Category Archives: administrators

April 1, 2014, 8:53 am

Not An April Fool’s Joke: Massive Cuts at USM

les-miserables-poster001In my previous post, I made a reference to massive cuts at the University of Southern Maine. The cuts have sparked student and faculty protests, and an administrative response that is truly scary, both in its willingness to accept scarcity logic as the educational status quo and its desire to impose faculty and staff reductions by intimidation. This includes cutting entire departments to break faculty tenure.

A strong dissent from the New England American Studies Association can be found here. (Where is a statement from the other American Studies Association?)

I have also received permission from Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies Lucinda Cole to reprint her account of the state of things. Some of you may have already seen it on Facebook.

To the ‪#‎USMfuture‬ Student Who Asked Me That Question

At the last three faculty meetings I attended at the…

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October 9, 2013, 9:23 am

Talking Policy During the Shutdown: Obama Education Plan Part II

obama-nd-458x310Some of you may be starved for real policy conversations as we all wait to see if  Rep. Michelle Bachmann is correct that we have entered the Last Days.

Should the Last Days not be imminent, however, people will still need to go to college. Therefore, today we are delighted to post part II of a series on President Obama’s plan for higher education by guest blogger Judith C. Brown. The conversation began here on September 22 2013.

How to Combat Rising College Costs, Make College More Affordable, and Provide Better Information so Prospective Students May Decide What is Best Value for Them: Further Comments on President Obama’s Higher Education Plan

President Obama’s plan for higher education seeks to address very real challenges: the rising costs of providing a higher education, the decreasing ability of prospective students to afford it, and the inadequacy as well …

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June 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

Go Into Academia, Win Valuable Prizes

monopoly-man

Where is your college president spending the summer?

Today’s New York Times has the latest revelations about New York University’s executive compensation practices. (Full disclosure: not only was Tenured Radical’s Ph.D. bestowed from those Violet walls, but my current institution recently had its own executive mini-scandal.)

As Ariel Kaminer reveals, NYU’s top execs and a few elite proffies are also offered mortgages for summer homes, “Universities in similar circumstances, like Columbia and Stanford, also have helped professors and executives with home loans,” writes Kaminer, who has been following this story for several months. “Aid for vacation properties, however, is all but unheard-of in higher education, several experts in university pay packages say.” And how many universities offer you a mortgage after…

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March 8, 2013, 9:14 pm

Sticky Fingers: Columbia Puts On The Freshman Fifteen

nutellaHave you gotten over the Nutella thefts at Columbia University yet?

The first news was that $5000 of this Italian spread (made of chocolate, sugar, hazelnuts and palm oil) was being taken from the dining halls every week. Meant to be put on toast, it is also commonly ingested by simply sticking a spoon (or a finger) in the jar. The HuffPo originally pegged Columbia’s losses at 100 pounds a day, which kind of makes me gag every time I think about it.

My Lose It! iPhone app pegs a cup of Nutella at a whopping 1,600 calories: eat the entire jar, and it’s 2,000 calories. This makes me think that Columbia students must be readily identifiable on the Upper West Side as the young folks with coats straining at the buttons and chocolate smeared all over their faces.

But now the Columbia administration is saying that the thefts are only about a tenth of what was originally reported on …

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October 17, 2012, 2:32 pm

Calling Mary Poppins: Should Colleges Teach When Parents Don’t?

Should these books be on every dean’s shelf? Photo credit.

Now that I no longer teach at a residential campus, I rarely think about what used to be called in loco parentis, otherwise known as “parietals” or “colleges acting like parents.”

Mary Poppins was the original in loco parentis, but her university life descendants had titles like Dean of Women and Dorm Housemother.  You have to be sixty or older to remember what these remnants of Victorian England were like: they enforced a set of rules, the most odious of which purported to control campus sexuality by controlling women in particular. Women signed in and out of dorms, and had to be in at a certain hour. Men were allowed in the women’s dorms in the evening, but only in parlors. Any man visiting a woman’s room required an open door so that patrolling…

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May 26, 2012, 2:04 pm

Should Someone Who Has Been Harassed By A Faculty Member Sign A Confidentiality Agreement?

