The Council of Graduate Schools is launching a research project to track the career paths of Ph.D.s in the humanities with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, it announced Thursday. The initiative is significant because it’s the first major, long-term effort in 20 years to track where humanities doctorates end up working, according to the council. It will work with 15 partner universities to collect data comparing the career aspirations of Ph.D. students and their eventual career paths as graduates, both within and especially outside academe. Goals of the project include helping universities better prepare Ph.D. students for a variety of careers. “By offering a more complete picture of Ph.D. holders’ career options, it will also enable current and prospective students to make more informed decisions when selecting degree programs and planning their careers,” Suzanne Ortega, council president, said in a statement. More information is available here.
Michael Bérubé publishes follow-up to his 1996 book about his son with Down syndrome. Jamie’s now a working adult who’s offered his dad, who has become a leading figure in disability studies, a whole new education.
Anna Stubblefield, former chair of philosophy at Rutgers University at Newark, must pay $4 million to the family of a disabled man she was found guilty of sexually assaulting, a New Jersey judge decided this week, according to NJ.com. Stubblefield is already serving 12 years in prison following a related criminal trial. Stubblefield alleges that she and the man in question, known as D.J. in court records, were in a consensual relationship. But the man’s brother and mother say he suffers from severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual capacity of an 18-month-old and was incapable of giving consent. Stubblefield began working with the man around 2008 via a disputed method called facilitated communication; eventually they traveled together to out-of-town conferences and published an academic paper in 2011. Stubblefield informed the family that year that the relationship had become romantic, and D.J.'s family members eventually took legal action against her.
New details have emerged about the strike-ending tentative agreement reached between the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, the faculty union for 14 state university campuses, and the State System of Higher Education, PennLive reported. The three-year deal includes raises each year, among other changes. Current professors will get a step increase retroactive to last spring, at 2.5 percent or more for senior faculty (or cash payment for those at the top step of the pay scale), and 5 percent for junior faculty, according to PennLive. All faculty members also get a general pay increase of 2.75 percent retroactive to the beginning of this semester. Next year, the pay increase would be 2 percent. Current base salary for full-time faculty is $46,609 to $112,239. Part-timers get a minimum of $5,838 per three-credit course.
Full-time faculty members will see their health care contributions increase to 18 percent of the premium from 15 percent if they participate in the Healthy U wellness program. Contributions for nonparticipants in the wellness plan are 28 percent of the premium, up from 25 percent. Drug and office visit co-payments will increase, but health care benefits for faculty retirees not yet eligible for Medicare will be preserved. Full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members must also now be notified by May 31 if they’ll be renewed the following year, and adjuncts won’t see their workload increased by 25 percent or their pay cut by 20 percent.
Political science has faced criticism as a discipline for not paying enough attention to the causes and consequences of inequality, beyond rising income inequality and its effect on political representation. A major new report from the American Political Science Association, under the direction of Rodney Hero, association president and professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, begins to address some of those concerns.
“The Double Bind: The Politics of Racial and Class Inequalities in the Americas” examines the how race and class shape inequalities throughout the Americas and how countries respond to them, for better or worse. A major finding is that racial and ethnic minorities struggle to translate their demographic potential and political activity into meaningful socioeconomic gains due to low socioeconomic status, along with political party incentives. That’s true even in countries where minorities make up a large proportion of the active voters, according to the report.
“The report provides us with an excellent framework for thinking critically about the ways in which the racial and economic inequalities that we currently see in the Americas are the legacies of settler colonialism, slavery and the exclusionary politics that shaped the development of the entire region,” said Alvin J. Tillery Jr., associate professor of political science at Northwestern University and co-chair of the report task force, said in a statement. “It also shows that governments can develop policies to begin to ameliorate these inequalities under the right mix of conditions.” Report chapters include “Race, Partisanship and the Rise of Income Inequality in the United States” and “Learning From Ferguson: Welfare, Criminal Justice and the Political Science of Race and Class,” as well as several on Latin America and Canada.
Faculty members in English at Ohio State University say 18 non-tenure-track lecturer jobs have been saved, at least for this year. The university maintains that their jobs were never at risk. Faculty members said earlier this week that Ohio State had been struggling to come up with approximately $500,000 to fulfill the 18 contracts for first-year writing instructors, which extend through summer. They organized against midyear cuts on social media and in a stock letter to Bruce McPheron, provost. Some traced the funding issue to the university’s conversion from quarters to semesters, but were unsure why it became an urgent problem now, several years after the change and well into the academic year.
Faculty members said they were told Monday that their contracts would be honored, but the university said it was always its intention to fulfill them and attributed concerns to miscommunication. Benjamin Johnson, university spokesman, said via email that Ohio State "values the role that our lecturers and other associated faculty play in supporting and furthering our overall educational mission" and that the College of Arts and Sciences "will be working with the Department of English to address these budget challenges. We acknowledge the concerns expressed regarding the associated [faculty] and regret any confusion."