Adjuncts at 2 More Colleges Vote to Unionize

Adjunct professors at Howard University and the Maryland Institute College of Art are the latest Washington-area non-tenure-track instructors to vote to form unions affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, they announced Wednesday. Those adjuncts join others at George Washington University, American University, Georgetown University and Montgomery College who have formed chapters affiliated with SEIU Local 500. Adjuncts in eight other cities are organizing with SEIU, and unions already have been voted in at Tufts and Lesley Universities in Boston.

At Maryland Institute, adjuncts voted 163 to 75 in favor of a union. In a statement, adjunct instructor Katherine Kavanaugh said: "We were always clear that this process was not about a quick fix for salaries. There are many issues that are critical for educating some of the best art students in the country and we are hopeful that, as a union, we can begin to make those changes with the support of the administration." A spokeswoman for the college said it looked forward to working with the union and was "confident that our adjuncts will continue to join us in making their highest priority the academic and campus experiences of our students.” At Howard, a smaller unit, adjuncts voted 46 to 5 in favor. A spokeswoman for that university said it has an "enduring commitment to excellence in teaching, research and clinical service delivery," and a "long tradition of fairness, and will continue to negotiate in good faith with all represented employees to meet our mission." Both votes still must be verified by the National Labor Relations Board.


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Essay on difficulty of finding a job for an expert on Russia

The United States needs experts on Russia. But Mark Lawrence Schrad, one such expert, describes how difficult it is to find a job in academe with this specialty.
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Report notes issues raised as English become global higher ed language

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As English grows as language of instruction worldwide, many key issues remain unresolved, report says.

Academic Minute: Plants and Environmental Issues

In today’s Academic Minute, Lee Newman, associate professor at the State University of New York's College of Environment Science and Forestry, discusses phytoremediation as a potential clean-up method. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


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Female faculty member sues over tenure denial she attributes to child care duties

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Former University of Pennsylvania history professor asserts in a lawsuit that she was denied tenure because she took time off to care for her children.

Cedarville Fires Adjunct Over Anti-Boehner Ad

Cedarville University has fired J.D. Winteregg, an adjunct professor of French, over an online video used in his Republican primary challenge to John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Winteregg, who has Tea Party backing, has an ad that is a parody of a Cialis commercial about treating erectile dysfunction. In the Winteregg ad, Boehner's name is mocked and he is said to have "electicle dysfunction." In a statement confirming that Winteregg was no longer teaching, Cedarville said that the university "does not engage in partisan politics and holds a high regard for displaying Christian values in the community."





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How a small clause in a faculty contract got one professor promoted

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How one little clause in an associate professor's contract help him get promoted to "full."

Georgetown of Kentucky Cuts Faculty by 20%

Georgetown College in Kentucky will eliminate 20 percent of faculty positions and four majors to deal with a deficit brought on by an enrollment decline, Kentucky.com reported. The majors to be eliminated are computer science, French, German and music. The college is also ending temporarily its matching contributions to employee retirement accounts.

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2 Houston Professors Charged With Lying to Get Grants

Abdelhak Bensaoula and David Starikov, professors of physics at the University of Houston, are facing federal charges of conspiracy, making false statement and wire fraud, all in connection with federal grant applications, The Houston Chronicle reported. No comment was available from the professors, but the university said that the charges -- if true -- would make the institution a victim in the case.

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Colleges Urged to Count Patents in Tenure Reviews

Universities should begin making patents and other industrial and commercial research count toward promotion and tenure, in an effort to stimulate such research nationwide, argues a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. "There is a fundamental disconnect between technology transfer activities and incentives for faculty members in terms of merit raises, tenure and career advancement," Richard B. Marchase, co-author and vice president for research and economic development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a news release. "Beyond the monetary benefit of licensing, which is small in most cases, there is presently little to no benefit to a faculty member's merit raises, tenure and career advancement."

The paper builds on a 2012 report from the National Research Council and other groups saying that business and industry have "largely dismantled large corporate research laboratories that drove American industrial leadership," and which argues that research universities must "fill the gap." In the new paper, called "Changing the Academic Culture: Valuing Patents and Commercialization Toward Tenure and Career Advancement," the authors argue that filling the research gap will entail changing the university "rewards culture" to value not only large research grants but also professors' patents and other commercial activities. Co-author Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, notes that this kind of work should not replace but "add to" traditional means of assessing scholarly activity. The paper's lead author is Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida and president of the National Academy of Inventors. An abstract is available here.

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