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…

 

PFP Motherblog

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.

 

PFP Motherblog

(His)tory

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all of the places that I have been to or lived in the past several years, and I feel a certain amount of culture shock because of all this relocating.  The talk in class about privilege, inclusion, and diversity gave me the idea to blog about my experiences.  By the time I will have graduated from Virginia Tech, I will have earned four different college degrees from four different colleges across three states.  This includes a community college, a private 4 year university, and two state schools.  The very fact that I have been able to pursue this much education is evidence of privilege itself.  In reflecting on all that I have learned through this process, I can see that I’ve experienced a number of cultural differences in each of those universities as well as cultural differences in each of those locations.  I want to take away better ways of doing things from each of these colleges and locations in order to help improve the universities and cultures I encounter in the future.

 

This learning process of mine has definitely led to a number of challenges along the way, but I am a proponent of experiencing diverse locations and cultures as a way to learn and grow.  I think that people can find themselves in situations in which their privilege is reduced (and hopefully still be safe) as learning experiences.  I can see how the experiences that I have had in which my privilege has been taken away have given me better empathy, recognition, and understanding for diversity.  When I was younger living in Montana, I thought I had an idea of what it was like to be discriminated against based on one’s race, but I was completely wrong!  I could not have known that experience when I was surrounded by so many people that looked like me.  When I moved to Hawaii and was a racial minority for the first time in my life, it provided me with an eye opening experience.  Actually being discriminated against because of the color of my skin felt so real and raw, in a way that I never could have imagined before that.  Without giving away my entire history, the situations in which I’ve come across threats to aspects of my identity (such as a reduced socioeconomic status or an injury that limits my physical abilities) have all been reminders of what some people have to face every single day.  Some of these events have been very hard for me, yet provided opportunities for me to grow as a person.  Being a counselor, these experiences of reduced privilege have been extremely valuable to better understand the clients that I work with.  I recognize that everyone’s experiences are different, so I wouldn’t want to compare the events in my life to what others have experienced.  However, having more of an understanding how someone might feel is so important to me being able to help others.

 

Growing up in Montana was so different than the years I lived in Hawaii, and is different from living in Virginia.  Being in all of these different cultures has been just as much of an education as the counseling classes that I have taken over the years.  I don’t know that I would be the person I am today without having had those experiences.  I know that I have a lot of privilege being a white, heterosexual, cisgendered, Christian male who was born in this country, and I used to feel a great amount of guilt for that.  But at this point in my life, I don’t want to feel guilty for privilege that I never asked for.  If anything, I want to use the privilege in order to reduce oppression that takes place in our world.  I want to be able to speak up when I see injustice and hope that my voice can help reduce the inequities we face every day.  I think the discussion in class on Monday is another good step along the way to educate each other about how bias, prejudice, discrimination, etc. can really affect a lot of people.  And I’m not perfect by any means!  I have been guilty of making assumptions about people too.  I think I learn more every day about diversity, and I encourage each of you to be aware of the diversity around you, notice your own biases (we all have them), and learn from the experiences that you encounter.  Each of us has so much to offer to this world, and I hope to continue learning from each of you how to create more inclusion and diversity in the systems we live in.

 

I hope these words can be inspirational to people.  Choosing what to say in this blog was an emotional process for me but one that I hope benefits people with a positive message.

Livin’ on a Prayer

Ok, so after looking at a number of ethical issues, this article stood out to me:

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/columbia_university_miracle_study_flawed_and_fraud

This miracle study came out in October of 2001, right after the attacks of September 11th.  This study found that the success rate for in vitro fertilization increased by 100% because of prayers from people in prayer groups.  This could have been a good time in our nation’s history to have some extra hope.  But if it seemed to good to be true, it was!

 

What I find to be so outrageous is that this study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University.  This is no small school that people haven’t heard of.  The researchers claimed that this was a randomized controlled trial in which all of the women in the study were unaware that people were praying for them in various places of the world.  Following the link above, you can see how complicated this study was arranged, with prayers about prayers for the women being studied.  An investigation of the study found that there was no Internal Review Board (IRB) approval for the research and no informed consent was even given to the participants.  The authors of this study either refuse to comment or claim no affiliation with Columbia University in the third author’s case.  And that third author has since been indicted for fraud separate from this study.  I don’t even understand all of the convoluted details of this study, so if you want to know more, the link above is the place to go.

