News aggregator

AAUP study finds small gains in faculty salaries, offset by inflation

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 2019-04-10 07:00

Salaries for full-time faculty members are 2 percent higher this academic year than last, according to new data from the American Association of University Professors Faculty Compensation Survey.

Adjusted for 1.9 percent inflation, however, faculty salaries “barely budged,” AAUP says in a preliminary analysis of those data. That’s been the case for the last three years. Inside Higher Ed's database, at the above link, is searchable by institutions and years.

These findings are similar to those in a recent report from CUPA-HR saying that median faculty salaries rose about 1.7 percent this year over last, not adjusted for inflation.

CUPA-HR’s anonymized data concerned 847 institutions. AAUP collects data by college and university -- more than 950 of them this year. The new data cover more than 380,000 full-time professors, in addition to senior administrators and many part-time faculty members.

Part-Time Pay and the Gender Pay Gap

Exclusive AAUP Database
Click here to view 2018-19 faculty
pay data for more than 950 colleges.
For the first time, it includes data
for adjunct instructors.

AAUP’s compensation report has included data on part-time faculty pay since 2015-16. This year, though, the association collected information on part-timers’ pay per course section taught (versus pay per adjunct, irrespective of teaching load). More than 330 colleges and universities provided data on part-time faculty pay in the 2017-18 academic year for this year’s survey, making it one of the most comprehensive sources on the topic.

Average per-course pay for an adjunct teaching a three-credit course was $3,984, but figures spanned a “huge range,” according to AAUP. The lowest average rates of pay were reported by religiously affiliated private baccalaureate colleges. Religiously affiliated private doctoral universities paid the most, at $5,858.

Gwendolyn Bradley, AAUP spokesperson, underscored how difficult it is to collect representative data on adjunct pay. But the idea behind the association’s new approach “is to make part-time pay more transparent, which will hopefully spur continued advocacy and improved working conditions,” she said.

Other key survey findings highlight academe’s persistent gender pay gap. On average, women will be paid 82 percent of men’s salaries during 2018-19. The AAUP mainly attributes this to an unequal distribution of employment between men and women in terms of institution type and faculty rank.

Based on the available institution-level data, Bradley said, "We can only say for certain that women are less well represented at the research universities that pay the highest salaries, and they also continue to be underrepresented at the full professor rank, which pays the highest salaries, outside of community colleges." (CUPA-HR also found that the pay gap narrowed among community college faculties, not just in terms of gender but also ethnicity.)

The AAUP has been tracking this gap since the mid-1970s, Bradley added, “and the progress toward equity has been exceedingly slow.”

Faculty Pay and Compensation Vary Widely

In general, full-time salaries vary by institution type and faculty rank. The average salary for a full professor at a private independent doctoral university is nearly $196,000, for example. Meanwhile, an assistant professor at a religiously affiliated baccalaureate institution will make about $61,000 this year, on average.

The yearly increase in overall average full-time salary was slightly higher at private colleges and universities (2.2 percent) than public institutions (1.8 percent), the AAUP also notes.

Bradley said there are “great disparities” in funding and pay across institutional profiles, and that research work “tends to be better remunerated than teaching.” She also noted that not all professors included in the full-time count are on the tenure track, so the comparison is not exact.

Administrator vs. Faculty Pay, and More to Come

AAUP also is interested in the disparities between professor and administrator pay. The association’s preliminary analysis says that salaries for college and university presidents “continue to outpace those for faculty,” with presidents paid three to four times more than even the most senior faculty members at their institutions, on average.

The median salary for a college president this year ranged from just over $200,000 at public community colleges to nearly $700,000 at private independent doctoral universities, AAUP found.

The association plans on a releasing a more detailed analysis of its data next month. Asked what to expect, Bradley said that the effects of the recession didn’t really impact faculty pay until the 2009-10 academic year. So the forthcoming report will examine changes over the last decade, comparing full-time faculty pay for 2008-09 with current 2018-19 data.

Other details to come include those on changes the composition of the full-time faculty, both in terms of tenure-track status and women’s representation, Bradley said. More analysis of the part-time faculty data is expected, too.

Who Earns Most, Where

Beyond the overall trends highlighted in AAUP’s analysis, readers each year are curious to know which institutions pay their professors the most. As always, location matters. Professors on both coasts are paid consistently more than their colleagues elsewhere.

By institution, the top 10 full professor salary list is similar to last year’s. Columbia and Stanford Universities retained the top two spots, but Princeton and Harvard Universities flip-flopped Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Yale University moved up two spots, to No. 7, bumping the University of Pennsylvania down to No. 8.

Top Salaries for Full Professors at Private Universities, 2018-19 (Average)

1

Columbia University

$259,700

2

Stanford University

$256,100

3

Princeton University

$248,000

4

Harvard University

$244,300

5

University of Chicago

$241,900

6

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$232,200

7

Yale University

$230,900

8

University of Pennsylvania

$223,600

9

New York University

$218,300

10

Northwestern University

$215,200

As in years past, the University of California system claimed many of the top 10 public institution spots for full professor salaries, with the Los Angeles and Berkeley campuses remaining Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. UC’s Santa Barbara campus surged from No. 6 to No. 3 this year over last, displacing the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The University of Texas at Austin entered the list at No. 9, effectively booting off the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Top Salaries for Full Professors at Public Universities, 2018-19 (Average)

1

University of California, Los Angeles

$214,000

2

University of California, Berkeley

$201,700

3

University of California, Santa Barbara

$187,500

4

New Jersey Institute of Technology

$186,700

5

Rutgers University at Newark

$183,000

6

University of Virginia

$182,600

7

University of California, San Diego

$178,900

8

University of California, Irvine

$178,100

9

University of Texas at Austin

$175,700

10

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

$175,000

Liberal arts colleges that pay their full professors the most were almost unchanged year over year. Wellesley and Pomona Colleges switched places, as did Wesleyan and Swarthmore Colleges. Bowdoin College entered at No. 9.

Top Salaries for Full Professors at Liberal Arts Colleges, 2018-19 (Average)

1

Barnard College

$177,700

2

Claremont McKenna College

$171,600

3

Wellesley College

$160,400

4

Pomona College

$159,300

5

Wesleyan University

$155,800

6

Swarthmore College

$155,200

7

Amherst College

$153,200

8

Colgate University

$151,500

9

Bowdoin College

$149,200

10

Williams College

$147,900

Among top salaries for assistant professors, Stanford jumped to No. 1 this year, from No. 3, dethroning Harvard. Babson College dropped one spot, to No. 2. The California Institute of Technology also fell down the list, from No. 3 to No. 5 year over year. Bentley and Bryant Universities fell off the list, as Duke and Georgetown Universities entered at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.

Top 10 Colleges With Six-Figure Salaries for Assistant Professors, 2018-19 (Average)

1

Stanford University

$137,000

2

Harvard University

$134,600

3

Babson College

$133,000

4

University of Pennsylvania

$132,600

5

California Institute of Technology

$132,500

6

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$132,100

7

Columbia University

$130,200

8

University of Chicago

$128,500

9

Duke University

$121,900

10

Georgetown University

$120,300

Pay and BenefitsFacultyEditorial Tags: FacultyPayImage Source: Getty ImagesIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Faculty SalariesTrending order: 1Display Promo Box: 

Debate raging over Harvard's federal work-study program

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 2019-04-10 07:00

A single tweet has launched a fiery debate over how Harvard University, one of the country’s wealthiest institutions, is using a federal subsidy -- taxpayer dollars that help low-income students get part-time jobs -- to pay for those students to clean dormitory rooms and toilets.

The online dispute has prompted questions whether Harvard, with its nearly $40 billion endowment, even deserves federal-work study dollars -- but also more generally, whether many institutions take advantage of the money by offering jobs that entail manual labor and not opportunities that are career focused.

Lawmakers have proposed changes to work-study funds, which cost the government a little less than $1 billion a year, funneling the money from institutions such as Harvard and other elites to colleges that serve more low-income populations.

Nearly two weeks ago, Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy at Temple University and a prominent academic on Twitter, posted a Hechinger Report article about students who take on debt at elite universities, highlighting an anecdote about a Harvard program called Dorm Crew:

“Low-income students at HARVARD working 20 hours a week in their first year of college cleaning goddamn dorms?? And we keep giving this wealthy place our public dollars why exactly?”

Low-income students at HARVARD working 20 hours a week in their first year of college cleaning goddamn dorms?? And we keep giving this wealthy place our public dollars why exactly? #RealCollege #DormCrew #STOP https://t.co/vJnK4LBLhP

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab) March 30, 2019

Dorm Crew, which was founded in 1951, works like this: Harvard students can be hired to clean dormitories for at least two hours every week, though even that minimum isn’t strictly enforced. The average time worked last semester, out of the 250 Dorm Crew employees, was 1.5 hours weekly. As part of a major cleaning prior to the fall semester, and during a spring cleanup, students might work 20 hours in a week. The job can be attractive for students because it pays the most out of any on campus at job, starting at $16.25 an hour, with flexible scheduling.

Goldrick-Rab said in an interview that, given her research into disenfranchised students, she wanted to raise a question about how wealthy universities such as Harvard benefit unnecessarily from federal work-study.

Why, she said in the interview, does the university, instead of using low-income students and paying them with federal money, not draw from its coffers to hire professional, unionized workers?

Answer: it’s cheaper not to, according to pundits.

And Harvard has put the students in a “challenging position,” Goldrick-Rab said, where they are made to feel grateful for the opportunity to earn a little cash and look ungrateful if they question it.

“That was not going to be given a voice,” Goldrick-Rab said. “As somebody who has become one of those people who is a defender of [the] impoverished and scholar of their struggles, it was time for somebody to say something.” (Goldrick-Rab was referring to how she had been referenced by The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

While she said some students vociferously defend the program -- and they did, both online and in interviews with Inside Higher Ed -- they do not understand that some of their peers aren’t entering it with much choice.

And, Goldrick-Rab said, there’s incentive for students to “stay in the club” and not publicly criticize a program that the university and its alumni support. Goldrick-Rab said an online commentator referred to this as a kind of “Stockholm syndrome.”

Harvard declined to comment.

Goldrick-Rab provided screenshots of online conversations she had with students whom she requested remain anonymous. One student called the program “coercive,” and another complained that Harvard made the Dorm Crew employees choose between earning money with the cleaning before the academic year and attending another, more fun pre-orientation program.

Other students involved with Dorm Crew, however, said Goldrick-Rab had mischaracterized the program, and said she demeaned some of the workers and Dorm Crew. In some tweets, Goldrick-Rab scornfully shared emails she had received from the program’s cheerleaders -- in one case, she publicly identified one worker and linked to his bio on the Dorm Crew website.

Charis Garman was one student who did not agree with Goldrick-Rab’s critiques. Garman, a sophomore, joined Dorm Crew her first year at Harvard and said “everyone was so friendly and encouraging” that she continued on with it, applying to be a captain within the program.

Garman pointed out that Goldrick-Rab had tweeted out a photo of a student lovingly hugging a vacuum cleaner with the caption “ooh they made her hug the cleaning supplies” -- when the image was part of a commentary by the student of how much she enjoyed Dorm Crew.

“I really like the option of having work crew in federal financial work-study,” Garman said, adding she receives significant financial aid. “It’s a much more physical job. Like, in high school, I worked at my family’s restaurant, and that was such a welcome change from sitting at school all day. It’s the same sort of thing with Dorm Crew -- there’s a real sense of accomplishment.”

Westley Cook, another Dorm Crew worker, said the job was “draining” but ultimately rewarding. He said other programs before the academic year cost students money, but instead this one paid him and enabled him to move on to campus early.

“There’s some validity in some students being financially hamstrung … but no one is forced to work Dorm Crew. There’s a number of different jobs available within Dorm Crew, too, and there are a lot of options for on-campus work,” Cook said. He added that the university could do more to improve the image of Dorm Crew, showing how it can help form relationships for students.

Rodney Agyare-May, another Dorm Crew worker and supporter, agreed that the program was beneficial, citing similar reasons to his classmates -- early introduction to campus, decent pay.

But he questioned why an institution as wealthy as Harvard was not paying for the program and instead relying on federal work-study. The benefits for poor students are sometimes not as helpful as they appear -- Agyare-May said that low-income students are given some of the university’s currency, Crimson Cash, over spring break, but that it only applied to certain campus coffee houses or bakeries, so students would be forced to eat pastries for every meal on the entire break.

“Harvard should devote resources to more low-income students,” Agyare-May said.

But the entire kerfuffle around Dorm Crew misses the bigger picture on federal work-study, said Anthony Abraham Jack, an assistant professor of education at Harvard and author of The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students (Harvard University Press).

