Overview Faculty Voice articles March 2014 edition

Changing the Academy, Changing Society

By Nelly P. Stromquist, College of Education, UMCP

Institutions reflect their surrounding social environment and, at the same time, create their own. Periodically, both need drastic change for human conditions to approach that optimum point on their ever-evolving continua. One element of our academic environment that now cries out for such a change—one that affects more than most imagine—is the underrepresentation of women as faculty members, especially in scientific and technological (STEM) fields. This condition persists despite the growth in the number of women gaining Ph.D. degrees in all fields. Is this purely the consequence of women’s own individual choices? Does gender socialization pressure women into avoiding certain careers? Do institutions of higher education exacerbate the problem through diverse forms of discriminatory practices?

Read more below

I Knew You Before I Met You. How Social Media Has Changed the Way We Communicate

By Jennifer Brannock Cox, Communication Arts, Salisbury

Love it or hate it, social media has become the next “big thing,” revolutionizing how humans communicate in new, exciting, and sometimes dangerous ways. Social media has given us the power to break geographic boundaries, establish worldwide conversations, and transform virtual revolutions into real, physical change. That’s the good news.

Read more below

Medical Education

By E. Albert Reese, Dean Medicine, UMB

In December last year, The Chronicle of Higher Education published a commentary written by Richard B. Gunderman, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy at Indiana University, about the shortcomings of current medical education. In his article, Gunderman argues that, due to cost-cutting and a reliance on new technologies to teach students, medical school faculty members have been reduced to “content deliverers,” not teachers or role models, who only focus on the “competency” of students, rather than training excellent future physicians, through a “mass production” of graduates, and not highly-skilled trainees. He cites a recent Annals of Surgery study, which surveyed surgery fellowship program directors who felt that 56% of their fellows could not suture, 21% were unprepared for the operating room, and the majority of fellows could not design or conduct academic research projects. Gunderman points to this study as evidence for an “ailing” medical education system that no longer holds excellence and patient care in the highest of regards. He posits that re-establishing a diverse culture of superior quality in medical education, which holds human relationships at its core, can “cure” the system.

Read more below


Journalism Today

By DeWayne Wickham, Journalism & Communication, Morgan State U

In truth, the current crisis in journalism has more to do with how we do our work than how we deliver the news. Still, too many people see the troubled state of print and television news and ask the question: “Is journalism dying.” My answer is that it is alive and doing exceedingly well. People who think otherwise confuse news delivery systems with the news those platforms deliver.

Read more below


Morgan State University’s Center for the Built Environment & Infrastructure Studies

B y James E. Whitney II, Engineering, Morgan State U

The Morgan State University Center for the Built Environment (CBEIS) building is one of the newest buildings constructed on the Morgan State University (MSU) campus. Ground-breaking for building construction was on April 2, 2010. The building opened on September 20, 2012 with an official opening ceremony including Maryland State Governor Martin O’Malley, past and current MSU Presidents Earl S. Richardson and David Wilson, respectively, Dean of the Engineering School, Dr. Eugene Deloatch, and Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, Dr. Mary Anne Akers and several other dignitaries. The CBEIS building houses the School of Architecture and Planning, Urban Infrastructures Studies, Transportation Studies, National Transportation Center, and Civil Engineering programs.

Read more below.


The Plight of America’s Bird

By Teena Ruark Gorrow*

The bald eagle is America’s national bird and symbol. Found only in North America, it is often called the American eagle and is known by its scientific name, Haliaeetus leucocephalus. Bald eagles have a way of evoking emotion deep within those of us who know and appreciate their remarkable success story. There is a delicate balance for survival in our changing environment, and this resilient creature’s struggle is undeniably noteworthy.

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The Art of Nora Sturges

Nora Sturges has exhibited her work widely in solo shows at the Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia, Spaces in Cleveland, School 33 in Baltimore, the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, the Lancaster (PA) Museum of Art, the Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery in Connecticut, Miami University of Ohio, and Ventura College, among others.

Read more and see her art below


Dining in Salisbury

By Vonceila S. Brown, Nursing, Salisbury

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Barriers to Implementation of Interprofessional Education

Poem by Richard Dalby

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Nineteen Years Later

Poem by Robert Deluty

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Academic Notes

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I Knew You Before I Met You: How Social Media Has Changed the Way We Communicate

By Jennifer Brannock Cox, Salisbury

Love it or hate it, social media has become the next “big thing,” revolutionizing how humans communicate in new, exciting, and sometimes dangerous ways. Social media has given us the power to break geographic boundaries, establish worldwide conversations, and transform virtual revolutions into real, physical change. That’s the good news.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 10.56.05 AMSocial media also has its pitfalls – weakened personal and national security, fragmentation of relationships, and shortened attention spans, just to name a few. But I’ll get to those in a minute. First, it is vital to understand the global scope of this phenomenon, just to give you a sense of its reach and potential for power.

According to the U.S. Census[1], there are about 7.1 billion people on the planet right now. Of those billions, more than 1 billion have Facebook accounts, including 67% of people in the U.S.[2]

Still not sure just how far-reaching social media is? Here are some more statistics:

  • YouTube – 1 billion unique visitors each month; 6 billion hours of video watched each month[3]
  • Twitter – 500 million users; 1 billion message every 2.5 days[4]
  • LinkedIn – 225 million users[5]
  • Tumbr – 170 million blogs; 76 billion posts[6]
  • Instagram – 150 million users; 16 billion photos shared[7]

The bottom line – social media is “in,” and although the technologies and preferred platforms change almost daily, virtual networking is not going anywhere anytime soon. So, what does it all mean? In a word – change. Social media is changing the way we interact with each other in the world, creating both opportunities and liabilities never encountered before.

The most noticeable change for many social media users is to their interpersonal relationships. Traditionally, we have been constrained by geography, meeting and mingling with those in close proximity to us. We meet at work, in class, at bars or other local venues and form relationships that are often largely reliant on convenience. Whether those relationships last after physical closeness is no longer possible is often said to be the true test.

With the advent of social media, users now have the ability to connect based on shared interests rather than proximity. These interactions can lead to meaningful in-person encounters, as well. People with shared interests in everything, from quilting to baseball to astrophysics, can form online communities and use social media to arrange meetings to grow their relationships.

Case in point, more than 41 million Americans have tried online dating sites, such as Match.com and eHarmony, to find mates who share their interests, and 17% of all marriages last year were the result of first encounters on sites like those[8]. That being said, online friends and lovers have greater opportunities to misrepresent themselves or omit details regarding their physical characteristics and background, which can lead to disappointment, embarrassment, and even danger during face-to-face encounters.

Social media can also lead to community engagement, connecting people for a common cause. The most striking example of this type of engagement last year was the story of “Batkid.” In November, five-year-old cancer survivor Miles Scott wanted nothing more than to ride with the Caped Crusader, Batman. Thanks to a Make-A-Wish social media campaign that went viral, approximately 12,000 people gathered to transform San Francisco into Gotham City for a day, helping make Miles’ wish come true.

Not only did social media play a role in the organization of Batkid’s dream day; it garnered unprecedented recognition for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which could assist in making many more dreams come true. Batkid’s day of fighting crime was shared across all forms of social media in 117 countries[9]. The result: more than 400,000 tweets in one day, more than 21,000 Instagram and Twitter photos, and a 1,400% increase in traffic on the Make-A-Wish website during the day.

Some social scientists have argued social media has actually lead to a decrease in community engagement, with more people staying online rather than meeting to participate[10]. While that might be true of some, social media has the potential to unite neighbors for a common goal faster than any meeting or petition ever could.

Social media has also changed the construction and dissemination of popular culture. Traditionally, decisions about what was to be popular were made by mass media executives based on their perceptions about what the general public might like. With the rise of YouTube, blogs, and other platforms for displaying talents, opinions, and ideas, the consumer has become the producer, gaining fame and popularity based on their actual mass appeal rather than the prediction of it.

As captivating as 6 billion hours of YouTube can be, it can also be very distracting. Millions of Americans regularly visit social media sites during working hours, leading to decreases in productivity[11]. Additionally, a recent study found constant connectivity online has lead to increases in depression among college-age students, as students find it difficult to look away from the computer and focus on other productive endeavors[12].

Going beyond entertainment and personal use, social networking sites have been responsible for revolutions on national and international scales. In his attempts to organize the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, Change.org founder Ben Rattray relied heavily on social media sites to rally participants. Rattray told the Huffington Post, “The best way to get people away from their computer is through the computer; you can’t organize thousands of people in New York City [the way Occupy Wall Street has] without the web.[13]

Social media was also credited for the political revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya in early 2011, known as the “Arab Spring.” When dissidents’ opposition to leadership regimes were silenced in public, they took to sites like Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages and organize protests that eventually toppled the governments in those countries. Meanwhile, the rest of the world marveled, following issues they didn’t know existed and watching these revolutions in real time from the perspectives of those fighting. However, as these countries remain in turmoil, the real meaning and impact of those communications has yet to be determined.

While there are different opportunities and challenges for communication on social media, the takeaway is this: social media connects strangers. On an interpersonal level, we connect with people who share our interests. As a community, we connect with neighbors who might otherwise be strangers. In pop culture, social media creates common ground for strangers to share and reflect. And globally, social media prompts strangers to unite when there is seemingly no other way.

When we connect as strangers, we have unprecedented opportunities for positive change and union. However, we also open the door for reckless behavior that can put our identities, and even our lives, in danger.

Social media sites offer us the opportunity to express ourselves in new ways, but they also create potential for us to harm ourselves. In a fit of anger, you might post something offensive on social media, or to be funny, a friend might post an embarrassing video of you. Inappropriate postings have cost people their friends, loved ones, and even careers. Even if you are not on social media, information posted about you could also have potentially damaging consequences that are beyond your control.

More frightening is the ability to track people on social media. Many sites have geographic tags that allow others to see where users are when they post. Entertainer Jack Vale recently spooked social media users during an experiment by searching for people who had tagged themselves in his vicinity[14]. He looked on their profiles, gathered some basic facts and personal information about them, and confronted them in public. Although the result was humorous, the implications were not lost on his startled victims, who did not realize how easily they could be found and how much information they were letting strangers know about themselves.

With all its potential and pitfalls, social media makes for a fascinating study in human communication. As even more people adopt social media as an important, if not primary, tool for communicating, study of its possibilities and impact will likely continue to take center stage as researchers grapple for a snapshot of these sites during their coming of age.

Whether social media is for you is up to you, but one thing is for sure – it cannot be ignored. As educators, it is vital that we recognize its permeation among students. Even if professors chose not to integrate social media into their classes, we have to acknowledge the prospects and problems social media creates for our students and ourselves. You never know when a video of you might appear on YouTube or what your students are tweeting about during class….

 

[1] U.S. Census. “U.S. and World Population Clock.” <http://www.census.gov/popclock/> (Feb. 11, 2014).

[2] Cooper Smith, “7 Statistics About Facebook Users That Reveal Why It’s Such a Powerful Marketing Tool,” Business Insider, Nov. 16, 2013, <http://www.businessinsider.com/a-primer-on-facebook-demographics-2013-10> (Dec. 3, 2013).

[3] YouTube, “Statistics.” < http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html> (Feb. 11, 2014).

[4] Brandon Griggs and Heather Kelly, “With Twitter Going Public: 23 Key Moments from Twitter History,” CNN, Sept. 19, 2013, < http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/13/tech/social-media/twitter-key-moments/> (Dec. 3, 2013).

[5] Salvador Rodriguez, “LinkedIn reaches 225 million users as it marks its 10th birthday,” L.A. Times, May 6, 2013. < http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/06/business/la-fi-tn-linkedin-turns-10-20130506> (Dec. 3, 2013)

[6] Tumblr. “About Us.” < http://www.tumblr.com/about> (Feb. 11, 2014).

[7] Instagram, “Press News.” < http://instagram.com/press/#> (Feb. 11, 2014).

[8] Statistic Brain, “Online Dating Statistics.” <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/face-it/201302/connecting-through-online-dating> (Feb. 11, 2014).

[9] Chris Taylor, “How Batkid Conquered the World, By the Numbers,” Mashable, Nov. 18, 2013. < http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/batkid-numbers/> (Dec. 3, 2013).

[10] Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 65-78.

[11] Cheryl Conner, “Employees Really Do Waste Time at Work, Part II,” Forbes, Nov. 15, 2012. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2012/11/15/employees-really-do-waste-time-at-work-part-ii/> (Feb. 11, 2014).

[12] Conner, “Employees Really Do Waste Time at Work, Part II.”

[13] Craig Kanalley, “Occupy Wall Street: Social Media’s Role in Social Change,” Huffington Post, Oct. 6, 2011. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/occupy-wall-street-social-media_n_999178.html> (Dec. 3, 2013).

[14] Jillian D’Onfro, “This Guy Stalks Strangers on Social Media and Confronts Them in the Street With Everything He Knows About Them,” Business Insider, Nov. 19, 2013. < http://www.businessinsider.com/jack-vale-social-media-experiment-2013-11> (Dec. 3, 2013).

 

Editor’s note: Having taken Latin in secondary school, I sometimes cringe when data, media, and other plural Latin words are followed by a singular verb. But the FV has decided that a strong author’s preference for the “wrong” singular verb should be honored – or at least accepted. Next thing they’ll ban cursive!

Journalism Today

By DeWayne Wickham, Morgan/Journalism & Communication*

In truth, the current crisis in journalism has more to do with how we do our work than how we deliver the news. Still, too many people see the troubled state of print and television news and ask the question: “Is journalism dying.” My answer is that it is alive and doing exceedingly well. People who think otherwise confuse news delivery systems with the news those platforms deliver.

This may not be so apparent in the midst of a noisy chorus of too-close-to-the-forest-to-see-the-trees assessments of the changes that have befallen the journalism profession. Declining newspaper circulation numbers, falloffs in news magazine readership, and the near annihilation of local radio news broadcasts have led a lot of people to conclude that journalism is on its deathbed.

Even some journalists have worried aloud about their craft’s life span. Last year, for example, Matthew Hartvigsen, the content director for DeseretNews.com, wrote that the “future of journalism is yet to be determined.” The proof he offered of journalism’s endangered state was a Pew Research Center report (The State of the News Media 2013) that looked at how the financial problems of news organizations are whittling away at their audiences.

