Monday, November 24, 2014

Quit Picking on Old Professors

Slate
November 19th, 2014


This week, academia is in a frenzy—well, an erudite tizzy—over an op-ed in the Chronicle of Higher Education by recently retired art professor Laurie Fendrich. In the piece, Fendrich, who’s 66, lauds her own decision to leave her position at Hofstra—and characterizes her aging colleagues as doddering dinosaurs who are clogging up the academic pipeline.
As in other professions, baby boomers “hanging on” past retirement age is a hot-button issue in higher education—and it’s easy to see why. In the university, the over-65s are the final generation for whom teaching college has provided a stable, (somewhat) respected, remunerative middle-class existence. They’ve had benefits and job security for longer than most of their younger colleagues have been alive. And they didn’t have to work nearly as hard to get all that—back in the ’60s and ’70s, when most of them began their careers, requirements for hiring and tenure were a fraction of what they are now. (It was also legal to stipulate that your department wanted a “male between 25 & 45,” so the good old days are a matter of perspective.)

Reed College psychology professor wins 2014 Oregon Professor of the Year

Oregonian
November 24th, 2014

Reed College psychology professor Jennifer Henderlong Corpus has been recognized as the 2014 Oregon Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, according to the college.
Corpus' selection was announced Thursday at an award luncheon in Washington D.C.  The Council for Advancement and Support of Education organizes the program and selected Corpus from almost 400 professors nationwide.
"This honor underscores how lucky I feel to be at Reed, surrounded by outstanding educators and truly inspiring students," Corpus said in a statement. "I am grateful for the opportunity to know and learn from them on a daily basis."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Outcome-based budget won’t serve students

Register Guard
November 16th, 2014

Money — how it’s raised, how it’s budgeted and what it buys — has been the silent driver of education reform across this nation for more than a decade. Now, with state funding for public higher education in post-­recessionary decline, most institutions have been forced to raise college tuition, cut back on academic programs, privatize services and seek new revenue streams, including from private foundations and corporate sponsors. Insidiously, another “innovation” in education money matters is “performance” or “outcomes-based” funding.
Amid the chatter about top-to-bottom reform in Oregon, one missing link is consideration of its mission. Here’s what the statutes say higher education’s tasks are: to deliver high-quality education; to prepare students for a democratic society; and to contribute to the economic, cultural and civic advancement of the state. Years of disinvestment have undermined these aims, as Oregon’s rank of 47 among states in funding attests.

U. of Oregon Draws Criticism for Response to Threatened TA Strike

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 20th, 2014

The University of Oregon’s Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to rebuke the institution’s administration for planning for a threatened strike by graduate teaching assistants in a manner that bypasses the faculty and stands to bring about “the dilution and degradation of teaching standards.”
The Senate, which includes representatives of the faculty, student body, administration, and staff, adopted the motion in response to a confidential memorandum that Oregon’s top academic and human-resources administrators sent to deans and directors last month.
The memo, on how the university can cope with a threatened strike at the end of the fall term by the labor union representing its graduate teaching fellows and research assistants, suggests that students be given the option of not taking final examinations or that such tests be reformatted to make them easier to grade. The memo also says that the instructional work normally performed by graduate fellows could be handled by adjunct instructors, non-unionized graduate students, recently retired faculty members, or qualified administrators who volunteer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

UO professor among group of experts against nationalized sexual violence survey

Register Guard
November 18th, 2014


A University of Oregon professor is leading a group of sexual violence experts who are urging dozens of university presidents to reject what they call a flawed nationalized survey that seeks to measure rates of sexual violence victimization on college campuses.
In a letter signed by 16 researchers, UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd and other sexual assault experts criticized the Association of American Universities’ efforts to oversee a campus “climate” survey that will be developed and administered by a private firm in April — at a cost of about $85,000 to each university that signs on. Schools have until Dec. 1 to decide whether to give the survey to students.
The researchers say that the AAU — a nonprofit higher education trade group whose members include some of the nation’s top public and private universities, including the UO — is pressuring its university members to agree to a costly survey that university officials won’t be able to review until after administrators write the check.
The expert group sent the letter to presidents of all 60 AAU universities on Monday afternoon.
The AAU announced last week that Maryland-based research firm Westat will conduct the survey. If all 62 public and private universities agree to take the survey, the firm could generate about $5 million. 