In his book, which Goldrick-Rab liberally quoted on Twitter in the Dorm Crew debate, a passage references a cleaning program at an unnamed institution, similar to Dorm Crew. Jack interviewed a student who worked for this program, called Community Detail -- the student said cleaning people’s bathrooms was emotionally painful. His mother “was doing the same thing back home” and she “never wanted” him to do it when he was older.

Jack questioned in an interview why colleges in their federal-work study programs emphasize manual labor instead of opportunities to work with professors or something that could lead to an internship. Cleaning is not a derogatory task, but it is not as helpful as work that would service students’ careers, Jack said.

This is not something the federal government needs to fix, but if federal officials came in, he said, it would be like “using a machete when a scalpel is needed.”

“You cannot simply isolate Harvard when a significant number of schools hire students for manual labor while in college, and to me, it’s both analytically and professionally suspect if you don’t talk about it,” Jack said.

Iris Palmer, a senior policy analyst with New America, said that Harvard should not have access to federal work-study dollars at all. Harvard should use its massive endowment to pay for all low-income students’ needs, she said, and better align part-time jobs to academics and possible career paths.

“But they need to use their own money,” Palmer said.

Editorial Tags: Job placement/careersIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Who Cleans at Harvard?Trending order: 2College: Harvard UniversityDisplay Promo Box: 

Economist: Colleges should take time, care with tuition resets

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 2019-04-10 07:00

Private colleges that fret about affordability are increasingly turning to a new strategy: cutting sticker prices steeply while also trimming financial aid. So-called tuition resets are being deployed mostly at small institutions, both as a way to show that they’re responsive to market pressures and as a way to grab students’ attention.

A new analysis by economist Lucie Lapovsky finds that tuition resets can actually boost enrollment if done carefully and deliberately -- and with enough time to develop an institutionwide plan.

Lapovsky, a former president of Mercy College and onetime vice president for finance at Goucher College, looked at data from 24 private colleges that lowered their published tuition price between fall 2010 and fall 2016. Then she looked at IPEDS data for each one.

The size of the resets varied, from 10 percent or less at Alfred University, Brewton-Parker College, Grace College and Theological Seminary and others to more than 40 percent at Converse, Utica and Rosemont Colleges.

Judging their overall success as a strategy is difficult to determine, she said. For one thing, resets are never true pricing experiments, since colleges can’t openly charge different groups different prices simultaneously. Researchers can’t ask “What if?” because there’s basically no control group.

That said, Lapovsky found that if colleges are seeking larger freshman classes and more transfer students, the data are “positive although not overwhelmingly so.”

Half of colleges and universities she studied had freshman enrollment increases in the year in which the reset was initiated, as compared with the previous year. Only 43 percent had freshman enrollment increases one year later, compared with the year before the reset, while fully two-thirds had a larger freshmen class two years later.

Resets may hold more promise for transfers, with larger transfer classes at more than half of colleges the year of the reset and at 60 percent in both of the two years after the reset.

Lapovsky said colleges that successfully reset tuition do it openly and deliberately -- they should settle on the price change at least 18 months before the first target class enrolls. That allows time to educate trustees “so they understand the rationale for the price change and are in favor of it when it comes up for a vote,” she wrote.

Colleges should publicly announce the reset tuition at least 11 months before it goes into effect and plan a “significant” marketing campaign around the change, educating not just admissions and financial aid staff but high school counselors at feeder schools.

For currently enrolled students, she recommends sending a personal note to each student and his or her parents, explaining the reset and its impact on their bottom line.

In the end, though, a simple reset, on its own, may not be successful, she said. Along with a lower advertised tuition, Lapovsky, said, colleges must work to get financial aid and admissions personnel to understand the new realities of reset tuition. “I think that you need a lot of practice in focusing students on the net price, rather than the size of the award,” she said in an interview.

Psychologically, she said, students and families react powerfully to “the bragging rights” of higher tuition accompanied by a large financial aid award. So she recommends that colleges using resets offer students as many “nonpecuniary” benefits as possible to make an admission offer feel more prestigious: honors lectures and dinners at the president's house, for instance. “Things that cost little or nothing,” she said, “but that give parents bragging beyond the size of the award.”

Colleges may also need to change recruitment strategies, going after students who are more focused on price than their current applicant pool -- that typically means recruiting students who aren’t just looking at private colleges but at their high-performing public competitors as well.

It may take a year or two to break through to this new demographic, Lapovsky said -- actually, she noted, this may explain why enrollment growth seems to lag in the first year or so.

College officials have noted that families of late are becoming “much more strategic and much savvier” about college pricing. That could have an effect on resets, since parents who research net prices, financial aid and discount rates won’t necessarily be impressed by lower, newly reset tuition rates.

“As much as they may find it glamorous to have the big award,” Lapovsky said, “you go to the $50,000 school and they give you $25,000 -- or you go to the $30,000 school and they give you $5,000. Which do you choose?”

Image Caption: Rosemont College, which reset its tuition in 2016 from $32,500 to $19,480Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Alfred UniversityConverse CollegeUtica CollegeDisplay Promo Box: 

Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 2019-04-10 07:00
Editorial Tags: Commencement speakersIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Per-student public spending recovers halfway since recession: study

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 2019-04-09 07:00

A decade after the 2008 recession, fewer than one in five states has fully recovered when it comes to per-student appropriations for higher education.

A new study finds that just nine states have bounced back from pre-recession funding levels, and another 11 have yet to increase per-student funding to even the low point of the recession.

In the middle: 30 states that have higher per-student appropriations than at their low point in 2012 or 2013, but which now fund postsecondary education at a lower level than their pre-recession high of 2007 or 2008.

The findings suggest that even as many state higher education systems have marked several years of annual funding increases, recovery has been highly uneven and has largely failed to keep up with expanding enrollments over the decade.

The findings are part of the annual "State Higher Education Finance" report, published by the State Higher Education Executive Officers association. The report examines the state of public higher education financing in the most recent fiscal year (2017-18), and this year -- a decade out from the Great Recession -- also explores how public colleges have and have not recovered from that transformative event.

The nine states that have recovered in per-student funding over that decade: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Wisconsin and Wyoming. And even among these nine, caveats apply: in Oregon, for instance, local funding made a difference in what was otherwise flat state-level funding. In two others -- Illinois and North Dakota -- per-student appropriations never declined during the recession. In Illinois, that was due to the state’s efforts to backfill an underfunded pension system, while in North Dakota state appropriations in 2012 were actually higher than in 2008.

As in last year's study, researchers found that public higher education systems now rely more than ever on funding from students and families. More than half of states last year looked to tuition to a greater extent than they did taxpayer-supported appropriations.

In all, 27 states now rely on tuition for more than 50 percent of their public college revenue, down from 28 last year, according to the new report.

The phenomenon took hold recently and hadn’t been seen before the recession, said Sophia Laderman, a senior policy analyst with SHEEO. The degree to which states rely on tuition changes drastically state to state: it’s just 17.5 percent of total educational revenue in Wyoming, but in Vermont, net tuition represents 87 percent of total revenue.

The new findings focus on the 2018 fiscal year, which for most states ran from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.

On average, states reduced appropriations by $2,000 per student during the recession. They’ve since raised them by about $1,000, on average. “We’ve halfway made up those cuts,” Laderman said.

As for net tuition, across the U.S. it now represents 46.6 percent of total educational revenue across public systems, essentially unchanged from 2017. Robert E. Anderson, SHEEO’s president, called it a “new norm” for state higher education funding.

During the recession, tuition as a share of revenue “kind of skyrocketed, increasing 10 percentage points in just a few years,” said Laderman. “This has historically been what states do when there’s a recession.” While state higher education appropriations are now slowly rising, she said reliance on tuition doesn’t bode well for the near future. “We’re concerned about what will happen during the next recession.”

The phenomenon also undercuts efforts to make college more affordable and accessible, said Kim Hunter Reed, Louisiana’s commissioner of higher education. “At a time that we have said that it [higher education] is a necessity, not a luxury, we are pricing education as a luxury.”

Net tuition revenue was actually flat in 2018, likely due to factors such as lower international enrollment, smaller tuition rate increases and increases in state public financial aid, the report found.

Enrollment declined in 35 states and the District of Columbia -- enrollment is 6 percent below the high in 2011 -- but the annual rate of enrollment decline in most states has slowed in each year since 2015. Nationally, 2018 saw a small (0.3 percent) decrease in full-time enrollment from 2017, but enrollment remains 7.1 percent above what it was before the recession.

In New Mexico, which has seen some of the nation’s largest declines in enrollment, Kate O’Neill, secretary of the New Mexico Higher Education Department, said part of the downturn -- especially in community colleges -- is attributable to an improving employment landscape.

Between 2016 and 2018, enrollment declined by 10.3 percent, or nearly 10,000 students. In the same period, the state saw a two-percentage-point drop in unemployment.

The state is now pushing to get most 3- and 4-year olds into prekindergarten, which translates into a need for public colleges to produce an estimated 350 new pre-K teachers over two or three years.

“We’re looking at scaling up every education program in the state,” O’Neill said.

In Louisiana, which had one of the largest declines in funding since the recession, Reed, the state higher ed commissioner, said several years of “stable funding” haven’t made up for “one of the worst disinvestments in the nation” during the recession.

“We’re concerned that we’re working against our goal of making sure that education is as affordable and equitable and accessible for all of our students,” she said.

Reed, who on Monday was preparing to begin the state’s new legislative session, said Laderman’s fears about the next recession are real to Louisiana families. “We can’t price ourselves out” of consideration for most families, she said. “We feel like we are at that point already.”

Editorial Tags: State policyImage Source: WikipediaImage Caption: California State AssemblyIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Video of American University student using racial slur goes viral

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 2019-04-09 07:00

This article contains explicit and potentially offensive terms that are essential to reporting on this situation.

A video of a white American University student using a racial slur has gone viral on the campus, prompting outrage from a student body that has already experienced a series of racist incidents in recent years.

A first-year student, Aise O’Neil, was filmed by one of his peers saying “nigger” in a campus dormitory lounge. The 15-second clip shows O’Neil explaining that he feels it’s acceptable to use any word. The university said later that O'Neil used the term in a discussion among students about language and freedom of expression.

O'Neil did not respond to request for comment.

Some students said the video was particularly upsetting because of the university's history with racially charged episodes. In 2015, the university came under fire for racist language used in the now-defunct mobile application Yik Yak, which enabled its users to post anything anonymously. University leaders sharply criticized the platform, but at the time, students still felt they needed a more direct response to the bigotry. And in 2017, bananas were found on campus hanging in the shape of nooses. Sketched onto the fruit was “AKA,” or Alpha Kappa Alpha, referring to the sorority for African American women, and “Harambe bait,” referring to the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in 2016. They were discovered the same day a black woman started her tenure as the student government president.

The student who posted the new video to Twitter tagged university president Sylvia Burwell, with the caption “This is why I don’t feel welcomed at American University.” It has been viewed almost 80,000 times as of Monday evening.

AU does not condone the use of a racist term associated with discrimination and violence. We recognize the harm this can cause in our community. We will work with all concerned to understand what happened and to recognize that freedom of expression comes with responsibility.

— American University (@AmericanU) April 7, 2019

In a statement posted on Sunday, the university said it “does not condone the use of a racist term associated with discrimination and violence.”

“We recognize the harm this can cause in our community,” the statement reads. “We will work with all concerned to understand what happened and to recognize that freedom of expression comes with responsibility.”

In a follow-up message, Fanta Aw, vice president of campus life and inclusive excellence, said that it is vital that the campus recognize “the historical context” of language.

“A slur that has been used in the context of racism, bigotry, discrimination and violence does harm when it is used without understanding its context and painful impact on members of our community,” Aw said.

She added that the university “would be guided by” its student code of conduct. Aw specifically referenced two sections of the conduct code that laid out definitions of misconduct and possible sanctions. Students can be punished for a "bias incident," which is an act targeting these protected classes: "race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy or parenting, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information."

Possible punishments range from a warning to a service project to a dismissal.

In an email to Inside Higher Ed, a spokeswoman for the university said, "We will not comment on the specifics of an individual student’s record. Generally, however, if speech is used as an expression of bias in the context of threats, acts of violence, discrimination, or in conjunction with other violations of the Student Code of Conduct, then disciplinary action as articulated in the code is warranted. The code does not prohibit any specific words, even when they are abhorrent, without also considering the circumstances in which they are spoken. When abhorrent speech does not rise to the level of a code violation, but is harmful to the community and works against an inclusive climate, we use educational approaches to address impact and set expectations for civil discourse."

The university's public statements did little to assuage some students and professors.