But to link journalism inextricably to the declining health of newspapers, television and radio news operations is to take Marshall McLuhan’s contention that “the medium is the message” to a maddening extreme. While the journalism professional is undergoing some seismic changes that are shrinking demand for newspapers and contracting audiences for television and radio newscasts, Americans have an insatiable appetite for news. This is due in no small part to the great change that has occurred in how people get news and information. According to a 2013 Pew Research Internet Project, 55% of Americans have smartphones and 60% of them use this highly portable technology to access the Internet.

Another 2013 report, this one by the Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, concluded that 45% of people who get their news from Twitter are 18-29 years old, and 34% of the people who turn to Facebook for news are in the same age range.

While technological advances have altered the news audience and how people receive their news, what worries me is the quality of the news content they get. Determining what is news, and what is not, is the real existentialist crisis that faces journalism today. And it is a fire that is fueled largely by the unmet need to reconsider how we define news, and rethink what it means to be a journalist.

“News,” I used to tell my students when I was in the classroom, “is what those who get to decide, say it is.” But for much of my professional career this subjectivity has been held in check by the hierarchy of “deciders” who oversee the newsgathering process of traditional news organizations. This began to change as technology has given an ever-growing number of people the ability to be reporter, editor, copy editor, and publisher, all rolled up into one, on a social media site.

But in too many cases, these people are news aggregators, not news reporters. They cross-dress as journalists but rarely subject their news decisionmaking or copy to the common protocols of mainstream journalism. Still, they are able to use blogs and other social media platforms to rapidly distribute the unprocessed information they generate—often with greater speed than traditional journalists.

The challenge that faces the journalism profession—and journalism education—is not so much to fight this new generation of mass communicators as it is to help train them. To (as best we can) heavily arm them with a respect for ethical standards, a proficiency in the use of journalism’s new tools, and a knowledge of the global village they’ll have to cover. This emphasis on ethical and knowledge-based journalism should be the new normal in journalism education.

Most of what people know, they learn from media. But to the extent that the information people get is warped by the flawed reporting of journalists who bring little knowledge to the coverage of a story, invalidated by factual errors, unacknowledged conflicts of interests, or poor communication skills, it will injure their ability to make good decisions. The ripple effects of this damage could plunge us into an information wilderness in which truth and accuracy are hard to distinguish from untruths and inaccuracy.

This challenge is proof enough that journalism—far from dying—is a dynamic profession in the throes of change. And journalism educators must be the first responders in the fight to keep the work of journalists relevant—and informed. We have to find ways to train as many would-be journalists as possible to subject their reporting and writing to acceptable standards that ensure newsworthiness. We can do this through the retooling of traditional courses in degree programs. But we must also fashion certificate programs that will draw bloggers into the family of professional journalists, perhaps via Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that might also make journalism education attractive to people in marginalized communities and developing countries.

If we do these things well, the future of journalism will be bright. If not, it will surely become a profession that is filled with as many beguiling imitators as a WWE wrestling ring.

*Professor Wickham is Dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State. He writes a weekly column for USA Today and has worked for US News & World Report, The Baltimore Sun, and others. The author of four books, Wickham is a founding member and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists. His dean’s web page begins, “Welcome to the future.”

For further reading

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/special-reports-landing-page/citing-reduced-quality-many-americans-abandon-news-outlets/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-teens-using-smartphones-to-surf-the-web/

http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/business-news/the-biz-blog/240669/even-as-digital-grows-more-than-half-of-reported-newspaper-audience-is-print-only/

http://www.journalism.org/2013/11/04/twitter-news-consumers-young-mobile-and-educated/

http://www.journalism.org/2012/12/11/demographics-mobile-news/

Medical Education

E. Albert Reece, Dean/Medicine/UMSOM*
With the assistance of Julie Wu**

Reece in Chemical Hall SMALLERIn December last year, The Chronicle of Higher Education published a commentary written by Richard B. Gunderman, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy at Indiana University, about the shortcomings of current medical education. In his article, Gunderman argues that, due to cost-cutting and a reliance on new technologies to teach students, medical school faculty members have been reduced to “content deliverers,” not teachers or role models, who only focus on the “competency” of students, rather than training excellent future physicians, through a “mass production” of graduates, and not highly-skilled trainees. He cites a recent Annals of Surgery study, which surveyed surgery fellowship program directors who felt that 56% of their fellows could not suture, 21% were unprepared for the operating room, and the majority of fellows could not design or conduct academic research projects. Gunderman points to this study as evidence for an “ailing” medical education system that no longer holds excellence and patient care in the highest of regards. He posits that re-establishing a diverse culture of superior quality in medical education, which holds human relationships at its core, can “cure” the system.

To his credit, Gunderman’s underlying message is one that we at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) can firmly stand behind: health care only advances when those who provide it do so in the relentless pursuit of excellence. Institutions that lose sight of this goal warrant scrutiny. It is true that we have room to improve. The Annals of Surgery article, news stories of medical misconduct, the greater need for super-specialists who can handle the growing intricacies of human disease, and the increasing pressure for everyone to “do more with less,” are critical challenges facing medical education today. Additionally, as biomedical research scientists continue to make great strides in uncovering the genetic and molecular bases for disease, so too must clinical practitioners keep pace with the latest discoveries, thereby providing patients with the most up-to-date—and ever-more personalized—care. Physicians must have a firm grasp on how research is conducted, regardless of whether they step into a laboratory or lead a clinical trial. Gunderman is correct in believing that medical schools that fail to maintain standards will cheat their students from obtaining critical training and experience. However, his sweeping critique of the current medical education system paints a skewed picture of reality.

In the United States, we have a uniform accreditation structure, set forth by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The review that each U.S. medical school program is subjected to is rigorous and objective and receipt of accreditation not guaranteed. Standards are very high for each school, and that expectation of excellence passes from the institutional leaders, to the faculty members, to the students. If it were accurate that over half of young surgeons could not suture or that a quarter of them were unprepared for the operating room after they received their training, then we would see an onslaught of schools losing their accreditation status each year—this is not happening.

Additionally, if it were true that future physicians were being taught in a turnstile fashion, kept out of touch with patients and merely becoming “competent” in health care, as Gunderman contests, then we would not see new innovations from new medical students. Just one look at the list of Forbes’ “30 under 30,” celebrating the top advances of young medical students, fellows, scientists and entrepreneurs in health care under 30 years old, and it is clear that medical schools are not simply churning out “clones” who cannot think critically for themselves. Indeed, the UMSOM’s new Foundations of Research and Critical Thinking course, required for all medical students at UMSOM, will encourage a culture of analytic thinkers with the potential to make great contributions to biomedical research science as well as discovery-based medical care.

The results of the survey published in The Annals of Surgery that Gunderman cites reveal worrying statistics—could it truly be possible that young surgeons cannot perform operations for more than 30 minutes without close supervision (according to the article, this was true for 66% of fellows)? On the surface, the data are alarming, but digging deeper, one realizes that the results reflect the opinions of only a proportion of surgery fellowship directors, and is a measure how prepared these directors believe the new residents are coming into a specialized surgery program. Although the skills that a student obtains during the general surgery fellowship is critical to how quickly a trainee can learn during his or her specialized training, the purpose of specialized education is, at its most basic level, to receive the education needed to become an expert.

Evaluating a trainee’s skills prior to receiving his or her training is somewhat like evaluating how well an athlete will play at the professional level before actually playing at the professional level. Although collegiate sports may give a player some of the necessary skills to be successful, only after he or she competes at the professional level can an accurate assessment be made. By this same token, a surgery fellow who has received five to six years in general surgery training will acquire many of the skills necessary to perform advanced procedures, but the techniques required to successfully complete the type of surgery evaluated in the Annals of Surgery article—advanced laproscopy, bariatic, hepatopancreatobiliar, colorectal, and thoracic surgery—are of a unique nature. Gunderman would have us believe that the majority of surgeons cannot suture, full stop. That a fellow who can suture an incision in the chest may not be able to suture an incision in the pancreas, one of the most complex and delicate organs of the body, at the outset of his or her training, is not surprising. The novice cannot be measured on the scale of the virtuoso. Inevitably, he or she will fall short, and labeling the amateur as inadequate is biased and unfair.

 Gunderman’s closing statements speak to a lack of physician-patient interaction. He argues that the use of new technologies, virtual classrooms and simulations in medical education are depriving students of the hands-on experience required to develop a bedside manner. I would contend that American medicine is not devoid of patient contact but is regarded as a world leader in health care because of excellent physician-patient relationships. In some other countries doctors are held in the highest esteem and patients expected to merely accept whatever the physician says. The U.S. system is the opposite. Doctors here are expect to have meaningful conversations with their patients and, in the light of the Affordable Care Act, may be penalized if they fail to provide the best possible care, which includes knowing, seeing, and interacting with patients. It is not enough to read a patient’s chart or review laboratory results to provide a diagnosis. Physicians must communicate with their patients. The Annals of Surgery survey Gunderman uses in his commentary to criticize American medical education also revealed that 79-92% of fellowship directors felt that their incoming trainees demonstrated effective communication skills and were respectful of patients and colleagues. This statistic does not indicate a lack of physician-patient interaction, as Gunderman would have us believe.

 The commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education motivates us to have a conversation about the future of medical education, and its author clearly has an agenda. Gunderman certainly gives us food for thought, and it is important to continually evaluate the quality of our programs to ensure that we truly are training the very best future healthcare professionals. Presenting data can effectively support an argument. However, it is important to keep in mind that data also can be construed in many ways to prove a point. Gunderman selects specific data to prove his point—medical education is failing, whereas I examine all the information and find that, although there is room for improvement, we are not falling down on the job.

*E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., is Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland, the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

**Julie Wu, Ph.D., is the Senior Medical/Science Editor at UMSOM.

Changing the Academy, Changing Society

By Nelly P. Stromquist, College of Education, UMCP

Institutions reflect their surrounding social environment and, at the same time, create their own.  Periodically, both need drastic change for human conditions to approach that optimum point on their ever-evolving continua. One element of our academic environment that now cries out for such a change—one that affects more than most imagine—is the underrepresentation of women as faculty members, especially in scientific and technological (STEM) fields. This condition persists despite the growth in the number of women gaining Ph.D. degrees in all fields. Is this purely the consequence of women’s own individual choices? Does gender socialization pressure women into avoiding certain careers? Do institutions of higher education exacerbate the problem through diverse forms of discriminatory practices?

Nelly Stromquist

Nelly Stromquist

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has committed itself to increasing the representation of women faculty members in STEM fields nationwide and has invested over $135 million to this end in approximately 140 colleges and universities since 2001.   Its ADVANCE initiative (Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers) is NSF-wide, covering its seven directorates and its three research programs.  ADVANCE’s strategy is to provide matching funds so that colleges and universities carry out additional activities that give impetus to new and revised hiring, retention, and promotion policies in STEM fields, address the work-family relationship that greatly affects women faculty members, and create all kinds of supporting mechanisms such as mentoring, lecture series, conversations with university leaders, research grant seeds, and social networking to increase awareness around gender dimensions.  Institutions receiving NSF funds are given freedom to design their own array of initiatives. The impact evaluation, however, has been carefully delineated by NSF, and requires the provision of statistical indicators to show before and after conditions.

Three in the University Maryland University System have been recipients of NSF “institutional transformation” awards, of which there are about 40 in this country: the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES); and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP).  The UMBC grant, initiated in 2003 and completed in 2010, received $3.2 million. According to an external evaluation (Campbell-Kliber Associates, 2008), prior to ADVANCE women represented 27% of those in STEM tenured and tenure-track faculty positions; by the end of the project, their numbers had risen to 50%.  There were no significant increases in the number of underrepresented minorities, however—a condition that UMBC also sought to remedy. While considerable improvement took place in numbers as well as in mentoring and faculty development plans, a survey of UMBC’s general work environment conducted at the end of the program found significant differences between women and men faculty members in nine of 11 work environment areas, with women perceiving much greater negative differences in four of these areas (degree of sexism, respect, civility, and collegiality). Institutional factors at the university level are not hospitable to women scientists, but of equal concern is the fact that fewer girls than boys continue to enroll in math and science courses in high school. A notorious example is computer science. The College Board reported recently that only 30,000 students in the nation took the AP test in computer science in 2013. Of these, 4,964 were female, about 8% Latina, and about 3% African American. The combination female/minority undoubtedly produces an even smaller   proportion.

ADVANCE at UMCP is younger (initiated in 2010) and smaller ($2.7 million) than at UMBC.  As Prof. O’Meara described in a previous article (The Voice, December 2013), our own ADVANCE initiative covers multiple activities that enable women to develop a stronger sense of individual agency through research focusing on gender dimensions, mentoring and networking, discussions on leadership issues, and provision of conferences by stellar women academics. Change, of course, takes time. Asked to reflect on climate changes concerning gender at UMCP, Marvin Breslow, an emeritus history professor with a 41-year UMPC experience and a former chair of the University Senate, observed: “We are still a white male faculty but one that is now much more aware of what the world is becoming.”  He noted that among the 15 academic deans, seven are women (ARHU, Education, Information Sciences, Journalism, Libraries, Public Health, and Undergraduate Studies). Progress, however, is not even.  For instance, at the School of Engineering, where women now represent 25% of those receiving a Ph.D., only 12% of its faculty are women.

Research on barriers to similar representation and status of women and men faculty members at institutions of higher education shows convergence on key obstacles. A study that traced the attainment of about 400 NSF women awardees in a program that existed from 1997 to 2000 found that the most significant challenge—by far—facing women scientists and engineers was their ability to balance career and family responsibilities (Rosser, 2004).  The fact that there is a considerable number of dual academic careers among faculty members’ households complicates the problem because family responsibilities are not equally shared: women continue to be the main care providers and household managers in their families.  Since  provided at home is the most common type of childcare in the US, cumulative disadvantages accrue “naturally” to women, with corresponding less time available for research activities and campus presence. The career-family issue exceeds the limits of institutional action.  Merely making private childcare information available to women (as ADVANCE proposes) is no substitute for actual access to reasonably priced and widespread childcare provision.  The US provides less childcare and family support than any of its peer nations.  The ADVANCE program at UMBC found that the most frequent obstacle reported by the newly recruited STEM women faculty was “family obligations.” It would seem that if women are to have equal professional opportunities, the issue of child care and elder care provision must be endorsed as a nationwide social policy.  A serious alternative, of course, would be for colleges and universities to adopt a more gender-sensitive policy and offer childcare services on their own campuses.  The other aspect of “family obligations” concerns the gender division of labor at home, where women continue to assume—whether by love, competence, or both—the greater share of domestic tasks and care responsibilities.