Shrimp on a treadmill? Pacific University professor defends his research, excoriates Republican critics

Oregonian
November 18th, 2014

Forces as powerful as U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn and one-time presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee made a national laughingstock out of marine biologist David Scholnick's research on ocean microbes that involved putting shrimp on miniature treadmills.
Forbes went so far as to claim he spent $3 million on crustacean exercise equipment.
Now the Pacific University professor is fighting back.
In a piece published last week, he called out Republican politicians for their small-minded take on scientific inquiry. He explained his work's direct connection to Americans' food safety. And he pointed out that the treadmill he built mainly from cast-off parts cost less than $50.
He was frustrated, he said, with relentless attacks on his work and other research by people who made snap judgments based on misinformation and showed no willingness to get more information.

Monday, November 17, 2014

How a $47 Shrimp Treadmill Became a $3-Million Political Plaything

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 13th, 2014

Over the past few years numerous media stories have surfaced about how hard-earned taxpayer dollars are supporting scientists who run shrimp on treadmills: Forbes.com listed shrimp-treadmill research as wasting $3-million in taxpayer dollars, AARP produced a nationally distributed commercial of lab-coat-wearing scientists running shrimp on treadmills to equate the lack of federal support for retiree health-care services to money spent on shrimp-treadmill research, and Mike Huckabee linked the National Science Foundation’s funding of shrimp-treadmill studies to limited military spending.
A video clip of a shrimp running on a treadmill has somehow become the nation’s poster child for wasteful spending and grounds for the Republican-led House of Representatives science committee to recently investigate wasteful spending of NSF-funded research projects across the country.
My name is David, and I am the marine biologist who put a shrimp on a treadmill—a burden I will forever carry. To be clear, the treadmill did not cost millions of taxpayer dollars, the goal of the research was not to exercise shrimp, and the government did not pay me—or anyone else—to work out shrimp on treadmills.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ballmers give $50 million to university

Register Guard
November 13th, 2014


Connie and Steve Ballmer showered $50 million in Microsoft-­made wealth on the University of Oregon on Wednesday.
The UO said it will use the money to help bright, low-­income students get through college; hire five new researchers to study obesity; and pay for a marketing campaign to make the UO’s academics as famous as Duck football.
A large share of the $50 million will go into a UO endowment, and the annual interest it will earn will pay in perpetuity for the scholarships and researchers.
The gift is critical to the university, interim President Scott Coltrane said.
“Without enough money to build our endow­ment, we don’t have a secure future,” he said. “What this (gift) does is makes us able to compete for the best students and the best faculty in ways that we can depend on.”
Connie Ballmer, 52, manages the couple’s philanthropic ventures. She’s a UO alumna, and she’s a governor-appointed member of the UO’s recently created board of trustees. She also is leading a committee that will find and interview UO presidential candidates. The presidency has been vacant since Michael Gottfredson left abruptly in August.