“Then do something,” one Twitter user wrote in response to the university’s first statement. Nickolaus Mack, an editor for the student newspaper The Eagle, in an editorial called the statement a 45-word “failure.”

“From the onset, some students are informed that their success at AU can be achieved through the feigning of ignorance and the mere replication of our values rather than an embodiment of them,” Mack wrote. “Others, often having already lived and overcome numerous social and economic obstacles, are told that they are not quite ready for the AU experience.”

“But, what is that experience if not the valuing of privilege over lived experiences? What is that experience if not another way in which AU places the burden of fighting racism on black students?”

Valentina Fernández, president of American University Student Government, posted on Twitter that the campus must “do better.”

“Learn about the historically racist and dehumanizing purpose of this word and don’t accept this from those around you,” Fernández tweeted. “We have such a long way to go until AU can pride itself in its ‘inclusive excellence.’”

The American University Residence Hall Association, which represents those who live on the campus, wrote a lengthy response on Facebook, pledging to fill its executive board with those who “represent and speak to experiences we cannot.”

“Racism does not begin and end with [the] N-word, and our efforts to stop it can’t either,” the association wrote. “Every day, students are left feeling everything from annoyed to depressed, scared to frustrated, and uncomfortable to unwelcome by language and actions from students, faculty, and staff alike.”

Some commentators online called for harsher action. Ibram X. Kendi, an American professor and director of the university’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, wrote on Twitter that his institution should use a “zero-tolerance” policy for racism -- “Who and what do we want to feel welcome on our campuses?” he asked his followers.

American, as a private university, can adopt policies that restrict speech that is viewed as hateful. The Faculty Senate also adopted a resolution on free expression that states:

Freedom of speech -- protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution -- undergirds the cherished principle of academic freedom. As limits, either subtle or explicit, are increasingly placed on intellectual freedom in venues of public discourse, the academy is committed to the full expression of ideas. American University is committed to protecting and championing the right to freely communicate ideas -- without censorship -- and to study material as it is written, produced, or stated, even material that some members of our community may find disturbing or that provokes uncomfortable feelings.

Other colleges -- public universities -- have sanctioned students for using racial slurs before. In 2015, David Boren, the former University of Oklahoma president, indicated he would kick out fraternity members who were caught singing a racist chant -- “There will never be a nigger at SAE,” sung to the tune of “If You're Happy and You Know It.”

This year, Oklahoma faced another similar controversy when a recording of two students in blackface went viral -- the university said those women left voluntarily.

A University of Alabama student was expelled last year after a racist diatribe went public. She ranted in the video, “I love how I act like I love black people, because I fucking hate niggers.” At the time, free speech experts told Inside Higher Ed the ex-Alabama student would have a good case for suing the institution.

Editorial Tags: DiscriminationRaceFree speechImage Caption: Aise O’Neil, who used a racial slur in a video that went viral on American's campusIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 1Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, April 9, 2019Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Email Teaser: Anger Over N-Word at American UMagazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: N-Word FurorTrending order: 1College: American UniversityDisplay Promo Box: 

Henry Reichman discusses his new book on the future of academic freedom

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 2019-04-09 07:00

Does academic freedom have a future? Nobody has a crystal ball. But as former vice president of the American Association of University Professors and longtime chair of its committee on academic freedom and tenure, Henry Reichman is particularly well suited to ponder the question. Reichman, professor emeritus of history at California State University at East Bay, spends 275 pages doing so in his new book, The Future of Academic Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press).

The highly digestible book includes 10 essays on topics from social media to outside donor influence on colleges and universities, from unions to recent student protests over campus speech. (Spoiler: Reichman believes that the critical reaction to these protests is overblown.) Each section could stand alone. But Reichman says he hopes that they “convey a basic unified argument: that academic freedom is threatened today from multiple directions and that challenges to it are central to the present crisis in higher education.”

These issues merit faculty attention, Reichman argues, and the “time for engagement is now.” Still, The Future of Academic Freedom -- whether read in parts or as a whole -- eschews the doomsday mood of some similar books. Reichman’s tone is somehow hopeful, as if he’s arming advocates with the history, knowledge and tools they need to fight the good fight -- not just for the future of academic freedom but for higher education in general.

Reichman recently answered a series of questions about his book via email.

Q: You ask if academic freedom has a future and ultimately answer, "It is up to us." What do you mean by that?

A: While academic freedom is one of the foundations of greatness in the American higher education system, it has always been -- and always will be -- contested and vulnerable. My account of academic freedom's future is not especially optimistic. There are powerful forces in our society that would not only restrict the faculty’s academic freedom but also seek to transform our institutions of higher education into engines of profit instead of sources of enlightenment. Yet these forces pale before the challenge of the faculty’s own apathy and indifference. Nonetheless, as Sheila Slaughter has put it, “The difficulty of protecting academic freedom … should not cause us to abandon it.” And if there is a silver lining to recent assaults on academic freedom and higher education generally, it is that more faculty members have grown more alert to the dangers they face, and many are organizing to respond. Hence practical education about the importance of academic freedom is of the highest priority. To adequately defend it, we need to better understand its meaning, the nature of the hazards it faces and its relation to freedom of expression more generally.

When the AAUP issued the 1915 “Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure,” it can be argued that its claims were unrealistic, even utopian; the tenure system was then virtually nonexistent and the power of autocratic university presidents and corporate boards enormous. Yet these principles gradually gained widespread support and helped build what became the largest and most successful system of higher education in the world.

Q: How can academic freedom be justified or explained to those who don't value it?

A: Academic freedom cannot be defended without understanding that it is essential to fulfilling the mission of colleges and universities to advance intellectual inquiry and knowledge. That mission, in turn, can be justified only as a commitment to the common good. Without academic freedom colleges and universities will not be able to explore new ideas, advance science and the professions, and promote the arts and humanities to the benefit of all. Hence, I argue, that if we understand academic freedom too narrowly as simply the privilege of an elite guild, we will lose public support and indeed stifle innovation. At the same time, however, if we justify academic freedom as simply a subcategory of a broader freedom of expression, we will lose sight of the special role of higher education in producing expert disciplinary knowledge. Academic freedom is a kind of public trust, in which scholars and teachers are granted freedom to regulate their work because that work is essential to advancing the common good, to which the faculty must be dedicated.

Q: You ask if faculty can speak freely as citizens. Can they? And what is the difference between academic freedom and freedom of speech? When do they overlap?

A: The principles of academic freedom as they have been proclaimed by the AAUP since 1915 include the freedom to speak or write freely as "citizens, members of a learned profession and officers of an educational institution" on matters of public or institutional concern, to use the words of the 1940 “Joint Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure” issued by the AAUP and the Association of American Colleges (now the Association of American Colleges and Universities). Since at least the 1960s, the AAUP has understood that freedom to be limited only to the extent that such commentary calls into question a faculty member’s "fitness" for her position and that such expression rarely bears directly on fitness for service. Hence, this principle provides quite broad protection -- or should provide broad protection -- for most extramural expression, including expression that many, including most professors, might find offensive. For example, an engineering professor should be able as a citizen to advocate Holocaust denial -- and here I have at least two actual examples in mind -- without fear of institutional discipline. However, were an historian of 20th-century Europe to so advocate, this undeniably could reflect on that professor's fitness. (This isn't just theoretical, as illustrated by the Arthur Butz case at Northwestern University.)

Freedom of speech, which is a democratic value to which all citizens are entitled, may overlap with academic freedom, but the two are not the same. Academic freedom must be earned by way of disciplinary training and expertise. Research and teaching are not like the "free market of ideas." Citizens are free to reject the theory of evolution; biologists are not. So, for instance, a provocateur like Milo Yiannopoulos has, in a sense, greater rights to spew vitriol on campus than faculty members do to speak their minds in the classroom. Nevertheless, an institution that fails to protect the expression of its faculty members as citizens and the freedom of speech of its students and community members is unlikely adequately to protect the faculty's academic freedom in the classroom, the laboratory and the library.

Q: You cover a host of academic freedom cases involving Twitter. What is it about this particular medium that gets so many professors in trouble? And would you kill Twitter if you could?

A: My book includes a chapter entitled "Can I Tweet That?" I've often thought that someone (not me) should write a companion piece entitled "Should I Tweet That?" Social media like Twitter have extended the ability of faculty members -- and not only faculty members, of course -- to speak as citizens, which is in many ways a welcome and wonderful development, but also makes such expression more hazardous. A faculty member who in the past might write a controversial op-ed piece in a local newspaper could risk blowback from a rather limited community. Today, one who tweets a controversial statement may unwittingly incite an online mob. Hence, while academic freedom must protect the rights of faculty members on all social media, those teachers who wish to engage these media should be aware of the potential consequences and gird themselves. In any event, it is the responsibility of college and university administrations to forcefully defend the right of their faculty members to tweet without fear of disciplinary consequences and not simply to dissociate their institutions from tweets or posts that attract negative publicity.

Many faculty members are used to employing arguments with nuance and subtlety. Twitter may not be the best medium for that, although at the same time many find it useful for honing one's main points and sharpening positions. And despite the proliferation of cases where Twitter has endangered faculty members, there are also many examples of professors who have skillfully employed this medium to bring their disciplinary expertise into the public arena, which is precisely what academic freedom should and must encourage. I'm thinking here of historians like Princeton's Kevin Kruse, for just one example. So I would not advocate "killing" Twitter, although I don't doubt there are many ways it could be improved, as several prominent scholars of media have suggested.

Q: To what extent do outside donors threaten academic freedom, and do those threats come from both conservative and liberal donors?

A: Academic institutions should not relinquish autonomy and the primary authority of their faculty over the curriculum when they accept outside donations. On the issue of outside interference in the university -- whether from government or private interests -- my view is essentially that espoused in a concurring opinion in the 1957 case of Sweezy v. New Hampshire by U.S. Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter. He identified “four essential freedoms of a university -- to determine for itself on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught and who may be admitted to study.” Donors have every right to request that their donations be used for goals they support. It is the responsibility of the institution, however, to ensure that their donations do not violate these basic principles.

While at present a massively coordinated effort by right-wing foundations to reshape higher education may pose a special danger, in principle it would be foolish to assume that only such money could be corrupting. “Shouldn’t we be concerned about anyone who is funding any academic research centers on political and social subjects, no matter their ideological direction?” one journalist recently asked. The real issue is not so much politics but whether funding agreements conform to the criteria outlined by Justice Frankfurter. And the massive defunding and privatization of public higher education, which Christopher Newfield has appropriately called "the great mistake," intensifies the danger. As AAUP president Rudy Fichtenbaum put it, “The public defunding of higher education has already generated a host of terrible consequences. If politically motivated donors pick up the slack, things will only get worse. Higher education can’t function properly when it is beholden to special interests. That bodes ill not just for colleges themselves. It bodes ill for our democracy.”

Q: Many academics say that students threaten free expression nowadays, in that they are intolerant of and seek to censor anything they deem to be intolerant. But you say that student demonstrators of today "may well be doing more to advance the cause of free expression than their occasionally intolerant demands may now and then hinder it." How did you arrive at that conclusion? And do students have academic freedom?

A: When it comes to allegations of student intolerance, I like to quote the libertarian political theorist Jacob Levy: "It turns out that 18-year-olds seized of the conviction of their own righteousness are prone to immoderation and simplistic views. (Who knew?)" Do students sometimes threaten free expression? Yes, they sometimes do. But let me situate the quote you mention in the full context in which it appears in my book (and in an earlier version of that essay, which appeared on Inside Higher Ed). I write, "By challenging campus administrations through organized protest, the student demonstrators of today may well be doing more to advance the cause of free expression than their occasionally intolerant demands may now and then hinder it. It’s necessary to credit their courage and determination in addressing the sometimes unconscious but nonetheless real and persistent racism and misogyny that infect our society and our campuses. In doing so, they have made and will again make mistakes. They will offend others even as they respond to deeper offenses against their own dignity. They may demonstrate indifference to the rights of others, as protesters everywhere always have. But, in doing so, they will learn. And that, it seems to me, is the essential point. Student academic freedom, in the final analysis, is about the freedom to learn. And learning is impossible without error."

Q: Should the Yiannopouloses and Richard Spencers of the world really be granted a platform on college campuses, even if they're invited by someone, somewhere?

