From 2005 to 2014, inflation‐adjusted expenditures on humanities research and development increased in every year but one, and in 2014 the total was 75 percent higher than it was in 2005, according to new Humanities Indicator data from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The rate of increase is far greater than for most science and technology fields. But the base for humanities spending is much, much smaller than that of other fields. In 2014, spending for humanities research equaled 0.6 percent of the amount dedicated to science and engineering. Unlike most other forms of research in higher education, humanities research does not rely on federal spending for a majority of its support. In 2014, federal support made up only 19 percent of humanities funding. Details may be found here.
Jordan Kurland, who worked for more than 50 years at the American Association of University Professors, died Saturday morning at the age of 87. He worked for the AAUP up until Jan. 8. His title at the AAUP was associate general secretary, and his job focused on conducting investigations into alleged attacks on faculty rights and academic freedom. As an AAUP resolution honoring him noted, Kurland played a role in more than 90 percent of all of the investigations conducted in AAUP history. Last year, as part of the AAUP's celebration of the organization's centennial, Kurland compiled a list of AAUP investigations he considered particularly significant in each decade of the group's history.
The University Senate at Loyola University New Orleans voted 38-10 to pass a measure of no confidence in the president, the Reverend Kevin Wildes, The New Orleans Advocatereported. Professors say cuts Father Wildes has announced are in large part due to poor decisions he made when the university faced earlier financial and enrollment problems. The board has expressed confidence in the president, and board leaders spoke to the University Senate before the vote.
Faculty members at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne formally opposed a recommendation that the university split into two separate universities, Indy Star reported. The Faculty Senate voted unanimously this week to urge the presidents and boards of trustees at Indiana University and Purdue University to reject a recent proposal by a working group tasked by the state's General Assembly to divide the campus. The working group of Indiana, Purdue and Fort Wayne representatives voted 6-2 to approve the recommendation, but Fort Wayne Chancellor Vicky Carwein said she voted against it, according to the Star. Fort Wayne Faculty Senate President Andrew Downs, an associate professor of political science, also voted against it.
According to the working group’s recommendation, Indiana would keep control of the School of Medicine and bolster its health science and medical education programs, while Purdue would control everything else. The senate resolution says that the group’s recommendation was based on an “insufficient investigation” and lacks supporting data. Supporters of the plan say it would streamline operations and clear up who's in charge of what on campus. The recommendation goes next to the boards of trustees for Indiana and Purdue for consideration.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a revised policy requiring criminal background checks for new employees, including faculty members. The new policy addresses concerns about privacy and fairness raised by faculty members on various campuses about a previous policy approved by the board in September. That policy had been prompted in part by the revelation that the Urbana-Champaign campus hired James Kilgore, an ex-convict and former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, as an adjunct instructor of global studies and urban planning.
While Kilgore had shared his record with the university and it hired him anyway, local media reports sparked backlash against that decision and questions about the university’s background check policy for all faculty members (it didn’t have one). That resulted in the adoption of the older policy, which some said was too vague, didn’t address issues of rehabilitation and repaying one’s debt to society, and could have a disproportionate impact on minority applicants.
A working group of faculty and administrators worked to review the policy, consulting with faculty governance bodies. The revisions seek to put a bigger focus on campus safety and distinguish between criminal background checks and other kinds of checks, as well as on supporting workforce diversity. Under the new policy, there is no list of crimes that automatically disqualify someone from employment. Checks yielding criminal records will be weighed against a variety of factors, such as one’s age at the time of the crime and employment record since. Checks are only done after job offers are made, contingent upon a successful result.
The Urbana-Champaign Faculty Senate approved a resolution rejecting the policy, citing residual concerns.
Turnitin, seeking to expand beyond plagiarism detection, launches a tool to help students improve their writing as they write. Many writing instructors continue to be skeptical of the company's products.
Tenure-line and adjunct faculty members at the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities will soon file cards with the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services asking to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, they announced this week. The filing is the first of its kind for SEIU, in that both tenure-line and non-tenure-track faculty members -- full-time and part-time -- would be part of the same bargaining unit; up until now SEIU has mostly focused on organizing adjuncts. Teri Caraway, an associate professor of political science, said in a statement that faculty members “want to work with the administration as equal partners to help them resist the pressures that divert resources from our classrooms and labs. We are not forming a union in search of a bigger paycheck, but because our working conditions have deteriorated as resources for teaching and research have dwindled and the proportion of tenured positions has declined.”
Kathryn Brown, Minnesota’s vice president for human relations, said the via email that the "university wants to continue working directly with faculty on governance and terms and conditions of employment. We believe the current governance structure gives faculty a strong voice and it will continue to be effective in the future."
The associate professor of history at Kent State University who made headlines in 2011 for shouting “Death to Israel!” at a campus event is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for possible ties to ISIS, ABC News reported. News of the investigation into Julio Pino was first broken by Kent State’s student newspaper, KentWired, according to ABC.
Emily Miller, a student editor, said the FBI questioned her about Pino because she has interviewed him for news articles in recent months. “A joint terrorism task force has been investigating Pino for the last year and a half, said an FBI special agent who did not wish to be named for safety reasons,” Miller wrote in KentWired. “The agent said they interviewed several faculty members and more than 20 of Pino’s students Tuesday about his alleged involvement. He is also being investigated for allegedly recruiting students to join ISIS.”
Pino denied the allegations against him in an email to Inside Higher Ed, saying, "My only commitment is to serve my students as guided by the light of knowledge. I have no ties to any political organization, nor do I recruit for any cause." A university spokesperson confirmed that he is still teaching at this time. Kent State said in a statement that it is cooperating with an ongoing investigation, and said the FBI had assured it there was no threat to the campus.
In a separate campuswide email, President Beverly Warren said it would be “imprudent” to speak further about an ongoing investigation, but the university continues to find Pino’s past comments “reprehensible and counter to our core values of civil discourse and respect.” Pino gained notoriety after the 2011 incident, which took place during a public lecture on campus by Ishmael Khaldi, an Israeli former diplomat. Many colleagues criticized him at the time, saying both his statement and his attempt to disrupt an invited speaker were outside the bounds of scholarly debate.