Adjuncts at Wright State University reached their first union agreement with the institution last week. The 180-member union of full-time adjuncts is affiliated with the American Association of University Professors.
In an e-mail, Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the AAUP and professor of economics at Wright State, said the contract was notable for its tenure-like job protections, including assurances of due process and continuous employment. It also includes a 2 percent raise and professional development funds, among other benefits. A separate agreement signed alongside the contract guarantees workloads of seven to eight courses annually for full-time adjuncts, depending on their rank.
Supporters of Cheyney University, a public historically black college in Pennsylvania, will announce today that they plan to sue the state unless certain conditions are met. The supporters argue that the state has failed to meet its obligations to support and enhance Cheyey. Specifically, they say that the state needs to revise its funding formula to focus less on enrollment because Cheyney's relatively low enrollment has led it to raise tuition, which in turn has made it difficult to recruit more students. Further, the group will demand that the university be protected from austerity measures currently being imposed in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, of which Cheyney is a part.
Harvard University on Saturday announced the launch of a $6.5 billion fund-raising campaign, the largest ever in higher education. To date, the university has raised $2.8 billion in the "quiet phase" of the drive. Stanford University completed a $6.2 billion campaign last year and the University of Southern California is in the midst of a $6 billion effort.
The Yosemite Community College District is investigating why a student at Modesto Junior College was blocked from passing out copies of the Constitution on campus on Tuesday, which was Constitution Day, The Modesto Bee reported. A video of campus security stopping the student has circulated online, provoking criticism. A statement from the college said that passing out copies of the Constitution where the student did so was permitted "as long as they don’t disrupt the orderly operation of the college," and that "n the case of the YouTube video, it did not appear that the student was disrupting the orderly operation of the college."
The University of Oregon’s new faculty union reached its first contract agreement with the institution this week, following 10 months of negotiations.
In addition to an average salary increase of nearly 12 percent spanning the 2-year agreement and the creation of a salary floor for adjuncts, union members said the contract protects both academic freedom and freedom of speech. The union and the administration had clashed over language concerning such protections in negotiations, with the administration wanting to address each protection in separate clauses and include expectations of “civility.” Faculty involved in negotiations said divorcing academic freedom from freedom of speech could leave faculty who spoke out against the university vulnerable to potential punitive action. They also objected to the civility expectation.
The final contract’s statement on speech protections does address free speech and academic freedom separately, but explicitly grants faculty the right to engage in internal criticism -- something an earlier university counterproposal did not. It does not include expectations of civility.
Deborah Olson, a full-time adjunct instructor of special education who served on the bargaining committee for United Academics, which is affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, said administrators “moved considerably on those positions from their first proposal, so for the first time at the table we’re very happy.”
Tim Gleason, dean of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication and a member of the institutional bargaining team, said it never tried to limit academic freedom for faculty, and that language in earlier proposals reflected the university’s attempts to protect both robustly. “That’s what we do at Oregon,” he said.
Bill Harbaugh, a professor economics who blogged from negotiations from a faculty perspective, said he felt the final agreement didn’t go far enough. Language proposed last year by the Faculty Senate, which is still being reviewed by senate leaders and administrators and expressly guarantees faculty’s right to engage in internal criticism “without fear of institutional discipline or restraint,” would have been better, he said.
Harvard University is set to announce a major fund-raising campaign on Saturday, ending years of speculation about when the campaign would go public, and how much it would seek. Bloomberg reported. The figure of $6 billion, about which there was speculation several years ago, would no longer be record-setting, since Stanford University completed a $6.2 billion campaign last year and the University of Southern California is in a $6 billion campaign. A hint of the potential size of the campaign, as reported in Harvard Magazine, is speculation that the goal for the business school alone could reach $1 billion.
The Obama administration plans to convene a panel in January to write new reporting rules for campus safety, the Education Department announced in a notice in Thursday’s Federal Register.
The negotiated rulemaking committee will be tasked with writing regulations to carry out the changes Congress made to the Clery Act earlier this year when it passed a new version of the Violence Against Women Act. The legislation requires colleges to add dating violence and stalking to the types of crimes they must disclose when they occur on or near campus. Colleges also must strengthen procedures for notifying victims of their legal rights and create campuswide policies for preventing sexual assault.
The Education Department also said in the notice that it would announce in the “coming months” plans to hold negotiated rule-making sessions for other aspects of the administration’s wide-ranging second-term regulatory agenda, but provided no additional details.
Tufts University has found one of its professors guilty of ethics violations during a study of vitamin-enriched rice in China, National Public Radio reported.
In a report released Tuesday, Tufts says that Guangwan Tang, associate professor of nutrition science and policy, failed to comply fully with federal regulations for research in human subjects in her study of so-called “golden rice.”
The rice, which contains high amounts of Vitamin A, is designed to treat malnutrition. But Chinese activists last year accused Tang and her Chinese partners of failing to notify parents of children involved in the study that the rice also was genetically modified. Naturereported that Chinese journalists said the information had been withheld from parents purposely because some involved in the project felt it was “too sensitive.”
Tufts says Tang will be banned from research involving human subjects for two years, followed by a two-year probation in which all human research must be overseen by a colleague.
Tang did not respond to a request for comment.
In an e-mail, a Tufts spokeswoman said that although Tang’s positive results regarding the effectiveness of golden rice in addressing malnutrition were still valid, “[w]e regret that deviations from certain approved protocols and standards occurred. Tufts has strengthened our policies and procedures to prevent recurrence of such problems, and we remain committed to conducting research of the highest quality, with rigorous oversight.”
Minerva Schools at KGI, the ambitious (and still heavily theoretical) project that aims to educate some of the world's best students online but in residential settings, said this week that it would give its first group of undergraduates four years of free tuition when they enroll next fall, but ultimately charge $10,000 in annual tuition and under $30,000 in total costs. The project, which is seeking accreditation through Keck Graduate Institute, part of the Claremont University Consortium, aims to enroll students who could qualify for Ivy League and other highly competitive universities but would opt for an experimental alternative. The project has been the subject of both significant interest (and support from powerful friends, such as Bob Kerrey and Lawrence Summers) and a good bit of skepticism.
Minerva's founder, Ben Nelson, said in the news release that it would ultimately charge $10,000 a year in tuition and $18,850 in room and board, and that it would offer scholarships and low-interest loans.