A: I don't think there is any reason to grant such speakers a platform without an invitation -- unless a campus has foolishly (in my opinion) offered its venues to all comers, perhaps in an ill-advised search for revenue. However, if a legitimate campus group has invited such a speaker, they should be granted a platform. For a public institution this is a matter of law; the First Amendment compels it. But I think the principle should apply to private institutions as well. That said, however, I believe colleges and universities have a duty to educate the campus about ideas that run fundamentally counter to the mission and intellectual values of the institution. It is higher education's role to confront irrationality with reason. Silencing irrational and hateful arguments that run counter to genuine intellectual inquiry only allow those arguments to fester. I therefore agree with Phi Beta Kappa CEO Frederick Lawrence, who wrote, "We bind ourselves to an impoverished choice set if we believe that we can either punish speech or validate it. In the face of hate speech, the call for more speech is not merely an option; it is a professional or even moral obligation."

Q: What should faculty, staff and students know and do about academic freedom under what you call the "Trump regime"?

A: In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump's election, the AAUP issued a statement, which I will now acknowledge I largely authored, that acknowledged how "the problems facing higher education today and the growing assault on the professionalism and freedoms of faculty members over the past several decades can hardly be attributed to the results of a single election. Many of these problems stem from ill-conceived policies developed and implemented on a bipartisan basis." Nevertheless, it would be foolish not to recognize that the Trump regime has over the past two years exacerbated these problems, in good measure because it has dramatically intensified the ongoing assault on the common good more broadly. In this context, I would return to my response to your first question. Faculty, staff and students need to learn about the principles of academic freedom, tenure and shared governance that built our contemporary system of higher education, and they must organize to defend them. This is essentially why I wrote the essays in this book.

So let me conclude here, as I conclude the book, by quoting from remarks delivered to the annual conference of the AAUP in 2010 by Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University. McGuire acknowledged that “the biggest threat to our academic freedom and health of our enterprise is our own tendency to self-censorship.” We can, she added, “either cower under our desks to escape the noise, hoping no one calls us out, resolving to remain silent … Or, we can do our jobs, with responsibility, with integrity and with audacity … Academic freedom rarely dies in one egregious event; academic freedom erodes in a thousand small concessions … But we lose everything when we refuse the engagement, when we sit back and hope that this wave will just pass over us, naïvely thinking that our freedom will remain intact even as the ebb tide washes it away.”

Academic FreedomFacultyThreats Against FacultyEditorial Tags: Academic freedomCollege administrationFacultyIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: California State University-East BayDisplay Promo Box: 

New CCCSE survey examines link between student engagement and growth mind-set

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 2019-04-09 07:00

A study released today by the Center for Community College Student Engagement reinforces past research that found students who have an academic “growth mind-set” and a sense of belonging in college have higher grades and are more engaged learners.

Seventy-one percent of community college students who responded to the CCCSE survey measuring student mind-set and engagement had a productive mind-set, or said they believed they could improve their intelligence in English courses. Those same students reported having a grade point average that corresponds to an A grade. Sixty-one percent of students reported they could change their intelligence in math, and those students also had an equivalent of an overall A grade point average.

Colleges are redesigning their academic and student experience programs as new research proves that students' mind-set has an impact on their academic success. These programs can be very powerful motivational drivers because many community college students have been told they don’t belong or are not smart enough to be in college -- and believe it, said Evelyn Waiwaiole, executive director of the center.

“Educating students about the power of mind-set can help them change the way they feel about past failures, which can lead to more engagement, and, in turn, more successful students,” she said.

Students mostly held a negative mind-set when surveyed on their ability to take a test in math, according to the survey. Forty-two percent of students disagreed or responded neutrally as to whether they could do well on tests. Forty-four percent of students disagreed or responded neutrally as to whether they could significantly change their intelligence in math. More than 82,000 students from about 160 two-year institutions responded to the annual survey.

Faculty mind-set may also play a role in the ability of students to perform well.

The survey found that 41 percent of faculty members are confident that all of their students can change their basic intelligence. But nearly 24 percent of faculty members responded that only some or none of their students could change their basic intelligence.

“A quarter of faculty believes none or some of their students can change their intelligence,” Waiwaiole said. “We want to change that number, because it’s pretty high. How do we change the people walking into those classrooms so they believe students can learn? That comes from professional development.”

A study released earlier this year by brain science scholars at Indiana University at Bloomington suggested students see more possibility for achievement when their instructors believe they can improve their intelligence.

“Faculty beliefs and behaviors shape the mind-set cultures within their classrooms,” Mary Murphy, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at IU, said in an email. “Faculty are the culture creators in their own classrooms, and these mind-set cultures may be even more influential, in some settings, than students’ own personal mind-set beliefs.”

Waiwaiole said the CCCSE survey did not examine a correlation between faculty mind-set and students’ own beliefs about their ability to grow their intelligence. More research is needed in this subject area, she said.

“Intuition tells you a faculty member influences how a student feels about going through a class,” Waiwaiole said.

Instructors at Seattle Central College, a two-year institution in Washington State, began offering workshops to their colleagues and other staff members in 2013 to help them learn how to improve students’ beliefs about learning, belonging and relevance of course subjects.

The workshops help faculty revise the way they talk to students about their abilities. For example, an instructor who praises a student by saying, “I knew you were a math person,” may have the best intentions, but they aren’t supporting that student’s growth, said Jane Muhich, a math professor at Seattle Central, who helped develop the workshops at the college.

“Are you praising the process or the person?” Muhich said. The emphasis is on an attribute and not the abilities of the students, she said.

Instead, Muhich said, a better way to frame completing a difficult math assignment for a student is to say, “You really worked hard and improved.”

Seattle Central faculty learn to emphasize that students can improve at math or any subject they find difficult and that it’s OK for them to seek help, she said.

The CCCSE survey also found that nontraditional students, or those aged 25 and older, had a more positive mind-set than traditional-age students. For example, 62 percent of nontraditional students agreed that they do well on tests, even if those tests are difficult, while only 55 percent of traditional-age students agreed with that statement. More nontraditional students responded positively that they will accomplish difficult tasks and are confident in their course work than their traditional-age peers.

“Even if you’re older and you feel you can’t do math, so much of life has prepared you so you feel you can overcome challenges,” Waiwaiole said. “Our data didn’t detail this, but the older you are, the better mind-set you have. I have to believe that some of it is because you’ve overcome life, and at 18 your life hasn’t been as broad.”

Community CollegesEditorial Tags: ResearchIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Indiana University-BloomingtonDisplay Promo Box: 

2U to buy boot-camp provider Trilogy for $750 million

Inside Higher Ed - Tue, 2019-04-09 07:00

A prominent online program management company, 2U, announced this morning that it will purchase Trilogy Education Services, a large boot camp provider that partners with continuing education divisions at dozens of universities.

The publicly traded 2U will pay $750 million in cash and shares for Trilogy, in a deal that will nearly double the number of university partners for the combined company, to 68 from 36.

“We’re believers in the power of a great university,” said Chip Paucek, 2U's CEO, who said the acquisition extends the company’s mission and its ability to offer “digital reskilling” to working adults.

Paucek said the substantial overlap between the two companies includes a shared belief in “the university’s central role in the life of the student.”

An early entrant to the OPM space at its founding 11 years ago, 2U focuses largely on graduate degrees offered by selective research universities. But the company has diversified in recent years, with an eye toward being able to be meet nascent but growing demand for short-term and alternative credentials from working adults.

For example, last year the company bought GetSmarter for $103 million. GetSmarter provides short graduate-level online courses aimed at working professionals. As with offerings from some MOOC providers, students in 2U’s courses from GetSmarter can earn a verified noncredit certificate from partner institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, other domestic universities and institutions in other countries.

Also last year, 2U paid $13 million to lease an online learning platform created by the Flatiron School, another boot camp provider. That acquisition was part of a broader partnership 2U struck with WeWork, the co-working giant that has 637 spaces in 111 cities in the U.S. and around the world. Through that arrangement, 2U gives students who are enrolled in its online degree programs the free use of WeWork offices.

The OPM is working to create physical learning spaces with WeWork as part of a broader bid to develop a “global campus” for in-person and hybrid online credential programs.

If lifelong learning becomes more than a catchy phrase, 2U could be in a good position to offer short-term online or hybrid credentials to knowledge economy workers at WeWork, a group that is among the most likely student segments to pursue alternative, career-advancing credentials in large numbers.

Likewise, Trilogy has become one of the most established boot camp providers, and the boot camp that has opted to reach students directly through relationships with traditional universities, rather than pitching its services directly to consumers. Some critics and competitors of Trilogy, however, have said the company’s partnerships could be misleading to students, who may not understand that the university-endorsed boot camp is administered through an outside company.

The company’s programs typically are priced at $10,000 for 12 weeks of full-time instruction (24 weeks for part-time programs) in web development, data visualization and analytics, UX/UI design, and cybersecurity. Trilogy offers career services to its students, including interview training and networking events.

Instruction is offered in classroom space on or near university campuses, although undergraduates who are enrolled at those institutions are not their primary students.

Trilogy’s model works by helping university partners run their own boot camps. The universities control the curriculums, and their continuing education divisions get a share of the boot camp’s tuition revenue. The programs also are not credit bearing or eligible for federal financial aid. Late last year Trilogy turned some heads by announcing a boot camp offered with Harvard University’s Extension School.

Trilogy and 2U could seek to create credit-bearing and financial aid-eligible versions of the boot camp’s programs. And the acquisition comes as the U.S. Congress is considering whether to open the federal Pell Grant program to short-term credentials, dropping the minimum eligible program length to eight weeks from the current minimum of 15 weeks.

Democrats in the House of Representatives in a report released last month voiced support for so-called short-term Pell Grants as part of their suite of recommendations for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the federal law that oversees federal financial aid. Support among Democrats for that proposal is somewhat flimsy, however. And the House Democrats’ report called for strong quality control checks on short-term programs.

The boot camp sector has seen plenty of consolidation in recent years. Several, including early entrants Dev Bootcamp and the Iron Yard, shut down years after being acquired, partially or fully, by large, traditional for-profit education chains.

Last April the Adecco Group, a major temporary-staffing firm based in Switzerland, bought General Assembly, one of the largest skills and coding boot camp providers in the U.S., for roughly $413 million.

Through this acquisition, the expanding 2U, which brought in $412 million in revenue last year and hired 914 people, gets new footholds in global markets. Trilogy this year expanded its international offerings through a new partnership with Australia’s prestigious Monash University, the first boot camp in that country. The company also has programs in Canada and Mexico, with more global growth in the works.

The boot camp has a presence in 50 cities and offers corporate training. While most of its programs are face-to-face, Trilogy currently offers an online boot camp with the University of California, Berkeley, and a handful of other university partners. Through the acquisition, 2U could substantially increase the online reach of Trilogy’s boot camps.

Dan Sommer, Trilogy’s founder and CEO, said the boot camps feature a centralized curriculum with digital elements that the company modifies based on local employer needs.

The acquisition by 2U, which is subject to regulatory approvals, comes on the eve of the annual ASU+GSV meeting in San Diego, a popular gathering for investors and education technology companies. Last year’s version featured a more collaborative tone about traditional higher education from company officials who, at similar events in previous years, sounded more pessimistic about colleges’ ability to cope with disruption driven by technology and the economy.

Sommer said a shared focus on working with universities helps explain the partnership between the two companies.

“We both fundamentally believe that universities are the place for lifelong learning,” said Sommer.

Online and Blended LearningEditorial Tags: Adult educationDigital LearningOnline learningImage Source: Trilogy Education ServicesImage Caption: Students at a Trilogy boot campIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Dean and provost stepped down from their posts under pressure at Western Kentucky U

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-08 07:00

Western Kentucky University provost Terry Ballman stepped down Friday, effective immediately, just a day after the faculty voted no confidence in her. She was on the job for less than a year.

Just last week, Larry Snyder, the popular dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters, was suddenly forced to resign from his post.

What’s going on? Faculty members say the two administrative departures are related, and that a major review of academic programs also is involved. Snyder was widely seen as an advocate for professors who may be the targets of cuts. He was so popular on campus that even students held a series of protests -- an unusual form of student activism for a dean.

"Ballman definitely had the best interests of the university and students at heart, but what the faculty could just not get beyond was the way she dealt with personnel decisions -- and that culminated in the removal of a very well-liked dean,” said Kirk Atkinson, University Senate chair and associate professor of information systems.

At the request of more than a dozen faculty members, Atkinson called a special meeting of the Senate Thursday to vote on a resolution of no confidence in Ballman.

The resolution itself was simple: “Be it resolved that the University Senate has no confidence in the leadership of Provost Ballman.” But a lengthy discussion preceding the vote revealed a deep faculty distrust of Ballman’s ability to lead the university through tough times ahead -- namely program cuts resulting from the recent academic program review. Those cuts have not yet been announced. But just prior to his forced resignation, faculty members in his college say, Snyder informed them that the cuts would indeed be deep.

