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View Diary: This week in the War on Workers: Professor fights for-profit teacher licensing, loses her job (81 comments)

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  •  that stifling is based on the culture of the (1+ / 0-)
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    institution.  It is also done by faculty to themselves.  It doesn't really make sense.

    •  "Done by faculty to themselves" (1+ / 0-)
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      Oh do elaborate. Really.

      Also, are you IN Higher Ed, perchance?

      •  yes, I am in higher ed. and just received tenure. (1+ / 0-)
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        Here is how the tenure-track process works...

        As a new faculty member, you get reviewed in three areas -- teaching, scholarship, and service. You keep a portfolio with evidence of your proficiency in each of these areas.  In some cases, the department bylaws require a detailed letter of expectations for the new faculty other cases, it is vague.

        You get reviewed multiple times during your first 6 years.  You can get non-renewed at any of these points if you are not making progress towards your tenure requirements.

        Your department is the first decision point.  They vote on your tenure (or renewal for earlier reviews).  This is the most important vote.  Further steps really need to have a very compelling reason to go against the department faculty vote.  The next step is usually a college (or university-wide, depending on size) personnel committee vote.  After that, it goes to the Dean and then on to the Provost.  If you want to see a university have a melt down, see what happens when a Dean or Provost goes against a faculty vote.

        At each stage, the faculty member does have the opportunity to file a response (if there are questions) or grievance.  For example, if you have evidence that you are doing well at teaching, scholarship, and service, but your department votes against you because they don't like you.  Obviously, this part is ugly and contentious.  But, it generally works.  Of course, if it doesn't, you can sue.

        It really is a pretty crazy process, but it does provide the tenure-track faculty member with protections.  Due Process!

        •  Oops...I didn't answer your question... (2+ / 0-)
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          mahakali overdrive, rbird

          But, the process of review does help!

          So, by faculty stifling themselves, I mean:

          The faculty breeds a certain culture within their department.  At the ugly extreme, tenured faculty show disdain for untenured youngsters and "junior faculty."  They don't have much respect for junior faculty voices and expect them to toe the department line.  Even worse is when two (or more) factions of tenured faculty vie for power & untenured faculty get caught in the middle.  These power plays lead to stifling dissent.

          However, other departments are much more collegial and supportive of untenured colleagues.  They are respectful, helpful, and encourage untenured faculty to have a voice...higher ed utopia.

          Obviously, most departments are somewhere between these two points.

          Universities are interesting places, because faculty really don't have a "boss."  The administration has almost no control over curriculum & gets strength from cooperation (and purse strings).

          •  Agreed here (1+ / 0-)
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            I've seen some of that factionalization and understand what you're talking about here. It can be very particular to any given institution and department without a doubt.

            Do you think, in the case of this Professor, that it was a more personal issue where she had bad blood with her Department itself? That is more likely to lead to a loss of position than a fight with Administration, usually, UNLESS it's a very programmatic field, which Education can be, and ruthlessly so at that.

            •  well, this person was not in a tenure-track (1+ / 0-)
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              position, so it is hard to know.

              If the university (or school of ed) decided (probably through faculty governance or external - Mass Dept of Ed mandate) that edTPA was going to be used, then it was the professional responsibility as director of that program to implement it.

              That doesn't mean she can't personally and professionally dissent, but it also doesn't mean that there are no consequences for dissent.

              •  Consequences for "dissent" (0+ / 0-)

                are generally discouraged via Academic Freedom statutes. Particularly if something is still being piloted and is controversial (which it is; citations widely, widely available). There are current reviews ongoing by UMass Profs to determine whether this was a contractual violation. I'm curious about that. Since I have a friend at UMass, I plan to just ask directly about any buzz over there as well.

                •  She seems to have had administrative respon. (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't know this specific case.  I also have no idea what was in her contract.  I do think it is important to note that the articles say she was responsible for "overseeing" the teacher ed program.  This is an important word.  It does denote that she had administrative responsibilities for the teacher ed program.  This might have been full-time (still an academic appointment) or part-time with other teaching responsibilities.  

