faculty

ISTE launches online learning platform for educators

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) on Monday unveiled an online learning platform with courses on topics including digital citizenship, computational thinking, artificial intelligence and personalized learning. The courses expand on the professional development provided by the organization at its annual conference, underway this week in Chicago.

New resource aims to improve search process for online programs

Finding an online program could get a little bit easier for students with the help of a new questionnaire from five organizations focused on improving the quality and accessibility of digital learning.

Books for thinking deeply about online and digital learning

Here's what you should be reading this summer to keep abreast of what's happening in digital and online education.

How to make faculty service demands more equitable (opinion)

Some faculty members do more than their fair share of department service, institutional housekeeping and student mentoring, writes KerryAnn O’Meara, who provides guidance for how to make such demands more equitable.

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U Michigan Lecturers Win Big Raises in Tentative Contract

The American Federation of Teachers-affiliated lecturers’ union for the University of Michigan’s campuses at Flint, Ann Arbor and Dearborn reached a tentative contract agreement that includes substantial increases for minimum pay and equity adjustments depending on length of service.

By the end of the third year of the agreement, entry-level lecturers’ pay will increase by $16,500, or 48 percent, in Ann Arbor; $13,700, or 50 percent, in Flint; and $12,700, or 45 percent, in Dearborn, the union announced. Current lecturers will get annual base pay raises ranging from $3,000 to $12,000. Lecturers currently earning over $80,000 per year will receive a combination of base increases and lump-sum payments.

University retirement contributions for lecturers also will increase, and lecturers now have access to health care and new job-security protections. Dues-paying union members will vote on the contract agreement in July. The union and the university have been negotiating a contract since October, with the union authorizing and then holding off on a planned strike over protracted negotiations this spring.

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How faculty can help reform dysfunctional departments (opinion)

Dysfunctional departments have identifiable patterns, and faculty members share some responsibility for dealing with them, argue Nicholas C. Burbules, C. K. Gunsalus and Robert A. Easter.

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Lecturer's explanation for gender gap in computer science is that it reflect women's choices

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Lecturer at University of Washington says he's standing up to political correctness. Many challenge his facts.

How to advocate for change early in your academic career (opinion)

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Adriana Bankston offers six tips for how to effectively use your voice to benefit society early in your academic career.

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State Audit Says U California Paid $4.5 Million in Harassment Settlements

A state audit released Thursday said the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Los Angeles and Davis did not consistently discipline faculty members accused of sexual harassment, the Los Angeles Times reported. The campuses also took longer to discipline members of the Academic Senate than staff members. Across its campuses, the university system paid out nearly $4.5 million in 20 settlements related to sexual harassment from 2008 to 2017. The audit found the settlements were reasonable, according to the Times. But it found that the university could improve in responding to complaints with clearer communication and times frames. The audit also recommended that the university require administrators dealing with these cases to consult the campus office for compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits gender-based harassment. System President Janet Napolitano accepted all recommendations in a letter to the auditor and noted that the university has been working to overhaul its harassment policies and responses since 2014. 

California Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian reportedly requested the audit last year after learning about a case involving a Ph.D. student in French at the Los Angeles campus who alleged that her faculty advisor, Eric Gans, repeatedly expressed romantic interest in her for two years, through 2012. The student complained, and the university found that Gans had violated workplace policies by creating a hostile environment and attempting to initiate a relationship with someone he supervised. He agreed to resign and seek no further work with the university. The student’s settlement included an undisclosed payment but also prohibited her from studying or working at any system campus or affiliate. In seeking the audit, Nazarian said it was “imperative to audit and see if this is a common practice among any state agency to revictimize those they have allowed to be a victim to begin with,” the Times reported. The audit revealed no other settlements that stipulated a ban on future employment for reporters of harassment.

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Brown Agrees to Grad Union Election Terms

Brown University and its would-be graduate student union on Thursday announced their agreement on terms for a possible union election, outside of National Labor Relations Board channels. The board decided in 2016 that graduate students on private campuses have the right to form unions. But students at several institutions have since withdrawn their petitions from the board over concerns that a Trump-appointed body might reverse that earlier decision. Some university administrations have openly opposed unionization efforts, saying that graduate students are students, not employees. Richard M. Locke, Brown’s provost, said in a statement that while the university’s principal “relationship with our graduate students is as students,” it also recognizes and values “the work they do as teaching and/or research assistants.”

The new agreement outlines election procedures, voter eligibility and a dispute-resolution process for any election. The American Federation of Teachers-affiliated union needs support from at least 30 percent of members of the proposed union before filing a petition for an election. The union has said that a majority of its 1,400 possible members support unionization and that an election could be held as soon as the fall. “Graduate students are valued members of our community and central to the university’s mission,” Locke said. “We fully support their right to decide for themselves whether unionization is in their best interest, and to working collaboratively to strengthen graduate education at Brown.”

Georgetown University and graduate student organizers reached a similar agreement in April. Lubabah Chowdhury, a third-year graduate assistant in English at Brown, said in a separate statement the new pre-election agreement “is a win not only for grad workers at Brown, but across the country. Grad workers at Brown have shown that student activism and organizing can and does effect real change. I am excited to vote for a union that will protect all graduate students from sexist and racist harassment and discrimination, and from exploitative working conditions, and will empower us to fight for urgent and necessary changes in higher education.” New York University entered into a private union agreement with its United Auto Workers-affiliated graduate student union in 2013.

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