Higher Education News
World & Nation
- A coalition of unions and professional associations has come together to form Professionals for the Public Interest (PftPI). The new organization intends to help nurses, teachers, librarians, scientists, and a range of other professionals respond to outside pressures and challenges to the integrity of their work.
Eight professional associations, 10 national and international unions, and the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, developed and endorsed a consensus statement, Defining Common Ground on Professional Integrity. Its focus: taking into account the interests of the public, doing the job right, and fending off external pressures to do otherwise.
- A new report from The Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program challenges the federal government to double its current direct level of support to America’s community colleges, which would decrease community colleges’ dependence on local and state dollars. Doubling the federal commitment would mean increasing direct support of community colleges from $2 billion to $4 billion. The government now offers more than $60 billion per year to K-12 education and around $20 billion to public four-year institutions.
The report also calls for the government to guarantee that community colleges receive at least half of the $2.5 billion “College Access and Completion Fund”—a section of the 2009-10 federal budget that would support state efforts to boost the college completion rates of low-income students.
- Full-time Canadian professors earn, on average, $86,000 to $132,000 in U.S. dollars, according to a report on faculty salaries issued by Statistics Canada. The data in the report is a snapshot of salaries in 2008.
The Canadian university system is mostly publicly financed and has a reputation for paying full-time faculty members well, partly because most of them are unionized. Starting salaries in Canadian higher education are the highest in the world, according to Boston College’s Center for International Higher Education.
Faculty & Staff
- At community colleges, four out of five instructors worked off the tenure track in 2007, according to the American Academic, a publication of the American Federation of Teachers. At public research institutions, graduate students made up 41 percent of the instructional staff that year. And at all institutions, the proportion of instructors working part time continued to grow.
The report, “The State of the Higher Education Workforce, 1997–2007,” finds that the proportion of instructional staff not on the tenure track—including graduate students—increased from two-thirds to 73 percent since 1997. At private comprehensive universities, the proportion of the faculty not on the tenure track rose to 71 percent.
The report also revealed that the number of full-time administrators on college campuses grew at nearly twice the rate of growth for full-time tenured or tenure-track professors over the decade. The full text is at www.aft.org/higher_ed/index.htm.
- Over 1,000 scholars from across the country from an array of disciplines are calling for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. They have signed a letter expressing their support for the legislation, calling it critical for lifting our economy out of the recession and protecting our democratic values. The letter will be delivered to members of congress and is available at www.peri.umass.edu/sefca/.
- English and foreign language departments promote male associate professors to full professors on average at least a year—and in some cases, several years—sooner than they promote women, according to the the Modern Language Association (MLA). Overall, the average time for women as associate professor prior to promotion is 8.2 years, compared to 6.6 years for men.
Within the MLA disciplines, women make up 67.4 percent of associate professors, but 43.3 percent of full professors. Among all disciplines, women are 49 percent of associate professors but 32 percent of full professors.