U of Iowa Sees Spike in Faculty Resignations

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-Citizen reported.

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.

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Rival editors raise questions about drug trial research funded and often controlled by manufacturers

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Rival editors raise questions about drug trial research funded and often controlled by manufacturers.

Controversial Trustee Quits at N.Y.'s Mount Saint Mary

Andrew Bournos, a controversial new member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary College, in Newburgh, N.Y., has resigned. Faculty members objected to Bournos’s social media profile, in particular his tweet about a video that claimed Jews and Muslims have no faith. The college initially decided that because Bournos hadn’t “liked” the video, he hadn’t endorsed it. But in a brief email to faculty and staff members on Tuesday -- a day after Inside Higher Ed wrote about the controversy and various other faculty concerns about shared governance on campus -- Albert Gruner, board chair, said he had accepted Bournos’s resignation. A college spokesperson said via email, "All of us at the Mount remain committed to providing our students with an outstanding education steeped in the proud tradition of the Dominican sisters." The college's advocacy chapter of the American Association of University Professors said in a statement Wednesday that Bournos's departure is "welcome news for the entire college community, and we hope it is the first of many steps to be taken by the Board of Trustees in order to repair and restore a healthy working relationship between the administration and the faculty, staff and students[.]" 

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Mount St. Mary's board sends conciliatory email, but supporters of president are sending harsher emails

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Board sends conciliatory email to faculty members at Maryland institution, but they are also receiving messages from some alumni telling them to stop opposing the president.

Jewish Professors Charge Wheelock With Bias

Two Jewish professors have filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging Wheelock College with anti-Jewish bias, The Boston Globe reported. The complaints say that after the professors complained about a lack of Jewish perspective in various campus discussions, the administration spread false reports that they were racist, hurting their reputations and careers. Wheelock officials said the claims were "without merit."

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Study: Top Scientists, Children and Decisions to Move

A new study of elite life scientists finds that they are more likely than other life scientists to relocate, but the age of their children may discourage them from doing so. The study (abstract available here) was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study found that the greater rates of relocation were not evident for scientists with children ages 14-17, when many families are reluctant to ask children to change schools.

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Court: Antitrust Case Against Duke and UNC May Move Forward

A legal challenge to an alleged no-hire agreement between Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has survived an important test. On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles rejected the universities’ request to dismiss a lawsuit from an assistant professor of radiology at Duke who claimed that she’d been denied a job at North Carolina due to an alleged agreement that the two universities wouldn’t recruit from each others’ faculties.

The class-action suit brought by that professor, Danielle Seaman, alleges that the secret agreement was binding, with the intent to artificially suppress wages, and violates antitrust laws. The recent court decision includes a denial of state action immunity against antitrust liability, based on the defendants’ argument that they should be exempt from federal antitrust laws because a state university and health system is involved. Seaman’s attorney, Dean Harvey, said in a statement that the decision “confirmed that secret agreements in restraint of trade are not immune from the antitrust laws simply because a co-conspirator is a state employee.” A spokesperson for Duke declined comment, as did a spokesperson for North Carolina.

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Philosophy association issues statement against bullying

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Philosophy association issues statement against the way some scholars are being treated. Some praise the effort. Others fear it could limit free expression.

Author discusses his new book on historians

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Author discusses his new book, explaining his discipline and the work professors do.

Latest on Mount St. Mary's: Accreditation, Parents

The latest on the controversy at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland, where many are outraged by the firing of two faculty members without faculty reviews -- dismissals widely viewed as an attempt to squelch dissent.

  • Inside Higher Ed asked the university's accreditor if it plans to examine what is going on and received a reply that it does. Elizabeth H. Sibolski, president of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, said via email, “I did want to assure you that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is well aware of developments that have been reported in national, state and higher education press. We take our accreditation responsibilities seriously and will be addressing the situation through our normal and usual processes.” Asked if this meant looking into the situation before the next review of Mount St. Mary's, she said, “This week’s press has been remarkable -- and the situation has developed over just the past few days. We are concerned and we will act with appropriate care for the integrity of the accreditation process.”
  • Simon Newman, president of Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland, wrote to parents of students Wednesday to tell them that he disagreed with press accounts of a growing national controversy over his dismissal of two faculty members. In his email, Newman said, “I want to briefly address my decision to dismiss two faculty members who violated a number of our university policies and our code of ethics. We, as an institution, have received quite a bit of press recently and have chosen not to respond more forcefully with information about the specifics of their conduct which we have available to us. In keeping with our values, we will take the high road. But it is critical that you know that we would never undertake actions like that unless the conduct in question warranted it. You may see other versions of events, but we have chosen to restore our focus on educating your students rather than explaining the damaging actions of a few individuals. We need to move forward with hope and faith rather than fall prey to fear and disparity during this time of transition.” Many faculty members say that their dismissed colleagues lost their jobs for disagreeing with the president, and they note the absence of any faculty review of the firings.
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