Look Who’s Teaching at CUNY!

by Jay Weiser, also posted July 2, 2013, www.cunyufs.org,

CUNY adjuncts typically earn less than $3000 a course while teaching half of the university’s courses (and face continuing peril on their health insurance), yet Gawker reports that outgoing Chancellor Matt Goldstein decided to spend $200,000 (later reduced to $150,000) to bring former General/CIA-head/Paula Broadwell-running-buddy David Petraeus to CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College.

Having taught a semester of Macaulay’s interdisciplinary seminar on New York City, I can report that the students are more in need of basic instruction in research, writing and speaking than they are of celebrity pontifications on “developments that could position the United States…to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown.” (Perhaps Petraeus, a Cornwall-on-Hudson native, could teach Macaulay students how to lead themselves to the Hudson River, which many have difficulty locating.) While the General is undoubtedly expert on national security, what made Chancellor Goldstein think him qualified to lead seminars on “energy, advanced manufacturing and life sciences . . . and the policies . . . needed to capitalize on the opportunities each area presents”?

CUNY administrators may hope that the reflected glow of General Petraeus, who was also successfully courted by the higher-end University of Southern California, will add to their prestige. But the top-tier wannabe game is rarely worth the candle, particularly when the Central Administration, reportedly having been unable to raise private funds, wants to pay the General from Research Foundation of CUNY funds. None of this is a criticism of Petraeus, who after a lifetime of modestly paid public service can probably command over $40,000 for a single lecture through the Washington Speakers Bureau. From his perspective, $150,000 must seem absurdly cheap for two three-credit courses over a year, even if graduate students do most of the grunt work.

CUNY, while claiming to have the tenure standards of a research institution, provides little faculty research support compared to the schools it apes with the Petraeus hire, making the raid on RF-CUNY’s limited funds even more distressing. In a university struggling to find the resources for its core mission of educating the children of the working class and poor, the Petraeus hire sends the wrong signal about CUNY’s priorities.

 Jay Weiser is an Associate Professor of Law & Real Estate at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, CUNY and a member of the City University Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
Want to respond to this post? Send your comments to the Editor, etai@qcc.cuny.edu. Submissions of 250-750 words offering a tightly-written, well-supported viewpoint are welcome. Acceptance of proposals and completed articles is in the editor’s discretion. Submissions may be edited for length or additional considerations.






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Preserving Shared Governance: Food for Thought at CUNY

by Philip Pecorino (also posted on June 15, 2013, www.cuny.edu.)

As reported recently in Inside Higher Ed, a meeting of the National Association of College and University Attorneys gave some attention to the need for Shared Governance.

In CUNY with Pathways we have experienced the CUNY Chancellery and Board of Trustees shattering shared governance as it has been practiced at CUNY for decades. We have witnessed the use by administrators of derisive language to disparage faculty leadership. Despite this there are many who realize the value of shared governance and might now work to restore as much as is possible in order to realize that value.

Here are two passages from the report below that resonate with our Pathways experience and indicate what may be going on:

 “Administrations feel like they must increase the pace of change,” said Bloomfield’s Levao, “because they fear that if they’re late to the market, they become essentially irrelevant. You combine that with a growing, well-organized current, politically driven, that seeks to dismantle the western tradition of higher education that is also a threat. Along with that there are pressures from governors and others who demand we talk about the alignment of curricula to meet work force needs — legitimate, but still another pressure.”….

Richard D. Legon, president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, acknowledged that as governing boards and presidents feel “pressure for change and the need to act more rapidly than has traditionally been the norm,” some of them are concluding that a process of “shared governance that took 18 months” may no longer be as viable.

Here is a point worth noting: “But the panelists, by and large, said that while acknowledging the need for speedier change may require changes in how shared governance operates, abandoning it would be disastrous.”

Philip Pecorino is a professor of Philosophy at Queensborough Community College, where he also serves as Chair of the Steering Committee of Queensborough’s Academic Senate. Professor Pecorino also currently serves as Treasurer of the University Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee.

