Search DU CTLAT Blog

Thursday, April 18, 2013

AAUP Report: academic-freedom-and-tenure-national-louis-university


Dear Colleague,

A newly released AAUP investigating committee report concludes that administrators at National Louis University had no acceptable financial or educational justification for discontinuing fourteen academic programs, closing four departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, and terminating the appointments of at least sixty-three full-time faculty members, sixteen of them with continuous tenure. 

The investigation, conducted in October and chaired by Professor Kerry E. Grant (Southern Connecticut State University), was authorized by the AAUP following complaints from NLU faculty members that the administration had discontinued departments and programs without first demonstrating the magnitude of the financial constraints facing the university and adequately consulting the faculty.

The investigating committee’s report focuses on the cases of three tenured professors whose positions were terminated. The subject of the first case was a biologist in the natural sciences department, one of the departments that was closed. The administration acknowledged that the university would continue to offer science courses as part of the general education curriculum and offered some of these courses to him to teach—provided that he did so at a reduced salary as an adjunct faculty member. (He declined the offer.)

The subject of the second case was chair of the natural sciences department. She told the investigating committee that no alternatives were discussed that would have allowed for retention of tenured natural sciences faculty, notwithstanding the fact that nine general education and upper-level science courses for students concentrating in biology or natural sciences would still be offered at NLU beyond the 2011–12 academic year.

The third subject was a professor who taught in the fine arts department, which had also been targeted for closure. She planned to continue beyond her terminal full-time year to teach courses on a contingent basis for approximately $2,000 per quarter, including general education courses that she had routinely taught as part of her normal workload as a tenured faculty member.

The investigating committee concluded that the administration, in terminating the appointments of more than sixty faculty members without having demonstrated cause for dismissal or a state of financial exigency, acted in violation of AAUP-supported principles and procedural standards. The committee further concluded that the role the administration afforded the faculty before, during, and after the decisions on program discontinuance and appointment termination was grossly inadequate. The committee was particularly struck by how quickly experienced members of the faculty, many of them with decades of service to the institution, had been replaced by a cadre of poorly paid contingent faculty members.

The AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure approved the publication of the report, and at its spring meeting it will formulate a statement on the NLU case that may recommend censure to the Association’s 2013 annual meeting in mid-June. 

The full report is available on the AAUP’s website at For questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact Anita Levy.  

The mission of the AAUP is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good. By joining, faculty members, academic professionals, and graduate students help to shape the future of the profession and proclaim their dedication to the education community. Visit the AAUP website and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.


Tomorrow's Professor: Misunderstandings of Critical Reading

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
Misunderstandings of Critical Reading

One of the barriers students face in writing critically is their misunderstanding of exactly what this process entails. For example, if a student thinks a critical analysis of a major theorist in the field, a canonical text, or a widely accepted theorem involves showing how the theorist, author, or proof is wrong, this is an incredibly intimidating prospect. It would take an extremely confident, or extremely foolish, student to produce a demolition of a piece of work that was widely referenced, published in several languages, and generally regarded as authoritative. So one of the first things teachers have to do is wrestle learners away from the mistaken notion that criticism is inherently negative, which brings us to our first misunderstanding.


That It?s Negative


For many of us the word critical carries negative connotations. Being critical is equated with cynical pessimism, with taking great pleasure in knocking down what other people have created; in short, with attacking and destroying what we portray as the na?ve and shortsighted efforts of others. It is important to say from the outset, then, that critical reading is a process of appraisal, involving the recognition of positive as well as negative elements. In fact, using the words positive and negative is mistaken because it only serves to reinforce a false dichotomy that we have to reach a verdict that something is good or bad. What critical reading and writing are all about is assessing the accuracy and validity of a piece of work. This means that we will usually find aspects of research, philosophy, or theory that we dislike, disagree with, and find incomplete or overly narrow. But we will also find aspects that seem to us well described, recognizable, and informative. Few pi

 eces of writing we read in a doctoral program will be so unequivocally wonderful or awful that we can adopt a film critic approach to its appraisal, giving it an intellectual thumbs up or thumbs down. If we are reading critically we will almost certainly find that our appraisals are multilayered, even contradictory (as in when the same passages both excite and disturb). But central to all critical reading is the acknowledgment of what we find to be well grounded, accurate, and meritorious in a piece of scholarly writing, as well as what we find wanting.


That It Always Leads to Relativism


Critical reading and writing makes us aware that knowledge is always culturally and disciplinarily constructed?always the product of particular people thinking in particular ways at particular times in particular places. A common response to this discovery on the part of readers is to lapse into a relativistic state of defeatism. They conclude that because nothing seems to have universal certainty (even what passes for the laws of physics change according to time and place), no ideas have any greater legitimacy than any others. This conclusion can induce a kind of intellectual lethargy, a disconnection from the world of ideas.


In fact, critical reading can increase our sense of connectedness to a text by increasing our ability to give an informed rationale as to why we hold the convictions and beliefs we do. When we give a piece of literature a careful critical appraisal we have a sense of its strengths and weaknesses. The intellectual convictions we derive from this appraisal are informed by this same even-handed sense of what is strongest and weakest about our convictions and about why, on balance, we hold these even as we recognize their shortcomings. The point at which the best critical readers operate is the point of informed commitment so valued by the pragmatic tradition summarized in Chapter Two. Informed commitment means being able to give a rationale and to cite evidence for our ideas while always being open to reexamining and rethinking these in the light of further experience.