I find myself wondering why researchers would even attempt to fabricate these findings and how they would think that nobody would look deeper into it.  A study with this amazing of findings would seem to me to draw a lot of attention.  I recognize that there is pressure to “publish or perish” in higher education, but what is it that leads people to so blatantly create false data?  I can see how some researchers would want to edit a couple of numbers here and there to make their research look better.  Who would ever find out?  I couldn’t live with myself for doing that, but I can understand how some may have motives for such actions.  But this prayer study that is so clearly fabricated probably wouldn’t go unnoticed!

 

It seems like many of the studies we have been discussing in class are related to human subjects.  People can be hurt with these false results!  Part of me wants to take more of an active role in monitoring research in my field for unethical kinds of research.  What is it that journals can do to reduce these instances of fake research?  How is it that we as students, and someday faculty, can help improve ethics in research?  We spoke in class about how high the percentage is of high school and college students that cheat.  It would appear that cheating doesn’t stop completely at the researcher level.  One would imagine that we are held to a higher standard at that point, but somehow these unethical research projects keep popping up.  If anyone has answers as to how to reduce these infractions, I am open to hearing it.  I think we have to keep an open dialog about this because ignoring the problem won’t make it go away!

Culture and Codes of Ethics

After discussing the various code of ethics that we each encounter in our class last night, I found myself wondering how unique counselor education is from other fields.  Based on our discussion, I can see that our our code of ethics is very comprehensive compared to fields that don’t involve human subjects.  The question was posed in class about how ethics changes over time and from one place to another.  We frequently discuss this in counseling classes that so much of this is based on cultural differences.  Each of us sees the world from a unique cultural perspective, so ethics are relative to every culture and different from one field to another.  Within the counseling field, a major focus point of practice, research, and ethics is in multicultural competence.  One of my research interests is multicultural counseling, so I found myself wondering how being culturally aware may apply to other fields.  The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics references culture more times than I could count.  But other professions probably do not require such a specific focus on culture.  It seems like engineers for example do not need to be as culturally sensitive as counselors are.

 

However, as I looked around the classroom, I couldn’t help but notice all of the diversity in the room.  In this course we have people from different countries, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, ages, etc.  These are all aspects of people’s culture that we speak about regularly as counselors but probably not as much in other disciplines.   If we are moving into professor positions, we can all (across each and every discipline) improve our education by being aware of how to communicate to those from different cultural backgrounds.  The communicating science class from last week is a great example of how we encounter moments when we communicate with different fields and people of all sorts of backgrounds.  Cultural competence may be an ethical code that requires more attention in counseling than in other fields, but it can still be a vital part of instruction.  Insulting cultural aspects of any of our students is not the best way to reach out to them.  However, being aware of how to teach in a manner that is culturally aware will not only the best practice for teaching, but it also gives us better opportunities to communicate between fields.  It does not happen all the time, but this class is an excellent example of how people from many varying disciplines and numerous cultural backgrounds come together for a single purpose.  It provides a great learning experience and a chance for us to see the world from others’ perspectives.  Hopefully we can all take that opportunity to improve how we communicate and teach those entering our respective fields.

What to say

So I was reading some blogs from my classmates who have come up with some very insightful, metaphorical posts that get me thinking about how I fit into this world of higher education.  I would provide a link to those, but I’m still new to this blogging thing.  As I was reading those posts, I found myself wondering what I could possibly write that anyone would want to read.  For that matter, what can I talk about as a professor that people will want to listen to?  I have worked with a number of clients as a counselor and helped them recognize their goals.  I have also been able to teach classes before, and help students learn and move towards their academic goals.  So that must mean that I have enough to say to make a difference.  I am not sure how many people will even read this post, but I would imagine many of you have felt this same way before.  So many of us going into higher education want to make a difference in people’s lives.  If we remain silently in the background, those positive changes that we seek may never occur.  So I am going to say something in this blog that may or may not make any difference to the world, but it is a start.  The bystander effect takes place when a number of people witness an event and all are thinking, “Someone should do something about that.”  The issue occurs when everyone in the group thinks that way and so nobody actually acts on those thoughts.  I encourage each of you to recognize the value in what you have to pass along to the world through being in higher education.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything we have to say is perfect for the time or place, but choosing our words and actions wisely can lead to the positive changes that so many of us are seeking by pursuing graduate education.  Thanks for reading!