Authorities last week arrested a man who entered a classroom at Louisiana College and tried to pass himself off as a professor. A student who realized that the man was not the professor left the classroom and called the police. The man has been charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
A job ad for a position at the University of Bristol, in Britain, is capturing attention with its headline: "Associate Dean of Eureka Moments." (The first Eureka moment is illustrated at right -- but today's deans may be inspired in other locations.) The ad is actually for associate dean for the university's Faculty of Health Sciences. The position -- detailed here -- is for an "inspirational educational leader, who can build on our established reputation as a pioneering powerhouse of global medical research and education."
Jonathan Sandy, the dean of health sciences, said via email that the person who is hired won't actually hold the title associate dean of eureka moments. "This was to attract interest," he said. "The idea was from the advertising company and we are getting some interest even this early."
In today's Academic Minute, Stacy Tye-Williams, professor of communication and English at Iowa State University, sheds some light on bullying as it occurs in the professional arena. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Members of Columbia College’s part-time faculty association, “P-Fac,” voted 232 to 50 to disaffiliate from the Illinois Education Association, they announced Wednesday. Just about half of eligible members participated in the vote. Diana Vallera, P-Fac president, said in a statement that the election was really about the ability of “part-time and contingent faculty to control their own destiny.” She said remaining part of the Illinois Education Association, which is affiliated with the National Education Association, was a “roadblock to effective advocacy for our members.”
P-Fac had raised concerns in recent months about staff members at Columbia College trying to secure teaching assignments that adjuncts wanted. The part-time faculty union worried about the Illinois Education Association’s ability to represent members’ concerns impartially, since the staff union, United Staff of Columbia College, also is affiliated with the Illinois Education Association. The Illinois Education Association said in a statement that it values “the right of [union] members to vote on important issues and to have the results of their vote respected.” But the association also said members had raised “significant” concerns about the fairness of the election process. It said it will conduct an investigation in coming weeks into those complaints. In the interim, the association said it will “continue to honor our commitments to P-fac members and provide updates as appropriate.”
Did a Romanian scholar publish bogus articles in questionable journals just to be able to self-cite and raise his Google Scholar rating? That’s what Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver, alleges on his predatory publisher watchdog blog, Scholarly Open Access. Beall says that Ştefan Vlăduţescu, associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Craiova in Romania, has been cited 1,709 times on Google Scholar but that many of the citations are questionable. Most appear in dozens of articles published in three open-access journals with Swiss street addresses but Polish URLs. Beall says each article cites the scholar’s work 10-12 times, and that Vlăduţescu “buries the self-citations in long bibliographies at the ends of the articles, references that don't completely match the in-text citations in the papers.”
For example, Beall says, one of Vlăduţescu’s articles in the International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, called “Persuasion and the hygiene of communication," has five pages of text but 72 references listed -- and just 19 in-text citations. Vlăduţescu is listed as the author of 11 of the 72 works cited.
Beall said via email: “This means that Google Scholar cannot be trusted as a source for scholarly metrics. Using predatory publishers, researchers can easily, dishonestly, and quickly increase the metrics that Google Scholars records for them.”
Adjuncts facing temporary financial hardship may soon seek out help from PrecariCorps, a new nonprofit organization founded by fellow adjuncts and adjunct activists. The national group is applying for 501(c)(3) status to be able to match donations from individuals and organizations with applicants’ various needs. Brianne Bolin, an adjunct instructor of writing and rhetoric and oral expression at Columbia College in Chicago who was the subject of a recent Elle magazine piece on the “hypereducated” poor, said the group aims help adjuncts pay gas or electricity bills, especially during the summer or winter months or at the beginning of a semester when paychecks are delayed.
“I'm most excited about helping relieve the stress that accompanies our inability to pay for our basic necessities, which helps not only the adjuncts ourselves, but our families and our students, who will be given more attention and care because we'll be able to function more properly without the weight of stress,” Bolin said via email. “To put it in the words of a slogan I saw painted onto a sign during [last year’s faculty strike at the University of Illinois at Chicago,] ‘Cultural capital can't pay the bills.’ ”
Beyond grants, PrecariCorps aims to create educational media on higher education finances for parents and students, create a database of adjunct faculty news, and research adjunct faculty issues as they relate to higher education quality.