Guy Jordan, associate professor of art history, began the discussion of the resolution, saying that he’d worked with Snyder for 10 years and never knew him to do anything rash, let alone resign midsemester -- via a brief email from Ballman, sent March 27.

“Dr. Snyder has elected to step down as dean,” Ballman wrote. “Dr. Snyder will be on leave preparing to resume his duties as a member of our faculty. I wish to thank Dr. Snyder for his service as dean."

Explaining that he initially feared for Snyder’s health, Jordan said that he rushed to the dean’s office and saw his staffing crying about his having been “fired.” Others were gathering outside the dean’s office, too, Jordan said. And at that exact moment, two high school students were touring the university with their parents.

The students were “looking at us, wondering, ‘What on Earth is going on?’ That was the most chaotic and embarrassing thing I’ve ever witnessed in an academic workplace,” Jordan said.

Separate statements from senior administrators since have confirmed that Snyder was forced out neither for cause nor misconduct, Jordan continued. So while Ballman has the right to “choose her team,” he said, she could have waited for a more opportune time to let him go.

Instead, Jordan said, “we have grief and chaos, and for a month, in the busiest of the time of the spring semester, no one running the dean’s office except [Snyder’s] staff and a few dedicated but overwhelmed faculty fellows.”

Jordan expressed concern that Snyder’s dismissal was not a one-off, and that Ballman indeed exhibited a “pattern” of “reckless” decisions. Another member of the provost’s team involved in the academic review was dismissed from the process in similar manner earlier this academic year, he asserted. And Ballman told non-tenure-track professors to expect letters saying that they would lose their appointments but possibly be rehired for next year, he said. The letters were never sent, but Jordan criticized Ballman’s handling of the possibility.

Like many institutions, Western Kentucky is facing challenges, including steep state funding cuts. So while the university reviews academic programs with some regularity, the stakes are high this round. And it's still unclear what will be cut. The Board of Regents is set to review the Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation committee's recommendations this week.

Jordan said he knew that cuts across the university were imminent. But “when you know that your dean is willing to advocate for you, fight your fight -- that a dean will do all he or she can to ensure transparency, fairness and to protect his or her students, staff and faculty -- even when the ultimate decision doesn’t go your way, it makes those cuts easier to handle and those transitions easier to make.”

The final vote was 50 to 10, no confidence, with three abstentions. Students of course couldn’t participate, but some attended the meeting in a show of solidarity with professors opposed to Snyder’s release. Many students protested on campus immediately following the news that he would no longer be dean.

Following the special meeting, the university released a statement saying that a vote of no confidence “is exceedingly rare in higher education and at our institution. [The university] takes shared governance seriously and will need some time to react appropriately to this action taken” by the senate.

The next day, Friday, Ballman announced her immediate resignation. The decision followed discussions with President Timothy C. Caboni about “what would be in [the university’s] best interest,” she said. Ballman will serve as assistant to the president for special initiatives until 2020 and resume a professorship in the department of modern languages full-time after that.

Ballman began as provost in August. Prior to that, she was dean of the College of Arts and Letters at California State University, San Bernardino. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Snyder was unavailable for an interview.

“Serving as your provost has been both an honor and a privilege, and I am proud of the things we have accomplished this year,” Ballman said. “I remain confident in the future of [Western Kentucky]. This is a remarkable, student-centered institution, and our students will continue to enjoy the transformative educational opportunities that are a hallmark” of the university experience.

Caboni, the president, wrote in a campus memo that “a vote of no confidence is a powerful statement and one that I take very seriously.” Saying that he’d heard from various members of the campus over the past two weeks -- presumably since Snyder’s resignation -- and that he’d spoken with Ballman, Caboni also said she'd "agreed that it is in [Western Kentucky’s] best interest that she step down from her role, effective immediately.”

Cheryl Stevens, longtime dean of Western Kentucky's Ogden College of Science and Engineering, will serve as acting provost. Merrall Price, special assistant to the provost and professor of English, who had previously been announced as Snyder’s interim successor as dean, will immediately move to the dean’s office.

Caboni added that academic affairs “also will immediately implement a plan of action to address the concerns of the campus community and to regain the trust of those who have lost confidence. Clearly, we must do more.”

To that end, he said, any program decisions related to the review will not go beyond the committee’s recommendations. Noting that the campus has been operating without three associate vice presidents for academic affairs this semester, Caboni also said that the new provost will appoint a senior vice provost to work with her and deans, “to advance [the university’s] strategic plan and also to strengthen relationships between academic affairs and each of our five colleges.”

Caboni also announced the creation of a new, monthly provost’s council of senior professors and other individual college leaders to “ensure that policies and decisions are being vetted more broadly and with input from and conversation with a larger group from across campus.”

Such moments in the life of an institution “are painful,” Caboni wrote. “As we move forward together, where damaged, we must repair our organizational bonds. Most importantly, we will refocus our time and energy on the things each of us was brought here to accomplish. At our core are student learning, knowledge creation and public engagement that elevate our region.”

Atkinson, the senate chair, said he and others are still trying to process the recent changes. But the overall feeling on campus seems to be a desire to “get back to business.”

“We are very student focused and we want to move forward,” he said.

AdministrationFacultyEditorial Tags: College administrationFacultyImage Caption: Terry BallmanIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: A Dean's OusterTrending order: 1College: Western Kentucky UniversityDisplay Promo Box: 

Colleges recruiting 2020 presidential candidates as commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-08 07:00

In December, Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who at the time had not yet declared she would run for president, spoke at the winter commencement of Morgan State University, a historically black institution in Baltimore.

She touched on familiar themes for a progressive lawmaker: Wall Street greed and the need to dismantle systemic racism. But her words swerved into the political realm even further, taking a swipe at President Trump, whom she said “kisses up to autocrats and undermines voting and basic democratic institutions.”

Her decision to even speak at a college of almost all minority students could be viewed as politically savvy. Warren had just come off a controversy in October, when she publicly released a DNA test that she intended to prove her Native American ancestry. The move backfired when the results showed Warren’s Native heritage was fairly weak. Pundits said she had damaged relationships with her allies by equating DNA to Native American identity and questioned whether she could connect with minority voters.

For Warren, Morgan State was an ideal setting to talk and be seen. She's not the only presidential candidate with that view.

Administrators who court politicians for commencements said they simply do not censor their speeches or police them to make sure they don’t veer into political territory -- they rely on them to be appropriate for the venue.

And in many cases, the colleges are the first to contact these candidates because they believe that hearing from (potentially) the next president of the United States, or another office holder, will only benefit students -- even if it comes with pushback on occasions.

Candidates benefit, too -- with the 2020 election cycle in full swing, and a slew of Democratic contenders, colleges will see more politicians taking advantage of these speaking opportunities, especially if the colleges are located in key primary states.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, for instance, whose presidential campaign has failed to make major waves, will be the commencement speaker for New England College this year, a small private institution in New Hampshire.

Gillibrand’s selection in some ways makes sense -- she is well-known for her fight against sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, and was a major player in gathering support for the failed Campus Accountability and Safety Act. In a message to campus, President Michele D. Perkins lauded Gillibrand’s achievements.

“Throughout her time in the Senate, Senator Gillibrand has been a leader in some of the toughest fights in Washington,” Perkins said in a statement. “She led the effort to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the military; she wrote the STOCK Act, which made it illegal for members of Congress to financially benefit from inside information; and she won the long fight to provide permanent health care and compensation to the 9/11 first responders and community survivors. Senator Gillibrand is recognized for bringing Democrats and Republicans together to solve important national problems.”

Gillibrand’s appearance would also boost her profile in a battleground state that holds the first presidential primary election of the season.

It was the college, though, that reached out to Gillibrand’s representatives, not vice versa, said Wayne F. Lesperance, the vice president of academic affairs at New England and one of the administrators who helps pick the commencement speaker. The college said Gillibrand’s team eagerly accepted the invitation.

Officials intentionally reached out to Gillibrand, because the college tries to bring in political figures around election time, believing that doing so fits with its mission to teach civic engagement, Lesperance said. The college’s commencement speaker last year was Julián Castro, the former housing and urban development secretary under President Obama, who was seen as a likely candidate for president (he announced his run in January).

After soliciting ideas from the campus, administrators will forward a name to the Board of Trustees, which has a committee that approves the speaker. Lesperance said the pick is based off timing of commencement and interest among students and professors.

The college doesn’t review the commencement speeches -- administrators merely remind the speakers of time limits and who “their audience is,” Lesperance said.

“We’re not looking for them to give a stump speech, or pass out envelopes,” he said. “We want them to be inspirational, or talk in hopeful terms about getting ready to graduate to the next big adventure.”

Colleges and universities generally don’t appear to review the content of commencement addresses. The University of California, Berkeley, which invited Kamala Harris, a California senator and Democratic presidential hopeful to speak at commencement last year, does not vet the speeches; rather, officials “ask that commencement speakers acknowledge the students’ work and ask them to inspire students as they go on to the next phase of life after university,” said Roqua Monetz, a Berkeley spokesman.

Harris ultimately backed out of the speech to avoid crossing a picket line by striking UC workers.

Kean University, in New Jersey, which recruited its junior senator, Cory Booker, a Democrat and presidential candidate, as commencement speaker last year, also does not advise its picks on what they can and cannot say, spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said. Kean administrators reached out to Booker, who is known for his grand, lofty speeches.

“Commencement represents an opportunity for the entire Kean community, including our graduates and their families, to gather together and celebrate a milestone achievement for our students,” McCorry said. “Our speakers are chosen because of their stature in the national and international arenas. We were delighted to have Senator Booker as a commencement speaker. He is a New Jersey success story whose life experiences and accomplishments are relatable to our students.”

New England, meanwhile, in addition to Castro, has brought in John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president and a 2008 presidential candidate; George Pataki, New York's Republican former governor; and Carol Moseley Braun, a former diplomat and Democratic senator from Illinois.

All of them “have been pretty good,” Lesperance said. And while some alumni, parents or even students have groused about the selection of a politician as a speaker, college officials said it’s important that they come. Lesperance said he personally advocates for the politicians to come to campus.

The speeches at New England have delved deep into policy issues, though -- Edwards in his speech talked at length about global warming and the push by college students to bring attention to it, and mentioned the Iraq war and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“It’s part of the deal of conversations that can happen in a democracy and differences in points of view,” Lesperance said. “It’s a fertile ground for conversation for members for our community. We want to take concerns seriously, but we’ve never had a situation where those concerns were a veto of a speaker.”

Part of being an institution of higher learning is that politicians -- presidential candidates -- will be “in your backyard,” said Libby May, spokeswoman for Southern New Hampshire University, which this year has Booker as one of four commencement speakers. Booker is also booked for commencement at South Carolina State University, a historically black university, in May.

Southern New Hampshire’s process for selecting a speaker is similar to New England’s, with a “core team” developing ideas for the speaker and the president giving the final sign-off, May said. Neither Southern New Hampshire nor New England pay their politicians for commencement speakers. May said that the candidates typically don’t accept a fee -- sometimes they’ll ask money be donated to a charity of their choosing.

Then senator Barack Obama also spoke at Southern New Hampshire in 2007. At the time, though he was a rising star in the Democratic Party, Obama was considered an underdog candidate for president, and his early appearances in New Hampshire helped catapult him to the point in the 2008 primary that he only tailed Hillary Clinton slightly in the state. Colleges were a major forum for Obama, and he spoke at other commencements too, including Wesleyan University in 2008 as a stand-in for Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Carly Fiorina, a former chief executive for Hewlett-Packard who ran for president as a Republican during the last presidential election, also spoke at Southern New Hampshire while she was a candidate. May said the institution tries to ensure an even political mix -- and administrators tend not to focus on speakers as candidates, but what their stories bring to the graduates.

“Obama was a sitting senator, and Carly Fiorina had major business experience,” May said.

While none of the candidates have ever devolved into a campaign speech, “at the end of the day they’re still politicians,” May said -- the flavor of their commencement addresses can be political, such as challenging societal injustices. The university does request a copy of the speech beforehand, but never have they edited it for content, May said. She said it’s typically so the university can make arrangements for commencement.

“I don’t believe anybody who has taken campaigning, or even gone on a policy stint,” May said. “They tend to keep it pretty light. It’s commencement, it’s a celebratory thing. They don’t usually go for policy or attacking the other side. I can’t recall anybody doing that.”

Editorial Tags: Free speechPolitics (national)Image Caption: Obama at Wesleyan in 2008Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

MIT and Harvard fail to get out of video captioning court case

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-08 07:00

Two high-profile civil rights lawsuits filed by the National Association of the Deaf against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are set to continue after requests to dismiss the cases were recently denied for the second time.

