to make inroads in student success or operational functions. But that doesn’t mean we can or should turn a blind eye to the possibility that using this technology can go badly,” Manuela Ekowo, policy analyst with New America’s Education Policy Program and the report's co-author, said in a written statement.

Layoffs at Wright State, U Minnesota at Duluth

Wright State University has announced the elimination of 23 positions, including those of six faculty members, The Dayton Daily News reported. The faculty members are instructors on one-year contracts. The university has been making budget cuts to deal with sharp declines in its reserve fund, which dropped from $100 million in 2012 to $13 million as of June 30, and is expected to be depleted by the end of the year.

Also last week, the University of Minnesota at Duluth announced 40 layoffs -- all of non-tenure-track faculty members, The Duluth News-Tribune reported. Declining enrollment has led to budget shortfalls necessitating the layoffs, officials said.

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University of Maine sets off firestorm with graduate center and mergers

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Many professors say programs are being combined without enough attention to academic issues and the faculty role.

Professors Criticize Gen Ed Changes at Concord U

Faculty members at Concord University, in West Virginia, voted no confidence in Vice President Peter Viscusi Thursday, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. Professors are angry about the way general-education requirements were substantially reduced. They say that the administration tried to make the changes without any faculty review, and that when the faculty were permitted to review proposed changes, professors' views were ignored. The university's board chair said the board backs the administration.

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