faculty

3 Texas Professors Sue to Block Campus Carry Law

Three professors at the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday sued the university and the state and asked a federal judge to issue an injunction to block a campus carry law from taking effect Aug. 1, The Texas Tribune reported. The state has vowed to move ahead with the law. The suit charges that the law violates faculty members' First and Second Amendment rights. By making professors fear that their discussions of controversial topics could incite violence, the law limits their First Amendment free expression rights, the suit says.

And the suit says the Second Amendment -- normally cited by gun rights supporters -- is also at issue. "The Second Amendment is not a one-way street," the suit says. "It starts with the proposition that a 'well-regulated militia' is necessary to the security of a free state. The Supreme Court has explained that 'well-regulated' means 'imposition of proper discipline and training.'" The suit goes on to say, "If the state is to force them to admit guns into their classrooms, then the officials responsible for the compulsory policy must establish that there is a substantial reason for the policy and that their regulation of the concealed carrying of handguns on college campuses is 'well-regulated.' Current facts indicate that they cannot do so."

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Colorado Dean Criticized for Treatment of Women

David Ikenberry was recently reappointed as dean of the business school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. But The Daily Camera reported that he was reappointed despite complaints in an anonymous faculty survey about how he treated women. Some professors said that they would leave the university if Ikenberry won another term as dean.

"Dean Ikenberry has behaved in a manner that is, in my opinion, unethical, and in some instances clearly discriminatory," wrote one survey respondent. "He has shown repeatedly that he does not fully value the capacity of women at Leeds [the business school]; in some cases he denigrates women. Although he presents himself as an advocate of diversity, he appears incapable of responding positively when challenged with different views, especially when challenged by women."

Ikenberry told the newspaper he didn't "quite know how to react" to the comments. "I'm not able to really respond to the anonymous nature of some of those comments," he said. "We work hard to create a positive and inclusive work environment for everyone and to the extent that there are those who disagree or have concerns, it's something that I, too, share in concern." He added that "we've made quite a bit of change and it's been agreeable to some and disagreeable to others."

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Ph.D. candidates should consider careers other than in the faculty (essay)

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You can love your field, your specialty area and academe, but sometimes they won't love you back, writes Christine Kelly.

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Use of 'casual' (adjunct) instructors spreads in Australia

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Australian universities' use of adjunct instructors grows much faster than other types of faculty employment -- especially for teaching-only positions.

Advice on how to get yourself out of a writing rut (essay)

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Even if you haven't yet tackled your summer writing project, you still have plenty of time to make significant progress, writes Kerry Ann Rockquemore.

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Elie Wiesel's Years in Academe

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate who died Saturday, was a Holocaust survivor who spent much of his career writing about the Holocaust and advocating for the preservation of its history. He was also, for decades, a faculty member at Boston University. In 1976, Wiesel became the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at BU, and he was also a member of the faculties in philosophy and religion.

While Wiesel has not been teaching regularly in recent years, BU in 2006 republished an article from Bostonia, the university's alumni magazine, about Wiesel in the classroom. (The reprinted article follows a few paragraphs in this link about Wiesel turning 80.) The photo shows Wiesel with students.

Boston University is also home to Wiesel's archives and the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. That research center reacted on Twitter to Wiesel's death.

Wiesel also had ties to City College of City University of New York, where he served as Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies, and to Chapman University, where as a presidential fellow he made regular visits to the campus from 2011 to 2015.

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Science Groups: Congress Must Accept Climate Change

Thirty-one scientific societies last week wrote to members of Congress, urging them to accept that climate change is real. The letter comes at a time when many Republicans in Congress, including members of committees with responsibility for science spending and science policy, dispute the scientific consensus that climate change is happening.

"We, as leaders of major scientific organizations, write to remind you of the consensus scientific view of climate change," the letter says. "Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science."

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Advice for scholars on giving television interviews (essay)

Erin L. Thompson gives advice to academics being interviewed on television about how to be a good talking head (even if you’re wearing the wrong shoes).

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Some Professors Object to Removal of Temple Provost

Some professors at Temple University are protesting the decision to remove Hai-Lung Dai as provost this week without any public explanation, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Faculty members say the university should explain its actions. A university spokesman said Temple doesn't comment on personnel matters, but "we do not take these matters lightly." A petition organized by faculty members states that "actions of this magnitude must be explained and cannot seem to be made arbitrarily."

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Report Criticizes Proposed Rules on Human Subjects

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine urges the creation of an independent commission to examine federal regulations on research involving human subjects, and the rejection of proposed changes in those rules. The report says the proposed rule extends regulations involving human subjects beyond reasonable protections. For example, the report says the new proposed regulations cover biospecimens, such as tissue, blood, saliva and urine, among others. Current rules allow research to be performed using previously collected biospecimens without informed consent as long as the specimens are not linked to an individual, and the report says that changing that rule would be disruptive to much important research.

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