Many Australian academics are frustrated, to the point where they are considering leaving their current universities in the years ahead, according to a new report from the Center for the Study of Higher Education, at the University of Melbourne. Researchers conducted a survey of more than 5,000 faculty members for the project. Australian academics continue to have "a deep commitment to scholarship," the report says. But just under half of them believe that their workload is no longer manageable. And close to half of those who are in the middle or later stages of their careers say that workload issues are sources of "considerable personal stress." Younger faculty members are more likely, the report says, to be frustrated by issues of job security and pay.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Two top administrators are leaving their positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, amid reports of possible conflicts (in one case) with President Shirley Jackson, The Albany Times-Union reported. Jackson has long had a contentious relationship with faculty leaders. Those leaving their positions include Provost Robert Palazzo, who is returning to the faculty, and Laban Coblentz, chief of staff and associate vice president, who left suddenly and with no public explanation. The Times-Union reported that he left because he had criticized Jackson and her administration, and university officials declined to comment.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities is today announcing a new project to work with state systems and individual colleges and universities so that faculty members and state system leaders and assessment experts can test ways to assure that students demonstrate achievement of key competencies. Funds for the program come from the Lumina Foundation for Education, and the project represents a beta test of Lumina's Degree Qualifications Profile.
The state systems in the new effort are in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin and Virginia.
The University of British Columbia has started a campaign to raise $1.5 billion -- more than has been raised in any Canadian university campaign -- by 2015. The university has already raised just over half of that amount in the quiet phase of the campaign. Other Canadian universities are also the midst of major campaigns. McGill University is nearing its goal of $750 million.
Faculty members who staged a one-week strike returned to work Friday at Cincinnati State Community College, The Middletown Journal reported. The union, affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, says that it always planned for a strike of only a week -- not wanting to disrupt students' educations. The main issue dividing the union and the administration is faculty workload.
A proposal to create a center on constitutional law at North Carolina Central University has been withdrawn amid criticism of the source of funds, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. The money would have come from the John William Pope Foundation, which is led by Art Pope, who has spent large sums of money funding conservative organizations and Republican politics. Some faculty and alumni of the university have questioned whether it should take funds from Pope or entities he leads.
The nation's educators must work to improve college completion rates for Latino students if the United States is to remain economically competitive in the world, according to a report released Friday by the College Board. While Latinos make up the fastest growing group of students in the nation, they are behind the national average for college completion by more than half. At present, 19.2 percent of Latinos who enter college complete college, while the national average hovers around 40 percent, according to the report.
Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, said the report is a "call to action." “Our nation will not become No. 1 again in college completion unless we commit ourselves to giving these students the support they need to achieve their full potential,” Caperton said.
To attain better completion rates for Latino students, the report recommends making voluntary preschool education available to low-income students, improving middle and high school counseling and simplifying the financial aid system, among other things.
In today’s Academic Minute, Robert Thacker of St. Lawrence University explains Canada’s role as the
second largest supplier of oil used in the United States. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association last week punished the University of Cincinnati for violations in its women's basketball and football programs. The violations, which the university uncovered and investigated, involved improper telephone calls to recruits by coaches in the two sports, with the vast majority made by a former women's basketball coach. Penalties include restrictions on recruiting and coaching duties.