faculty

Study: Fairness in the Classroom Reduces 'Evaluation Retaliation'

Some research suggests that student evaluations of teaching are influenced by students’ expected grades. And some professors report feeling pressure to make their courses easier as a result. A new study says that professors don’t have to worry about grades negatively impacting their student ratings as long as they use classroom practices students perceive to be fair. For their study, researchers surveyed a group of undergraduates’ perceptions of course fairness. They found that the relationship between grades and teaching ratings is attenuated when students believe their marks are determined by a fair process, and when professors seem consistent and responsive in their classroom practices in general.

“We’ve long known there’s an association between expected students’ course grades and how they evaluate teachers,” lead author Thomas Tripp, associate dean of business at Washington State University at Vancouver, said in a statement. “Faculty may not feel a need to award artificially high grades, if they knew how students’ perceptions of justice might influence this relationship.” Tripp and his co-authors found that students’ perception of fair classroom practices is based on four teaching practices: using rubrics and sticking to them; obtaining student feedback and acting on it; grading blindly to avoid bias; and adopting policies that allow for makeup work and absences. The full study, published in the Journal of Marketing Education, is available here.

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Conference for scholars on Asia turns into dispute over academic freedom

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Anger grows over major scholarly meeting in Asian studies, organized by group based in U.S., that will hold conference in India even though Pakistanis will be banned from attending.

Previewing SOLA+R, an UPCEA conference for online learning administrators

Here's what you need to know before you arrive in D.C. next week for a conference geared toward online learning administrators.

Professor's 'Alternative Facts' Investigated

William Paterson University is reviewing allegations that a professor of sociology taught conspiracy theories, according to northjersey.com. The professor, Clyde Magarelli, allegedly said during a course on social problems last semester that Nazi secret police only engaged in torture during the “last part” of World War II, that Irish people were the first slaves in the U.S. and that the moon landing was faked because it is impossible to wave a flag there. A student recorded some of Magarelli’s comments and shared them on Twitter. Magarelli did not respond to a request for comment. "A review of this matter is underway to determine what action may be warranted," Mary Beth Zeman, university spokesperson, said via email.

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Open-source tool aims to make online course creation accessible to all instructors

Developers at Penn State believe their new tool will make creating online courses easier than ever, even for the non-tech savvy.

Resignations at 'Boston Review' Over Junot Diaz

Three poetry editors at the Boston Review resigned in protest of the publication’s decision to continue its relationship with author Junot Diaz, in light of the allegations of sexual misconduct against him, the Associated Press reported. The editors, Timothy Donnelly, Barbara Fischer and Stefania Heim, announced their resignation, effective July 1, on Twitter. Donnelly said via email that it was it was “painful to leave but we couldn’t possibly stay.” He referenced the recent announcement in support of Diaz by Deborah Chasman and Joshua Cohen, editors-in-chief, saying it “was deeply at odds” with the poetry editors’ positions and their work. Chasman and Cohen in the announcement said that the accusations against Diaz, which include unwanted kissing and bullying behavior towards female authors, are not of the “severity that animated the Me Too movement,” either individually or in the aggregate.

“We had to make a practical decision about a relationship with an editor,” Chasman and Cohen told the Associated Press in an email. “We think we made the right decision and stand fully by the reasons we presented in support of it.” VIDA: Women in Literary Arts last week condemned the Boston Review for its stance on Diaz. Feminist academics remain divided in their support.

 
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British Columbia institutions add no-cost textbooks to tuition-free program

Institutions in the Canadian province of British Columbia have since September 2017 offered a government-funded tuition-free certificate in adult basic education. Last week, they sweetened the pot: students enrolling in that program can now access all of their textbook materials for free, courtesy of the existing program at BCcampus, an organization that facilitates the province's technology initiatives.

Advice for tackling publishing projects over the summer (opinion)

Beth L. Hewett gives advice for making the most of summer to write those scholarly articles, book chapters and books that you promised yourself you'd write.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018
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UMass Dartmouth Wants to Boot Chairs From Union

The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth’s American Federation of Teachers-affiliated faculty union is fighting an administrative attempt to remove department chairs from the bargaining unit. “It should not go unnoticed that by removing the 39 department chairs from the Faculty Federation, the federation is weakened and a new department chairs unit would be a very weak unit lacking significant influence,” Catharine Curran, union president and chair of management and marketing, said in a statement this week, issued in response to the university’s petition to a state labor board seeking the removal of chairs and library division heads from the faculty union.

Mohammad Karim, provost, argued to the board that chairs and library division heads are “incontestably supervisors” who do not belong in the same bargaining units with those “rank and file faculty and librarians whom they supervise” and evaluate. “Their continued inclusion in the faculty union creates virtually insuperable barriers to the university’s ability to realize its full potential as a nationally recognized doctoral research university,” he said, according to legal documents.

Karim and Robert E. Johnson, campus chancellor, said in a campus memo Monday that the university recently tried to engage chairs and library division heads in negotiations about such issues as decreased teaching load and increased stipends, in “recognition of the differences in working conditions and potential conflicts with the faculty within their department.” But the chairs did not want to form a new bargaining unit, they said. A university spokesperson said removal of chairs from the unit would bring the Dartmouth campus in line with two other UMass campuses, Boston and Amherst. The Dartmouth campus's administration has stressed that it is not seeking to strip chairs of their right to unionize outright, just their position within the general faculty union.

Curran said that the faculty union at Dartmouth is 50 years old and that chairs, who teach two courses per semester and do other faculty work, always have been part of it. The university’s move is therefore a clear “attempt to gain more control over the faculty, to limit accountability for administrative decision making and justify the existence of a cadre of very highly paid administrators.” The chairs “are some of the most influential, and often outspoken, faculty on campus,” she said. “This legal action cannot be viewed as anything other than an action to chill the faculty voice and faculty influence, and to weaken the Faculty Federation.”

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Institute for technology at liberal arts colleges closes after stagnant two years

An organization that supported technology efforts at liberal arts colleges has closed amid increased competition from groups offering similar services.

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