Tenure, Diversity, and Academic Freedom Resources

If you are looking for more information about tenure and academic freedom, the American Association of University Professors has a very comprehensive page about how students and professors have academic freedom: AAUP.


Tierney and Lanford (2014) tierney-lanford-2014 have a nice review of the origins and present state of academic freedom in numerous areas of the world.


Trower (2009) trower-2009 speaks about inequality in tenure practice in that minority faculty earn tenure at lower rates than white faculty.


Someone in class tonight mentioned that it would be nice to add more emphasis on service in order to earn tenure instead of mostly a focus on research.  I could see that greater use of advocacy work could allow faculty to better advocate for minority faculty and students.  Could this be a controversial topic that faculty could utilize their academic freedom to pursue with research, teaching, and service in order to create more equality?


Blog 5 – Futures of the Universities

So I  have been thinking a lot about the “future of the university,” and a lot of ideas have come to mind about what could change in future universities.  I thought about writing about cost of tuition, technology, inclusion and diversity, or the evolution of tenure.  With each of these ideas, I ran into the same problem that there really shouldn’t be a broad change that makes all universities similar in one regard.  So instead of the “future of the university,” I’m going to say that change will come as the “futures of universities,” plural for a reason.  As we’ve seen throughout this PFP class, each location (country, state, school) works differently, and education policies that work in one country are different than the way education functions in another.  There is no single “cookie cutter” way of running a university.  So if I were to pick something that would change in the future of the university, I would say it should be that we stop putting education into boxes.  Yes, it would be nice to have some changes for a better university, but who defines what “better” actually means?  As with any of these constructs (cost of tuition, use of technology, inclusion and diversity, or tenure in higher education), we can find pros and cons with each.  For example, some may see that tuition being free in some countries is a great idea, whereas others will focus on the higher cost of taxes that must accompany free tuition in order for that money to be covered.  In the United States, we do pay less in taxes that countries that have free tuition, but then people sometimes end up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in school debt.  Who is to say that one way is better than another?  It really depends on whose perspective you view it from.  So the futures of the universities will depend on when and where each university is.  I hope that we can appreciate some of these differences from one university to the next so that we can continue to impact learning in a more constructive way.


It is hard to say what changes should come next in any given university.  To use the technology example I mentioned above, If you were to ask someone 20 years ago about what changes universities would undergo as of today, I doubt that many people would see how technology would have such an impact on education.  I think back to my undergraduate public speaking class that was about 10 years ago now.  Of the 25 people in the class, each giving several speeches throughout the semester, only one person in one speech utilized PowerPoint.  So part of me is seeing that the future of the university is now!  Seeing so many blogs in the past month about how technology influences education has reminded me just how much we actually do utilize technology.  I don’t think that I have ever actually gone into the library to find a journal article.  I just go into the online databases and download the pdf.  I think technology will continue to be the future of all universities, but each in their own way.  I have had the privilege of teaching online, hybrid online, and in class formats of college classes.  Just as these classes can operate from different formats, so can universities use it in unique ways.  One could look at this as a spectrum of reliance on technology.  Some universities are completely online whereas on the other end of the spectrum, technology can be sparsely used in other types of higher education.  The beauty of it is in how each is able to facilitate learning in its own way.  I hope we can continue to learn from the ways that people do things elsewhere so that we can always try to improve learning as it works where we are.  And that will lead to the futures of universities!

Happy Thanksgiving Educators!

With Thanksgiving break, I am reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for!  In the spirit of PFP, I want to focus on how fortunate I am to be able to earn an advanced degree.  This is a privilege that only a small portion of the population are able to pursue, so am grateful for that opportunity.  And I am especially happy to be working towards a professoriate position.  I have heard the phrase that “Teachers make all other professions possible.”  To me, this feels like one of the most empowering jobs to pursue because of that statement.  We can play such a vital role as educators to prepare the next generation of the workforce.  Being a graduate student can come with a lot of stress at times, but I think we can more often acknowledge how fortunate we are to be able to be in this position.  At this time of giving thanks, I am focusing (as best I can) on how grateful I am to be able to earn an education and help others through education also.  I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving break with much to be grateful for!

Are There Any Open Access Counseling Journals?

Ok, so as you can see from the title, I wanted to find out if there were any open access journals for the counseling field.  Unfortunately, I can’t really take credit for this work when one of my hard working classmates beat me to it.  You can see more about counselor education related open access journals on Jyotsana’s blog.
So because of that, I figured I would go a different direction.  I went to the directory of open access journals, available at https://doaj.org/.  I did some searching for counseling related journals and really didn’t find much.  But wait, I didn’t give up there!  I had been looking through some journals earlier this week to see about submitting a manuscript, and I remember seeing a link that stated “Publish open access in this journal.” I hadn’t looked into it at the time, but remembering that I was posting this blog, I went back to find that link again.  I found that Taylor & Francis, one of the large publishing companies, does make open access a possibility for authors, T & F open access.  After the article has been approved for publication, they send the authors an email with instructions about how to make the article open access.  I don’t know exactly how that works or what type of payment is involved, but I was glad to see that as an option.  The manuscript then becomes available for anyone to see.
The journal I was looking into was the International Journal of Transgenderism.  The journal itself is a very multidisciplinary journal related mostly to the physical and mental health of transgender individuals.  I wrote an article earlier this year, and I have been looking into possible journals to publish.  This seemed like a close option to my topic, and it was quite coincidental that open access was an option.  This journal is typically not open access, but from what I understand from the instructions to authors, it could be used in that manner.  I could see this being the potential future of publications.  If journals are willing to offer the option, then authors can pursue either direction, to go open access or remain with the traditional publication.
If you want to look more into the Taylor & Francis open access available journals, there is a list of open journals that this publisher offers.