Tech Billionaire Gives Millions to Harvard and U. of Oregon

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 13th, 2014

Steve Ballmer, the billionaire former Microsoft chief executive, was behind two large donations announced on Thursday: $50-million to the University of Oregon and an unspecified amount to Harvard University.
Oregon will receive the $50-million from Mr. Ballmer and his wife, Connie Ballmer, an alumna of the college, to tackle a variety of initiatives, including new professorships, scholarships, and a marketing campaign. The Register-Guard reports that the donation is the second-largest in the university’s history.
The donation to Harvard, Mr. Ballmer’s alma mater, will finance an expansion of its computer-science faculty, The Boston Globe reports. The department will add 12 faculty members in the next few years, largely as a result of the donation, bringing its total to 36. By comparison, Stanford University has about 50 faculty members, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has 55, in the field.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Wheeler vows to 'continue this fight' for higher education funding

Portland Business Journal
November 5th, 2014

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler on Wednesday said he will "continue this fight" for more funding for higher education after voters soundly defeated a proposal to create a statewide scholarship fund.
Wheeler had worked on the proposal, known as the Oregon Opportunity Initiative, or Measure 86, since at least early 2013.
Although voters weighed in against it by roughly a 3:2 margin, Wheeler said it remains a priority because of the state's dismal support for higher education. Oregon ranks No. 47 in per-student funding for higher education.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ballot Measures, Bonds and Colleges

Inside Higher Ed
November 5th, 2014

...In Oregon, voters rejected Measure 86, which would have allowed the state to issue bonds to support a fund that would have provided scholarships to Oregon students. The debate over the measure was less about the value of student aid than over whether it was policy to issue bonds to support student aid, as opposed to for facilities, which is more common.
Indeed, voters in one Oregon county approved facilities bonds on the same ballot. The Clackamas Community College district on Tuesday approved a plan to issue $90 million in bonds for facilities. The funds will be used both to build new facilities and to modernize equipment used in training students for some career fields....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oregon to Vote on Tuesday on Using Bonds for College Funds

Business Administration Information
November 3rd, 2014



With the midterm elections right around the corner, Oregon could soon make history by allowing the state to sell bonds to set up an endowment with bonds sold to help provide financial aid for college students.
If passed, Measure 86 would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow the state to borrow funds for non-capital purposes.
Ted Wheeler, Oregon’s state treasurer, has championed the measure’s campaign because he thinks that the state can create returns on the endowment that will be higher than the price of repaying the bonds.
With decreased state funding for education in recent years, Wheeler felt that major change was needed. Oregon’s amount of financial aid for public universities has decreased by 34% in the past five years, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
“It’s a bold proposition, but considering where we’re starting, it requires us to take some bold steps,” he told Bloomberg.
 
With the midterm elections right around the corner, Oregon could soon make history by allowing the state to sell bonds to set up an endowment with bonds sold to help provide financial aid for college students.
If passed, Measure 86 would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow the state to borrow funds for non-capital purposes.
Ted Wheeler, Oregon’s state treasurer, has championed the measure’s campaign because he thinks that the state can create returns on the endowment that will be higher than the price of repaying the bonds.
With decreased state funding for education in recent years, Wheeler felt that major change was needed. Oregon’s amount of financial aid for public universities has decreased by 34% in the past five years, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
“It’s a bold proposition, but considering where we’re starting, it requires us to take some bold steps,” he told Bloomberg.
- See more at: http://www.businessadministrationinformation.com/news/oregon-to-vote-on-tuesday-on-using-bonds-for-college-funds#sthash.tjqn4hA0.dpuf
With the midterm elections right around the corner, Oregon could soon make history by allowing the state to sell bonds to set up an endowment with bonds sold to help provide financial aid for college students.
If passed, Measure 86 would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow the state to borrow funds for non-capital purposes.
Ted Wheeler, Oregon’s state treasurer, has championed the measure’s campaign because he thinks that the state can create returns on the endowment that will be higher than the price of repaying the bonds.
With decreased state funding for education in recent years, Wheeler felt that major change was needed. Oregon’s amount of financial aid for public universities has decreased by 34% in the past five years, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
“It’s a bold proposition, but considering where we’re starting, it requires us to take some bold steps,” he told Bloomberg.
- See more at: http://www.businessadministrationinformation.com/news/oregon-to-vote-on-tuesday-on-using-bonds-for-college-funds#sthash.tjqn4hA0.dpuf