Nearly 150 adjuncts at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks were not paid on schedule Sept. 18, and some still have not been paid. Adjuncts contacted Inside Higher Ed about the problem anonymously, citing concerns about their lack of job security. They indicated that a missed paycheck can be more disruptive for an adjunct than someone on the tenure track, given the tight budgets on which many adjuncts live.
The university said paperwork problems were to blame and that 102 of the adjuncts have since received their Sept. 18 paychecks, and another 26 should be paid by the end of this week. Some checks may be delayed further because there are additional paperwork requirements to pay those adjuncts who work in multiple divisions of the university or who teach music (where some instruction is in the form of private lessons). The university said all adjuncts would be paid.
Calvin College, which has been fighting to stabilize its budget, is cutting a number of humanities programs, saying that they are not attracting enough students, MLive reported. Among the programs being ended: theater, art history and the languages of German, Greek and Latin.
Faculty members are among the fortunate winners of this year's “genius” fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The no-strings fellowships are awarded to “individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future.” The winners receive $625,000 over five years, and people cannot apply for the fellowship -- the foundation simply makes its selections.
This year's winners from academe are:
Patrick Awuah, founder and president of Ashesi University College, in Ghana.
Kartik Chandran, associate professor of earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University.
Matthew Desmond, associate professor of sociology and social studies at Harvard University.
Drury University, in Missouri, is eliminating the jobs of 12 faculty members, none of them with tenure but some on the tenure track, The Springfield News-Leader reported. The university cited an enrollment decline this year, and said that it was eliminating positions in departments with reduced student demand. The faculty members who lost jobs were in theater, philosophy, music, education and languages. The university said that it plans to grow in fields with more student demand, and as a result is adding programs in film and TV production, digital design, animation, and professional writing. The choices of topics for growth, and the fields of those having jobs eliminated, have prompted some on campus to create a Facebook page called "Save Drury as a Liberal Arts School."
Graduate student workers at Cornell University voted to form a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, they announced Thursday. The election took place outside National Labor Relations Board channels and the university has not recognized Cornell Graduate Students United. There’s a federal labor law precedent against graduate student worker unions at private colleges -- Cornell is private, although it operates some units of the State University of New York -- but the union says it would like to be recognized by the university anyway, outside of litigation. (New York University recognized its United Autoworkers-affiliated graduate student union, for example.) If that doesn't happen, the Cornell union says, it will explore various options to further student workers’ goals, which include increased stipends, workers’ compensation, six- and seventh-year funding, and more say in university affairs.
Joel M. Malina, a Cornell spokesperson, said in a statement that graduate student workers are not considered employees under federal labor law since “their relationship with the university is primarily educational. As a result, they do not have the right to union representation or to engage in collective bargaining. Cornell will follow the law.” If the law changes, he said, and graduate student workers still want a union, “such considerations are ultimately a matter for Cornell graduate assistants to decide through the appropriate process, which may include a legally sanctioned election should a sufficient number of graduate students request one.”