At UMCP, ADVANCE has now entered its fourth of five years.  Results from two surveys on the work environment faced by women and men faculty members offer data that merit reflection.  The first survey, administered in Spring 2011, found that the climate for work-life balance was rated poorly by all respondents, especially women, who identified a need for improved childcare. In the words of one woman faculty member, “The environment that you need to work 100 hours per week is deflating and demoralizing for those who want children.” Unsurprisingly, while 38% of women reported having experienced discrimination by gender, only 12% of the men had faced such an experience (O’Meara and Campbell, 2011). The first survey also found large and statistically significant differences by gender in the following items:  “Opportunities for female faculty at UMD are at least as good as for male faculty,” “I work harder to be perceived by some of my colleagues as a legitimate scholar,” and “I have experienced discrimination based on my individual or multiple identities.” The second survey, given in Spring 2013—two years later—found identical results for those items.  Interestingly, an item that had not reached statistical significance in the first survey now reports large differences to the disadvantage of women: “I am satisfied with my unit’s culture around work-life balance” (O’Meara, Garvey, Niehaus, and Corrigan, 2013).  Could these results reflect that the new knowledge promoted by ADVANCE sharpened perceptions and thus led to heightened recognition of needs? Or simply that institutional change takes a longue-durée framework?

The social networks and mentoring provided through NSF grants work gradually but effectively among women faculty members.  Even though such activities reach only a small group of beneficiaries, the mere idea of being targeted for assistance and included in a set of activities and venues previously out of their reach seems to give women faculty members a sense of confidence and self-esteem that can only be positive. I personally have benefited from participating this academic year as an ADVANCE leadership fellow.  This allowed me, together with five other women and eight men, to hear monthly accounts by high-ranking  administrators on various facets of their work, from budgets and leadership challenges to conflict management. These venues have provided an unparalleled access to frank and detailed conversations on key aspects of university functioning and performance. And the leadership provided by former Provost Anne Wiley in moderating these conversations has been exceptional. Will the new knowledge enable these and other ADVANCE participants to use their place of employment to create the capabilities that will prompt institutional changes at UMCP? Keep posted.

References:

Campbell-Kliber Associates. 2008. University of Maryland Baltimore County. ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Program. Final Evaluation Report.

O’Meara, K. and Campbell, C. 2011. The Work Environment for Tenure-Track/Tenured Faculty at the University of Maryland.  ADVANCE Research and Evaluation Report I.

O’Meara, K., Garvey, J., Niehaus, E., and Corrigan, K. 2013. The Work Environment for Tenure Track/Tenured Faculty at the University of Maryland.  Results from the 2013 UMD Work Environment Survey.

Rosser, S. 2004.  Using  POWRE to ADVANCE:  Institutional Barriers Identified by Women Scientists and Engineers.  NSWA Journal 16(1): 50-69.

Morgan State University’s Center for the Built Environment & Infrastructure Studies

CBEIS Building

CBEIS Building

By James E. Whitney II, Engineering/Morgan

The Morgan State University Center for the Built Environment (CBEIS) building is one of the newest buildings constructed on the Morgan State University (MSU) campus. Ground-breaking for building construction was on April 2, 2010. The building opened on September 20, 2012 with an official opening ceremony including Maryland State Governor Martin O’Malley, past and current MSU Presidents Earl S. Richardson and David Wilson, respectively, Dean of the Engineering School, Dr. Eugene Deloatch, and Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, Dr. Mary Anne Akers and several other dignitaries. The CBEIS building houses the School of Architecture and Planning, Urban Infrastructures Studies, Transportation Studies, National Transportation Center, and Civil Engineering programs.

Interior view of the CBEIS Building

Interior view of the CBEIS Building

The building was a collaborative effort between The Freelon Group architecture firm, CSD Architects, and MSU’s Office of Design & Construction, School of Architecture and Planning, and Civil Engineering Department. It contains 34 classrooms, 100 offices, 10 group study rooms, architecture studios, an earthquake simulator, four model shops, and several wind tunnels.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) uses five different categories to judge a building’s sustainability: 1) site location, 2) water conservation, 3) energy efficiency, 4) materials, 5) indoor air quality, and a bonus category for innovation and design. The building easily received LEED certification, an independent third-party verification that a structure was designed and built to achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health. The CBEIS building is LEED ‘Gold’ certified, that is, next to the highest quality.

The building has won several awards including: 2013 AIA MD Public Building of the Year (State); 2012 AIA North Carolina Merit Award (State); and, 2012 AIA Baltimore Design Award, Sustainable Design (Local). Here are a few of the ‘Green’ features of the building:

BuildingWalkway_SMALL

A section of the CBEIS ‘Green Roof’

Green Roof: The CBEIS “green roof” has a total area of 52,582 square-feet, and includes eleven different species of plants which are set into trays. There are also paved reflective areas incorporated into the roof to reflect the sun’s energy away from the building and keep the interior cool.

BuildingGarden_SMALL

One of the CBEIS retention ponds and bioswales area

Retention Ponds and Bioswales: These areas collect rainwater and runoff and control effluence to the watershed through a soil and sand filtration layer.  These environments also provide a habitat for native plants and animals.

BuildingSolarPanels_SMALL

The main CBEIS photovoltaic array

Solar Arrays: There are 3 different types of photovoltaic panels located on the CBEIS Building.  The east roof contains 247 solar panels which generate approximately 30kva of electricity, and there is a small example system on the south side of the building. While usage and efficiency statistics are currently being calculated, early modeling calculates a possible reduction in operating costs of approximately 30%. There is also a set of solar panels which provide all of the hot water for the building.

For further information, visit the ‘Green Board’ in the atrium of the CBEIS building.

REFERENCES & SOURCES

Achimuagole, Violet, “Opening Day Approaches for Morgan’s CBEIS Building”, Morgan State University Newsroom, July 3, 2012.

Coleman, Clinton R., Nash, Kevin, “MSU Breaks Ground on New CBEIS Facility”, Office of Public Relations & Communications, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, 109 Truth Hall, Baltimore, MD, 21251, April 2, 2010.

Freelon, http://www.freelon.com/portfolio/266/#.Uv5O3bSs31U.

‘Green Board’ multi-media display, Morgan State University, CBEIS building.

Green Building Council, “LEED Rating Systems,” http://www.usgbc.org/leed/rating-systems

Herboth, Mark. Some of the CBEIS Photos.

“Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”, Wikipedia.

“Leed Certification Levels,”  Make It Right.

The Plight of America’s Bird


By Teena Ruark Gorrow*

The bald eagle is America’s national bird and symbol. Found only in North America, it is often called the American eagle and is known by its scientific name, Haliaeetus leucocephalus. Bald eagles have a way of evoking emotion deep within those of us who know and appreciate their remarkable success story. There is a delicate balance for survival in our changing environment, and this resilient creature’s struggle is undeniably noteworthy.

Here's Looking at You

Here’s Looking at You, ©TeenaRuarkGorrow

When America’s founding fathers chose the bald eagle as the nation’s emblem in 1782, these majestic birds soared the skies in abundance. However, by the mid-1900s, they had almost vanished and were at risk of becoming extinct. The most devastating assault to the species occurred through the use of dangerous pesticides like DDT. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy wrote, “The founding fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of our nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America. But as latter day citizens we shall have failed a trust if we permit the eagle to disappear…”1

With their numbers at an all-time low and only a small population of bald eagles known to exist, scientists, lawmakers, government agencies, and citizens intently collaborated to prevent species extinction. As a result, DDT was ultimately banned from use in the United States and the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species, protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Today, America’s bird has made an amazing comeback and its numbers continue to rise. According to Brian Millsap, National Raptor Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, bald eagles have rebounded with a population exceeding 70,000 in the lower 48 states.2

Bald Eagle Habitat

Bald Eagle Habitat, ©TeenaRuarkGorrow

While they are no longer considered endangered, bald eagles are still safeguarded by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These Federal protective measures make it illegal to harm bald eagles, their eggs, and their nests. It is generally considered a felony to intentionally disrupt any eagle activity, and collecting eagle feathers or eggs is strictly prohibited.

Nevertheless, a national debate over how to balance conservation and renewable energy initiatives is now capturing news headlines. The government recently extended the shelf-life of eagle-take permits being issued to wind-energy producers from five to 30 years. Although it is illegal to harm bald eagles, these permits allow the deaths of eagles from collisions with wind turbines to occur without prosecution. In one Maryland community, where a developer recently proposed placing 60 wind turbines, it was estimated that up to 43 bald eagles could be killed each year.3 With their massive blades spinning at 200 miles per hour near the tips and their imposing structures reaching as high as 600 feet toward the sky, it is readily understood that eagles living near or migrating through areas with wind turbines will be mutilated. While the overall effect of wind farms on the eagle population is still unknown, there is mounting concern as eagle mortalities due to blunt force trauma are reported.

The bald eagle’s resilience is certainly being tested by our dramatically changing landscape. Increased land and shoreline development projects, as well as the natural effects of climate change, are claiming eagle territory. Because their diet is mostly fish, eagles must have access to large bodies of water where fish are plentiful. They require a canopy of mature trees at least 80 feet tall to safely nest, perch during the day, and roost at night. Year-round, eagles require undisturbed forested blocks of habitat where they communally roost and interact in social networks. But, countless forested shorelines, once home to eagles along our bays and rivers, have disappeared. It is expected that sea-level rise of tidal waters will inundate forested uplands near marsh and wetland communities in the not too distant future.

Inside a Bald Eagle's Nest

Inside a Bald Eagle’s Nest, ©TeenaRuarkGorrow

Whether natural or man-induced, over time these changes in our landscape will increase species competition for coveted territory and force eagles closer to human life. Mated pairs of eagles are now nesting in suburbs outside of Washington, DC2 and other locations heavy with human activity. In these more congested residential or commercial areas, eagles face challenges unknown to them in the wild. Completing their everyday tasks, such as foraging for food or collecting branches for nest building, can result in untimely deaths. Collisions with power lines, utility poles, and towers are known to result in electrocution or serious trauma with debilitating injuries like wing fractures. Eagle mortalities have been documented at airports located near water as eagle pairs claim forest buffers and collide with aircraft. Because eagles scavenge and eat from carcasses, they also risk collisions with trains and automobiles when feeding on deer that have been struck along highways and railroads.

Because of their prominent position at the top of the food chain, eagles are also highly vulnerable to environmental contaminants. Once ingested, these poisons can impair the eagle’s ability to fly, prevent reproduction, and harm egg development. Some of the most widespread environmental dangers consist of heavy metals like lead and mercury, harsh chemicals being used in homes and businesses, and pesticides like DDT still manufactured in the United States.

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch, ©TeenaRuarkGorrow

In closing, it is true that our beloved bald eagle has rebounded. Even so, its resilience continues to be tested. Balancing the needs of wildlife and the human race is a sobering responsibility. We must be mindful that once a species is extinct, it is gone forever. If he were still with us, perhaps President Kennedy would remind us that, “…as latter day citizens we shall have failed a trust if we permit the eagle to disappear.” Without a doubt, ensuring the survival of the American bald eagle depends on understanding its way of life and our willingness to preserve it.

Notes

  1. Retrieved November 05, 2012 from http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Ready-Reference/JFK-Miscellaneous-Information/Appeal-Bald-eagle.aspx
  2. Gorrow, T. R., & Koppie, C. A. (2013). Inside a bald eagle’s nest. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
  3. Retrieved January 22, 2014 from http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-04-28/features/bs-gr-somerset-wind-20130428_1_wind-project-wind-turbines-bald-eagles

*Teena Ruark Gorrow, award-winning co-author of The ABC’s of Wellness for Teachers and professor of teacher education at Salisbury University, is a career educator whose former roles include public school teacher and administrator. With a deep appreciation for wildlife and the environment, she desires to inspire others toward bald eagle species and habitat protection. Her new book, Inside a Bald Eagle’s Nest, co-authored with eagle/raptor biologist Craig A. Koppie and published by Schiffer Publishing, is now available through local and online booksellers.

Images:

©Teena Ruark Gorrow Here’s Looking at You

©Teena Ruark Gorrow Bald Eagle Habitat

©Teena Ruark Gorrow Keeping Watch

©Gorrow, Koppie and Schiffer Publishing Inside a Bald Eagle’s Nest Front Cover

 

Academic Notes

Norman Augustine, USM Regent

Here is the highlight paragraph from Regent Augustine’s fascinating and somewhat scary TED talk: “For Americans to continue to enjoy the quality of life they have experienced in most recent decades, they will require access to quality jobs. Because technology in a sense has made the world ‘smaller,’ Americans no longer simply compete for quality jobs with their neighbors across town, they must now compete with their neighbors across the planet. Many of these new neighbors are highly motivated, increasingly well educated, and often willing to work for a fraction of the wages to which Americans have become accustomed. The only answer to this dilemma is to excel at innovation which depends on an educated workforce, new knowledge, and an innovation-friendly ecosphere. On all three counts America has been living off past investments. The trends of recent decades, if sustained, will lead to a jobless America. It is not too late to avoid perilous repercussions but it soon will be. Ironically, what needs to be done is relatively clear…the only question is whether Americans, and especially our leaders, have the will to do it.” He also focuses on the state of higher education, and it’s equally scary. And he calls for willpower to save the American dream. Of course, money power might help too.

A video of the entire talk is at https://rgs.usu.edu/tedxusu/htm/tedx-usu-2013/norman-augustine/

 Could the College Campus Go the Way of the Book Store?

Our title is the title of an article in Atlantic Cities (January 2014). It begins: “When it comes to the frenzied advent of the MOOC, the massive open online courses that have been threatening to upend higher education, no college wants to be perceived as old school. For some, there is a very real danger of becoming no school. With all this potential for upheaval, the physical makeup of institutions of higher learning is being called into question, too. As the business of education moves online, is the traditional quadrangle-dormitory-lecture hall-library configuration really going to be necessary? Could the college campus go the way of – gulp – the bricks-and-mortar bookstore?”

Not likely, but the argument is that spaces are changing functions, e.g., lecture halls and computer labs may be replaced by flexible spaces enhancing informalization and collaboration, and residence halls are becoming living-learning communities. So the campus may survive, but differently.