The two universities were accused by the NAD in 2015 of failing to make their massive open online courses, guest lectures and other video content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Some of the videos, many of which were hosted on the universities' YouTube channels, did have captions -- but the NAD complained that these captions were sometimes so bad that the content was still inaccessible.

Spokespeople for both Harvard and MIT declined to comment on the ongoing litigation but stressed that their institutions were committed to improving web accessibility.

This is not the first time a university has faced legal consequences for failing to adequately caption videos. The University of California, Berkeley, decided to remove thousands of educational videos from public view in 2017 after the U.S. Justice Department ordered the university to provide captions. The decision drew criticism from disability rights advocates but highlighted the financial and administrative burden placed on universities by web-accessibility requirements.

Both MIT and Harvard have argued in court filings that they should not be required to provide closed captions for every video they create or host on their websites. After the institutions’ first attempt to dismiss the cases was denied, there was a yearlong attempt to reach a settlement out of court. When that attempt failed, the universities again moved to dismiss the cases.

Judge Katherine A. Robertson of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts largely rejected the universities' second attempt to dismiss the cases. On March 28, Robertson denied the institutions' pleas for the exclusion of their websites from Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Title III of the ADA prohibits disability discrimination by "places of public accommodation." Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs that receive federal funding.

Judge Robertson did, however, agree that the universities could not be held responsible for the accessibility of third-party content on their websites under the Communications Decency Act. The CDA was an attempt by Congress in 1996 to regulate pornographic material on the internet, but Section 230 of the act has been used to argue that operators of internet services should not be regarded as publishers and cannot, therefore, be held liable for content they did not create.

Arlene Mayerson, directing attorney of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the case, said that the third-party content represents “a tiny amount of the material that we have been looking to have captioned.” The most significant part of Judge Robertson's ruling was her rejection of the universities' arguments that much of their online content was outside the accessibility requirements of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, Mayerson said.

Harvard and MIT define third-party content as "including content posted by students, individual faculty members and other scholars." But in court documents, the plaintiffs disagreed that content created by "individuals such as faculty members and students who are closely associated" with the universities should be classified as "third party." Judge Robertson ruled that third-party content could not include content created or developed "in whole or in part" by the universities, or "someone associated" with the universities.

Scott Lissner, the ADA coordinator at Ohio State University, said he believes it is his responsibility to make all content on Ohio State websites accessible, regardless of where it comes from.

“If we believe the information is useful to our constituents and program participants then it should be available to all of our constituents and program participants with the same level of independence, planning and effort,” he said.

Mayerson believes the recent ruling against the universities is the "end of the line" in terms of having their cases dismissed.

“I don’t think there’s anything left for Harvard or MIT to argue,” she said. “The outcome that we’ve always sought is for accessibility on these websites for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. We’re still on that road.”

Image Source: Istockphoto.com/VectorFunIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Harvard UniversityMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyDisplay Promo Box: 

Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-08 07:00
  • Carroll University, in Wisconsin: Milwaukee police chief Alfonso Morales.
  • Central State University: Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, a pastor, social justice advocate, author and former president of the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP.
  • Delaware College of Art and Design: Catherine Quillman, the artist and writer.
  • DePaul University: Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and others.
  • Furman University: Eleanor Beardsley, international correspondent for National Public Radio.
  • Hampden-Sydney College: David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of the Carlyle Group.
  • Manhattan College: Sonia Sotomayor, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Randolph College: Richmond, Va., mayor Levar M. Stoney.
  • Rhode Island School of Design: Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
  • Sarah Lawrence College: Maggie Haberman, White House reporter for The New York Times.
  • Union College, in New York: Susan Zirinsky, president and senior executive producer of CBS News.
  • University of Washington: Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors.
  • Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer, the retired football coach at the university.
  • Wake Forest University: Frederick J. Ryan Jr., publisher and chief executive officer of The Washington Post.
  • Washington University in St. Louis: Michael R. Bloomberg, the philanthropist and former mayor of New York City.
Editorial Tags: Commencement speakersIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Hampshire College president quits and board votes to raise money to try to stay independent

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 2019-04-08 07:00

Hampshire College's president, Miriam E. Nelson, announced Friday that she was leaving her position, effective immediately.

In a letter to the campus, she defended her analysis that the college needed substantial changes in its structure and financing to remain viable. She also, however, said that opposition to her leadership "would be a distraction from the necessary work" of placing the college on sound footing.

The college also announced that its board had voted to start a fund-raising campaign to remain independent. While the board has not in recent months ruled out that possibility, it has been pursuing partnerships -- a strategy opposed by many students, alumni and faculty members who believe that it would be impossible to find a partnership that would not erode Hampshire's values.

Nelson's announcement comes the same week that the board chair left her position, also saying that the intense criticism she had received was making it difficult for the college to consider options.

Hampshire announced in January that its financial struggles were so severe that it was considering not admitting a new freshman class this fall. In February, it announced that it was admitting as new students for the fall only those who were admitted early decision or were admitted last year and deferred enrollment for a year. By not admitting a full class of students, the college said it hoped to buy some time and keep expenses low -- layoffs followed -- while searching for a partner. Many students, faculty members and alumni criticized the move, saying that further decreasing enrollment would make it more difficult to survive, especially as an independent institution. For nearly 50 years, Hampshire has operated as a college where students could lead their own educations, without the constraints of traditional departments.

According to data released by the college, in 2014, enrollment was 1,390, but it fell to 1,120 this year. In 2018, the college projected that it would receive deposits from 397 first-year students. The actual total was 320.

In her letter to the campus, Nelson outlined her analysis of the college's situation (she arrived only last year) and also why she felt it would not be wise to continue in office.

A phrase used to describe Hampshire -- “perennially strapped for cash” -- "is not a desirable description, even if accurate," she wrote. "Last May, when I learned from Jonathan Lash [the prior president] that our entering class was again going to be significantly smaller than expected, it was clear this would trigger a chain of negative events threatening our long-term viability. So, in coming to Hampshire, I knew I needed to embrace the challenge of finding a path to the long-term financial stability that has always eluded the college. As I dug into our fiscal reality, I learned we had stark choices. It was clear to me, and soon after to the board, that we would need to find a partner that could help us preserve what our community has always valued in Hampshire."

Nelson added that she "anticipated that the January 15 announcement that stated we were seeking a strategic partner, and the subsequent decision to admit only a fraction of our fall 2019 class, would create anxiety, sorrow and anger. That has surely come to pass. For many, this entire situation came as too much of a shock and felt too much like a betrayal. Together with our Board of Trustees, I have had to make a number of very tough decisions without putting them up for a collective debate. To some, this is an inexcusably top-down, un-Hampshire way of doing things."

The now former president noted in her letter that Hampshire, while historically known for a commitment to shared governance, has also designated ultimate responsibility for key decisions to the president and board. "In Hampshire’s 1970 catalogue, it was clear that decision-making authority would accrue to the college’s president and trustees: 'The Hampshire governance arrangements will not be egalitarian; they will be hierarchical. To be involved, informed and participating will be the responsibility and right of every member of the community; but experience, past performance and a definition of role will determine the decision-making arrangements.' This language was prescient, since throughout Hampshire’s tenure, leadership has had to make tough and unpopular decisions."

Her letter went on to say, however, that she realized others wanted to focus on fund-raising to remain independent, rather than seeking a partner.

Ken Rosenthal has been named interim president. He was one of the college’s founders and its fifth employee. He started work there in 1966, served as the college's first treasurer and left the college in 1976.

On social media, critics of Nelson and the board's prior strategy said that they were excited by the prospect of raising money to stay independent.

Hampshire's woes have come at a time when small private colleges have been struggling. Three small private colleges in March announced plans to close: Hiwassee College, in Tennessee, and two in Vermont, the College of St. Joseph and Southern Vermont College.

Green Mountain College, also in Vermont, announced in January that it will close at the end of the spring semester. Newbury College in Brookline, Mass., announced in December that it would close at the end of this academic year.

Hampshire's financial challenges remain serious, but there is a precedent for the sort of rebellion the college is seeing. In 2015, the board of Sweet Briar College announced it would close, citing an eroding financial and enrollment base. Alumnae objected and mobilized. A few months later, following harsh attacks on the leaders who proposed shuttering the college, the board agreed to give up control to a new group that has kept Sweet Briar going. While the college remains alive, it has continued to face financial difficulties as it has attempted to make enrollment changes and to attract more students, and in 2017 it eliminated the jobs of about 10 percent of its faculty.

Also last week, students at Hiwassee College protested that institution's decision to close.

Editorial Tags: College administrationImage Caption: Hampshire CollegeIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Hampshire President QuitsTrending order: 3College: Hampshire CollegeDisplay Promo Box: 

Two years after rescue, Wheeling Jesuit guts faculty, programs

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-05 07:00

In the spring of 2017, Wheeling Jesuit University was deeply in debt and looking for ways to get out. Salvation came from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which had originally gifted the land for the university campus in 1952.

In a massive deal whose terms weren’t publicly disclosed at the time, the diocese took control of Wheeling Jesuit's physical campus -- its 65 acres and buildings were valued at $47.1 million -- and agreed to lease it back to the university for just $2,418 per month, roughly the sum a group of recent college graduates might pay for a two-bedroom apartment in a big city.

In exchange, the diocese paid off the university’s bond debt, totaling about $32.4 million, according to financial filings.

At the time, Debra Townsley, Wheeling's interim president, called the arrangement “a substantial chunk of relief” for West Virginia’s only Catholic higher education institution and the nation's youngest Jesuit one. “It’s an exciting day. It’s not many schools that can have its debt eliminated.”

Now, less than two years later, the university is again in crisis. It declared "financial exigency" last month and says it will heavily cut back its undergraduate offerings in the fall -- one observer calls it a “major course correction.” Wheeling laid off 20 of its 52 full-time instructors March 28, trimmed its course catalog sharply and substantially lowered its forecast for this fall’s incoming class.

The university is poised to eliminate several majors, including theology, philosophy, history, engineering and literature. Instructors, several of whom spoke to Inside Higher Ed on condition of anonymity, said that if that's the case, the university has essentially given up its role as a liberal arts or traditional Jesuit institution.

Catholic higher education has a long tradition of founding colleges in the health professions, but Jesuit colleges and universities such as the College of the Holy Cross, Georgetown University and Gonzaga University are also known for rigorous liberal arts programs, with an emphasis on fields such as philosophy.

The layoffs will gut the teaching staff responsible for delivering Wheeling's core undergraduate curriculum, which had already been modified in 2017. In that change, the core curriculum shrank from more than 50 credit hours of instruction in philosophy, theology, literature, history, ethics and natural and social sciences to just 36. It was later supplemented with several short undergraduate seminars, but it has never regained its previous stature.

“Wheeling Jesuit University will exist in name only next year. The heart of the school, and its identity, have just been cut out. It’s been pretty heartbreaking.” -Jessica Wrobleski, theology professor

Daniel Weimer, a Jesuit-educated history professor and one of the 20 professors laid off, said the current core curriculum "looks very different, in my opinion," from that of other Jesuit institutions. He said that during an all-employee meeting following the layoffs, President Michael P. Mihalyo told faculty that the question of whether Wheeling would remain a Jesuit university would be part of a longer-term discussion.

Like most of those who lost their jobs last week, Weimer, who is in the middle of his 13th year there, had earned tenure. But the university’s declaration of financial exigency paved the way for his removal, as well as those of his colleagues. The classification is traditionally defined as indicating an “imminent financial crisis which threatens the survival of the institution as a whole” and is often used to terminate long-standing tenured faculty.

“Wheeling Jesuit University will exist in name only next year,” said Jessica Wrobleski, a tenured theology professor who was laid off. “The heart of the school, and its identity, have just been cut out. It’s been pretty heartbreaking.”

In all, the cuts amount to nearly 40 percent of the university’s full-time faculty and nearly all of its core undergraduate faculty. They were not offered buyouts or severance packages, as in past layoffs, faculty members said.

Nearly all of Wheeling’s traditional arts and sciences positions were eliminated, leaving the institution to focus on health care, business, exercise science and a handful of other majors.

“Basically all liberal arts faculty have been cut, with the exception of one person in English, one person in biology [and] one person in psychology,” said Wrobleski. “I can’t imagine that they’re intending on keeping anything like the core curriculum.”

The university didn’t make Mihalyo or other officials available for interviews.

In a statement, it said university officials and trustees "have engaged in hard but necessary conversations" about Wheeling's future, ultimately deciding to offer programs of study "that reflect the intersection of the faculty’s expertise, student and workforce demands, and financial sustainability."