The answer, in short, is no.  Never. And if an administrator tells you that you must do so in order for the university to act, that person is bluffing.

I am moved to address this question because I stumbled upon a blog post written by a student I used to know.  I am not going to comment on the specifics of this case because I know absolutely nothing about it beyond what is alleged in the post.  But I do know that I have heard this story more than once, and it sounds familiar.  I also know that it is routine on college campuses to remand charges of sexual assault and sexual/racial/gender harassment made against faculty to secret administrative processes which have little or no legal standing except in the (important) sense that institutions must act on violations of their own rules.  What is too often the case is that the person harmed by a faculty member is asked, and agrees, …

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February 2, 2012, 12:10 pm

Yale Could Just Say No to Covering Up Rape

In 1976, Yale women rowers drew dramatic attention to sexism on campus.

What do top university administrators really talk about when they talk about rape with no one else in the room? Maybe someone will comment on this post and tell me. I’ve always wanted to know because every time I am in a meeting about sexual assault I get so much smoke blown up my posterior that I leave the room floating upside down.

My curiosity about this has been piqued even further because Yale University, my alma mater and the object of a Title IX investigation, recently released its stats on sex crimes for the last six months and has announced that it is sobered by the news. As the Oldest College Daily reports: “’The number and scope of complaints make it abundantly clear that there is more that we must do as a community…

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January 30, 2012, 7:26 pm

Oooooooh Nooooooooo! Vassar Lays a Big Admissions Egg

One of the ways that colleges and universities have adapted to the stress that they are responsible for creating among applicants is by making information about acceptance and rejection available over the Internet.  This, of course, would be better than watching the mailbox for the envelope that is fat or thin, because for several days the applicant would know that the decision had been made but be burdened with the rage and anxiety that s/he did not know what the decision was.

For those of you who were moose hunting with Sarah Palin and her family over the weekend and missed the news, imagine the surprise of early decision applicants at Vassar who first learned over the Internet that they had been accepted (yay!) and an hour later discovered that they had not been accepted (wahhhh!) As the New York Times reported it on January 28, Vassar is describing this mistake in the passive…

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April 12, 2011, 11:38 am

Give Me A T For Texas: Tuesday Tenure Report

Another take on the path towards tenure

Where, oh where, has the Radical been?  Well, many places, but the most recent impediment to posting has been the end of honors thesis season, which requires time-consuming, line-by-line scrutiny of all outgoing chapters.  But by today, the little birds will have flown the coop once and for all and I am once again left to my feckless ways.  A good scrounge through my Google reader shows that others have been busy out there, however, so with out further ado:

Just in Case You Were Curious:  According to the campus newspaper, the Trinitonian, Trinity University of San Antonio Texas is making the institutional case for tenure.  In an article that does a good job of explaining to students what tenure is and how faculty achieve it, Michael Fischer, vice president of Academic Affairs, “There are very good historical reasons for tenure and particularly in …

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June 16, 2010, 2:11 pm

Why Can’t We Get Anything Done? How To Run An Effective Meeting

No one likes going to meetings. But admit it: you dread some meetings more than others, don’t you? And if you hate all meetings, academia might not be the career for you. As chair of a major Zenith university committee some years back, one week I was tearing my hair out because I was scheduled up to the eyeballs with meetings. “How the Hades do administrators ever get any work done if they are in fracking meetings all the time?” I railed at my companion, a former dean, as I pulled on a clean black tee shirt to greet that day’s scheduling marathon in high style.
“That’s how administrators do their work,” she replied patiently, reaching for the Arts section of the New York Times. “They are doing their work in meetings.” I was gobsmacked. Of course that was right. So maybe it wasn’t the meetings themselves that were the problem — it was the question of making — and marking — the…

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