California State U Faculty Authorizes Possible Strike

The union representing professors at the California State University System have voted to authorize a strike if faculty and administrative leaders cannot reach agreement on a pay raise. The tactic is intended to increase pressure on Cal State administrators to take seriously the union's demands for a 5 percent across-the-board raise and a further boost for those on the lower end of the pay scale; the system is offering 2 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Cal State union has voted to authorize strikes four times since 2007, but has actually gone to the picket lines only once, in 2011, according to the Times.

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Protest at U of Minnesota delays speech by Israeli professor for half hour

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At U of Minnesota, protesters' interruptions delayed Israeli professor from talking. After three are arrested, they say their free speech rights were violated.

Editorial says journal impact factors have lost credibility

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A journal editorial says manipulations have made "impact factor" statistics meaningless.

Yale to Spend $50M on Faculty Diversity Effort

Yale University will spend $50 million over five years to enhance the diversity of its faculty, its leaders announced Tuesday. About half of the money will be used to match individual departments' funds to help hire "targets of opportunity who would enrich diversity or contribute on another dimension of strategic importance to the university," and to hire up to 10 visiting professors a year. Funds will also support improved faculty development offerings and expand some fellowship and other programs aimed at building the pool of prospective faculty members.

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Northwestern philosophy professor resigns during termination hearing over sexual harassment findings

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In an unexpected move, a Northwestern professor found guilty of sexual harassment resigns during his termination hearing.

Court: Harris-Stowe State U Owes $4.85 Million to White Former Professor

Harris-Stowe State University must pay a former full-time education instructor $4.85 million in damages related to her racial bias claims, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A St. Louis circuit court ruled that the historically black university discriminated against Beverly Wilkins, who is white, when it fired her in 2010.

Wilkins said one administrator in particular, Latisha Smith, a former dean and department head, failed to follow a reduction in force policy in pegging her for termination over several other black faculty members. The lawsuit alleges that Smith purged the department of all white faculty members, except one protected by tenure, and that she covered up her bias by deleting incriminating emails. Smith blamed budget cuts for Wilkins’s termination, but continued to hire additional faculty members -- including two to cover Wilkins’s classes, who together were paid more than her salary -- Michael Meyers, her lawyer, told the Dispatch.

Ronald Norwood, chairman of the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents, called the ruling “regrettable” in a statement, and said the university was dedicated to moving forward after key leadership changes.

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Part-Timers Unionize at St. Louis Community College

Part-time instructors at St. Louis Community College voted 188-15 this weekend to unionize and to be represented by the Service Employees International Union, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The SEIU is attempting to organize multiple colleges in the St. Louis area.

The administration, unlike those at many other colleges where adjuncts are being organized into unions, endorsed collective bargaining. Jeff Pittman, chancellor, said it was in the “best interests of our students” for adjuncts to have a union. “I think it’s a positive anytime you can better work with a group and share ideas and insights,” he said.

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Renaissance Society of America seeks to avoid another #ProQuestGate

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Renaissance Society of America seeks to avoid a repeat of last week's controversy with a new deal that guarantees members access to a database many feared they would lose.

National survey sheds light on previously ignored adjunct faculty concerns

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National survey shines light on previously ignored concerns about working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty members.

Is Wisconsin System Chief Backtracking on Tenure?

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross has come under fire from faculty and a high-profile administrator for his changing stance on how the system should address tenure in light of recent changes to its legal status in the state. Faculty members and Chancellor Rebecca Blank of the University of Wisconsin at Madison have criticized Cross’s recent directive that new tenure polices can’t be written at the campus level, saying that the guidance contradicts Cross’s earlier assurances that tenure as it’s known would be preserved at the campus level -- even though the Wisconsin state Legislature changed the law to make it easier to fire tenured faculty members.

“We were assured by Ray and others that Madison could write policies, which would be reviewed by the [system Board of Regents] for approval,” Blank wrote to John Behling, a regent who chairs a newly formed task force charged with reviewing the system’s tenure policies, in reference to Cross’s memo. “Those voices that have argued for more extreme policies (and have argued that the [board] is less than trustworthy on these issues) will be strongly reinforced, and those of us who have been trying to shepherd this in a responsible way toward resolution are likely to lose effectiveness.”

Cross’s memo -- as well as a draft version of a systemwide tenure policy saying professors could be fired for “underperforming” -- also angered faculty meetings at a faculty meeting late last month, according to the Wisconsin State-Journal. (Blank’s emailed letter was obtained by The Capital Times.) On Friday, the American Federation of Teachers in Wisconsin called for Cross to step down over his handling of the tenure issue, among others, saying “we no longer have confidence in his leadership.”

John Lucas, a spokesman for Madison, said Blank had since met with Cross to discuss her concerns. “Chancellor Blank is satisfied that UW Madison will have the opportunity to adopt its own language in [Madison’s] faculty policies and procedures, once a broad system policy is enacted,” Lucas added. “This is consistent with how other issues are managed between the system and individual campuses.”

Blank reiterated that message in a statement released late Friday, and said she expected the Madison Faculty Senate to pass a draft tenure policy today that will be sent to the system's tenure task force as a suggested campus policy. Once a broad system policy is adopted, she said, Madison will have the opportunity to finalize its specific terms. Behling said in a statement that he was glad Blank clarified her statement and that she and Cross are now “on the same page.”

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