The Boycott Issue

The big academic explosion in recent weeks has been the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israel universities. Then the MLA Delegate Assembly narrowly approved a boycott-like measure. (Should the MLA meeting have been chaired by someone who backs a boycott?) Did the ASA and the MLA boycott institutions embedded in countries where free speech is limited, e.g., in China? Russia? Syria? Iran? Other countries where free speech is dangerous? Towson’s Maravene Loeschke, UMBC’s Freeman Hrabowski, and UMCP’s Wallace Loh are among the Maryland System’s campus presidents who have publicly spoken out against ASA’s boycott. In some European countries, anti-Semitism has raised its ugly head. Let us hope that the ASA and MLA votes were motivated by a misunderstanding of intellectual dialog rather than that ugly head.

Buying Professors

Politicizing a university? Given tight public budgets, perhaps political control of intellectual life should not be a surprise. Doesn’t everyone have a price? “A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting political economy and free enterprise.’ Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it’s not happy with the faculty’s choice or if the hires don’t meet ‘objectives’ set by Koch during annual evaluations. David W. Rasmussen, dean of the College of Social Sciences, defended the deal, initiated by an FSU graduate working for Koch. During the first round of hiring in 2009, Koch rejected nearly 60 percent of the faculty’s suggestions but ultimately agreed on two candidates.” (Tampa Bay Times, 11 January 2014)

Tenure Types?

Adam Grant at the Wharton School has an interesting proposal, published in the New York Times (6 February 2014): “I have watched skilled researchers burn out after failing in the classroom and gifted teachers lose their positions because university policies limited the number of courses that adjunct professors could teach. Dividing tenure tracks may be what economists call a Pareto improvement: It benefits one group without hurting another. Let’s reserve teaching for professors with the relevant passion and skill—and reward it. Sharing knowledge with students should be a privilege of tenure, not an obligation.” Maryland?

The Humanities

Yes, the humanities are to some extent in trouble. Their faculty members don’t raise enough money, and many of their disciplines are not direct routes to jobs. As but one example, there’s no need to study English because word processors are self-correcting and who cares about poetry anyway. There are, however, other views.

♦ “The most substantial contribution of the humanities to public life does not come through empowering elite students and faculty members to reach out to their communities, but by extending the most fundamental element of a real humanities education—the power to doubt and then to reimagine—to as many people as possible. Material power, economic power, political power, all forms of human agency, are finally dependent on the power of imagination, which is why Shelley called poets ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ We cannot be a democracy if this power is allowed to become a luxury commodity.” (Kristen Case in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 January 2014.)

♦ Let’s dump the humanities: what we need is more STEM graduates to save the future of the United States of America! Well, not according to some observers! The article “The STEM-Crisis Myth” in the Chronicle of Higher Education (15 November 2013) argues that at least in some STEM fields there is a glut of graduates, forcing some of the graduates to seek work outside of their degree field. Even some post-docs not finding work in their field are looking elsewhere. Is a STEM education necessary for a STEM job? Apparently more than a third of STEM employees don’t even have a college degree! And about half of those with STEM degrees leave the field within ten years! So why are campuses pushing hard in the stem fields? Maybe because those are the fields that attract grants and contracts? The entrepreneurial university!

♦ What about money? According to data derived from the American Community Survey, those who focused on professional and pre-professional fields initially make more money than those who studied the humanities and social sciences. But in mid-life, the income becomes about equal.

Tenure and Contingency

We all know that the percentage of faculty members on campus with tenure or on a tenure track has declined, as has the percent of courses taught by tenured faculty members as well as all full-time faculty members. Back in 1969, close to 80% of faculty positions were tenure-track; now the figure is about 30%. Will tenure survive? Of course, even The Faculty Voice doesn’t know the answer. However, the attack on tenure of primary and secondary school teachers may not stop before getting to tertiary education. A year ago, a survey by Gallup found that 65% of provosts at public and private schools said their college relies “significantly on non-tenure-track faculty for instruction,” but a majority of the provosts indicated that tenure was still important. Why? Maybe the content of a paper issued by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has part of the answer: “A large and growing body of research has emerged demonstrating that the poor faculty working conditions and policies are negatively shaping student outcomes.” Poor working conditions? Many instructors these days don’t even have an office to prepare material and to meet students!

♦ Jim Hightower writes in AlterNet (5 February 2014): “There’s a growing army of the working poor in our U.S. of A., and big contingents of it are now on the march. They’re strategizing, organizing and mobilizing against the immoral economics of inequality being hung around America’s neck by the likes of Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and colleges. Wait a minute. Colleges? That can’t be. After all, we’re told … to go to college to get ahead in life. More education makes you better off, right? Well, ask a college professor about that—you know, the ones who earned PhDs and are now teaching America’s next generation. The sorry secret of higher education—from community colleges to brand-name universities—is that they’ve embraced the corporate culture of a contingent workforce, turning professors into part-time, low-paid, no-benefit, no-tenure, temporary teachers….”

The full article is at http://www.alternet.org/education/highly-educated-working-poor-toiling-university-near-you?akid=11479.126963.EZ_Ym1&rd=1&src=newsletter955161&t=18

♦ Even the PBS Newshour is getting into the game. On February 6th, there was a segment focusing on the difficult lives of adjuncts. The program offered the views of some observers that there is an over-production of Ph.D.s given the job market—and the related shift towards online courses.

Response to Access Summit

Recently, a White House summit took place on expanding college access to higher education for low-income young people. One of the experts in attendance was Chancellor Brit Kirwan. The participants explored such topics as waiving the fees for multiple applications, better advising at the secondary school level, help with test preparation, and more. Following the event, Chancellor Kirwan issued a statement on our system’s plans. Here are two components:

(1) “The University System of Maryland (USM) will seek to expand the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, created in partnership with Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools and Montgomery College. ACES identifies low-income students with college potential in the 10th grade, provides continuous academic coaching and support from 11th grade through a community college degree, awards scholarships, and provides pathways through a baccalaureate program at a USM institution. The first cohort of 1,000 has been identified in one county with expansion planned across the state.”

(2) “The University System of Maryland has developed Way2GoMaryland, an outreach campaign that provides information and engagement in communities regarding access to its institutions. The program is a major component of USM’s efforts to increase the college preparation, participation, retention, and graduation rates of students statewide. In addition, the STEM Transfer Success Initiative of UMBC and four community colleges addresses the collaboration required for successful student transfer from 2 to 4 year STEM programs: institutional partnerships, dissemination of principles and practice, and curricular alignment. A STEM Toolkit product will compile all components and resources developed in the project.”

Source: http://www.usmd.edu/newsroom/news/1295

How’s Your Salary?

Of course, we’re not in it for the money. The Wolf of Wall Street options have always been there. But we do want to be treated fairly. So here are the average salaries for doctoral institutions by rank: Professor, $134,747; Associate Professor, $88,306; Assistant Professor, $76,822. In Maryland, the figures are $122,962, $85,893, and $74.973. But of course most of us are in a discipline (or perhaps we should say department or program—it might not be disciplined), and these units have a great  salary range.

To be paid well, consider going into business or engineering, and if money is not relevant, feel satisfied in bottom fields theology and visual/performing arts. Of course, institutions matter; for pay above $200k, go to a private university such as Columbia, Stanford, or Chicago. For the publics, get a job at UCLA, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Berkeley, or Rutgers.

 

Dining in Salisbury

By Voncelia S. Brown, Salisbury/Nursing

If you’re just passing through Salisbury or you’re attending a meeting there, you should plan on lunch or dinner at  Sushi de Kanpai on Salisbury’s downtown plaza (109 W. Main Street, 410-912-1440).  Not a sushi fan?  It doesn’t matter – their menu offers fresh selections beautifully presented in a warm environment. For instance, the menu of course includes miso soup, but it also includes seafood chowder.  The “trio of appetizers” changes daily and allows one to sample the chef’s talent.  All of the salad dressings are prepared in house, and the ginger crème brulee is worth saving room for!  The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The menu is online.

The Art of Nora Sturges

Town with Crows

Town with Crows, 2006, oil on MDF, 9×7 inches

Nora Sturges has exhibited her work widely in solo shows at the Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia, Spaces in Cleveland, School 33 in Baltimore, the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, the Lancaster (PA) Museum of Art, the Bachelier-Cardonsky Gallery in Connecticut, Miami University of Ohio, and Ventura College, among others. Her group exhibitions have included Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto, Civilian Art Projects in Washington, D.C., Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin, Germany, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, The Painting Center in New York City, Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia, Antioch College, Goucher College, and Maryland Art Place in Baltimore. She is the recipient of three Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and her work has been included four times in the publication New American Paintings. She received a B.A. in studio art from Bowdoin College, and an M.F.A. in painting from Ohio University. Sturges lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she is Professor of Art at Towson University.

Abandoned Town, 2007, oil on MDF, 8.75x11.25 inches

Abandoned Town, 2007, oil on MDF, 8.75×11.25 inches

 

Baltimore, 2006, oil on MDF, 7x7 inches

Baltimore, 2006, oil on MDF, 7×7 inches

 

City with Roof Decks, 2007, oil on MDF, 9x7 inches

City with Roof Decks, 2007, oil on MDF, 9×7 inches

 

Moth-eaten Village, 2006, oil on MDF, 7x7 inches

Moth-eaten Village, 2006, oil on MDF, 7×7 inches

 

Temporary City, 2008, oil on MDF, 8.75x11.25 inches

Temporary City, 2008, oil on MDF, 8.75×11.25 inches

 

The City Sheds Scales of Its Past, 2008, oil on MDF, 11x10 inches

The City Sheds Scales of Its Past, 2008, oil on MDF, 11×10 inches

Barriers to Implementation of Interprofessional Education

by Richard Dalby

Interprofessional education
Consistent with our strategic mission
Places nurse, doc and pharmacist
Into a classroom to co-exist

With lawyers and a social worker
The judicial view and front-line worker
All for one and one for all
So we don’t drop the patient ball

Sensitive to each others’ concern
Sharing data for which we all yearn
Treating the person, not just their disease
Seeing healthy wood through parochial trees

Could three dollars spent on a simple intervention
Save a tooth, a child, or Mom’s apprehension?
Who is the optimal caregiver for this task?
Do silos and fear make this too dangerous to ask?

The barriers are high and sharp
Negatives on which the faculty harp
“Too much time,” “Not my discipline”
“Your stuff out, and my stuff in!”

“My class is at three and yours is at four”
“My class is too full – I’m locking the door”
“My answer is right – there’s no room for discussions”
“If she shows them her way, there’ll be hideous repercussions”

Then the Deans get involved,
’cos there’s money at stake
Who gets the tuition?
Who grants the permission?

Which school gets its way?
Which school must obey?
How much will that cost?
…and, of course, I’m the boss!”

Who pays for the mixing of dentist with nurse?
Is IPE worthwhile or an administrative curse?
The concept is good, we can probably agree
But can it be implemented? There’s no guarantee

We need money, of course, from within or without
And data to show that our students make out}
We need a champion or two to stick their necks out
And buy-in from deans – ’cos change takes clout

We need impact on patients and the state’s bottom line
Can we solve a real problem, or do we simply whine?
If our teaching is better and health is improved
The legislature should be in a generous mood

If students admitted to UMB
Are visibly working at the top of the tree
Can NIH resist a multidisciplinary proposal
For a training grant whose goals are global?

IPE will not be easy
The very thought makes the task force queasy
But with a bit of give and take
Perhaps a difference we can make?


Richard Dalby, PhD, is associate dean of academic affairs and professor of pharmaceutical sciences
in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy.

Nineteen Years Later

By Robert Deluty

 

At the supermarket,

The retired college counselor

Runs into a former student

Named Bethany who came to see him

Only once — when she threatened suicide

Believing she had failed her Econ I final.

Bethany thanks him profusely, noting

That his kindness, wisdom, and perspective

Might well have saved her life that day.

After accepting her gratitude and

Exchanging pleasantries, the counselor inquires

About the grade she received on the exam.

I was afraid you’d ask, she replies. I got an A.

 

Robert Deluty and granddaughter

Robert Deluty and granddaughter

Want a Degree for Free?

If yes, the University of the People might be the place to enroll. It is a tuition-free four-year-old online institution serving students throughout the globe. And it is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. It has lots of support from places such as the Gates Foundation, Microsoft, and NYU! If thanks to this note thousands of students transfer from Maryland System institutions to UoPeople, instead please blame that on an article in the New York Times (14 February 2014).

 Need a Diploma?

Received via email: “The lack of a degree is a drag on your career? Your professional skills are all that matters, but getting a diploma won’t hurt. Your career won’t stop where it is now with a new education award. Call us now in the United States at 3I04940II2. We need your name, phone number and country-code. Let’s discuss your problem. Give your career a real boost up with an authentic diploma. Best regards, The Quick Diploma Group.” Why struggle at a Maryland university for four or more years when you can get a quick diploma in about four minutes? Alternatively, there may be software for diploma-making. The editor of The Faculty Voice once (after earning a doctorate) paid $25 for a diploma to see what it was about. The document arrived, but alas after a year it had almost completely faded. So maybe the message is to get the $25 diploma but use it right away.

Tuition Going Up (Again)

♦ Students at Maryland state colleges and universities are likely to face a 3% tuition increase based upon the governor’s budget proposal. The University System of Maryland wanted a 5% increase, but the governor’s office was able to push it down to a 3%. System Chancellor Brit Kirwan: “The System is very pleased with the governor’s budget. We know that resources are extremely tight in Annapolis.” Everything is a matter of priorities, so maybe the hospital in PG County is more important than not raising tuition. We look to the zero-sum experts for our explanations. The good news nationally is that the rate of tuition increases has slowed. But gads, just thirty years ago $10k was about right for a private institution and $3k for publics. How the figures are about $30k and $9k. Triple!

♦ That source of great wisdom (or…?), The Onion (12 February 2014), begins a report as follows: “Saying that his great grandparents could have never even dreamed of squandering such a fortune, recent college graduate Eric Singer told reporters … that he is the first person in his family to throw away $160,000 [on tuition]. And he’s going to raise that sum by quite a bit because he’s planning to go to law school.” Too bad he didn’t live in Tennessee, where the governor is proposing two free years of community college or technical school.

Tuition Could Go Down?

“A mere $62.6 billion dollars! According to new DOE data, that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States. I’m not being facetious with the word mere, either. The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans. If we were we scrapping our current system and starting from scratch, Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today. Of course, making tuition free in 2012 would have required $62.6 billion on top of what state and local governments already spend subsidizing public colleges, as well as some of the federal spending that doesn’t go towards financial aid.”

Law School Applicants

The almost steady decline in the number of applicants to law schools is remarkable. Back in 2003 and 2004, the number was about 100,000. In 2013, the number had dropped to 59,400. Don’t we need lawyers anymore? How to fill the seats? Well, over the same time period, the admission percentages have gone from just over 50% to the latest, 77%. What does that do to the quality of the classroom? And later, to the courtroom? What does that do to the budgets of law schools?