Virginia Tech(nology)

With the recent blog about technology/social media etc., I got to thinking about how we use technology in higher education.  I have taught online classes, and I find myself wondering how standards are different between an in class format versus online.  I wonder about how to keep students honestly doing their work.  What is to keep students in online classes from having someone else do the work for them?  Even when we have online assignments, how can we know that students haven’t cheated?  And mostly, what can we do as faculty to promote honest education?


The U.S. university with the largest student body is the University of Phoenix, and that amount of students has even been greatly reduced in recent years as indicated by this CNN article.  University of Phoenix is a for-profit school that often advertises for online programs.  It seems to me that the options for online programs is nearly limitless.  I can see the draw to them because of the flexibility that people may need for time or location of residence.  Having a family makes being a traditional student rather challenging, so online allows for a less rigid schedule.  However, how does an online program compare to an in person degree?  I’m earning my degree in counselor education, which is very focused on human interaction.  I find myself wondering how well someone can develop into a counselor while doing an online program.  I know people who have online degrees in the mental health field who are very good at their work.  I have also heard horror stories about people with online counseling degrees.  There are online counseling programs that are accredited, so they must be meeting some standards, yet I can’t help but recognize how much learning and growth takes place within the classroom.


The Preparing Future Professoriate class has got me thinking a lot about systemic issues of teaching, more than just what happens in the classroom.  So I am curious about where regulations about online degrees will go in the future.  I don’t have answers to a lot of the questions I have posed in this blog, but a lot of these inquiries don’t have concrete answers.  We as educators are having to adapt more than ever because of the influence that technology is having on education.  But it also takes away a lot of the control that faculty have in the classroom.  There are some benefits to this, such as more flexibility and individualized learning.  But at the same time, with teachers not being able to monitor student activity, it can call into question how much of student work is their own.  I am all for lifelong learning, so online classes make that more possible for a greater portion of the population.  But how good is the training one gets online compared to in class?  I’m hoping to find some more answers as I continue to look into this topic…


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Blog 3 ;-)

Ok, so this is the assignment for this blog: “Find an infographic or article about how faculty (higher education) are using and/or reacting to social media, MOOCs, and/or other “disruptive” technologies.”

I found myself a little baffled at the start of this assignment because I didn’t know what an infographic or an MOOC were.  I spent some time on Google and was able to learn a little more about each.  Apparently an infographic is just a picture representation of information, a graph.  I probably could have figured that out on my own, but now I know!  And MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course.  Apparently, this is a new idea in which there is an online class available to anyone who wants to take it.  It sounds like a nice idea to me to be able to open up classes for more people, and it seems that most of the learners are not college students.  I would imagine someone is making money off of this somehow, but it is supposed to be lower cost than a university.  I wonder if people are given grades for classes such as this or if it is more about the learning than the credentials.  Would all test materials have to be multiple choice so that the computer can grade it?  If the enrollment is unlimited, I don’t know how a teacher could grade essays for example.  Overall, I find it to be an interesting idea, and I am always a fan of lifelong learning.  In that spirit, I still have a lot to learn about MOOCs, and I would imagine this is not the last I will hear about the concept.  Here is where I found some useful information about it: MOOC

On a side note, I’ve learned how to do a link in a blog!  I might get the hang of this blogging thing yet!


Ok, so in the spirit of continued learning and better understanding of this assignment, I looked more into “disruptive” technology that some people call Facebook!  I found an interesting, sarcastic article from a professor who gets sick of students being on Facebook in class. (See, I embedded the link this time) I din’t think the satirical video was as helpful as he seems to think it is, but maybe it will be useful for someone.  It does seem like students being on Facebook in class is a problem, but he magnifies the ramifications just a little bit ;-).


Social media can be a distraction for many students, but I have seen some good use of Facebook to help college students.  When I was working at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Counseling Services, my coworker used a Facebook page to keep people updated on a group he and I were leading.  Men of Strength is a group of male students who get together to find ways to reduce instances of gender based violence such as rape and domestic violence.  For years it was seen as a women’s issue, but men can play an important role in reducing sexism and these types of violence.  We can all take steps to keep people safer from acts of violence.  By technical terms, the counselors at UH Hilo were hired as faculty, so this sort of counts as faculty using Facebook for student benefit.  If you would like to learn more about Men of Strength, feel free to follow this link: Men of Strength.  It’s a cause that is close to my heart and much of the work I do as a counselor.


There!  I didn’t know what I was going to write about when I first saw this assignment, but I was able to learn a bit about use of technology in classes and talk about a cause that is important to me.


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