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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New book explores various arguments for the value of the humanities

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Author of new book explains why no one case can be made for the importance of the humanities -- and why the arguments must be different in America and Britain.

Michigan Professors Object to Raises for Administrators

Faculty members at the University of Michigan have issued an open letter arguing that administrators' salaries have skyrocketed in recent years, while pay for professors has increased only modestly, MLive reported. The letter calls for a full investigation of the issue. A spokesman for the university said officials would investigate.


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Academic Minute: Galaxy Gas and Star Production

In today’s Academic Minute, D.J. Pisano, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at West Virginia University, explains his studies of the chemical elements present in space to unlock mysteries of the universe. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


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UConn professor challenges a visiting preacher and finds himself attacked in conservative blogosphere

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When visiting preachers questioned students' values and called evolution a lie, an anthropologist decided to argue back.

Essay on the impact of the tenure process

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It's time to be honest about how psychologically and professionally damaging the tenure process is, even to those who succeed, writes Cheryl E. Ball.

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Essay defending the idea that collegiality matters in hiring

Departments favor candidates who seem like they will fit in, and there's nothing wrong with that, writes Jeffrey A. Johnson.

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