One notable shift has been the increase in non-Euro students. It has been argued that many non-Euro students do not do well in classrooms of the Socratic and case methods. Were teaching methods to change, would that lead to more non-Euro applicants and then lawyers?

If not law school, where do students go? One explanation: “The last decade has witnessed the emergence of many new professional jobs, especially in computer science, health care, and engineering. …Those brand-new occupations include several that would interest bright high school students: information security analyst, computer network architect, web developer, computer network support specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, and genetic counselor. Those new occupations already employ more than 629,000 people–more than the number of judges, magistrates, lawyers, and judicial clerks (620,340 total) reported in the same occupational survey.”

The Belle Knox Solution

Surely there’s nothing but sympathy for the Duke student who decided to engage in sex work to pay at least part of the $60k annual costs of the university. The costs of higher education have soared, and the states and feds have been walking away from providing help. So how can a middle class student afford quality universities? By doing some work on the side, which is what Ms. Knox (her stage name) did. And the story is even more dramatic: Her father finished medical school twenty years ago and is still paying off his education. What does that have to do with Maryland? Well, there are current students who are engaged in work that parents usually don’t approve of, but the work is necessary to keep financially afloat in the higher ed of contemporary America. There are some sad changes of late.

State Aid

♦ In 2011-12, the 50 states and the District of Columbia spent a total of $6.8-billion on need-based grant aid for college students. Maryland’s total grant aid as a percentage of total state higher-education spending was 6%. Neighbor Virginia spent 14%. Neighbor West Virginia spent 19%. And neighbor Delaware spent 10%. But looking at undergraduate need-based aid per FTE student, the states do not significantly differ.

♦ A bill has just been put forward in the Maryland Senate that might help teacher ed students. Senator Ramirez tells us: SB 801, Teach it Forward Act 2014, requires the Maryland Higher Education Commission to develop the Maryland Teach It Forward Pilot Program that allows students enrolled in teaching programs to pay back their tuition at an affordable rate commensurate with their income level after graduation. Let’s hope it passes.

Where Will the Jobs Be?

JOB FIELD

Change

Health Care + Social Assistance

2.60%

Construction

2.60%

Educational Services

1.90%

Professional + Business Services

1.80%

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has announced what will be the growth jobs fields in the 2012-2022 period. The table (right) shows the projected annual rate of change. And thanks to our aging population and a wider sweep of health insurance, that’s the area expected to have the greatest job growth. Construction, education, and professional-business services follow.

Of the 30 occupations projected to have the largest percentage increase between 2012 and 2022, 14 are related to healthcare and 5 are related to construction.

Two-thirds of the 30 occupations with the largest projected employment increase typically do not require postsecondary education for entry. They include personal care aides, home health aides, food preparation and serving, and construction workers. So to get a job, higher education may not be the needed ticket; but to get a better paying and more knowledge-based job, some or a lot of higher education is called for.

ll of this information should be readily available to guidance counselors. Alas, some counselors are not fully informed, and few schools have the human resources to do what’s necessary in guiding students.

Do Years of Education Matter?

♦ There are some strange relationships between level of education and unemployment rates as reported in the College Board’s “Education Pays 2013.” Looking at race/ethnicity-specific patterns, education level doesn’t make much difference for Asians, and it makes big differences among African-Americans and Euro-Americans. Latino/as are in the middle.

♦ But wait: The New York Times (13 February 2014) reveals that the new graduates are having a tough time: “Though joblessness for college graduates ages 25 and older looks tame, the jobless rate for those under 25 averaged 8.2 percent in 2013, compared with 8 percent in 2012 and 5.4 in 2007, before the Great Recession hit in full force.” Wow: More education is not a magical ticket to a job, and the change from 2012 and 2013 indicates that the situation may be getting worse.

Test More?

Giving and grading quizzes at the beginning of every class enhances students’ performance in the class, according to a small U. Texas study that had the students take the quiz on laptops. Well, students do study in relationship to tests. (It helps to sell coffee or five-hour something-or-other.) Do readers agree? Is there a negative relationship to test frequency and enrollment in a not-required course? One of the course professors commented that some negative student reaction was caused by having to study rather than have a beer with fellow non-tested students!

African-American Doctorates

According to NSF as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education (17 January 2014), the leading two non-HBCU institutions graduating African-Americans who later earned doctorates in science and engineering during 2002-2011 were UMBC and UMCP.

Student Teaching Assistants

♦ The TAs at NYU have overwhelmingly voted to unionize, and they will affiliate with the United Automobile Workers. That follows CUNY and a score of other campuses. We are reminded of a 4 December 2013 article in the New York Times which includes this: “Only a quarter of the academic work force is tenured, or on track for tenure, down from more than a third in 1995. The majority hold contingent jobs—mostly part-time adjuncts but also graduate assistants and full-time lecturers. And the Service Employees International Union, with members in health care, maintenance and public service, is moving hard and fast to add the adjuncts to their roster, organizing at private colleges in several urban areas. In [the Washington area], it has unionized American University, Georgetown, George Washington and Montgomery College.

♦ Johns Hopkins is increasing the graduate student stipends in the humanities and social sciences by cutting the number of funded graduate students. Is this a good tradeoff?

Women Enrollment

Enrollment in Maryland’s institutions of higher education once again indicates that females continue to be the gender majority. The 357,394 women constitute 57% of all students in Fall 2013: at community colleges, 59%, at Maryland System institutions, 55%.

Academic Generosity

We happened across a 2011 study of grade inflation. There are almost no surprises, but perhaps it is worth emphasizing that A grades have soared. “Most recently, about 43% of all letter grades given were A’s, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. The distribution of B’s has stayed relatively constant; the growing share of A’s instead comes at the expense of a shrinking share of C’s, D’s and F’s. In fact, only about 10 percent of grades awarded are D’s and F’s. … private colleges and universities are by far the biggest offenders on grade inflation, even when you compare private schools to equally selective public schools.” The old normal 10-20-40-20-10 is ancient history. Are students really getting better (despite studying less, as other research indicates), or are professors increasingly avoiding conflict by paying students off (bribing them?) with higher grades?

Student Cheating

Sure students cheat. Some studies indicate that over half of students in higher education have cheated. One report: 73% of all test takers, including prospective graduate students and teachers agree that most students do cheat at some point. 86% of high school students agreed. We can think: They are only cheating themselves. But sometimes it can be more serious, as witnessed by this New York Times report (15 January 2014): “The Air Force said on [January 15] that 34 officers responsible for launching the nation’s nuclear missiles had been suspended, and their security clearances revoked, for cheating on monthly proficiency tests that assess their knowledge of how to operate the warheads.” Imagine getting an order not to launch but pushing the wrong button!

Worst Graduation Rates

There sure are some low rates around the country. Are they low because the institution wants to grab a bit of tuition money but without caring about education, or are the institutions giving a bit of higher education to students would not have that experience elsewhere? The bottom: Southern U. at New Orleans, 4%; UDC, 7.7%; a few others; Coppin State U., 16.3%.

Enrollments Changes

♦ Maryland Public Higher Ed: In 2006, the Maryland System had 135,319 students, and by 2012 the number had risen to 155,603. But that masks the decline in first-time freshmen from 14,301 to 12,896. Is that the result of the increasingly visible community college option? Seems so because Bowie, Coppin, Frostburg, UMB, UMCP, UMES, and UMUC also experienced declines in first-time freshmen. Coppin was the only campus that experienced an overall drop of not only first-time freshmen but also total undergraduates and total graduates. (Note: The Fall 2013 data are still estimates.)

♦ Community Colleges: Reportedly, the enrollments at most community colleges have declined year-to-year in Maryland, Virginia, and D. C. Montgomery College, with the largest enrollment, is an exception; from Fall 2010 to Fall 2013, it had a slight 1% uptick. But the Community College of Baltimore County declined 8%; Anne Arundel Community College was down 7%; and Prince George’s Community College dropped 8%.

♦ Decline of freshmen, decline at the community colleges. Where are the 19-year-olds? Do the data suggest an uptick in employment opportunities or a downtick in area fertility or the rise of apprenticeships?

♦ And what about law schools? In 2003, 99,500 people applied to law school, and in 2012 it was only 67,900. Don’t we need so many lawyers anymore? If so, is it because we can outsource so much routine work to overseas technicians?

Youth Alternative to College

In the USA, many commentators insist that going to college is the way to succeed. Certainly, it is for some young people. But maybe not all. Here are two comments on the issue:

♦ The apprenticeship program now well established in Germany is a viable alternative. Bloomberg Businessweek wrote the below back in 2012 (July 19): “The German concept is simple: After students complete their mandatory years of schooling, usually around age 18, they apply to a private company for a two or three year training contract. If accepted, the government supplements the trainee’s on-the-job learning with more broad-based education in his or her field of choice at a publicly funded vocational school. Usually, trainees spend three to four days at work and one to two in the classroom. At the end, the theory goes, they come out with both practical and technical skills to compete in a global market, along with a good overall perspective on the nature of their profession. They also receive a state certificate for passing company exams, designed and administered by industry groups—a credential that allows transfer to similarly oriented businesses should the training company not retain them beyond the initial contract.”

♦ A college degree may result in a job for which a college degree is not necessary: “The number of new college graduates far exceeds the growth in the number of technical, managerial, and professional jobs where graduates traditionally have gravitated. As a consequence, we have a new phenomenon: underemployed college graduates doing jobs historically performed by those with much less education. We have, for example, more than 100,000 janitors with college degrees, and 16,000 degree-holding parking lot attendants.” For instance, BLS reports that college grads constitute 14% of waiters and 16.5% of bartenders. But wait, surely the college experience makes one a more interesting person, and more interesting people tend to do better jobs waiting and tending – thus getting better tips.

♦ Go to college to earn more money in a lifetime. Still true, but according to a College Board report, the earnings gap is narrowing. If having a high school diploma earns a norm of 100, then getting a bachelor’s degree has a norm of 165 in lifetime earnings. That’s narrowing a bit. The additional education is also linked with unemployment: the more education, the lower the unemployment rate. Can it be that the electricians are making about the same money as, say, English majors? (If so, does that consider happiness?)

Jobs

The FV certainly doesn’t know much about job opportunities. We can call on career centers for that. But we have heard from a student who just graduated with a master’s degree in economics. Her only job opportunity was a call center for an IT company, and here’s what she wrote to us: “As for a call center, the issue is not only about the technical part but also and mainly about the mental stress you have to deal with eight hours per day. It is very stressing to get insulted and cooling down angry customers all day long. I feel so good at the end of the day when I think I’ll be away from that at least for a few hours before coming back again the day after. I’m afraid for my mental health, I feel so frustrated and tired each day. All of my colleagues are in the same mental desperation.” Maybe we should lobby call centers to provide more rest periods and better mental health services. And certainly we should be understanding when we contact a call center.

 

 

 

Campus Notes

Frostburg U.

♦ Frostburg’s Grow It Local Greenhouse Project, an effort that is converting a reclaimed strip mine into a greenhouse complex, received a Sustainability Award from the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission for leadership, community planning and conservation at the Commission’s second annual forum and awards ceremony in early February. Frostburg Grows was one of eight award recipients. The smart growth project, established and developed by Frostburg State University in partnership with the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council, is putting Western Maryland on the map for its sustainability efforts.

♦ For the second year in a row, Frostburg State University has been honored as a Tree Campus USA for its commitment to effective urban forest management. Clearly, the campus leaders care about the environment and sustainability.

Salisbury U.

♦ This year’s Salisbury University Alumni Association Faculty Appreciation Award winners are “compassionate,” “influential” and “inspiring,” according to their former students. The SU Alumni Association honored four with the accolade during SU’s recent 88th-year Winter Commencement. They include Robert Smith of the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Dr. Kimberly Hunter of the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, Dr. Jill Caviglia-Harris of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, and Dr. Starlin Weaver of the Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies.

♦ John Wenke, English professor at Salisbury, is featured along with prominent actors, writers and other scholars in the documentary Salinger, which made its television debut on 21 January 2014 as the 200th episode of PBS’ American Masters series. Wenke wrote the first book-length study of Salinger’s uncollected and collected short fiction.

♦ What will Salisbury do next? Eight local chefs prepared dishes “as appealing to the eyes as they are to the tongue” during a tasting event held as part of the exhibit “Palette” at Salisbury University Art Galleries — Downtown Campus.

Towson

♦ After scrambling to raise enough money to support the baseball team’s 2013 season, Towson gathered the necessary funding to ensure the program’s 2014 campaign, athletic director Tim Leonard said Wednesday afternoon. “We’re happy to say that at this point, we’ve achieved our fundraising goal to qualify for the state funding matches,” he said, referring to the $200,000 needed. “We have some donors out there who are true champions of baseball and have really stepped up to make a difference, to ensure that we keep baseball around for a while.” (Baltimore Sun)

♦ Naoko Maeshiba directs the Theater Arts MFA program, and her personal thrust is dance-theater. Her current performance piece is “The Visit,” which she has also brought to the Washington D.C. area.

U Baltimore

Contractors and developers now have an online subscription service available to track development projects in the pre-planning stages: “The Pipeline,” a service recently launched by the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute in partnership with the Baltimore chapter of the Association of Builders and Contractors, tracks development projects in the pre-planning stages. Now, contractors and developers from across the region can efficiently plan and track the status of projects as early as possible in the developmental stage. The database of projects is then made available on an online mapping tool at www.baltimorepipeline.com, where subscribers can search projects by type, date and developer/architect. (Source: University Relations.)

UMB

The School of Medicine has established a research unit that will focus on therapies for neurological disorders.

Also at Medicine, the American Heart Association selected Claudia R. Baquet, MD, MPH, Associate Dean of Policy Planning, Professor of Medicine, and the Director of the Bioethics and Health Disparities Research Center as the recipient of AHA’s 2014 Watkins-Saunders Award. Dr. Baquet is recognized for her exceptional work on nationally legitimizing the role of policy research in addressing health disparities.

At the School of Law, administrators, teachers, and students are being trained in innovative ways to resolve conflicts that may otherwise lead to suspensions and other disciplinary measures. By supporting the use of restorative practices and mediation that encourage talking out problems, avoid blaming the offender, and ensure that those affected can express their version of the story in a safe environment, the program is helping schools significantly reduce office referrals and suspensions. This is especially important given the U.S. Department of Education’s just-out report on suspensions and expulsions.