Wheeling said it will offer seven undergraduate majors and four graduate majors this fall. In undergraduate studies, it will offer nursing, respiratory therapy, exercise science, education, business, criminal justice and psychology. It will offer a doctoral program in physical therapy and master's programs in business administration, education and nursing. As recently as this week, the university boasted 47 programs of study, including 18 undergraduate programs. Wheeling said it remains "fully committed to serve its students and provide them with the highest quality education that will prepare them for career and life." It said students will, if needed, be able to choose "a variety of online courses, hybrid courses, independent study options and internships," among others. Students in majors that aren’t offered in the fall will have ways to complete their degree, either at Wheeling or elsewhere. It plans to hold an "Institutional Major Fair" on April 11.

Faculty members said their understanding is that the university’s athletics programs, including its football team, will remain in place.

The Reverend Michael Sheeran, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, said the changes represent a “major course correction that I think gives them a chance to survive and even thrive” in an area hard-hit by the recession. “Don’t count this one out,” he said of the university.

Despite faculty criticisms of the changes, Father Sheeran described Wheeling as able to remain “authentically Jesuit” without majors in a number of liberal arts fields, as long as it includes those fields in its core curriculum. He said the university is recommitting itself to fields like nursing out of a need to “be of much more service, and much more reliable service, to the people of West Virginia.” Nearby Wheeling Hospital, he said, needs “many more nurses” than local programs can provide. Sheeran called the changes “a very genuine effort to meet the needs of the diocese,” as well as to avoid going broke.

A few of the laid-off professors said a Jesuit institution like Wheeling can continue supplying nurses to a struggling region without abandoning the liberal arts.

For her part, Wrobleski -- who also serves as chair of Faculty Council this year -- wonders what objective criteria and data were used to make the programmatic decisions. She noted that the nursing program expects to graduate just four students this year. Four years ago, its entering class numbered 26. She said just seven nursing students graduated in 2018, a number on par with, or smaller than, many programs that the university eliminated. By contrast, West Virginia University last spring graduated 252 nursing students, both graduate and undergraduate. (A previous version of this article incorrectly included an additional 181 enrolled students who were not due to graduate in 2018.)

Father Sheeran said the U.S.’s 27 other Jesuit colleges are reaching out to both Wheeling students and faculty with opportunities.

Townsley, the former president who brokered the debt/land swap in 2017, this week said the university “has offered a great education over the years with great outcomes -- it certainly has helped the region.”

Now president of Laboure College in Milton, Mass., Townsley said that in both the Midwest and Northeast, “It’s a challenging time in higher education, as we all know.”

“It’s taken all the wind out of campus. You refer to ‘what happened last week’ and everyone there just stares.” -Darin McGinnis, professor of philosophy

Father Sheeran said the entire state is still, in a sense, recovering from the 2010 death of Senator Robert Byrd, who had served in the U.S. Senate since 1959, famously bringing millions of dollars in federal projects and funding home to West Virginia.

The watchdog site Open Secrets found that in just the last three years of his tenure, Byrd sponsored or co-sponsored 330 congressional earmarks, totaling more than $1 billion for West Virginia.

That included four earmarks specifically for Wheeling Jesuit University, totaling $11.7 million.

When Byrd died, Father Sheeran said, “The money stopped.”

By 2010, Father Sheeran said, West Virginia “was already on the downward trend, in terms of lack of money coming into the economy, in terms of coal and other industries.”

Since Byrd’s death, he said, “the schools in that state have all had to adjust to the lack of federal funding, compared to what they were used to. There’s been a struggle at Wheeling Jesuit, but at the other schools, too.”

But Darin McGinnis, a professor of philosophy, said the university could have handled the realignment better. For one thing, faculty were cut out of the process. They don’t know, for instance, which majors have historically attracted more students, a key indicator of whether they are worth keeping. “We don’t have access to any of the numbers to verify if that’s actually the case,” he said.

McGinnis and others said they also don't know of any sort of strategic plan upon which the layoffs were based. “If there is a plan, we have not been apprised of it,” he said. “Certainly to cut all of these programs now is to cut out the Jesuit portion of what’s offered,” he said.

He and others said they anticipate that the university will likely hire part-time adjunct or online instructors to fill holes in instruction.

“It’s taken all the wind out of campus,” he said. “You refer to ‘what happened last week’ and everyone there just stares.”

The university projects about 500 undergraduates and 275 graduate students this fall; last fall, it reported 764 undergraduates and 310 graduate students, as well as 77 in professional and certificate programs, for a total of 1,151 -- that's down about 29 percent from a high of 1,619 in 2013.

McGinnis said students are also scrambling to learn what will be taught-out, and how. “There’s still no plan and won’t be until June or July,” he said. “Staying to be taught-out would really be an article of faith, but for a few juniors, I don’t know what other choice they have.”

Father Sheeran said other Jesuit institutions, from Buffalo, N.Y., to Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati and even Omaha, Neb., are willing to consider enrolling Wheeling students. “Kids who really want that Jesuit tradition that they’ve really been immersed in will get that opportunity to go to other schools,” he said.

The association has also begun reaching out to faculty to help them find jobs at the other Jesuit institutions, he said. “You can’t guarantee that people will be hired,” Father Sheeran said, “but we’re committed to connecting them with colleagues from across our network who have expressed interest in helping them.”

For most, the layoffs came too late to find a teaching job for the fall, since other institutions typically hire in the fall for the following year. Wrobleski, who grew up in Morgantown, W.Va., said she plans to take a job as vice president for mission at a Catholic girls’ high school.

Weimer, the history professor, said he is not sure of his plans. “I think it’s pretty dour,” he said of the mood on campus. “I don’t think people were expecting such a large restructuring, if you want to put it that way.”

McGinnis, who has spent eight years at the university, noted that in that time he has worked for four presidents. “I’ve had at least that many deans -- I’ve had at least that many chairs of my department, too. It’s just been in constant flux.”

Editorial Tags: College administrationIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Gutting the CurriculumTrending order: 1College: Wheeling Jesuit UniversityDisplay Promo Box: 

Duke Ph.D. wants to know why professor facing multiple harassment allegations was honored

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-05 07:00

Jill Hicks-Keeton, assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, has a book on Jewish antiquity and numerous peer-reviewed articles under her belt. She’s co-edited another book, has one under contract and teaches courses on biblical literature, ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

But before she’d accomplished all that, Hicks-Keeton was a graduate student in religion at Duke University, where she says her professor, Melvin Peters, humiliated and harassed her.

She spoke out against Duke this week, after her former department congratulated Peters -- who faces additional allegations of harassment and who is not currently teaching -- on Facebook. The occasion? A mentoring honor, recognized by Duke president Vincent Price and presented at a garden party last month.

“I trust it is obvious why I would find this outrageous,” Hicks-Keeton wrote in a letter to Price, which she shared on social media, alerting Duke. “And there’s only so much outrage I can keep to myself these days.”

 

I have just emailed the letter below to the president of Duke University (my PhD-granting institution) regarding sexual harassment. Thanks to many, both at Duke and beyond, who have offered support. And to any who read: I hope you read my scholarship too. @DukeU @DukeChronicle pic.twitter.com/YWJ3P5Kzw4

— Dr. Jill Hicks-Keeton (@JillHicksKeeton) April 3, 2019

 

On one occasion in class, in front of her male cohorts, Peters asked Hicks-Keeton if her bra fastened in the back or the front, she says. She remembers that he also made regular comments about her appearance and suggested that she’d do well on the job market, not because of her credentials, but because she was attractive.

Hicks-Keeton says she considered reporting the professor at the end of the term, especially after some fellow students approached her about the behavior. But when the time came, she was too afraid of possible retaliation within the department that held her future. She was the only woman in the class in question, after all, so it would be obvious who complained. Plus, she hoped never to have to deal with Peters again.

Ten years on, Hicks-Keeton has changed. But Peters apparently hasn’t, she says. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Making a Report

Last year Hicks-Keeton read an article in Duke’s student newspaper about a professor accused of harassment. She later confirmed, through disciplinary backchannels, that the professor in question was Peters, she says. And for the first time, she realized her experiences were part of a larger pattern of harassment.

The revelation prompted her to report her experiences to Duke, by contacting professors in her old department, who put her in touch with a dean, who put her in touch with the Office of Institutional Equity.

Hicks-Keeton thought she was making a formal report -- one that would launch some kind of investigation. But she has heard nothing since.

Instead, she says, she saw the congratulatory post on the religion department’s Facebook page this week.

“Pres. Vincent Price has recognized Prof. Mel Peters as a Celebrating Mentors honoree,” it said. “He was honored at a special reception held on March 25th at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Way to go, Mel!”

Considering that she had still heard nothing about her complaint against Peters, Hicks-Keeton wrote up her experience in a letter to Price. She said wanted to know if Peters had in fact been removed from the classroom, as rumor indicated.

“I would like a response,” she wrote. “And if Peters has indeed been sanctioned by the Duke administration for sexual harassment, say it out loud. Rescind the mentoring award.”

Hicks-Keeton closed her letter with a comment on the “failure of the system that adds a further burden on junior (female) scholars that should not have to be borne: I’m now hard at work to earn tenure and make my way in my guild. I have a recent book out with Oxford University Press.”

She added, “I wish that were the principal reason my former (beloved) Duke professors were now in touch with me. I have a book under contract with Cambridge University Press. I wish that were the reason I’m putting words on a page right now. But it’s not. And that’s because Mel Peters sexually harassed me. Way to go, Mel.”

Echoing how she closed her letter, when she shared it on Twitter, Hicks-Keeton thanked her supporters and said, “to any who read: I hope you read my scholarship too.”

'I Could Not Believe It'

The department’s Facebook post was deleted soon after it appeared. Mark Goodacre, Frances Hill Fox Professor of Religious Studies at Duke, said Thursday that he first heard of Peters’s honor when he saw the note on the department page -- which he immediately took down.

“I could not believe it,” he said. “I deleted it because I knew of the allegations of sexual harassment against [Peters], and I was deeply concerned about the hurt that the post might cause.”

Laura Suzanne Lieber, professor of religious studies, divinity and classical studies, said her comments had to be limited due to the "many confidences” involved in the situation. But she said she first “became aware of the seriousness of the problem -- namely, that Mel’s offenses involved students, both undergraduate and graduate, and were not limited to my own unsettling experiences, which were not sexualized but nonetheless troubling -- in May 2017.”

At that point, Lieber tried on her own and with other senior colleagues to address "the harassment issues that were emerging through the appropriate channels.”

Beyond that, she said, “I can only say that I am profoundly disappointed in how this situation has been handled, and frustrated by my experiences with the Office of Institutional Equity.”

David Morgan, department chair, said he, too, was frustratingly limited as to what he could say, because he’s forbidden from commenting on personnel matters. And he's “very frustrated by the process itself."

“We wholeheartedly endorse Duke's policy of intolerance of sexual harassment,” Morgan said. “We stand solidly with the victims and we have worked hard to support the university's response to reported instances of harassment.”

A number of department members have commented on Hicks-Keeton’s Facebook page, criticizing Duke for its handling of the matter.

In some of those remarks and in on-the-record comments to Inside Higher Ed, several of Hicks-Keeton’s former Duke classmates confirmed her account.

Stephen C. Carlson, senior research fellow at Australian Catholic University’s Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, said on Facebook, for example, that the class in question "was the most dysfunctional experience in my entire time at Duke. There was a constant stream of inappropriate, insulting and demeaning comments, and I don't think there was a single time he addressed you without commenting about your appearance."

One recent graduate who accused Peters of harassment has gone public with her account, as well, sharing it on social media. Among other allegations, she recalls Peters commenting on women's appearances, and says that he repeatedly told her class that students had offered to sleep with him for "grades."

Michael Schoenfeld, university spokesperson, responded to questions on behalf of Price. He said that Peters did not receive a mentoring award. Rather, he said, “Each year, the several hundred graduating seniors who make a contribution to the university are invited to acknowledge someone -- a faculty member, adviser or fellow student -- with their gift.” An acknowledgment of that gift is then sent to the people named by the students.

The university does not “direct or prohibit students from recognizing anyone they choose with their contribution,” Schoenfeld said.

An email invitation from Price to professors honored at the event, including Peters, reads, "Members of the Class of 2019 were inspired by their mentors to give back to Duke -- and that lifts our entire community. Thank you for everything you do to teach, guide, and support our undergraduate students."

Schoenfeld declined to answer other questions about Peters, citing a policy against commenting on personnel issues.

A review of department schedules shows that Peters is not currently teaching.

Whatever recognition Peters received, Hicks-Keeton underscored the language in the Facebook post that had so alarmed her: “honored in a public reception where the president presided.”

