The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities is calling for public research universities to formally consider technology transfer issues in tenure and promotion decisions where applicable. In a report out today, APLU defines technology transfer loosely as “entrepreneurship, innovation and technology-based economic development activities,” and says that faculty members who participate in it should be credited in personnel decisions.
“A faculty member’s accomplishments in technology transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship are worthy of consideration in the review process for tenure and advancement,” the report says. “As with other forms of faculty work, it is essential that the evaluation of technology transfer activities weigh the likely impact of the work, its quality and its foreseeable societal benefit. When it is successful, technology transfer can invigorate the university and establish relationships with other private and public sectors that affirm the value of a research university.”
APLU also makes various recommendations for recognizing and assessing technology transfer in faculty work, based on a survey of U.S. and Canadian public universities on current approaches (which aren't uniform or widespread). Recommendations include making university policy statements that safeguard against conflicts of interest or commitment, and including technology transfer explicitly in personnel policies and criteria.
Henry Reichman, an professor emeritus of history at California State University at East Bay and chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, said that AAUP recognizes three criteria for tenure and promotion: teaching, scholarship or research, and service. “Insofar as technology transfer activities fit any of those criteria they may certainly be considered under those rubrics,” he said. And the “key is that the relevant faculty in each department and institution define which activities are included in each of these criteria.”
Rider University and its faculty union have agreed on a deal that will freeze professors' wages for two years so that the university can abandon planned layoffs and program cuts, NJ.com reported. The cuts would have included 14 full-time faculty positions, an unknown number of part-time adjunct slots and more than a dozen majors. Rider said that the two years of faculty salary freezes will free up $2 million.
Today on the Academic Minute: Russell Ciochon, professor of anthropology at the University of Iowa, explains that this isn't the first time humans have faced the crisis of rising sea levels. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
As tensions continue at the University of Missouri at Columbia, a popular professor resigned Wednesday, but the university says it has not accepted his resignation. Dale Brigham, a professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, resigned after he was widely criticized on social media for sending his students email messages saying that he would give an exam as scheduled, even as many students were worried for their safety amid reports of threats to the campus. “If you give in to bullies, they win. The only way bullies are defeated is by standing up to them. If we cancel the exam, they win; if we go through with it, they lose,” he said in his emails, according to press accounts.
Amid the criticism, Brigham turned in his resignation, which he confirmed in an email message to Inside Higher Ed. But he also indicated that the university had not responded to his resignation yet. Brigham told KOMU News, “I am just trying to do what I think is best for our students and the university as an institution. If my leaders think that my leaving would help, I am all for it. I made a mistake, and I do not want to cause further harm.” A spokesperson for the university said Wednesday evening that the resignation has not been accepted.
Survey of administrators finds more colleges are turning to those off the tenure track to teach courses online, but also a "fundamental divide" among institutions about how to handle those instructors.