Rutgers Professors Oppose Academic Analytics

Full-time faculty members at Rutgers University at New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences on Monday formally rejected aspects of the university’s $492,000 four-year deal with Academic Analytics, a proprietary database tracking faculty members’ productivity. Faculty members in a resolution said they want assurances that the data won’t be used in tenure and promotion or curricular decisions, and that they want access to their personal profiles. That’s partly because those faculty members who have seen their profiles say the data are wrong. Others object to the system on a philosophical level, saying the productivity algorithm doesn’t take into account teaching or service, and that it may dissuade professors -- especially junior faculty members -- from pursuing innovative research. The vote was 92-20. A university spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

College of DuPage Board Chair Resigns

Katharine Hamilton, who became chairwoman of the College of DuPage's Board of Trustees earlier this year, resigned suddenly from the position on Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Hamilton, who cited "personal reasons" behind her decision, was credited as one of the people who challenged corruption at the college, particularly during former President Robert Breuder's tenure. Last year, Hamilton was censured for publicly criticizing Breuder and other trustees. She was first elected to the board in 2013 but became chair in April.

The community college, which is the largest in the state, remains under federal and state investigations related to administrative spending. The college came under scrutiny after awarding a $763,000 severance package to Breuder.

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College libraries install desks on which students can study and cycle

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Coming soon to your campus library? Reading desks where you can bike while studying.

50 Faculty Jobs Will Be Eliminated at Western Illinois

Citing state budget cuts and declining enrollment, officials at Western Illinois University said last week that they plan to eliminate 50 faculty positions, Northern Public Radio reported. Other cuts are planned as well. The faculty union is pledging to study the plans when they are released to be sure they are consistent with contracts.

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University Police Officer Fatally Shoots Ax-Wielding Student

A University of North Texas police officer fatally shot a student who we reportedly wielding an ax early Sunday. A statement from Neal Smatresk, the university's president, said the shooting took place when officers responded to a report that someone was knocking out car windows. The officer who shot the student said the student (not at the time known to be a student) "advanced on the officer" while wielding the ax. Smatresk's statement called the incident "tragic" and said the officer has been placed on administrative duty, pending an investigation.

The university statement did not identify the student, but The Dallas Morning News reported that he was Ryan McMillan, who turned 21 on Saturday.

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Saint Rose Cuts 23 Faculty Jobs, 27 Programs

The College of Saint Rose on Friday announced plans to eliminate the jobs of 23 faculty members -- some of them tenured -- and 27 academic programs. The college announcement said that the changes were needed to "reprioritize academic programs to meet the changing needs of students, increase enrollment and secure the college’s financial future." The college said it would be able, with these cuts, to make investments in other programs without hurting the institution's liberal arts mission.

Many faculty members are speaking out against the cuts, saying that the plan was made without sufficient faculty input and questioning the elimination of the jobs of tenured faculty members. (A Saint Rose spokesperson, asked about eliminating the jobs of tenured faculty members without declaring financial exigency, as is required by the American Association of University Professors, said that the cuts were consistent with provisions in the Faculty Handbook.)

The college said that it was eliminating programs with low enrollments, but faculty critics say liberal arts offerings are being gutted. Among the bachelor's degrees being eliminated are: American studies, economics, geology, philosophy, religious studies, sociology, and women's and gender studies. Petitions are circulating calling for the resignation of Carolyn Stefanco as president. A website called Saint Rose Anonymous features posts from those whose jobs or programs are being eliminated. Students and faculty members have been holding rallies against the cuts they feared would come, and on Friday vowed more protests.

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Groups band together to improve transfer pathways for community college students

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Improved transfer pathways from community colleges to four-year institutions may be the best answer to America's college completion woes, say three influential groups that will prod states and colleges on transfer.

Rutgers professors object to contract with Academic Analytics

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Rutgers faculty members, citing philosophical concerns and errors, are pushing back against the use of Academic Analytics to evaluate their productivity.

Reverse transfer plans go beyond handing out degrees

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For some colleges, reverse transfer isn't just a way to hand out degrees to boost completion numbers.

U of Louisville Places Two Top Officials on Leave

The University of Louisville on Wednesday placed on leave two top officials -- David Dunn, executive vice president for health affairs, and Priscilla Hancock, chief information officer -- The Louisville Courier-Journal reported. The move came the day after the newspaper reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating whether those two officials and a former official used federal funds given to the university for nonuniversity purposes. Lawyers for the officials declined comment.

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