Citing longstanding concerns about academic freedom and shared governance under its current administration, the faculty at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., on Tuesday voted no confidence in Albert Gruner, chairman of the Board of Trustees. The faculty called for his immediate resignation from the board, saying his “unwavering support” of a former trustee accused of posting an anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim video on Twitter, along with “hostile confrontations” of faculty members, in particular, made him unfit to lead. The vote was 55 in favor and 10 opposed, with six faculty members abstaining.
The college said in a statement that it "values all opinions and concerns. The trustees, like the president, are firmly committed to shared governance and recognize the important role played by the faculty, administration, and the board in advancing the college." Charles P. Frank, vice chair of the board, said in a separate statement that Gruner "used a reasoned and measured approach in his inquiry into concerns regarding a newly-appointed trustee. This is the manner in which a person with his fiduciary responsibilities should act. ...Throughout his tenure as board chair [Gruner] has always upheld the foundations of shared governance and the mission" of the college.
The shift from a subordinate learner as a grad student to a would-be peer on the job market is one of the most predictable traumas in an academic's life, inducing professional and emotional distress in almost everyone who encounters it, writes Tim Cassedy.
TIAA-CREF, which provides financial services and retirement planning to employees of colleges and universities, will shorten its name to TIAA, the company announced. The name change is part of a larger rebranding effort, which also includes a new website and logo design.
The rebranding is meant to capitalize on the company’s history -- founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1918, it was originally called TIAA -- while also highlighting its ability to innovate. The company was originally created to fund retirement plans for professors, but it has since branched out; now it also serves researchers, government workers and medical professionals, among others.
The company also hopes the rebranding will make its services easier to navigate. The name will be easier to say; the content will be easier to read. Website copy will be written more directly and will be accompanied by more images.
“When it comes to planning for the future, our research found that many people don’t know where to start,” Connie Weaver, chief marketing officer at TIAA, said in a press release. “The reimagined TIAA customer experience is designed to break through the fear and inertia that people may have when it comes to financial decision making.
Inver Hills Community College, in Minnesota, has placed Dave Berger, a faculty member in sociology, on leave and barred him from campus. The move is raising questions, The Star Tribune reported, because Berger is the grievance representative of the faculty union and the move follows a faculty vote of no confidence in President Tim Wynes. Berger said he hasn't been told why the college placed him on leave. The college says it cannot discuss details, but that the reason has nothing to do with Berger's union activism.
The University of Iowa saw a 36 percent jump in faculty resignations last year compared to a year earlier -- 66 resignations in 2013-14 versus 90 in 2014-15 -- according to a report from the Iowa Board of Regents. Over the same period, the number of resignations at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa fell slightly, the Iowa City Press-Citizenreported.
Kevin Kregel, associate provost for the faculty at the University of Iowa, told the Press-Citizen that the institution is looking into what caused the spike, and regents are set to discuss the matter at their meeting later this month. Based on information from faculty exit surveys, part of the problem is faculty salaries compared to those outside academe, Kregel said. That's especially true in the medical school, from which a majority of last year’s resignations came. Bruce Harreld, university president, recently asked the Iowa Legislature to approve a $4.5 million increase in state funding, to be used to attract and retain top faculty members, according to the Press-Citizen. Twenty-five resignations across the University of Iowa came from minority faculty members, the highest among the state’s regents universities, though Kregel said that was comparable to other institutions as a percentage of total resignations.