Want to respond to this post? Send your comments to the Editor, etai@qcc.cuny.edu. Submissions of 250-750 words offering a tightly-written, well-supported viewpoint are welcome.  Acceptance of proposals and completed articles is in the editor’s discretion. Submissions may be edited for length or additional considerations.
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by Emily Tai (also posted on June 13, 2013, www.cunyufs.org)

Two articles by Paul Fain in last week’s Inside Higher Ed discuss a new report, Bridging the Higher Education Divide,  that argues for the presence of vast inequities in American higher education, driven by race and economic status. 

Task Force takes funding for Community College to  task…
The report, issued by the Century Foundation’s Task Force on Preventing Community Colleges from Becoming Separate and Unequal, indicates that community colleges get funded at markedly lower levels that four-year institutions.  This has implications for inequality in education, as community colleges tend to enroll significantly higher proportions of underrepresented students, while four-year institutions tend to enroll more white and upper-middle-class students.  What’s more, the more “diverse” the community college campus, the less funding it’s likely to receive;  the higher the student-to-professor ratio;  and the higher the contingent to full-time professor ratio, as well.

How to “Bridge the Divide?”
The report makes a number of recommendations, most significant among them being a call for extensive funding data collection across higher education.  It also calls for increased funding for community colleges, although the authors of the report and the studies of community colleges (particularly in California) on which the report was based would propose to tie money allocations to detailed record-keeping and institutional accountability.   

Comments offered to Fain’s articles by Gail Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College and a member of the Task force, applaud the report’s findings and its recommendations—but Ana Maria Fores Tamayo, a California-based commentator affiliated with “Adjunct Justice” has a caveat: don’t stint on support for the faculty, as the best deal for students begins with supporting the professors who teach them.

Want to respond to this post?  Send your comments to the Editor, etai@qcc.cuny.edu.  Submissions of 250-750 words offering a tightly-written, well-supported viewpoint are welcome.  Acceptance of proposals and completed articles is in the editor’s discretion. Submissions may be edited for length or additional considerations.





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SUNY faculty gets MooCed: Administration moves with no consultation

by Emily Tai (also posted on Jun 5, 2013. www.cunyUFS.org)

As reported in last week’s Inside Higher Ed, some colleges and universities are making arrangements with MOOC providers over the objection of faculty members—indeed, in some cases, it appears that faculty governance bodies are not being consulted at all.
This would appear to include CUNY’s neighbor to the north, where Ken O’Brien, Chair of SUNY’s University Faculty Senate, and a firm friend to CUNY faculty during the recent Pathways crisis, is quoted in this article as indicated that there was no “broad consultation with system faculty before SUNY finalized an agreement with Coursera, a MOOC provider.
The University Faculty Senate needs a place at the table if–or when–CUNY Administration negotiates with MOOC providers.  Otherwise, we’ll get the same flight from rigor as in Pathways.
Want to respond to this post?  Send your comments to the Editor, etai@qcc.cuny.edu.  Submissions of 250-750 words offering a tightly-written, well-supported viewpoint are welcome.  Acceptance of proposals and completed articles is in the editor’s discretion. Submissions may be edited for length or additional considerations.
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Former UFS Chair Sandi Cooper traces “the Road to Pathways”

The May-June 2013 issue of Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors, looks at changing relationships between college faculty and boards of trustees.  Among the featured authors is former CUNY University Faculty Senate Chair, Sandi Cooper, Professor of History at the College of Staten Island and the City University Graduate Center. 
In “The Road to Pathways,” Cooper traces the centralization of CUNY administration since the 1990s, and discusses implementation of the “Pathways Curriculum, “despite overwhelming faculty opposition, after passage of the June, 2011 Board of Trustees Resolution on  Transfer.  (also posted on cunyUFS.org)
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A lot of explaining to do.

A UFS workshop was held in April entitled The CUNY Budget Explained.  Attempting to demystify this topic were speakers including Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction and Management Iris Weinshall and Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget Matthew Sapienza.  Explore the audio and watch the PowerPoint presentations given at the workshop under Conferences & events.  Photos of the day are on the cunyUFS.org homepage.

