Saint Rose Faculty Call for President's Ouster

Faculty at the College of Saint Rose voted last week to request that its president, Carolyn Stefanco, be removed from her position, The Times Union reported.

After calling for her ouster by a more than two-to-one margin, the faculty asked the Board of Trustees to dismiss the president. In response, however, the trustees announced their “unwavering support” for Stefanco.

The faculty said it had lost confidence in Stefanco’s leadership because she created an “atmosphere filled with fear of retaliation” at the private New York college.

Since filling the position in summer 2014, the president has overseen dramatic cuts to academic programs and faculty member positions. When the college was facing a $9 million deficit in December 2015, Stefanco suggested slashing 23 faculty positions and 27 academic programs.

At the same time, many faculty and administrators have left the university of their own accord, according to The Times Union. Three of the four deans at the college have said they are leaving.

“Morale is low among everyone at the college,” said Kathleen Crowley, a professor who voted for Stefanco’s ouster.

From the trustees’ perspective, Stefanco has navigated many difficult situations in her three years with Saint Rose. She oversaw the largest first-year class in the college’s history last fall as well as new master’s and bachelor’s programs.

"President Stefanco is leading this institution through a changing environment impacting higher education institutions throughout the nation," the trustees said in a letter to the faculty after last week’s 63-29 vote for Stefanco’s removal.

"Change is difficult, but this is the time for the administration and the faculty to get together behind the strategic plan we have charted to help our college succeed."

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Documents show Drexel is investigating professor's tweets but it's unclear whether faculty is involved

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Documents show Drexel is investigating a professor’s controversial tweets after public backlash, but it’s unclear whether the faculty is behind the inquiry.

Earlier Complaints on Professor Accused of Harassment

Before a 2014 University of California, Berkeley, alumna filed a lawsuit against a distinguished philosophy professor there last month, the institution had fielded sexual misconduct complaints about the 84-year-old professor from at least three other women, BuzzFeed News found.

Berkeley officials in the philosophy department were also aware that John R. Searle, the professor, had made inappropriate comments in some of his classes.

Joanna Ong, who served as Searle’s research assistant, is accusing the professor of firing her from that position after she rejected his sexual advances. BuzzFeed obtained documents from the university that show Searle was accused of sexual harassment on multiple previous occasions.

In 2014, a student said the professor declined to offer her a position as his research assistant because she was married. The year before that, an international exchange student said he tried to kiss her. And in 2004, a student said Searle tried to play with her feet under the table at a dinner for prospective students.

Berkeley’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination is reviewing Ong’s complaint, as it said it did with the three previous complaints. Searle has denied all such claims.

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Rutgers Faculty Question Large Athletics Deficit

A faculty group at Rutgers University passed a resolution last week to express its concern and disappointment in the university’s athletic spending, NJ.com reported.

A report on the finances of the athletics program, released about two months ago, revealed an almost $40 million deficit in the 2016 fiscal year.

In response, the Rutgers New Brunswick Faculty Group unanimously passed a resolution to publicly voice its position about the overspending.

“The New Brunswick Faculty Council deplores the university administration's continuing failure to eliminate or even reduce the athletics program's chronic deficit spending and its continuing reliance on millions of dollars in student fees and general university funds to pay for the program's deficits -- all of which harms the university's academic mission,” the resolution says.

The athletics director, Pat Hobbs, defended the decision in a statement, saying that the department is “writing what will be the greatest chapter in Rutgers athletics history. We will be competitive, and we will do that in a fiscally prudent manner.”

He explained the spending as an investment that will make the program stronger and easier to grow in the future.

Rutgers also joined the Big Ten conference to help the program  “be in a position to generate a positive cash flow for the university,” a spokeswoman for President Robert Barchi said.

Previously, Barchi estimated that Rutgers’s membership in the Big Ten would result in $200 million in revenue in the first 10 years.


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Professors worry about retirement; staff save to pay off debt

The State of Personal Finance, <br>Faculty-Staff Edition
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Survey of campus employees finds professors focus on saving for retirement and doubt their financial literacy; administrative staff worry more about the near term.

Kentucky State Faculty Vote No Confidence in Board

Faculty at Kentucky State University last week voted no confidence in the Board of Regents and its chairwoman, The State-Journal reported.

The board received 39 votes for no confidence and 36 for confidence, while the chairwoman, Karen Bearden, fared worse. Fifty faculty members voted no confidence in Bearden’s leadership, while 30 asserted their confidence.

The vote was first suggested in late February, when faculty voiced concerns over the board’s handling of the presidential search as well as issues with the budget, tenure, promotion and raises, according to The State-Journal.

In addition to the votes of no confidence, the Faculty Caucus of Color was also formed at Kentucky State last week. The group will seek to address the limited number of African-American faculty members at the historically black university, which has led to the “systematic and de facto alienation, marginalization and disempowerment within both the institution and the Faculty Senate’s shared governance and decision-making processes, protocols and mechanisms,” the interim president of the caucus said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Board of Regents said the board will use the vote of no confidence “as a catalyst for change.”

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Hometown Connections and Chinese Favoritism

A paper (abstract available here) published by the National Bureau of Economic Research studies the link between hometown connections in China and the rate of fellow selection into the Chinese Academies of Sciences and Engineering. Hometown ties increased the likelihood of a candidate’s selection by 39 percent during the in-person interview stage, indicating that the connection very likely plays a role in the fellow-selection process. Furthermore, those candidates elected with hometown ties “are half as likely to have a high-impact publication as elected fellows without connections,” the abstract says. Members in the Chinese Academies of Sciences and Engineering are more likely to hold institutional leadership positions and to receive additional funding -- about $9.5 million annually -- for their institutions.

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New paper proposes framework for supporting pretenure faculty members' needs

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New paper proposes framework for supporting the needs of pretenure faculty members, namely making sure they're poised to find intrinsic motivation.

Suit alleges Ohio U sat on complaints of professor's sexual misconduct for a decade

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Grad students’ lawsuit against Ohio U says it failed to act on complaints of an English professor’s sexual misconduct for a decade, allowing him to continue harassing young women. A former department chair is named as a co-defendant.

Suit: Metro State Denver enabled professor to retaliate against those who complained that he was seen masturbating in his office

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Lawsuit alleges Metro State Denver enabled a professor to retaliate against faculty members who complained that he was repeatedly seen masturbating in his office.


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