NLRB: Vanderbilt Full-Time, Non-Tenure-Track Instructors Aren't Managers

A regional National Labor Relations Board official this week rejected Vanderbilt University’s claim that its full-time, non-tenure-track lecturers are managers under the National Labor Relations Act and therefore not entitled to collective bargaining — similar to tenure-track faculty members at private institutions. The board officer based the decision, in part, on the fact that relatively few full-time, non-tenure track instructors serve in shared governance roles or on committees at Vanderbilt. 

The board also rejected the university’s claim that non-tenure-track faculty members don’t share enough common interests to form a union. But in a somewhat unusual move, it also split up the proposed unit into four separate ones, by school, to further ensure that members share a community of interest: the College of Arts and Science, the Divinity School, the Blair School of Music, and the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Separate elections are to be held in each.

M.L. Sandoz, senior lecturer and director of forensics at Vanderbilt who has organized to form a non-tenure-track faculty union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, said in a statement, “I am pleased with the decision and that we can now move forward again. I believe that working to improve the university as a place of work and a learning environment is a very important endeavor.” 

Susan R. Wente, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Vanderbilt, said in statement that the university “is focused on ensuring that all of our faculty are fully informed and understand the potential changes unionization of full-time, non-tenured track faculty may have on the university's unique shared governance model. We also believe that it is critical that all faculty members in each bargaining unit vote in the upcoming election.”

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Student Drops From Ceiling to Steal an Exam

A student at the University of Kentucky climbed through ceiling ducts and dropped down into a faculty member's office to steal an exam Tuesday night, Kentucky.com reported. The student told authorities that, earlier in the semester, he had succeeded in doing so for another test. This time, the student again reached the office and then unlocked it to let in another student. But early Wednesday morning, while the students were still in the office, the faculty member returned. He had been working late and stepped out to get something to eat when the students broke into his office. The students fled, but then returned and confessed.

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Kansas community college student reporters allege censorship

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Hutchinson Community College student journalists say they are being squelched. The journalism professor who advises the paper has been suspended.

Perspectives from the field on the Purdue-Kaplan marriage

In the wake of last week's stunning news about Purdue University's planned takeover of Kaplan University, experts assess the deal's impact on the digital learning landscape.

Easing conflicts between instructional designers and the faculty

They spend extended amounts of time together developing online courses. Sometimes, their relationship is filled with tension. Here are ways colleges and universities address and alleviate issues and promote collaboration. 

Free paraphrasing tools can fool plagiarism detection software

Free paraphrasing tools can fool plagiarism detection software, study finds.

Teaching with tech booklet available

Download from Inside Higher Ed and listen to the webinar.

Ph.D.s need real data on how potential employers make hiring decisions (essay)

Whichever one I’m working in as a Ph.D. student, I’d like some real data about how to improve my career chances, writes Andrew Jacob Cuff.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017
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Brandeis Grad Students Vote to Unionize

Graduate students at Brandeis University voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, 88 to 34, they announced Tuesday. Graduate students at Tufts University also are expected to hold a union vote this month, following a decision last year by the National Labor Relations Board saying that graduate teaching and research assistants on private campuses have the right to form unions. Brandeis students will join SEIU’s Faculty Forward, which already represents about 4,000 non-tenure-track faculty members in the Boston area. The university said in a statement that it looks forward "to working with the SEIU to reach a collective bargaining agreement for Ph.D. students who teach, who are vitally important members of our community."

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Author discusses new book about how American higher education has always been 'a perfect mess'

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Author discusses his new book about American higher education, which suggests it may be better off today than people realize … because it has always faced so many problems and has always been a “hustler’s paradise.”


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