Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
The New York Times editorializes on state budget cuts to California’s public higher education systems and the state legislature’s magical thinking around online education.
The full article is online at:
An excerpt follows:
“The same California State Legislature that cut the higher education budget to ribbons, while spending ever larger sums on prisons, now proposes to magically set things right by requiring public colleges and universities to offer more online courses. The problem is that online courses as generally configured are not broadly useful. They work well for highly skilled, highly motivated students but are potentially disastrous for large numbers of struggling students who lack basic competencies and require remedial education. These courses would be a questionable fit for first-time freshmen in the 23-campus California State University system, more than 60 percent of whom need remedial instruction in math, English or both.”
It is time to renew the DFA board. In accordance with DFA bylaws, a nominating committee has selected a slate of candidates to fill DFA board positions as listed below with the following code: C – continuing; R – renewing for another 2-year term; N – newly elected. I want to thank the nominating committee for their work and the outgoing board members for their past service on the DFA board.
Chair: Scott Shershow (English) [R]
Vice Chair: Daniel Cox (Physics) [R]
Nathan Brown (English) [C]
Thomas Jue (Biochem & Molecular Med.) [N]
Ian Kennedy (Mech. and Aero. Engineering) [C]
Neil Larsen (Comparative Literature) [C]
Marjorie Longo (Chem. Eng. and Mat. Sci.) [R]
William Lucas (Plant Biology) [C]
Susette Min (Asian American Studies) [C]
Blake Stimson (Art History) [R]
Ex-Officio: Joe Kiskis (Physics)
All nominees have agreed to serve. Newly elected members serve a two-year term of office that will run through September, 2015. Further nominations may be made upon petition of 5% of the membership in good standing. Such petitions must be delivered on or before May 21, 2012, to the DFA Executive Director at 1270 Farragut Circle, Davis, CA 95618. If no nominations are submitted, the slate shall be accepted as elected.
The American Association of University Professors — with which several UC Faculty Association chapters have a negotiated relationship, although the DFA does not — has been working to unionize the faculty at the University of Oregon. The AAUP has announced to its members an important step towards that goal. While there has been no discussion at UCD of unionizing, as an Inside Higher Ed article (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/03/15/university-oregon-faculty-takes-step-toward-unionizing) on this topic says:
The now-likely formation of the faculty union at Oregon would be a major victory for academic labor, which has struggled in recent years to organize at research universities. “It shows that faculty members are increasingly frustrated at the increased corporatization of research universities,” said Jack Nightingale, associate director for higher education organizing at the American Federation of Teachers.
The letter from AAUP to its members follows:
Dear AAUP Member:
We’re pleased to announce that yesterday, faculty members at the University of Oregon moved one step closer to forming a union when they filed union authorization cards, signed by a clear majority of faculty, with the state Employment Relations Board.
The faculty union, United Academics of the University of Oregon, will be jointly affiliated with the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers. The group includes tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and research faculty. In addition to a solid overall majority of UO faculty, the union authorization cards presented yesterday include majorities in all three classifications of faculty represented.
United Academics seeks to restore the voice of faculty in the university’s educational and research priorities. Enrollment at the university has grown by 4,000 students during the last five years, but support for instruction has not kept pace, resulting in dramatic increases in class sizes. One goal of the new union will be to restore budgetary alignment with the university’s core missions of teaching, research, and service to the state of Oregon, say faculty.
The union will be formally certified once the Employment Relations Board confirms that the signed cards represent a majority of the UO faculty.
“Oregon faculty have just made two-fold history,” says AAUP president Cary Nelson. “They are one of the first two major research campuses to organize for collective bargaining in decades. What’s more, their tenure-track and contingent faculty have combined forces in one union to show us how to guarantee quality education for the future. They and their colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago have led the way for faculty all across the country.”
The DFA Board wanted to follow-up on the message sent last month regarding changes that UC is making to the way faculty assign patents to UC.
Patents are not relevant to a large number of campus disciplines, and so the changes to the patent language that UC is implementing should not be a financial concern for most faculty members. For the small number of faculty who were depending on the old patent language, here is what a DFA member who has valuable patents says, based on his conversation with a lawyer:
As a part of our ongoing exchange of information regarding the amendment to the patent agreement requested by the University, I am sharing my current understanding.
After contacting legal counsel, my understanding is that the Stanford case does not obligate employees to amend their patent agreement. The requested amendment might help protect the University from ending up in a situation similar to the result in the Stanford case. That does not necessarily mean that an employee is obligated to give the University a preinvention present assignment rather than an assignment after creation and disclosure, if the Patent Agreement that was signed does not require it. Principles of tenure and wrongful termination may protect employees from having the University condition future employment on signing the requested amendment. The University may have the discretion to make other changes that could adversely impact an uncooperative employee.
The language change, although consistent with the intent of the earlier language, is not a mere clarification; it is a material change in the rights of the parties to the Patent Agreement according to the Stanford case. Because the University cannot change the Patent Agreement unilaterally, it is asking employees to agree to the change. Although the employees may be obligated to assign certain inventions to the University once the invention is created, this change would make the present assignment in the amendment effective by operation of law (automatically) without further assignment once the invention exists, under the Stanford case. There may be reasons in particular situations, such as where the nature or timing of the invention is disputed, why one might not want to agree to an automatic assignment.
There are also questions as to whether the signed amendment might be used by the University to argue interpretation, waiver or estoppel as to other issues, so as to expand the impact of the amendment.
In the absence of a third party agreement involving a present assignment, such as the one in the Stanford case, or a refusal to sign an assignment on disclosure, an employee’s refusal to sign this amendment is probably inconsequential to the University’s rights under the Patent Agreement.
The clause in the old agreements that UCOP may be using to enforce this change is probably:
“I will do all things necessary to enable the University to perform its obligations to grantors of funds for research or contracting agencies as said obligations have been undertaken by the University.”
One of the most useful sources of information on this issue provided by UCOP is the signing form FAQ, available at:
Other useful links:
It is time to renew the DFA board. In accordance with DFA bylaws, a nominating committee has selected a slate of candidates to fill DFA board positions as listed below with the following code: C – continuing; R – renewing for another 2-year term; N – newly elected. I want very much to thank the nominating committee — Ian Kennedy, Margaret Ferguson, and Anthony Wexler — for their work. For a variety of reasons this was an unusually difficult nominating process, and I am very happy to see what a great list they ultimately selected:
Chair: Lyn Lofland (Sociology) [R]
Nathan Brown (English) [N]
Roy Curry (Physio & Membrane Bio) [N]
Marjorie Longo (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) [C]
William Lucas (Plant Biology) [R]
Robert Rucker (Nutrition) [C]
Jon Scholey (Molecular and Cellular Biology) [N]
Phil Shaver (Psychology) [N]
Scott Shershow (English) [C]
Blake Stimson (Art History) [C]
Ex-Officio: Joe Kiskis (Physics)
All nominees have agreed to serve. Newly elected members serve a two-year term of office that will run until academic year 2013-2014. Further nominations may be made upon petition of 5% of the membership (15 members) in good standing. Such petitions must be delivered on or before August 17, 2011 to the Executive Director at 1270 Farragut Circle, Davis, CA 95618. If no nominations are submitted, the slate shall be accepted as elected.
I very much want to thank the outgoing board members Colin Cameron, Norma Landau, Richard Scalettar, and Pieter Stroeve for their past service on the DFA board. Some of these board members have served many years on the DFA board and I will certainly miss them.