The School of Pharmacy recently entered into an agreement with the School of Pharmacy at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China to explore joint educational, research, and scientific exchanges. This agreement will be led by Peter Swaan, PhD, associate dean of research and graduate education and professor in Pharmaceutial Sciences, and Lei Fu, PhD, associate dean for external affairs and professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

UMBC

♦ President Freeman Hrabowski gave a TED talk last year about “four pillars of college success in science.” He starts by talking about his participation as a twelve year old in a 1963 children’s crusade led by Martin Luther King. He ended up in a Birmingham jail. His talk focus is America’s failure to get and keep students in the sciences. He wants students to be curious, to ask questions. And he wants students to be more engaged in courses by redesigning them.

♦ Some universities are proud of their “semi-pro” men’s football and basketball teams, and maybe their successes help with fundraising and school spirit. But UMBC has made its mark in different sports, namely, chess and cricket. In the past year, the UMBC teams came in second nationally in chess and first nationally in cricket. We await the delayed entry into contract bridge! See: you don’t have to have nationally ranked football and basketball to be good!

UMCP

♦ Last fall, President Loh announced that Michael Kaiser, who has headed the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will join the University of Maryland as a Professor of Practice, bringing the DeVos Institute of Arts Management with him. In 2001, he founded the institute in order to teach management practices to professional arts administrators. Quite a catch! Quite a landing!

♦ Engineering assistant professor Christopher Jewell has received a three-year, $375,000 research grant to support the pre-clinical development of a cancer vaccine technology that could give children a better chance to have a long and healthy life.

♦ Criminology professor Ray Paternoster is a co-author of a report that finds almost half of African-American males (247 in the sample of 505, or 49%) have been arrested by the time they are 23 years of age. For Latinos, the percentage is 44%.

♦ Family Science Associate Professor Leigh Leslie has been named a Legacy Scholar for The National Council on Family Relation’s (NCFR) Family Therapy Section. This special recognition, given in honor of NCFR’s 75th anniversary, acknowledges Dr. Leslie’s extensive history of service and scholarship in family therapy and was awarded at the NCFR Annual Conference.

UMES

♦ University of Maryland Eastern Shore Dr. Cynthia J. Boyle is the new president-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. She chairs UMES’s Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration.

UMUC

♦ The University of Maryland University College is offering a discount to graduates of the state’s community colleges. Assuming that a two-year degree costs about $8,000, the cost of the remaining credits needed to complete a bachelor’s degree will be about $12,000. So $8k plus $12k equals $20k, the cost for a four year bachelor’s degree. And the cost could be less if the student gets financial aid. “Community college graduates are a solid investment because they have already invested in themselves,” UMCP President Javier Miyares has said. Apparently, Frostburg State University has a payment plan that is very close to the $20.

♦ A VA report on veterans’ graduation rates has UMUC so far down, 4.3%, that one is tempted to order the bulldozers to take the building down. But wait, there is at least a partial answer: “While the University of Maryland University College had the fourth-largest population of GI Bill recipients in 2012, it had an overall graduation rate of only 4.3%. But of UMUC’s enrollment, less than 1% were counted in the Ipeds graduation rate because they are not first-time, first-year students, said James H. Selbe, senior vice president for military partnerships at UMUC. About 55% of the institution’s students are affiliated with the military, he said.” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 March 2014)

 

Notes on Value and Money

How’s Your Salary?

♦ Of course, we’re not in it for the money. The Wolf of Wall Street options have always been there. But we do want to be treated fairly. So here are the average salaries for doctoral institutions by rank: Professor, $134,747; Associate Professor, $88,306; Assistant Professor, $76,822. In Maryland, the figures are $122,962, $85,893, and $74.973. But of course most of us are in a discipline (or perhaps we should say department or program), and these units have a great range. To be paid well, consider going into business or engineering, and if money is not relevant, feel satisfied in bottom fields theology and visual/performing arts. Of course, institutions matter; for pay above $200k, go to a private university as Columbia, Stanford, or Chicago. For the publics, get a job at UCLA, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Berkeley, or Rutgers.

♦ Does your salary take into consideration your public engagement? (Should it?) One component of public engagement is contributing to media coverage of current events, plans, and more. That is what the Faculty Media Impact Project is trying to measure. And then, of course, someone might measure volunteering to share professional knowledge. The list might be long, but public engagement, it might be argued, is as important in some fields as patents are in other fields. Alas, there is no agreement on how to measure engagement or many other aspects of a faculty member’s responsibilities.

How’s Your Library Spending?

If you’re Harvard, it’s pretty good: $120,907,000 in 2011-2012. Wow! Fellow Big Ten Twelve Michigan spent only $63,735,669 and Illinois penny-pinched at $46,125,998. Our flagship UMCP reportedly found $29,352,698. Maybe it’s understandable: UMCP did not make the top 50 in private donations.

Bloated Administration?

A recent report by the Delta Cost Project reveals that the ratio of faculty and staff members to administrators has soared over the past 22 years. Back in 1990 at public research universities, there were 3.5 faculty and staff members per administrator, and now that ratio has been reduced to 2.2 to 1! At public master’s institutions, the change has been from 4.5 to 1 in 1990 and now 2.5 to 1. Why so many administrators? Student services have increased, and perhaps the hustle for money requires more money-hunters. Still, the shift would seem to be away from what was once thought to be the core of higher education: teaching and research.

From a New York Times editorial (17 February 2014): “Colleges may well require more administrators in the 21st century than they did in the 20th. The American Institutes for Research report suggests, among other factors, a growing need for employees wholly dedicated to fund-raising as state legislators reduce support for higher education. Nevertheless, the new college campus, rife with adjuncts and administrators, does not seem geared to fulfill what is, after all, the major mission of universities: educating students.”

Endowed Chairs, Tax Zones

Maryland’s E-novation Initiative! Maryland’s Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE)! Maryland Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch have introduced a legislative agenda designed to expand economic development. There are two foci: One is the co-funding – with matching public and private funds – of endowed university chairs to recruit top science and technology people who would be expected to enhance innovation and economic opportunity. The second is the creation of reduced tax zones around campuses to enhance private investments and neighborhood revitalization. UMCP President Wallace Loh’s comments on the initiatives were published in the Baltimore Sun.

USM is AA+

At least financially. The three principal bonds ratings agencies—Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch—have informed USM that it will continue to be rated the strong AA+ with a “stable outlook.” So we won’t go broke, perhaps in small part due to the added tuition we’ll receive (see below).

Research Spending

We all know that Johns Hopkins is the regional leader – and the national leader too, with $2.1 billion in research spending. Of course, it helps to have a little semi-autonomous Applied Physics Laboratory. Regionally, UMCP comes in second (37th nationally) at $502 million, UMB is fourth (47th nationally) at $433 million, and UMBC is twelfth regionally (167th nationally) at $75 million. Ah the hunt for money. Getting money can enable lots of good, but there are some negatives too.

Kiplinger’s Best Value Public: Higher Ed in Maryland

The national rankings of best-value public campuses by Kiplinger are: 7 UMCP; 48 St. Mary’s College of MD; 63 Salisbury U.; 86 Towson U; 88 UMBC. Note: UNC was number 1. If the reader thinks that these rankings are highly valid for those who want to choose among them, then the reader should be referred to one of the fine counseling services at Maryland’s publics. Of course, the US Department of Education will have its own rating system soon. And its validity will also be suspect. One commentator: “It will create potentially perverse incentives for the schools themselves.” For instance, if graduates’ earnings are factors, we won’t admit students or offer programs leading to lower-paying jobs. And if graduation rates count, then we’ll ban grades of D and F. In the region among public colleges, Kiplinger ranks our UMCP first for “college values”; St. Mary’s College of Maryland comes in 9th.

Notes: Whence and Whither

The Sabotaged American Dream?

Our title is part of the subtitle of Suzanne Mettler’s book, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream (2014). Money is of course key, and the author is very unhappy about the flood of funds to support the marginally effective private colleges while major public institutions struggle while raising tuition to levels many young people cannot afford. She’s also unhappy about the steep decline in state funding of higher education. Thus, “Over the past thirty years, our system of higher education has gone from facilitating upward mobility to exacerbating social inequality.”

Your Faculty Voice editor hereby reveals that he is not very young: When he entered UCLA as a freshman some years ago, he paid $32 for his first semester – plus perhaps $30 or so dollars for a couple of books. Now, the academic year in-state tuition ($12,692) plus the required add-ons of health insurance, books and supplies totaling $15,758. I doubt that my parents would have sent an unfocused sixteen-year-old to college if they had to pay that amount.

The Sabotaged Researcher’s Dream

Paul Baskin and Paul Voosen, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, write: “The budget of the National Institutes of Health, the single biggest supplier of research dollars to universities, hasn’t beat inflation in more than a decade. The National Science Foundation and other federal providers aren’t doing a lot better. On average, university researchers get into their 40s before securing their first independent grant. Full-time faculty research jobs are gradually being replaced by lower-paid contract work. Foreign competitors are matching or exceeding American science performance on a variety of important measures.” If the reader has strength, s/he should read the full article.

Norman Augustine, USM Regent

Here is the highlight paragraph from Regent Augustine’s fascinating and somewhat scary TED talk: “For Americans to continue to enjoy the quality of life they have experienced in most recent decades, they will require access to quality jobs. Because technology in a sense has made the world ‘smaller,’ Americans no longer simply compete for quality jobs with their neighbors across town, they must now compete with their neighbors across the planet. Many of these new neighbors are highly motivated, increasingly well educated, and often willing to work for a fraction of the wages to which Americans have become accustomed. The only answer to this dilemma is to excel at innovation which depends on an educated workforce, new knowledge, and an innovation-friendly ecosphere. On all three counts America has been living off past investments. The trends of recent decades, if sustained, will lead to a jobless America. It is not too late to avoid perilous repercussions but it soon will be. Ironically, what needs to be done is relatively clear…the only question is whether Americans, and especially our leaders, have the will to do it.” He also focuses on the state of higher education, and it’s equally scary. And he calls for willpower to save the American dream.

Can the College Campus Go the Way of the Bookstore?

Our title is the title of an article in Atlantic Cities (January 2014). It begins: “When it comes to the frenzied advent of the MOOC, the massive open online courses that have been threatening to upend higher education, no college wants to be perceived as old school. For some, there is a very real danger of becoming no school. With all this potential for upheaval, the physical makeup of institutions of higher learning is being called into question, too. As the business of education moves online, is the traditional quadrangle-dormitory-lecture hall-library configuration really going to be necessary? Could the college campus go the way of – gulp – the bricks-and-mortar bookstore?”

Well, not exactly, but the argument is that spaces are changing functions, for instance, lecture halls and computer labs may be replaced by flexible spaces enhancing informalization and collaboration, and residence halls are becoming living-learning communities. So the campus may survive, but differently. But if MOOCs ever catch on…?

Academic Women Publishing

“Despite many good intentions and initiatives, gender inequality is still rife in science. Although there are more female than male undergraduate and graduate students in many countries, there are relatively few female full professors, and gender inequalities in hiring, earnings, funding, satisfaction and patenting persist.

“One focus of previous research has been the ‘productivity puzzle’. Men publish more papers, on average, than women, although the gap differs between fields and subfields. Women publish significantly fewer papers in areas in which research is expensive, such as high-energy physics, possibly as a result of policies and procedures relating to funding allocations. Women are less likely to participate in collaborations that lead to publication and are much less likely to be listed as either first or last author on a paper. There is no consensus on the reasons for these gender differences in research output and collaboration — whether it is down to bias, childbearing and rearing, or other variables.”  Source: Larivière et al. in Nature v504 n7479, December 2013.

 

The Humanities

♦ “The most substantial contribution of the humanities to public life does not come through empowering elite students and faculty members to reach out to their communities, but by extending the most fundamental element of a real humanities education—the power to doubt and then to reimagine—to as many people as possible. Material power, economic power, political power, all forms of human agency, are finally dependent on the power of imagination, which is why Shelley called poets ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ We cannot be a democracy if this power is allowed to become a luxury commodity.” (Kristen Case in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 January 2014.)

♦ According to data derived from the American Community Survey, those who focused on professional and pre-professional fields initially make more money than those who studied the humanities and social sciences. But in mid-life, the income is about equal. And in the oldest age group studied, 61 to 65, those in the latter category pull ahead! (Chronicle of Higher Education, 31 January 2014)

♦ But forget humanities: what we need is more STEM graduates! Well, not according to some observers! The article “The STEM-Crisis Myth” in the Chronicle of Higher Education (15 November 2013) argues that at least in some STEM fields there is a glut of graduates, forcing some of the graduates to seek work outside of their degree field. Even some post-docs not finding work in their field are looking elsewhere. Is a STEM education necessary for a STEM job? Apparently more than a third of STEM employees don’t even have a college degree! And about half of those with STEM degrees leave the field within ten years! So why are campuses pushing hard in the stem fields? Maybe because those are the fields that attract grants and contracts? The entrepreneur university! The CHE article concludes: “Which might mean that as many institutions focus on producing graduates for a 21st-century, technology-focused job market, they shouldn’t abandon a broader education that at first blush seems less practical.”

University Libraries

Back in 2004, the total circulation of academic libraries was just under 200,000,000, and now it has dropped to about three-fourths of that number. Presumably, that reflects accessing information online from one’s laptop. But the total collection continues to grow. Will there come a time when the drop in circulation will lead to a decline in acquisitions? If so, will that mean an even greater cost to those who go to college because they must acquire needed books on their own?

Kirwan on Innovation

Maryland’s Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan talks about the Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone Program and more on a short video. The video’s address is here.

Manipulating Prospective Students

Just for fun, a FV editor was asked to check out an education portal on Yahoo stating that it would guide the reader to the top in-demand job fields and direct the reader to a list of relevant institutions in the person’s home area. So the field chosen was K-12 Education, and the zip code entered was 20783 – about a mile from UMCP and UMUC. Here is the list of institutions that popped up: Phoenix, Capella, Strayer, Walden, Argosy, and Devry – only Argosy was listed as “campus” only. And a mile away: No UMCP or UMUC! We checked out the Argosy campus, and it is in Arlington, Virginia; it is, according to Mapquest, 10.4 miles from the starting point. We checked a few other fields and the misinformation was the same. Argosy: Apparently on the 6th floor of a multi-use office building. Moral of the story: be very skeptical of web information unless you’re sure the source can be trusted.

