Here is another item from Futility Closet (http://www.futilitycloset.com/), re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross.
It was British wordplay expert Leigh Mercer who coined the classic palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal—Panama” in Note & Queries on Nov. 13, 1948. He later said that he’d had the middle portion, PLAN A CANAL P, for a year before he saw that PANAMA fit.
Mercer published 100 palindromes in N&Q between 1946 and 1953. Here is a brief selection: Continue reading
I have been a faculty member at Wright State University since 1990. It has generally been a very nice place to work. Our AAUP chapter/bargaining unit has been a strong one almost since its establishment, and although we have not always regarded our administration’s decision-making as enlightened, the truth is that, especially in this corporatized era and in comparison to the administrations at other public universities even within Ohio, our administration has generally tried to do what is best for our institution and to treat our faculty and staff fairly and respectfully. As a result, the university has succeeded in improving its academic reputation while remaining one of several “open-enrollment” institutions in Ohio. Programs across the seven undergraduate colleges have achieved regional and even some national recognitions, and the university now ranks third among Ohio’s public universities in terms of total research dollars generated, trailing only the Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati. We do not do well, however, in most national rankings because our continued open-enrollment mission skews a number of statistics, in particular graduation rates. But, among students with G.P.A.’s sufficient to be admitted into degree programs, our graduation rates are actually somewhat higher than those at most public universities. And the university is making intensified efforts to insure that students who are underprepared receive academic assistance and placement that will increase their chances of academic success. All this has occurred while our tuition has remained among the lowest in the state.
If this sounds as if I am presenting a shameless advertisement for my institution, I can justify that effort as something of a salvage mission. Continue reading
The new issue of Academe takes a look at all aspects of governing boards. There are individual perspectives and individual institutions that get examined, but also a broader, quantitative look at how faculty participate on boards.
In 2011-2012, researchers at the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI) did a survey of faculty members who serve on boards of trustees. Including faculty on boards is often cited as a “best practice” for improved board-faculty relations, so this research is an important way to find out not only to find out how widespread this practice is, but also what effects it is having where faculty are included. Three of the people involved in that research – a professor, a grad student, and an undergrad – wrote about the study for Academe.
It’s a great source of information on a lot of different questions you could ask about boards: Which committees have the highest rates of faculty involvement? Which have the least? Which committees are faculty generally allowed to sit on, but not chair? In what areas do faculty think they have the most influence? Take a look at the full article for the answers to these and more questions.
The following item is another one from Futility Closet (http://www.futilitycloset.com/). It is re-posted here with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates delivered to your e-mail each morning.
When PLAFSEP magazine asked its readers to nominate the silliest library subject heading, the hands-down winner was “Buttocks (In Religion, Folk-Lore, Etc.).”
Other highlights, gathered by columnist John R. Likins:
That’s from Likins’ article “Subject Headings, Silly, American–20th Century–Complications and Sequelae–Addresses, Essays, Lectures,” in Technical Services Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 1/2, Fall/Winter 1984, using data from the Library of Congress and Cataloging in Publication.
American Giant Checkered Rabbit
Catastrophical, The, See Also Comic, The
Child Abuse–Study And Teaching
Contango and Backwardation
Dentists In Art
Fantastic Television Programs
God–Addresses, Essays, Lectures
Hemorrhoids–Popular Works Continue reading
Recently, the administration of the City University of New York proposed a series of academic changes to the school, grouping these changes together under the name “Pathways.” The system would make it easier for students to transfer between CUNY schools, and it would have looser graduation requirements. This proposal and the faculty opposition to it are the focus of an article in the May-June issue of Academe.
Sandi Cooper, a professor in the CUNY system who has been closely involved with the system’s faculty senate, writes about the Pathways proposal and how problems with the board of trustees led directly to this controversial plan. In some ways, the proposal (or something similar) is the result of years of slow acquisition of power by the trustees, and away from academic schools, departments, and professors. In one example of misplaced institutional priorities, the president of the student government is given a voting seat on the board of trustees, but the president of the faculty sits on the board without a vote.
Of course, the whole story is just one case study of one specific board; the new issue of Academe features several articles on the topic of faculty boards. Click here to read Sandi Cooper’s article, “The Road to Pathways,” and click here to see the whole issue.
Despite the evolving interpretation offered by state and federal courts, American higher education as a community remains committed in its support to increase diversity among students.
At the same time, however, our colleges and universities largely fail to link diversity initiatives to specific workforce needs. This tendency often applies philosophically to all students enrolled, fueled in part by a belief that the responsibility for higher education institutions writ large is to educate broadly.
There are wonderful programs and support groups to promote and support diversity, of course, measured by gender, race, sexual preference, and socioeconomic income. The report of the Ford Foundation-funded Century Foundation released this week speaks compellingly to the role and problems facing American community colleges in these areas. It cites outstanding programs from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the Edvance Foundation, where I serve as CEO and a director, to illustrate efforts underway that demonstrate fresh thinking.
Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty union of the City University of New York (CUNY), sent this message to union members yesterday:
The results of the referendum of No Confidence in Pathways are in: 92% voted No Confidence in Pathways. The vote is a stunning rebuke to the Pathways curriculum and the coercive measures used to impose it.
More than 60% of the 7,202 eligible voters in the referendum among full-time faculty voted—a remarkable rate of participation. A total of 4,322 votes were cast: 3,996 agreeing with the statement of No Confidence in Pathways, and only 323 disagreeing (there were 3 void ballots). The high percentage and high turnout mean that an absolute majority of the full-time faculty has expressed No Confidence in the University’s basic curriculum.
It should be clear now, if it was not before, that CUNY should not move forward with Pathways. A 92% vote of No Confidence is a mandate for change. With a new interim chancellor about to take office, and Chair of the Board Benno Schmidt’s term soon to expire, the moment is right to repeal and rethink Pathways. The result of the referendum empowers us at a critical moment.
Thank you to everyone who voted in the referendum, whatever position you took. Every vote was important. And thank you especially to the hundreds of full-time faculty, part-time faculty and professional staff who worked in support. Together, we held thousands of conversations, person-to-person, about the future of the University. The connections we made with each other will be important as we continue to press for academic quality for our students and fair working conditions for ourselves.