Life

Extra Nudge into the Sunset

Smart Title: 
Tough budget times have colleges offering early retirement incentives to free up funds, and others report difficulties maintaining current retirement contribution levels.

Layoffs Without 'Financial Exigency'

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One of the ultimate protections of being a tenured faculty member, historically, has been being immune from layoff in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. Under policies issued by the American Association of University Professors and largely accepted by higher education leaders, only institutions that declare "financial exigency" -- a state so dire that it "threatens the survival of the institution as a whole" -- can eliminate the jobs of tenured faculty members.

Not So Private Professors

Smart Title: 
Faculty try to shield their personal lives from students, but the suspension of a Pennsylvania professor over Facebook postings shows there's no such sanctuary online.

Different Paths to Full Professor

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Ohio State wants to rethink traditional patterns of faculty reward structure -- starting by questioning whether great research should be the only way to reach the highest rank.

Tenure Rates and Faculty Mission

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On the surface, the proposed changes to the tenure system at Brown University may seem like relatively minor adjustments, designed to help junior faculty members build up a more complete portfolio of work for review. For instance, the review would be moved to the seventh year of employment instead of the sixth.

No Grading, More Learning

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When Duke University's Cathy Davidson announced her grading plan for a seminar she would be offering this semester, she attracted attention nationwide. Some professors cheered, others tut-tutted, and others asked "Can she do that?"

Her plan? Turn over grading to the students in the course, and get out of the grading business herself.

Low Stress Christian Tenure

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DENVER -- Gatherings of any significant number of faculty members on the tenure track feature many discussions of the stresses associated with coming up for tenure. Will I publish enough? Have I offended a senior colleague? Do I know what the review committee really cares about? The American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting here is no different, with plenty of hallway chatter among younger scholars about their chances.

Rockin' in the Ph.D. World

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There are plenty in higher education who devote themselves to interpreting rock and roll as literature. Fewer devote themselves to the interpreting literature as rock and roll.

When Students Drop the F-Bomb

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At Hinds Community College, swearing can get you in trouble. "Public profanity, cursing and vulgarity" are all punishable with a $25 fine for a first offense, and a $50 fine for a second offense. Further, the offense of "flagrant disrespect" (which may be demonstrated by swearing, as became clear Tuesday when a controversy over the code went public) can earn a student demerits that could lead to suspension.

A Mess at Michigan

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On Sept. 4, 2008, Andrei Borisov was in his Ann Arbor office, waiting for a meeting in which he planned to give his bosses at the University of Michigan documents supporting accusations he had made about a colleague's alleged academic misconduct, among other things. But before the morning was over, Borisov had been forced to sign a resignation letter, arrested for trespassing (in his own office) and for disturbing the peace, and taken from the campus in handcuffs by public safety officers whose presence at the meeting had been arranged, in advance, by his superiors.

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