Troubled Privates

From Inside Higher Ed (9 December 2013): “Some private colleges that managed to weather the recession are finding new troubles. So they are announcing layoffs, cutting programs and more. Almost all of these small to mid-sized privates are tuition-dependent and lack large endowments. National declines in the number of traditional college-age population mean students just aren’t showing up to privates, which are facing competition from public colleges that are more stable now than a few years ago and the reality that privates cannot afford to indefinitely lure students by cutting prices with generous financial aid packages. And this could become a huge problem.” So faculty members are being let go, course loads are increasing, various costs are being cut, and opportunities for new Ph.D.s decline.

Sex Trouble

Tenure can be fragile, and so can free speech. Patricia Adler, a tenured professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is apparently being pushed out because of a lecture on prostitution. Adler has given the lecture for many years, and her class often draws 500 students. But someone must have complained, and campus officials must have panicked. Inside Higher Education (16 December 2013): “She uses prostitution, she said, to illustrate that status stratification occurs in various groups considered deviant by society. She seeks volunteers from among assistant teaching assistants (who are undergraduates) to dress up as various kinds of prostitutes — she named as categories ‘slave whores, crack whores, bar whores, streetwalkers, brothel workers and escort services.’ They work with Adler on scripts in which they describe their lives as these types of prostitutes. During the lecture, Adler talks with them (with the assistant teaching assistants in character) about such issues as their backgrounds, ‘how they got into the business,’ how much they charge, the services they perform, and the risks they face of violence, arrest and AIDS.” Seems like innovative teaching. Hopefully, Professor Adler will leave Colorado, write a book that sells a million copies, and then join the sociology faculty of a Maryland System institution.

From the court in Simpson v. University of Colorado, 10th Cir. 2007 (thanks to Gary Pavela’s Pavela Report): “By the time of the alleged assaults of Plaintiffs, there were a variety of sources of information suggesting the risks that sexual assault would occur if recruiting was inadequately supervised . . . The local district attorney initiated a meeting with top CU officials, telling them that CU needed to develop policies for supervising recruits and implement sexual-assault-prevention training for football players. Yet CU did little to change its policies or training following that meeting. In particular, player-hosts were not instructed on the limits of appropriate entertainment.” Let’s hope that supervision in Maryland is well above what’s needed. Let’s hope some rumors are false.

The Boycott

The big academic explosion in recent weeks has been the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israel universities. Then the MLA Delegate Assembly narrowly approved a boycott measure. ( Should the MLA meeting have been chaired by someone who backs boycott of Israel?) Did the ASA and the MLA boycott institutions embedded in countries where free speech is much more limited, e.g., Chinese universities? Russian? Syrian? Iranian? Other countries where free speech is dangerous? Towson’s Maravene Loeschke, UMBC’s Freeman Hrabowski, and UMCP’s Wallace Loh are among the Maryland System’s campus presidents who have publicly spoken against ASA’s boycott. (The Gazette reports that UMBC still is a dues-paying member of the ASA. If so, why?) The Association of American Universities opposes the boycott. In some European countries, anti-Semitism has raised its ugly head. Let us hope that the ASA and MLA votes were motivated by a misunderstanding of intellectual dialog and responsibility rather than that ugly head.

Buying Professors

We’re slow to catch up on this politicization of a university, but given tight public budgets perhaps political control (initiated in 2008) should not be a surprise: “A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting ‘political economy and free enterprise.’ Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it’s not happy with the faculty’s choice or if the hires don’t meet ‘objectives’ set by Koch during annual evaluations. David W. Rasmussen, dean of the College of Social Sciences, defended the deal, initiated by an FSU graduate working for Koch. During the first round of hiring in 2009, Koch rejected nearly 60 percent of the faculty’s suggestions but ultimately agreed on two candidates.” (Tampa Bay Times, 11 January 2014)

Presidents and Faculty Members

A Chronicle of Higher Education survey found that only 34% of faculty members thought that the higher education system in the USA was going in the right direction, but for campus presidents the figure was 64%. Only 15% of faculty members thought our system was the best in the world, but 35% of the presidents did. From the report: “Faculty members are generally pessimistic about the direction of higher education in the United States, while presidents are generally optimistic. Both professors and presidents believe that the rank of the U.S. higher-education system in the world is likely to decline in the next ten years. But presidents see this as a slight decline from a very strong position while faculty members see it as a more severe decline from a moderately strong position.” The full report is certainly worth reading.

Tenure and Contingency

♦ Jeffrey Selingo, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education (6 December 2013), offers a scary forecast for colleges – scary if a wide-ranging campus with many tenured faculty members is the continuing goal. “Predictions that hundreds of colleges will close should not be seen as a death sentence for higher education, at least not yet. … The question is whether institutions will quicken their pace of change to lower their costs and better serve the changing educational needs of students and the global economy.

“The only way some colleges will survive is to form deeper academic alliances with other institutions, across town or across the country. By closely aligning with other institutions, colleges can share courses, either physically or virtually. They can also pare back entire academic departments, putting most of their resources toward making a few degree programs distinctive while leaving the rest to their partners. In some cases, the combined brand might be stronger than any of its individual institutions.

Of course, such sharing requires colleges to have much more flexible work forces, not one that’s largely immovable because of tenure.”

Maybe by 2030, our students will take math at the home Maryland campus, English at Hopkins in Baltimore, philosophy at GW in D.C., and a PE course at Howard Community College. Or all of the courses can be taken online. Campus life and peer learning? Maybe tenure for department or program chairs. But money saved!

♦ We all know that the percent of faculty bodies on campus with tenure has declined, as have the percent of courses taught by tenured faculty members as well as all full-time faculty members. Back in 1969, close to 80% of faculty positions were tenure-track; now the figure is about 30%. Will tenure survive? Of course, even The Faculty Voice doesn’t know the answer. However, the attack on tenure of primary and secondary school teachers may not stop before getting to universities. A year ago, a survey by Gallup found that 65% of provosts at public and private schools said their college relies “significantly on non-tenure-track faculty for instruction,” but a majority of the provosts indicate that tenure was still important. ” And the students? A paper issued by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges states, “A large and growing body of research has emerged demonstrating that the poor faculty working conditions and policies are negatively shaping student outcomes.”

♦ Richard Moser writes: “The increasing exploitation of contingent faculty members is one dimension of an employment strategy sometimes called the ‘two-tiered’ or ‘multitiered’ labor system. This new labor system is firmly established in higher education and constitutes a threat to the teaching profession. If left unchecked, it will undermine the university’s status as an institution of higher learning because the overuse of adjuncts and their lowly status and compensation institutionalize disincentives to quality education, threaten academic freedom and shared governance, and disqualify the campus as an exemplar of democratic values. These developments in academic labor are the most troubling expressions of the so-called corporatization of higher education. ‘Corporatization’ is the name sometimes given to what has happened to higher education over the last 30 years.” Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education  

♦ Jim Hightower writes in AlterNet (5 February 2014): “There’s a growing army of the working poor in our U.S. of A., and big contingents of it are now on the march. They’re strategizing, organizing and mobilizing against the immoral economics of inequality being hung around America’s neck by the likes of Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and colleges. Wait a minute. Colleges? That can’t be. After all, we’re told to go there to go to college to get ahead in life. More education makes you better off, right? Well, ask a college professor about that — you know, the ones who earned PhDs and are now teaching America’s next generation. The sorry secret of higher education — from community colleges to brand-name universities — is that they’ve embraced the corporate culture of a contingent workforce, turning professors into part-time, low-paid, no-benefit, no-tenure, temporary teachers. Overall, more than half of America’s higher-ed faculty members today are ‘adjunct professors,’ meaning they are attached to the schools where they teach not essentially a part of them.” The full article is here.

♦ Peter D. G. Brown at SUNY Paltz comments in an article entitled “Confessions of a Tenured Professor,” a small segment of which follows: “As I got to know my adjunct colleagues better, I began to see these largely invisible, voiceless laborers as a hugely diverse group of amazing teachers. Some are employed at full-time jobs in education or elsewhere, some are retired or supported by wealthier others, but far too many are just barely surviving. While instances of dumpster diving are rare, adjunct shopping is typically limited to thrift stores, and decades-old cars sometimes serve as improvised offices when these “roads scholars” are not driving from campus to campus, all in a frantic attempt to cobble together a livable income. Some adjuncts rely on food stamps or selling blood to supplement their poverty-level wages, which have been declining in real terms for decades. … “What kind of callous person would I be if I were not profoundly disturbed by such obvious inequality? And what does it say about my entire profession when over 70 percent of those teaching in American colleges today are precarious, at-will workers? This new faculty majority, frequently and erroneously mislabeled as part-timers, are often full-time, long-term perma-temps, whose obscenely low wages and total lack of job security constitute what is only now being recognized as the “dirty little secret” in higher education.” Source: Inside Higher Ed

♦ Even the PBS Newshour is getting into the game. On February 6th, there was a segment focusing on the difficult lives of adjuncts. The program brought up the issue of the over-production of Ph.D.s given the job market.

♦ Adam Grant at the Wharton School has an interesting proposal, published in the New York Times (6 February 2014): “I have watched skilled researchers burn out after failing in the classroom and gifted teachers lose their positions because university policies limited the number of courses that adjunct professors could teach. Dividing tenure tracks may be what economists call a Pareto improvement: It benefits one group without hurting another. Let’s reserve teaching for professors with the relevant passion and skill—and reward it. Sharing knowledge with students should be a privilege of tenure, not an obligation.”

♦ Final IRS rules on employers’ responsibility for health insurance requires colleges to credit adjuncts with 2.25 hours of work for each hour they teach; rules don’t exempt student employees.

Researchers Publish Nonsense!
Of course, this is not news to some critics, but to many of us it is. Here is the beginning of an article in Nature News (24 February 2014): “The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense. Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers.” Did the nonsense publications get the authors’ promotion, tenure, or a merit raise?

ADVANCING Agency. A Progress Report from the University of Maryland College Park

KerryAnn O’Meara, Co-Director, UMD ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence

KerryAnn O'Meara

KerryAnn O’Meara

Many readers will be familiar with the National Science Foundation’s Institutional Transformation ADVANCE grants, which provide U.S. institutions the opportunity to diagnose and design interventions to address issues of gender equity and work environment for women faculty members in the sciences and social sciences. Beginning in 2010, UMD ADVANCE began diagnosing and designing strategies to improve the retention and advancement of women faculty. A critical ingredient in this work is the advancement of agency. The success of this project is dependent on groups of committed faculty members and administrators working together, with collective agency, to diagnose and address gender inequity across the campus.

Agency has been studied in many social science fields and defined in various ways. The definition of agency we use is closest to that of Amartya Sen’s (1985): people’s ability to act on goals that matter to them. In the ADVANCE program, we aim to increase the agency individual faculty members feel about their own career advancement and professional growth. We simultaneously seek to advance the collective agency faculty members, administrators, and mentors assume to better retain and advance women and under-represented minorities.

We have found sharing information as often and transparently as possible enhances individual and collective sense of agency, and catalyzes individual professional growth and organizational change. Evidence from over 100 interviews with faculty members, observations of peer network meetings, three years of program evaluations, survey analysis, and countless individual examples, prove the old adage that “knowledge is power.” Indeed, data can be a powerful way to catalyze change and provide for accountability.  Information also helps us “contain attention” to what matters to us, and feel more comfortable in stepping into the often complicated projects we want to address.

Here are just five examples of how UMD ADVANCE (a collective partnership of many) strives to share information in ways that enhance individual and collective agency:

♦ Within our peer networks, we share examples. When I say examples, I mean personnel narratives for career advancement, teaching portfolios, research grants, and career award applications. Whenever we can get our hands on the thing a faculty member wants to do—we find an example, and we share it and discuss together the strengths and weaknesses of the example and how we might improve on it. Similarly, when ADVANCE was working with the Provost’s office on the parental leave policy, we began our process by collecting examples from peer institutions. Examples enhance agency by providing people a sense of context for the tasks they are to undertake, and by showing them that there is rarely only one best way to accomplish that task.

♦ Within our schools and colleges, we provide benchmark data that can be used in personal professional assessment. The ADVANCE Program’s Dashboard project provides benchmark data on faculty salaries by career stage, faculty demographics, and average time to promotion in each college. Although as a public institution, much of this information could be found in disparate places, the ADVANCE Program brought these data together under one rubric so faculty members could understand their salaries and time to promotion relative to others, and identify where the real demographic challenges lie. Faculty members who have logged in and used the Dashboard—whether for salary negotiations or for mentoring related to going up for Full Professor▬have commented on how helpful this information was to their career. One department chair called it “antiseptic for the system.” It is often said that academic reward systems operate as much by misperception, as perception. The Dashboard combats urban legends, misinformation, and incomplete information and can be used for college benchmarking of diversity goals as well as individual career planning. It enhances agency by providing a valuable foundation of information to start from in pursing equity and professional growth goals.

♦ As an institution, we conduct a faculty work environment survey every other year and publish the results on a public website (see below). Each college shares the data with their faculty and there are open discussions of the results. In 2013-2014, each college is designing a response to specific challenges found in their college reports, and making those plans for improvement public. Of course, many other colleges and universities do assessments of climate and work environment. Yet often, the results are shared sparingly, and there is rarely any real follow-up. However, by making the results public at UMCP and by asking colleges to make their action projects known, we make ourselves accountable to results. In this way, data enhances awareness of goals, as well as achievement of concrete improvements.

♦ We make sure faculty members and administrators know about work-life policies. The ADVANCE Program, in partnership with the Offices of Faculty Affairs and Legal Affairs, has taken all of the University of Maryland work-life policies and placed them in an easy to read “Frequently Asked Questions” document. In addition, our ADVANCE professors have made presentations on work-life policies to department chairs in each college. This information can be used by deans, department chairs, and individual faculty members to understand how our parental leave, stop the clock, part-time tenure track and other policies work, who qualifies, and how they can access them. This process is still new, and we routinely encounter faculty members who did not know these policies are equally available for women and men, for adoption and birth, and can be used in combination. When you provide a junior faculty member such a document, he or she can go into a meeting with the department chair secure in knowing their benefits. This enhances their agency in accessing the right policies at the right time.

♦ Finally, we operate systems of knowledge exchange. We have multiple peer networks working together across campus. Some are focused on career advancement, others on leadership development. We have had in-house talent provide workshops on personal branding, being strategic about service commitments, implicit bias, requirements for grant submissions and research awards, strategic communication, and the kinds of things that really matter to promotion and tenure committees reviewing applications.  We bring together groups of women▬and women and men▬to exchange insider knowledge, tell stories of living through failed attempts, and to share best practices. This knowledge exchange affirms experiences, adds to self-efficacy and makes our culture more collaborative.