As to Duke’s statement, she said she was “distressed that President Price has thus far chosen to ignore me,” while making public comments.

Hicks-Keeton is also “distressed that Duke has no safeguards in place to ensure that a professor removed from teaching after investigations into allegations of sexual harassment does not receive a public honor for mentoring students at a reception where the president of the university presides,” she added.

FacultyEditorial Tags: FacultyGraduate studentsReligionMisconductImage Caption: Melvin PetersIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, April 9, 2019Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Email Teaser: Honoring an Alleged HarasserMagazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Honoring Alleged HarasserTrending order: 3College: Duke UniversityUniversity of Oklahoma-Norman CampusDisplay Promo Box: 

Pete Buttigieg, Democratic candidate, bucks progressives on free college

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-05 07:00

Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor who has built a national media profile since launching his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, put himself at odds this week with a national movement behind free college.

Buttigieg, a Harvard University graduate and the son of two University of Notre Dame professors, said in an appearance at Northeastern University Wednesday that he believed in making college “dramatically more affordable” by expanding Pell Grants and incentivizing states to spend more on higher education. But he stopped short of supporting a universal program to address college affordability. In the early days of the campaign, Buttigieg has surged to third place in recent polls of Iowa Democrats and posted impressive fund-raising numbers and crowd sizes as well.

“Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don’t,” he said. “As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea of a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidizing a minority who earn more because they did.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, who announced in February he would seek the party’s nomination, made free college a central plank of his 2016 Democratic primary campaign. And candidates including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand have signed on to legislation that would make public college in the U.S. free or debt-free.

But other than Buttigieg, only Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, has said she opposes free college since announcing a presidential run. Klobuchar, who said she supported free community college, said in February forum, "I wish -- if I was a magic genie and could give that to everyone and we could afford it, I would."

Buttigieg also called for examining student loan refinancing -- a policy some education researchers have found would be regressive -- and “robust ways to have debt forgiven” for graduates who enter public service.

The South Bend mayor has mentioned in interviews that his husband, a middle school teacher, is still paying off student loan debt.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a political action committee that supports objectives like debt-free college and Social Security expansion, called on Buttigieg to clarify his position and to back the goal of zero debt for all college graduates.

“Especially if people with college degrees earn more, that's all the reason to allow more working-class people to go to college and graduate with zero debt -- and candidates like Elizabeth Warren know that instinctively,” the group said in a statement. “A progressive tax code means the rich pay their fair share so that others have opportunity, and Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax on ultramillionaires would pay for things like universal childcare and allowing students to graduate without debt many times over.”

Polling released by the Campaign for Free College Tuition on Thursday found that roughly three-quarters of respondents have consistently supported states providing free college tuition for academically qualified students. The same results found more support for states, rather than the federal government, creating free college programs. Other polls have suggested that many working-class white people are skeptical of the value of higher education and are thus not likely to be excited about free college.

Wesley Whistle, education policy adviser at Third Way, said that Buttigieg’s comments show he understands problems with student debt and college affordability are more nuanced than a universal approach would allow.

Third Way, a center-left think tank, has consistently opposed free-college proposals. In a policy memo last month, Whistle and Tamara Hiler, the group’s deputy director of education, argued that Congress should triple the size of the Pell Grant and enact a federal-state partnership to reverse declines in state spending on higher education.

“If we’re going to spend a massive amount of money, the first thing we should do is address the students struggling the most -- and address the real cost of college,” Whistle said.

Beth Popp Berman, an associate professor of sociology at the University at Albany of the State University of New York, said in a series of tweets Thursday that Buttigieg’s arguments against free college could be used to undermine all sorts of public services. She said it relies on a cost-benefit framing of government spending that ignores the broad social benefits of college education.

Public services create solidarity, community, and meaningful civic culture. That’s the real reason we have fire stations, and high schools, and parks, and libraries. Because they create the kind of society we want to live in.

— Beth Popp Berman (@epopppp) April 4, 2019 Editorial Tags: Politics (national)Image Source: Getty ImagesImage Caption: South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominationAd Keyword: Free collegeIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Dutch populist party seeks report of indoctrination at universities

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-05 07:00

A Dutch right-wing populist party set up by an ex-academic has renewed its attack on universities following its election victory, setting up a “hotline” for reports and videos of left-wing “indoctrination” by lecturers.

The anti-multiculturalism, anti-European Union Forum for Democracy was launched as a political party in 2016 by 36-year-old former Leiden University law lecturer, Thierry Baudet -- a movement born from his Leiden Ph.D. thesis, Baudet's former supervisor told Times Higher Education.

The Forum for Democracy gained more votes than any other party in provincial elections for the upper house of the Dutch Parliament held on March 20 (although it only won 14.5 percent of the vote).

Since the election, the party has provoked outrage among many in Dutch universities and condemnation from the education minister by setting up a “hotline” for “reporting indoctrination at schools and universities,” inviting videos and other evidence of supposed left-wing bias in teaching.

This followed Baudet’s election victory speech, in which he said that “civilization” was being destroyed “by the people who should protect us.” He went on to say, “We are undermined by our universities, by our journalists, by the people who receive our art grants and who design our buildings.”

The Forum for Democracy hotline has brought condemnation from a number of Dutch university presidents and rectors, although it is widely regarded as a political stunt.

Carel Stolker, Leiden’s rector magnificus and president, said in a tweet that the hotline was “idiotic” and an attempt to attract attention. Universities were among the world’s most enduring institutions, he said.

Martin Paul, president of Maastricht University, told Times Higher Education, “Although I am generally not getting nervous about political soundbites, the recent statement of Mr. Baudet that universities are a sort of ‘enemy of the people’ needs to be corrected. Also, the action of his party to create a ‘hotline for reporting indoctrination at school and universities’ goes against everything we stand for: free speech, tolerance, openness and respect for each other. As academic communities, we need to take a strong stand against anybody who is trying to undermine our academic principles.”

Earlier this year, Times Higher Education reported that academics around the world were increasingly facing threats of secret recording and denunciation online by their own students, as tactics used by far-right activists in the U.S. have been taken up in nations including Germany, Brazil and Hungary.

An open letter circulated among Dutch university staff expresses alarm “at the recent actions and statements” of the Forum for Democracy and Baudet.

“Given the strong interest Baudet expresses in dismissing climate science and promoting history based on national pride, it is clear that this initiative is not genuinely interested in reducing bias in academic institutions,” says the letter. “Rather, it is interested in selectively discounting knowledge that does not fit its political and ideological aims.”

The letter urges Dutch academics to unite in making clear that “our society will not tolerate any political infringement on the freedom to conduct critical academic research and education.”

GlobalEditorial Tags: International higher educationTimes Higher EdIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 2019-04-05 07:00
Editorial Tags: Commencement speakersIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Former photography professor at U of the Arts says he was terminated without a hearing after a biased sexual misconduct investigation

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 2019-04-04 07:00

An ex-professor’s claim that he was unfairly caught up in the Me Too movement and dismissed from the University of the Arts without a hearing -- after the university ignored his own sexual harassment claim -- just cleared a major legal hurdle. A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that photographer Harris Fogel’s "erroneous outcome" case under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits gender-based discrimination, may proceed.

The judge also said Fogel could proceed with a defamation claim against his faculty accuser, who allegedly talked about him negatively to colleagues at a conference, and with a related invasion of privacy claim.

The judge dismissed Fogel’s defamation claim about comments that accuser made to a Title IX coordinator, however, calling such statements “absolutely privileged.”

Fogel still has a long way to go before he wins his case, if he does at all. But the claims against him and his counterclaims show just how complicated sexual harassment cases can be.

“‘Me too’ today reaches into a university's firing of one of its tenured professors based on sexual harassment claims against him,” reads a lengthy memo accompanying the order in favor of Fogel, written by Judge Mark A. Kearney. “A university subject to federal civil rights law must ensure its investigation into the sexual harassment claims is free of gender bias.”

Digging deeper into Fogel’s case against his former institution, Kearney wrote that “this obligation becomes more acute when we learn: during the challenged investigation, the university ignored the same male professor's claims of sexual harassment by his female supervisor at a 2015 conference; and, the university dean repeatedly expressed a personal dislike of the male professor.”

Making clear that he was not weighing in on Fogel’s alleged conduct, but rather his right to move forward with pretrial discovery, Kearney added, “An investigation into sexual harassment must apply uniform standards regardless of the complainant's and accused's sex.”

A Kiss and a Key Card

Fogel’s lawsuit alleges that a female professor of photography at the University of the Pacific, Jennifer Little, wrote to his institution’s Title IX coordinator in late 2017, alleging that Fogel had greeted her by kissing her without her consent in early 2016, in a Las Vegas hotel lobby during the annual meeting of the Society for Photographic Education.

Just a day after that professor contacted Fogel’s institution, he says, another female photographer wrote to the same Title IX coordinator to complain that Fogel handed her his hotel room key card instead of a business card after reviewing her portfolio at a March 2016 photography conference in Houston.

Fogel says the card incident was an accident and that both he and the photographer originally laughed. Similarly, he says that he considered the first accuser a friend and that kisses on the cheek are a common way to greet friends and colleagues in his circle. He believes that his two female accusers knew each other and conspired against him to make Title IX complaints at the same time.

The University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, began investigating Fogel immediately. Among other alleged investigative failures, he says the university didn’t interview a sufficient number of witnesses and didn’t obtain emails between his two accusers to document their alleged “collusion.”

Fogel also says that his university accepted what he calls an unreliable explanation for why the University of the Pacific professor waited 21 months to report the kiss: because she "tolerated" it in exchange for his “support and professional advice.”

During the investigation, Fogel allegedly challenged the female Title IX coordinator’s reliance on what he called "gender-based stereotypical accusations," such as one accuser’s comment that Fogel engaged in “typical male verbal flirting behavior.” But the coordinator did not address his concerns, he says.

Fogel also alleges that the university treats female complainants in Title IX cases differently from male complainants. During the investigation, he says, Fogel told the Title IX coordinator that a female former supervisor had once attempted to give him "an unwanted hug and a kiss" during a 2015 conference in New Orleans.

When he asked why that behavior was acceptable and his kiss was not, the Title IX investigator did not give a “meaningful response” and didn’t investigate the former supervisor, according to Fogel's complaint.

Fogel also says he was denied even a redacted copy of the investigation report. Within a few weeks, the investigator had determined that Fogel “committed serious violations of the University's Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Harassment Policy.”

The university allegedly terminated Fogel in March 2018 based on the Title IX report, without allowing him to respond to it or to defend himself during a hearing. He says he was told unrelated job performance issues were part of the decision. The university’s Board of Trustees upheld the decision in August and denied his appeal.

Fogel alleges that the dean who terminated him simply didn’t like him and considered Fogel to be uncollegial and obstructionist.

An ‘Erroneous Outcome’?

The bulk of Fogel's case is based on the idea that the university discriminated against him by, in Kearney’s words, “skewing an investigative process under an erroneous outcome theory to lead to his termination.” In addition to defamation and invasion of privacy, he also claims breach of contract.

Kearney’s memo says that the University of the Arts, in its legal arguments, has thus far misunderstood the case as one of due process. But Fogel’s case is not about due process at all. And erroneous outcome of Title IX claims have been carefully laid out in other cases, such as in Yusuf v. Vassar College.

In that case, Kearney wrote, a federal appeals court explained that plaintiffs claiming a Title IX violation under an erroneous outcome theory "must allege particular facts sufficient to cast some articulable doubt on the accuracy of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding." And to survive a motion to dismiss, Kearney continued, quoting Yusuf, the plaintiff must also allege "particular circumstances suggesting that gender bias was a motivating factor behind the erroneous finding." (That case was initially dismissed in 1993, as a court in New York court determined that the plaintiff presented insufficient evidence that a college panel had found him guilty of sexual misconduct because he was a man facing a female accuser. A federal appeals court reinstated the plaintiff's gender bias claim in 1994.)

The University of the Pacific professor involved in Fogel’s case declined comment on the pending case, especially as it involves defamation claims.

The University of the Arts said in a statement, “We are confident that the university’s actions have complied fully with the law, and in the best interests of the university community. Fogel’s claims are denied in their entirety and will be vigorously defended.”

David F. McComb, Fogel’s lawyer, said, “We believe that university processes need to be conducted with utmost fairness for everyone involved, and Me Too does not change that.”

If Fogel is successful at trial, the court can order his reinstatement for or allow a jury to determine damages to be awarded.

FacultyEditorial Tags: College administrationFacultyMisconductImage Caption: Harris FogelIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: Fired Without a HearingTrending order: 1College: University of the PacificDisplay Promo Box: 

Syndicate

Syndicate content
Syndicate content