Nationwide, state budget cuts disproportionately hit low-income, minority college students

from PBS Newshour

BY JON MARCUS, THE HECHINGER REPORT  January 3, 2017 at 1:29 PM EST

States are disproportionately subsidizing schools whose students are wealthier and white, contributing to a widening wealth and educational achievement gap. Photo by Michaela Rehle/Reuters

When a state budget impasse drained money from public universities and colleges in Illinois beginning in 2015, some were forced to lay off hundreds of employees, shorten their semesters, even warn they might shut down. Enrollment plummeted. Credit ratings fell to junk status.

Chicago State University, for instance, which has a student body that is mainly black and Hispanic and drawn from its neighborhood on the city’s South Side, cut 300 workers from its payroll and — its very future in limbo — managed to attract fewer than 100 new freshmen in the fall.

The flagship University of Illinois, far more of whose students are white and wealthier, was not immune from the predicament. But with cash reserves to tap, and an increase in enrollment that brought in more tuition revenue, it has suffered a far less drastic impact from the still-ongoing budget crisis.

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Happy Hour

Happy New Year and welcome back to reality – FAU style!

To help you get your mind right for the new semester, UFF-FAU invites to our Happy Hour, Friday Jan 13th at The Irishmen in Boca (1745 NW Boca Raton Blvd). Starts at 4 PM. happy-hour

Come and make new friends or catch up with old ones.

 

Bob Zoeller

UFF-FAU Chapter President

The Unravelling of College Football Starts With All These Empty Stadiums

from Bloomberg News

By  Eben Novy-Williams

Jan. 3, 2017

The business model of college football, long a financial boon to universities, is breaking down. A weeklong look at the pressures of rising costs, falling revenue and what, if anything, universities can do about it. 

On a warm November Saturday in Boca Raton, 5,843 people turned out to see Florida Atlantic University play its final home football game of the year. With 80 percent of the seats empty, it was the Owls’ smallest audience since the team jumped to college football’s top division in 2005.

A week later and a world away, the Florida State Seminoles played their last home game in front of a crowd of more than 78,000. The student section alone had three times as many fans as FAU had in its whole stadium.

With the fanfare building for the College Football Championship on Monday, it’s hard to remember that packed stadiums like Florida State’s are the exception. FAU’s empty stands are the rule, and lackluster ticket sales are starting to take a financial toll on programs across the country.

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On Self-Inflicted Wounds: Precarious Faculty and Academic Freedom

From Remaking the University (blog)

By Christopher Newfield and Michael Meranze

Since the election there has been much discussion of higher education’s self-inflicted wounds. Mark Lilla and Nicholas Kristof, have trotted out the usual cherry-picked examples of alleged intolerance on (mostly elite) campuses as signs that universities exist at a distance from the real world.  Both have ignored the realities of life for most students and faculty, a point that shouldn’t surprise us I suppose.  After all they are both locked into the New York media bubble whose gaze seems to extend all the way from Cambridge to Washington D.C.  These screeds would simply be unhelpful and annoying if they didn’t serve to distract attention from more fundamental problems facing higher education today. For it is time for faculty and others committed to the future of universities and colleges to think more clearly about what needs to be changed in our own self-organization as we move forward.

One of the most glaring, if also most often ignored in public debate, is the working conditions of precarious faculty and its relationship to questions of academic freedom.  It is no secret that the large majority of teaching in colleges and universities is done by contingent labor (either graduate students or non-tenure track faculty).  Yet as both Bob Samuels and Lee Kottner have recently pointed out, the particular threats that contingency poses to academic freedom has been largely ignored.  Yet there can be little question that it is contingent faculty, not tenure track, let alone tenured, faculty who face the greatest dangers regarding their freedom to teach and to write.  After all, the very point of hiring contingent faculty is to preclude obligations to ensure them long-term or full-time employment.

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Editorial: Keep guns off college campuses

[Preface: UFF President Jennifer Profitt has continuously led the charge against guns on campus and will continue to do so]

from The Gainsville Sun

By Nathan Crabbe

College campuses are no places for guns. State university presidents, faculty members and chiefs of police tend to agree, as do the vast majority of Floridians.

Yet campus-carry proponents are again trying to force the issue, despite such legislation being defeated in the past two sessions. One bill introduced for the upcoming session would allow guns to be openly carried on college and university campuses as well as airport passenger terminals, K-12 schools, legislative meetings and local government meetings.

Advocates for gun rights and gun control should be able to find common ground in agreeing that these measures go too far. After all, nearly three-quarters of Floridians oppose allowing concealed weapons to be carried on college campuses, according to last year’s USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey.