                  An administrator, has specific expectations that are not covered by "academic freedom."  For example, an administrator in the College of Business would find him or herself out of a job in a hurry if they endangered the College's MBA accreditation.  An administrator that doesn't follow certification guidelines in a school of education jeopardizes the entire program and all of the students in it.  I don't think it would be wrong to fire that administrator.  In fact, that almost happened at a university in Wisconsin.  the director of the school of ed was negligent and scheduled student teachers a full 4 weeks shorter than required by law.  The university shut down it's teacher ed program for 3 years for "redesign" instead of having DPI shut it down entirely.

                  MA is listed as a state participating in edTPA with policy pending.  This means that it is very likely that the state will require the edTPA for teacher certification.  By instituting a pilot, the university was preparing for that requirement AND also taking an active role in the development of the assessment itself (Stanford takes these pilots very seriously).

                  It is also important to note that the Dean did the firing.  I assume (but don't know) that the pilot was an initiative of the College and it was the responsibility of the person overseeing the education program to implement it.  The pilot was likely endorsed by faculty as well.

                  •  If she was an administrator (0+ / 0-)

                    that would possibly change things, although it would depend on whether she held multiple appointments. Most faculty hold some type of administrative appointment, almost universally -- I'm sure you must, and I know I do as well. Of course, this depends wholly on her contract and in what capacity she was acting in this instance, which right now is much conjecture. From what I've read, she was an eight-year "lecturer" (I was initially under the impression that she was tenure-line; this would be of interest to me, this distinction, for obvious reasons).

                    So again, over at UMass, there is some motion to look through her contract and see if anything was violated. That's happening now.

                    That she was fired by the Dean isn't meaningful to me since I'm not sure whether it came FROM the Dean or not. Even if the Dean were to be the one with the axe.

                    Again, I think we'll see more about this story. It's certainly gaining traction amongst Professors in California right now who aren't very fond of the Common Core and/or actively oppose it, and also, who don't seem to like the way that this assessment was initiated. It's already gaining some pretty vocal pushback, although I suppose it's due to everyone stuck home grading on a weekend night.

                    Ultimately, I'll be honest in that I'm not all that concerned with the fate of this one, particular Professor, sorry, but I am fascinated by the greater implications of edTPA and would think a discussion about the design of it would be of central conversational concern here. It is widely viewed in a similar vein as RTTP is, and I think it contains the same sentiment which drove the recent Chicago Public Teacher's strike.

                    I have no particular comment in regard to MBA programs and how they conduct themselves.

        •  I almost stopped reading when you say "here is how (0+ / 0-)

          the tenure process works."

          Because I definitely know how it works. Firsthand. But it's illuminating to discuss, especially for anyone just tuning in.

          First and foremost, the review areas (teaching, scholarship, service) change considerably with each University and even in each Discipline.

          That you can get "non-renewed" based on "reviews" is vague as you're stating it. Whose reviews are you talking about here?

          It usually is departmental first and foremost, but your process doesn't follow that at my University, FWIW. We have a slightly different hierarchy. Agreed about Dean vs. Faculty vote.

          I'm strongly "for" tenure-track protections. I think it can be a flawed process, of course, and I've seen a few pre-tenure faculty make poor moves or fail to fulfill obligations. In the end, tenure ought be awarded when a Professor is fully able to serve as Department Chair of in another comparable, standalone capacity, plain and simple. They need to show that degree of competence. Also, they need to be able to work with, and stay with, their University for the long-term. Commitment goes two-ways.

          I'm largely agreeing with you, but still teasing out some of the nuances that shift from various institutions.

          Not to mention the differences between R1's, Teaching Colleges, and small Liberal Arts Colleges, etc.

          •  absolutely. I should have clarified that this (1+ / 0-)
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            mahakali overdrive

            is the process at the 2 universities that I was at.  And, there were lots of differences in the number of times I was reviewed by faculty & the amount of evidence I was expected to produce.

            Both of these were comprehensives (no PhD granting programs).

            I hope I'm not unique, I found the process fair and my colleagues were very supportive.  And, I'm not a conformist -- I did push them to consider non-traditional / new media publications & pushed the envelope frequently.

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