For-Profits on Stage

The debate over for-profit colleges could be coming to a theater near you.

Aaron Calafato, an actor who also spent time working for a for-profit college in Ohio, wrote and stars in a new one-man play, For-Profit, about the industry. The play takes a harsh look at the industry, from the perspective of a recruiter talking to prospective students on the phone. Calafato started work on the play when he himself worked as an “admissions officer” at a for-profit in Cleveland, taking notes on his experience and writing them into the show. Continue reading

The Academic Freedom Crisis of the Twenty-First Century

The following guest post is by Jonathan Rees, a professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo and vice president of the Colorado AAUP conference. It is cross-posted at his blog, More or Less Bunk.

Somebody call the AAUP! I think I’ve found the academic freedom crisis of the twenty-first century. From IHE:

[Lasell College] wants 100 percent of faculty to be actively using the college’s Moodle-based learning management system (LMS). And it wants comprehensive LMS usage — every course, all sections — before the end of this year. That means at a minimum, an instructor will have to use the online platform to take attendance, post assignments, and post grades.

“We’re basically mandating it,” says Michael B. Alexander, Lasell’s president. Continue reading

The Overpaid President Becomes an Overpaid Professor

The happy news this week that University of Illinois President Michael Hogan will resign was followed by two disturbing pieces of information. First, a state appeals court ruling that adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago will not be allowed to be part of the tenure-track faculty union at UIC.

Second, the news that Hogan will be paid $285,100 a year (plus annual raises) as a distinguished history professor, after (of course) a one-year paid sabbatical.

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Shooting Itself in the Foot: East-West University’s Anti-Union Campaign

By Tom Suhrbur

For the past 18 months, East-West University (EWU) in Chicago has fought a vigorous campaign against the efforts of its part-time faculty to organize a union. In November 2009, adjunct (part-time) Professor Curtis Keyes contacted me about organizing a union. In January, I had my first meeting with the group and, by May, their organizing committee obtained enough signatures to petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for union representation election.

EWU adjuncts were not breaking new ground. Over the past ten years, many other adjuncts in Chicago and the suburbs successfully organized unions. In fact, Columbia College, Roosevelt University and the City Colleges – all within walking distance from EWU – already had part-time faculty unions. As a result, no one expected the extremes that the EWU administration would go to fight the union.

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A Victory for the Student Press

Last week, an Illinois court ruled (pdf) for the first time enforcing Illinois’ law protecting college newspapers (a law passed in the wake of a 7th Circuit ruling against freedom of the student press). The court ruled that former faculty advisor Gerian Steven Moore, who had been fired from his post, must be reinstated.

As former editor George Providence II noted in an article in Illinois Academe back in 2009, the administration went to extraordinary lengths to try to silence freedom of the press. Although the court ruled against Providence’s efforts to prohibit prior review (on a technicality, that the individuals sued had left Chicago State), there is no doubt that freedom of the press at public colleges in Illinois is much stronger now.

Michigan’s Attack on Graduate Student Rights

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a new law banning unionization by graduate student research assistants at public colleges.

It’s appalling that students are denied their fundamental right to form a union simply because they also happen to be students. Even if you dislike the idea of graduate student unions, you should dislike even more the idea that students don’t have rights.

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Saving Rutgers-Camden

The following guest post is by Jean-Louis Hippolyte, an Associate Professor of French and Director of the European Studies program at Rutgers University-Camden.

“Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it,” said Abraham Lincoln. This is a message that has been heard and taken up by the Rutgers community in light of the proposed takeover of the Camden campus by Rowan University, as put forward by Governor Christie in his reorganization plan for higher education in New Jersey. Continue reading

Limbaugh’s Insults and Real Religious Liberty

Rush Limbaugh’s insults against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke have sparked a national controversy. Today (Wednesday), I’ll be discussing Limbaugh (and my book about him) on Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show (6-7pm ET) and Thursday on the public radio show To the Point (2pm ET).

But Limbaugh’s attacks on Fluke are also a reminder of the fact that we should stand for real religious liberty. Not the nonexistent “freedom” of religious institutions to deny medical care to their students, but the individual religious freedom of people to make their own health care choices.

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Exploiting Intellectual Capital

Here’s an actual job posting at the University of Chicago,

Executive Director, Intellectual Capital: Chicago Booth seeks to better exploit the wealth of intellectual capital created by its faculty. The Executive Director, Intellectual Capital serves as the Chief Knowledge Officer, and is charged with creating a vision for sharing and disseminating that intellectual capital and overseeing the implementation of that vision.

Chief Knowledge Officer? Exploit the wealth of faculty intellectual capital? Reading more of the job description doesn’t make it any more comprehensible: “Build and lead an effective team of a few domain specialists that helps accomplish responsibilities.”

Obviously, I’m not qualified for this job because I can’t begin to fathom what the hell this person is supposed to be doing, beyond creating more excellent and meaningless business school catchphrases.