Manhattan’s General Theological Seminary welcomed back on a provisional basis Monday seven of the eight faculty members it dismissed earlier this year, the The New York Timesreported. The seminary’s Board of Trustees said the faculty members offered their de-facto resignation in September when they went on strike over what they called the poor leadership of the president and dean, the Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle. But the faculty members said they were illegally fired. The move was heavily criticized by alumni, members of the church and others in higher education, and now the seminary says it will work with the faculty members – who have been stripped of their tenure protections and have only been assured jobs until the end of the year – to address their concerns during a mediation process, through June. The one non-returning faculty member accepted a severance package, according to The Times.
The English department at Wilfrid Laurier University, in Ontario, has announced that all syllabuses will note that the university is built on land that belonged to Native Canadian groups. The statement will say: “We acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee peoples.” A statement from the department chair, Ute Lischke, said, “In many of our classes at Laurier we critique power dynamics and including this acknowledgement on our course outlines certainly helps to raise students’ awareness about the continuing nature of colonialism. Such a statement will also help students to think about our own personal relationship to this history. We hope that the Laurier community will take notice and that other departments might follow suit.”
A year after it voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions, American Studies Association is sticking to its guns. But it wants to broaden its public image, and demonstrate involvement in activism beyond Middle East.
Kentucky State University, facing severe budget constraints due to falling enrollment, has announced a new round of cuts, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Administrative positions are being eliminated and 32 adjunct positions have been eliminated until full-time faculty members all have full course loads. In addition, the university has suspended the awarding of tenure to faculty members. Those on the tenure track but not tenured will undergo reviews to determine whether they can stay. Enrollment at the historically black college has dropped from 2,533 last fall to 1,869 this fall.
Peter A. Smith, a professor of English and president of the Faculty Senate, said this in an email to Inside Higher Ed: "All of the faculty I have spoken with applaud the president's plan to make the university's administrative structure more efficient and to reduce spending that is not critical to our educational mission. Much of what was in his plan was what faculty had been asking the previous administration to do for years. As for the plan to 'review' the non-tenured faculty to decide whether or not to re-employ them, we do have some questions and concerns that we hope will be addressed in the very near future. We will begin discussing these concerns with the administration in anticipation that we can all agree upon on a process that will be fair and focused on our mutual goal of providing our students with the best education possible."
Smith added that the suspension of tenure was not by itself a huge concern, provided that the suspension is for a brief period of time. But he said that faculty leaders had no knowledge that this was going to happen. "The major concern that I heard about that is that it came, quite literally, just as the University Tenure and Promotion Committee was concluding its work and issuing its recommendations," Smith said. "It had never been mentioned to faculty before Friday, so the timing is quite inopportune."
Michael McAdoo, formerly a football player at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has sued the institution, saying that by guiding him (and other athletes) to fake courses, it deprived him of an education, the Associated Press reported. The suit seeks to become a class action on behalf of other athletes who were steered into fake courses. The lawsuit says that coaches and others "enticed these football student-athletes to sign the agreements with promises of a legitimate UNC education.... Instead, UNC systematically funneled its football student-athletes into a 'shadow curriculum' of bogus courses which never met and which were designed for the sole purpose of providing enrollees high grades."
International graduate students are faced with an added challenge on the U.S. job market -- get a job or go home -- but it's possible to turn their foreignness to their advantage, Christopher Garland writes.