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Race for New Funding Under Way

CUNY2020 competition for new State funds open to campuses — CUNY2020, a new $55 million State of New York initiative, solicits proposals from CUNY individuals and campuses (preferably jointly) for projects promoting economic growth.  Call your campus administration into action to coordinate proposals.  More details can be found in the UFS Plenary April minutes, as well as in Vice Chancellor Iris Weinshall’s informative slide presentation at that meeting.  (also posted at cunyufs.org)

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Need Help Finding the Right Administrator?

President, Provost & Dean searches: Finding your campus’ right fit — Kathleen Barker’s Faculty Experience Survey, recently posted to the UFS website, is a useful faculty tool for campuses currently in president, provost or dean searches   Faculty rated many benchmarks for the FES, including administrator responsiveness to faculty concerns, satisfaction with class size, and condition of campus facilities.  In addition to its University-wide reports, the FES has invaluable college-level reports that may help faculty communicate desired candidate traits to search committees.  The attitudes measured by the FES, which was conducted in 2009, often reflect long-term continuities, since institutions, like battleships, are slow to turn around. (also posted on cunyufs.org)

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To MOOC or not to MOOC?

by Emily Tai
MOOCs6Many UFS Blog readers are involved in eLearning — the internet has revolutionized teaching, learning, and scholarship.  Teaching online allows access to rich digital resources across disciplines, including what Matthew K. Gold (English, New York City College of Technology), has called the integration of digital humanities in undergraduate teaching.  ELearning lets instructors create active learning for students who hesitate to contribute in class, or who might skate by with memorization in a traditional classroom.  It has made higher education accessible to non-traditional students who are employed full-time, juggling family care responsibilities or have disabilities — for whom traditional classroom learning was never a perfect fit.  But eLearning can just as easily destroy quality unless CUNY faculty act through faculty governance to manage its design, use and evaluation.

State U Online
In a recent report issued by the New America Foundation, funded by the Lumina and Gates Foundations, and reported on by The Chronicle of Higher Education,State U Online, Rachel Fishman argues that these last qualities of low cost and accessibility make online learning the newest means to implement the spirit of the Morrill Land Grant Act in the 21st century.  Tracing efforts to implement distance learning in America to the nineteenth-century correspondence courses and courses given over the recently-invented radio in the early twentieth century, Fishman asserts that what’s needed now is a vast, national consortium of courses that could be taken interchangeably to meet General Education requirements on college campuses across the nation.  Fishman’s analysis looks at several states where such possibilities are already in place—noting, in a few cases, programs and requirements that were also discussed in connection with the limiting of General Education programs at last October’s UFS Conference on CUNY’s Pathways Initiative.

eLearning squared?
Proponents of the Massive, Open, Online Course—widely known by its acronym, MOOC—argue that MOOCs are eLearning squared, offering…more at www.cunyufs.org


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45 Years of Tradition: Looking back on CUNY’s Faculty Senate


by Emily  Tai
This May will be the forty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of CUNY’s University Faculty Senate, which met for the first time as a faculty governance body in September, 1968.

It was, as many of us still remember quite clearly, a turbulent year: public opinion was turning against the United States’ involvement in Vietnam; assassinations took the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert Kennedy; riots and protests roiled cities across the United States. It was the year of the Prague Spring; of student demonstrations in Paris; and of the election of Richard Nixon as U.S. President (over opponents Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace).

Starting up
One year later, in April, 1969, the members of the University Faculty Senate Executive Committee—which, in addition to the UFS’s first chair, Hunter College Professor of Political Science Robert S. Hirchfield, would include such faculty leaders as Belle Zeller, Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College and a major architect of the Professor Staff Congress; and the distinguished City College economist Alfred Conrad, who served as the UFS’s first Vice-Chair—issued the body’s first “University Senate Newsletter,” the publication that would ultimately be known, by the 1980s, as The Senate Digest.

The fight for shared governance
“The Senate’s principal purpose,” Hirshfield wrote, in that first issue, “is to assure that the faculty shares policymaking authority and responsibility with regard to appropriate aspects of University-wide planning and operation. This has long been a goal of the faculties; with the changes now going on in our academic community, it has become a necessity.”  more at cunyufs.org

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