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Meaningless metrics mask troublesome trends in higher education

from Florida Politics

By Florence Snyder

Florida changes higher education funding formulas nearly as often as Kardashians change clothes. At the Department of Making Things Incomprehensible, Metrics Mavens have their hands full monkeying around with the Ten Metrics that determine which universities get the rich gravy, and which get the thin gruel.

Florida’s Ten Metrics appear to have been written by the folks who write insurance policies, credit card contracts and the scoring system for figure skating. We could get the same results cheaper with an actual tribe of monkeys throwing stuff against the wall.

For university boards of trustees, The Metrics may as well have been brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses himself. They are carved in stone, at least for the current budget cycle.

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Holiday Party 2016

holidayparty

Join us for the 2016 United Faculty of Florida – Florida Atlantic University Holiday Party!

WHERE: Villagio Ristorante, 344 East Plaza Real (Mizner Park in Boca)
WHEN: Friday, December 9th, 7:00 – 11:00 PM
WHO: You (and your significant other is welcome too!)
WHY: To celebrate the Season, enjoy the company of fellow Union members, partake in excellent food and drink

Click link for FREE tickets to attend: https://goo.gl/forms/BEPBVkB6v0qYRXb62 (Hurry! Seats are filling quickly)

Impacts of Prestige Seeking in Higher Education

Academe Blog

By Desiree Zerquera

With fall recruitment in full swing, many colleges and universities may be eager to tout their updated facilities, star faculty, and standings among one of the many rankings that evaluate higher education on the basis of a variety of metrics across lists and sublists. However, the cost of earned rankings and expensive amenities during times of increased financial restraint and stratification of opportunity in higher education warrant scrutiny.

In 1956, the late sociologist David Riesman depicted higher education as a snake-like procession in which colleges and universities within lower tiers of the academic hierarchy imitate those within higher tiers. He explained this imitation game as one that persists within a system based on imitating top-ranked institutions on elements that may have more to do with perceptions and less to do with serving students.

This depiction rings ever true today. Contemporary scholars have described this as prestige seeking—collective activities engaged in that are thought to enhance rankings and public perceptions. Recent analysis of data from the National Center for Educational Statistics show that all types of four-year colleges and universities engaged in prestige seeking over the past decade, which can be seen in changes in undergraduate selectivity, increased investment in research revenue, and the development or investment in men’s football teams.

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Sign Up!: Union Family Bowling Event

bowling

UFF-FAU is excited to announce a family-friendly social event. On November 5, 2016, the union will gather with their families at Strikes at Boca for an afternoon of socializing, laser-light bowling, and a bit to eat. We’ll begin at 12:30pm and shoes and lanes will be provided until 3:30pm. Food and soft drinks will be provided with additional options available for purchase ((http://strikesbocaraton.com/).

We’ve reserved a fixed number of spots so we do ask that you RSVP at the link below.

https://goo.gl/forms/LidqERUq41MqkUJp1

WHERE: Strikes at Boca (21046 Commercial Trail Boca Raton, FL, 33486)
WHEN: Saturday, November 5, 12:30 – 3:30 PM
WHO: You AND your family
WHY: To meet union members, have fun, and to bowl a strike
RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/LidqERUq41MqkUJp1

If you have any questions, please contact event organizer, Ethan Fenichel at ethanfenichel@gmail.com or as always, Bob Zoeller, UFF-FAU President at president@uff-fau.org.

Living in an Extreme Meritocracy is Exhausting

The Atlantic

Victor Tan Chen

A century ago, a man named Frederick Winslow Taylor changed the way workers work. In his book The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor made the case that companies needed to be pragmatic and methodical in their efforts to boost productivity. By observing employees’ performance and whittling down the time and effort involved in doing each task, he argued, management could ensure that their workers shoveled ore, inspected bicycle bearings, and did other sorts of “crude and elementary” work as efficiently as possible. Soldiering—a common term in the day for the manual laborer’s loafing—would no longer be possible under the rigors of the new system, Taylor wrote.

The principles of data-driven planning first laid out by Taylor—whom the management guru Peter Drucker once called the “Isaac Newton … of the science of work”—have transformed the modern workplace, as managers have followed his approach of assessing and adopting new processes that squeeze greater amounts of productive labor from their employees. And as the metrics have become more precise in their detail, their focus has shifted beyond the tasks themselves and onto the workers doing those tasks, evaluating a broad range of their qualities (including their personality traits) and tying corporate carrots and sticks—hires, promotions, terminations—to those ratings.

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