The following is a guest post by Donald Rogers. Rogers is the chair of the Organization of American Historians Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Faculty, and serves as the OAH liaison to the Coalition on the Academic Workforce. He is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University.
Recently, the Delphi Project brought an important report on “The Changing Faculty and Student Success” that demands our careful attention and discussion. Here’s what I personally think about it from my vantage point as a long-time contingent faculty member and as chair of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Faculty.
The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has issued a new report about California universities based upon false evidence, distorted anecdotes, random online postings, and a series of terrible arguments that are fundamentally contrary to academic freedom and the idea of the university as a place for the free debate of ideas.
What the NAS calls for is a kind of a new McCarthyism, where Regents and administrators ban the use of funds for events deemed “political,” force the hiring of unqualified conservative professors, and silence professors as “political” if they criticize the government in class or stray from the preferred conservative ideology of the NAS.
“A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California” is a new report issued from the California Association of Scholars and the National Association of Scholars’ Center for the Study of the Curriculum.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum apparently read the report, too, and embraced its loony vision of a vast left-wing conspiracy on campus to destroy education:
Last week, I wrote about a new report out from the General Accountability Office that investigated educational practices at for-profit schools. The report is mixed, with some schools looking good, and others that appear willing to violate academic standards in order to pass and graduate students. The context for this investigation is that about a year ago, the GAO released a similar report which it later had to make small corrections to, giving the for-profit industry a PR victory.
This week I’ll look at how representatives from the for-profit sector are reacting to the new report. No surprise here: they are going on the offensive. And the main weapon they are using is the previous GAO report. It’s a misleading attack, since none of the people who worked on the previous reported worked on this one. Penny Lee is the managing director of the Coalition for Educational Success, one of the larger organizations that promote for-profits. In a press release, she responded to the report using a classic ad hominem attack:
On November 23, the United States Government Accountability Office released a report titled “Experiences of Undercover Students Enrolled in Online Classes at Selected Colleges.” It’s a behind-the-scenes look at a few for-profit schools, and the lengths to which they will go to keep students enrolled. This week, I’m going to explain the context for the report and its findings; next week, I’ll look at how the for-profit industry is reacting to the report.
First, some background: In August 2010, the GAO released the results of its first investigation into for-profit colleges. The report focused on recruiting practices at fifteen colleges, and found that all of them made “deceptive or otherwise questionable statements” to undercover investigators posing as applicants. The GAO was careful to note that “results of the undercover tests and tuition comparisons cannot be projected to all for-profit colleges,” and none of the schools involved were identified.