Although our efforts are far from complete, UMD’s ADVANCE project has had wide participation from every college on campus, involved men and women, and high participation from faculty members of color. Our project has always had the full participation and support of executive leadership (president, provost, associate provosts, deans), has leveraged local talent in full professor women faculty members as ADVANCE professors in each college, and has engaged full participation from tenure track faculty members across campus (not just in STEM and in the Social Sciences). From such a strong base can come great change through the many ways in which we strive to advance agency. We believe structural and cultural change to intentionally share information, in transparent ways, is in of itself a form of institutional transformation for gender equity. We are glad to be a part of that work.

For more information on the UMD ADVANCE Program’s activities and research and evaluation efforts please visit our website.

Reference

Sen, A. K. (1985). Well-being, agency and freedom: The Dewey lectures 1984. Journal of Philosophy, 82(4), 169-221.

 

America’s Orchestras in Crisis! Is There a Roadmap to Recovery?

America’s Orchestras in Crisis!
Lockouts Threaten some of America’s Top Ensembles!
The Philadelphia Orchestra Declares Bankruptcy!
Graying Audiences are Finally Dying

James Undercofler, Artistic Director, National Orchestral Institute and Festival, UMCP

The headlines numb us, we lovers of classical orchestral music, we who have spent our lives studying it, playing it, experiencing it live, and having our lives enriched, or even transformed by it. What’s there to do? Is it simply a matter of letting all the countervailing forces get the job done, leaving only a handful of well-endowed, metropolis-based orchestras to play on? My intent in this article is briefly to lay out what got us here, then to spend considerable time discussing what I believe can be done to revitalize the orchestra as an American institution.

Photo credit: UMD School of Music

Photo credit: UMCP School of Music

WHAT GOT US HERE

The current intractable problem is the result of multiple factors. Baumol and Bowen in their prescient work, Performing Arts: the Economic Dilemma, published in 1966, foresaw the primary financial elements of today’s crisis. Their analysis predicted that inevitable rising fixed costs (labor, concert halls, benefits) combined with a basic inability to increase productivity (the orchestra is the orchestra) and elevating ticket prices to keep up with rising costs (demand being dampened by increased product in the marketplace) would lead to the need for ever increasing amounts of contributed revenue (philanthropy). This gap between earned revenue and contributed revenue would continue, and would eventually lead to insurmountable financial challenges.

Perhaps what Baumol and Bowen only suspected, competition in the performing arts marketplace has escalated continuously from approximately 1970 until today. The range of options open to those who choose to experience live art is wide and impressive. This competition in the marketplace has caused orchestras to greatly expand their marketing efforts (and costs!). Peterson and Kern, writing in the American Sociological Review in 1996, in their article, “Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to Omnivore,” skillfully document the change in Americans’ cultural decisionmaking habits. The title of their article tells it all.

Demographic diversity in the U.S. has expanded our collective definition of what constitutes the performing arts. This affects orchestras’ abilities to raise both earned revenue (increased competition) and contributed revenue (foundations and government sources have expanded their pool of potential fund recipients).

In addition to increasing wages (fixed costs), musicians’ union contracts have steadily eroded orchestras’ ability to make money. Restrictions on travel and touring, distribution of services (rehearsals per week v. concerts per week), and a number of other provisions have made it difficult, or impossible to increase earned revenue.

Last, widespread inept governance from orchestras’ not-for-profit boards of directors has created distorted organizational structures. Extreme increased demand for contributed revenue from individuals has led to enormous boards of directors. These boards are often seen as prestigious placements for both those seeking social notoriety and seeking high-level business connections. Members are quite willing to “pay to play” annual contribution to gain access to the “club.” Yes, some are deeply interested in symphonic repertoire, but many are not. This phlegmatic interest in the organization’s core activities can have the effect of transforming the orchestral association into a type of social club, which can produce a deleterious effect on policy decisions, strategic direction, and financial matters.

Recent attention to the orchestra crisis was brought by Philip Kennicott in his article in The New Republic on August 25, 2013, “America’s Orchestras are in Crisis: How an effort to popularize classical music undermines what makes orchestras great.” Among his many observations, one stands out: that American orchestras through their many efforts to attract new audiences have ignored or alienated the serious, or core listener.

Yes, Kennicott is right, but one must understand his observation in light of orchestras’ almost hysterical efforts to attract new audiences (badly needing earned revenue from ticket sales). Orchestras have resorted to a wide variety of new programs. These programs often have promise, but to be successful require support funding for a number of years. So, without spectacular results in the first years of operation, funding dries up. Exacerbating the situation is rapid staff turnover resulting from inhuman workplace demands.

The core listener presents a conundrum for orchestras. He or she is the connoisseur, not particularly well off financially, so buys tickets in the best acoustical section of the concert hall (generally the cheap seats up top), and cannot make donations on the contributed revenue side. He or she is disdainful of efforts to attract new audiences, often calling them dumb-down tactics. On the other hand, the core listener knows his or her stuff, often fraternizes with the orchestra musicians, and lays the framework for artistic opinion on “the street.” The core listener usually feels that he or she “owns” the orchestra, and in some ways that is accurate because of an intimate knowledge the music, the ensemble, the nuance, the artistry, and can judge the effectiveness of the orchestra achieving—or not achieving—its artistic mission.

ROADMAP TO RECOVERY

The strategies for orchestras to go from ill health to robustness are complex and multi-faceted, but are achievable. Let me consider several of these strategies.

Increase Earned Revenue

♦ Build the core audience by attracting and retaining the core listener.

Each year higher education music schools, conservatories, colleges and universities graduate tens of thousands of music majors. Each of these students has experienced high levels of music making in large and small ensembles and has demonstrated deep interest in hearing and participating in music. They form the pool from which serious or core listeners develop. Why are only a fraction of them attending live orchestra concerts? Ask them!

● Too expensive: ticket price + baby-sitter +parking

● Accessibility: concert hall is in mid-town, traffic is a pain, and parking is difficult, concert starts at a difficult time (too late, get home too late; too early, can’t get home, feed the kids and get to the concert)

It’s all about logistics, not about the artistic product itself! Orchestras have got to solve these logistical problems to increase earned revenue from this potential, and important core audience. Concert halls located in large shopping malls, with concerts scheduled at movie times might go a long way to attracting, and retaining this potential audience. Play areas for their children and concerts aimed at their kids might seal the deal.

Some orchestras in recent years have recognized this potential audience, and have developed innovative programs to attract college-age students. Most notable among these is the Philadelphia Orchestra’s eZseatU, in which, for a nominal membership cost college students may attend as many concerts as they wish during a season.

The key, of course, is how to retain these students when they become young professionals, then young professionals with partners, then with children. Surely one strategy, in addition to the proposed solutions above (cost and accessibility), is to ask them, ask them constantly for their advice, and take it.

♦ Adopt dynamic pricing and programming.

Airlines use dynamic pricing: low demand means lower ticket prices, high demand, and high prices. Empty seats are sold according to demand equations. And, yes, some orchestras use a version of dynamic prices; applying formulae to the seat demand within the hall, but none universally prices the “house” according to repertoire demand. Why shouldn’t those concerts with the higher demand (and usually the highest cost to produce) cost more? Beethoven’s Ninth, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rachmaninoff‘s Symphony #2, among others, are big sellers. Orchestras could see these concerts way above normal ticket prices. Concertgoers would scream, and serious listeners might pass, but the house would still sell out, and earned revenue would spike.

The same principal should be applied to the repertoire itself. If performing Carmina, give six concerts during the week, instead of two, three, or four. All will sell out, and dynamic pricing could be applied to which days high demand would or would not be expected. The problem with this solution is that musicians’ contracts specify how many services, usually seven, they must attend each week. The specified mix is generally four rehearsals and three concerts. Management cannot change this mix to six concerts and one rehearsal.

♦ Diversify product line and delivery

Though a number of orchestras have tried to segment their concerts series, the idea of doing so still remains illusory, despite solid market research, e.g., Alan Brown’s  A Segmentation Model for Performing Arts Ticket Buyers, 2007.* Tradition dies hard, but with orchestras it seems to be “die with tradition!” Brown defines specific market segments with specific tastes, and demonstrates that if programming is directed toward the appropriate customers, the customers will be pleased, and want more. Again, some orchestras have experimented with this approach, but tradition (old-school music directors, stodgy boards, etc.) has fought back against it, caused retrenchment.

♦ Diminish expenses without sacrificing artistic quality.

We must first look at the contracts of the staff, musicians, and artists. Baumol’s “curse” focused to a high degree on the intractability of fixed costs. He might have argued that you cannot increase productivity by reducing the size of the orchestra. Some orchestras have tried reducing their size, but then find that the artistic experience is greatly diminished because the sound just doesn’t fill the hall. The result is a diminished audience size.

To diminish costs, salaries and benefits have to come down, or at best stabilize. Staff costs, especially at the executive level, are ridiculously high, as are those of senior staff officers. These salaries can be reduced. Musicians’ salaries are by and large reasonable, but they cannot continue to rise any faster than an orchestra’s ability to increase earned, not contributed revenue. Cost savings, as well as opportunities to increase earned revenue, are to be found in the work rules and benefits sections of musicians’ contracts. Musicians will have to come to grips with present realities of the orchestra crisis and yield on a wide range of work rules, so as to allow orchestras to reduce costs and increase their “product line.”

Artist fees are inflated, and can be driven downward. By and large, audiences are less motivated today by who is on the podium or who the soloist is than in previous “maestro-centric” days. Numerous marketing surveys support this assertion. Of course there are exceptions, and these jump to mind: those with electrifying podium presence, e.g., YoYo Ma, but these exceptions are in the minority. Audiences make their decisions about attending a concert based more on accessibility issues and repertoire than on featured artists.

And, there’s an amazing deep pool of talent from which orchestras can choose their conductors and soloists. Once more orchestras begin to draw from the wider pool, fees of the top tier will come down. NB: on a typical series of three weekend performances by a major city orchestra, the artist fees for soloist and conductor can average over $100,000.

♦Venue Costs.

A drastic, long term solution would be to dump the expensive downtown concert halls for much less expensive, more accessible venues. The costs of maintaining these downtown concert halls are exorbitant, from utilities and maintenance to the personnel required to operate them successfully. This part of the “business model” is downright broken, and in need of serious thought.

♦ Stabilize philanthropy.

One significant fallout for orchestras from the Great Recession of 2008 was the diminution of charitable giving from foundations, businesses (including sponsorships) and government (local, state and federal). Foundation giving was significantly reduced because foundation endowments were hard hit, and social challenges exacerbated by the recession caused a redirection of resources away from classical music. Even before the recession, businesses were reducing their support, spreading their resources more broadly in their communities. The recession accelerated their reduction. And there’s no reason here to elaborate here on how government-funding agencies were hammered by both the recession and political infighting.

Individuals did step forward during the post-recession period, helping to partially close the widening gap between reduced revenue, reduced giving by agencies and expenses. Recently, they have, understandably but also unfortunately, shown true donor fatigue. For orchestras to rebuild and thrive in the future, they will need significant and consistent giving from individuals. So, how can orchestras keep existing donors interested (and giving) and attract new ones?

Certain themes attract donors: community development, children’s education, and art as it relates to civilization building. Orchestras can do all three of these particularly well, but need to demonstrate each, both honestly and clearly. Regardless of what orchestras’ mission statements say, the sad reality is that they only really mean, “play great music greatly.” And of course, we want them to, but they will need to do this within the three aforementioned contexts.

Midway through the 1990’s a new type of donor emerged (or was finally found in sufficient numbers to be named): the transactional donor. So numerous were these donors that a new giving platform, the donor advised fund, was invented. The trustees of these funds hear donors’ thoughts and opinions, then make their decisions. The donor does not decide per se, but advises. The rise of the transactional donor has led to funding initiatives in orchestras (and other not-for-profits) that are often distorted and marginally related to missions. In many cases the programs and projects that result from transactional giving end up costing orchestras more than if they had left the gift on the table. Sadly, development professionals often accept these “deals’ because they rationalize that making the donor happy will eventually lead to greater (unrestricted?) giving.

To stabilize philanthropy, orchestras are going to have to stick to core themes, those that are closely related to mission. They will need to bite the bullet and see a dip in overall giving in order to get back to genuine relationships with supporters.

The three elements detailed here—Increase Earned Revenue, Diminish Expenses without Sacrificing Artistic Quality, and Stabilize Philanthropy—can comprise a roadmap to recovery…but, not without considerable grit from those employed by orchestras, and generosity from those who “own” them, the board and public.

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*http://wolfbrown.com/mups_downloads/MUP_Ticket_Buyer_Segmentation_Report.pdf. His ten segments have such names as Mavericks, Experientials, and Remixers. They are, respectively, younger, fearless, and values-driven; monied, inclined to subscribe, with a big appetite for risk; and interested in contemporary culture and value diversity.

THE NATIONAL ORCHESTRA INSTITUTE

Our author is apparently too modest to indicate the contribution to orchestral and other music of the institute and festival he directs. Here are some notes:

  • Over 80 talented orchestral musicians are selected to participate each year, and each of them receives a scholarship worth over $4,000.
  • Internationally renowned conductors rehearse the orchestra and conduct performances
  • Distinguished musicians, including many principal players in major symphony orchestras, work closely with participants to polish ensemble skills and orchestral excerpts
  • Each week culminates with a public performance in the UMCP’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
  • NOI members participate in an unconducted chamber orchestra to build chamber music and leadership skills.
  • Chamber Music at NOI offers rewarding study of the chamber music literature with distinguished faculty in the field and a final recital in the Performing Arts Center
  •  Previous NOI members have won positions with major symphony orchestras, including the Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, plus the Los Angeles, New York, and Israel Philharmonics, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. (The FV editor cut many named orchestras for space.)

Clearly, the institute and festival contribute significantly to the life or orchestral music in the United States—and probably elsewhere

 

UNIVERSITY ORCHESTRA PERFORMANCES

Salisbury University Orchestra

December 7, Opera Arias

March 8, Cello Works by Vivaldi and Mozart

May 11, Beethoven P:iano Concerto No. 4

 

Maryland University Orchestra

December 6, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6

March 1, Ravel’s Daphnis & Chloe Suite No. 2, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5

May 4, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Dutilleux’s Metaboles, Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess

 

NOTE: UMCP also has a Repertoire Orchestra and a Wind Orchestra.