Showing posts from 2011

Alex Simon, the AAUP, Alaska, Academic Freedom

The following from Alex Simon, who has rejoined our faculty after several years in Alaska.    Thanks for the invitation to blog. I will definitely join the local AAUP chapter.  Here is the original article which resulted in me having a very public confrontation with Chancellor Pugh over academic freedom. I am convinced that without a union I would have been fired. Here is an editorial that AAUP Secretary Gary Rhoades wrote in response to the legislator’s threats to cut university funding: And here is an article which appeared in Inside Higher Education regarding the confrontation I had with Pugh regarding academic freedom.

Open Letter to Ian Wilson about the Role of the AAUP at UVU

18 October 2011 An Open Letter to Ian Wilson, Vice President for Academic Affairs, UVU Dear Ian,             I’ve been thinking a lot about our meeting last week. In several ways it was an important event, certainly for those of us in the AAUP, perhaps for you as well and for the University in general. In two decades of work with the AAUP, first at BYU and then at UVSC/UVU, I have often spoken with administrators about matters of concern, but only when we pushed a specific issue and then in an adversarial role.             Your invitation, then, with no current issue at stake, was unprecedented and even generous. It extends a pattern you have set over the years and especially since becoming VPAA, a pattern of openness to competing ideas and of concern for the opinions of all of us who work together at the University. Your speech in August to the CHSS faculty in which you noted that the University must be a place that fosters the best interests of its faculty as well as its

Shared Governance and the UVU "White Paper"

13 September 2011 The “White Paper” charges the Academic Affairs Council with reviewing and prioritizing new degrees, emphases, and minors. In addition, it states the following: A proposal for an Academic Program Review Committee will be developed in collaboration with the VPAA, Academic Affairs Council and Faculty Senate. This committee should establish data-driven criteria for the review of current degree offerings. In determining the criteria, the committee should build off of the criteria for new programs developed by the Academic Affairs Council. A program review process should yield recommendations regarding the status and ongoing viability of current degrees. These recommendations would be reviewed and approved by the VPAA and respective dean and then be implemented accordingly. The Associate Vice President of Academic Programs will play an active role in the review process. The UVU Chapter of the AAUP has traditionally deferred to the Faculty sena

AAUP Report: Academic Freedom Violations at LSU

A new AAUP report finds violations of academic freedom in two cases at Louisiana’s flagship public institution, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The cases were investigated and the report written by a committee of AAUP members.   The subject of the first case is Ivor van Heerden, a researcher serving since 1992 in a non-tenure-track appointment. For years, his work in coastal erosion and in hurricane- and flood-related issues brought him public prominence and consistently favorable evaluations. The attitude of LSU administrators quickly changed, however, after van Heerden found that a main cause of flooding after Hurricane Katrina was structural failure of the levees overseen by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Administrators, anticipating cooperation and support from the Corps in hurricane recovery projects, did not appreciate being linked in the media with these findings. They took steps to restrain van Heerden’s public activities, to distance LSU from those activities,

Corporatization of American Universities

[from the Chronicle of Higher Education] July 17, 2011 The Strategic Plan: Neither Strategy Nor Plan, but a Waste of Time Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle Enlarge Image By Benjamin Ginsberg In his new book,  The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters,  Benjamin Ginsberg argues that the explosive growth in administration, the decline in faculty influence, and the institutional corporatization of American universities contributes to a loss of intellectual rigor. Here is an excerpt.   Until recent years, colleges engaged in little formal planning. Today, however, virtually every college and university in the nation has an elaborate strategic plan. Indeed, whenever a college hires a new president, his or her first priority is usually the crafting of a new strategic plan. As in Orwell's  1984 , all mention of the previous administration's plan, which probably had been introduced with great fanfare only a few ye

Elimination of Philosophy at UNLV

I SENT THE FOLLOWING E-MAIL TO ADMINISTRATIVE LEADERS AT UNLV: From: David R. Keller To: Neal Smatresk, Michael Bowers, Chris Hudgins Date: Friday, March 11, 2011 9:49 AM Subject: Philosophy at Utah Valley University I am writing about eliminating Philosophy at UNLV. Utah, too, is a place where Philosophy is seen as optional. Yet our young Philosophy baccalaureate degree has provided some lessons. A robust Philosophy program extends well beyond majors to the whole interconnected Liberal Education program. Biology majors, for example, benefit from Bioethics courses; art and literature majors benefit from Aesthetics courses; History majors benefit from History of Philosophy courses; Mathematics majors benefit from Logic courses, and so on. Philosophy is at the core of the Western intellectual tradition. Eliminating the department would severely damage the entire Liberal Education program. It would also send the messag