That It?s Only for the Philosophically Astute


Because so much academic writing on critical thinking is grounded in the paradigm of analytic philosophy and concentrates on argument analysis, it is easy to conclude that critical thinking is not for the philosophically challenged. But critical reading (one form of critical thinking in action) is not restricted to those who pursue majors in logic. I prefer to think of it as a survival skill within the competence of all, irrespective of their formally defined educational level. In fact, as extensive research into how people reason in everyday situations shows (Sternberg, Forsyth, Hedlund, Horvath, Wagner, and others, 2000), the ability to clarify assumptions, analyze evidence quickly, assess the importance of contending contextual variables, and come to informed decisions is evident in many non-academic contexts of adult life. Indeed, critical thinking informs how many of us negotiate and survive what we see as transforming episodes in our adult lives (Taylor and Cranton, for



That It?s the Preserve of Politically Correct Left-Wingers


Because one stream of writing on critical thinking, critical analysis, and critical reflection emanates from adherents of the Frankfurt School of Critical Social Theory?a body of work interpreting and revising Marx for the contemporary era (Brookfield, 2004)?there is a tendency to equate any activity with a name that includes critical with left-of-center political views. Students sometimes complain that for some teachers critical reading has a predetermined ideological outcome of turning the student into anything from a liberal to a neo-Marxist. In adult education programs where I have taught, this feeling sometimes expresses itself in the charge that my choice of texts shows I am anti-business. Given that critical theory?s main critique is of the logic of capitalism, this complaint from students is hardly surprising.


However, it is important to remember that one of the most frequent responses to reading texts critically is for students to become much more skeptical of ascribed authority and much more likely to question ideas that were previously taken for granted. Since we live in a culture in which capitalist ideas are invested with such taken-for-granted authority that they constitute the dominant ideology, one possible consequence of critical thinking and reading is the student?s questioning of the moral basis and universality of this ideology. Critical theorists are quick to point out, however, that, critical reading in a totalitarian communist society would call into question the taken-for-granted authority of those dominant left-wing ideologies.


The point about critical reading, properly encouraged, is that critical questions are asked of all ideologies, disciplines, and theories. So a critical social science turns a skeptical eye on all claims to universal validity. For a teacher to mandate in advance?either explicitly or implicitly?that only one ideological interpretation or outcome is permitted in a discussion or assignment is to contradict a fundamental tenet of critical thinking. That tenet holds that all involved?including teachers?must always be open to reexamining the assumptions informing their ideological commitments. For teachers this imperative is particularly important, since one of the best ways in which they can teach critical thinking is for them to model the process in their own actions. I hope, personally, that a critical reading of texts results in students becoming more skeptical of conservative ideologies, and more aware of the inhumanity of monopoly capitalism. And I feel a duty to make my bias

 known. But I also must continually lay out my own assumptions, and the evidence for these, and invite students to point out omissions in my position and to suggest alternative interpretations that can be made of the evidence I cite. For me to decree that ?proper? or ?real? critical thinking occurs only when students end up mimicking my political views would be the pedagogic equivalent of papal infallibility. I would kill at the outset any chance for genuine, searching inquiry.


That It?s Wholly Cognitive


Critical reading, like critical thinking, is often thought of as a purely intellectual process in which rationality is valued above all else. The concept of rationality figures so strongly in work of critical theoreticians such as Habermas that it?s not surprising to find it prominent in discussions of critical thinking and reading. However, critical reading as it is outlined here recognizes that thought and reasoning is infused with emotional currents and responses. Indeed, the feeling of connectedness to an idea, theory, or area of study that is so necessary to intellectual work is itself emotional. Even our appreciation of the intellectual elegance of a concept or set of theoretical propositions involves emotional elements.


So in critical reading we pay attention to our emotions, as well as our intellect. In particular, we investigate our emotional responses to the material we encounter. We can try to understand why it is that we become enthused or appalled, perplexed or engaged, by a piece of literature. As we read work that challenges some of our most deeply held assumptions, we are likely to experience strong feelings of anger and resentment against the writer or her ideas, feelings that are grounded in the sense of threat that this work holds for us. It is important that we know this in advance of our reading and try to understand that our emotional reactions are the inevitable accompaniment of undertaking any kind of intellectual inquiry that is really challenging.




Brookfield, S. D. The Power of Critical Theory: Liberating Adult Learning and Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.


Sternberg, R. J., Forsyth, G.B., Hedlund, J., Horvath, J. A., Wagner, R. K., Williams, W. M., Snook, S. A., and Grigorenko, E. Practical Intelligence in Everyday Life. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.


NEA Today Express: Three Bad Ideas for Education

Parents and teachers want educators to be truly professional and their profession to be highly selective, yet these so-called reforms do the opposite.

How Do Your Student Assessments Measure Up?

Rate your students' tests at a new website designed to share educators' expertise.

How to Get All Your Students to Participate

The author of best-seller 'Quiet' offers tips to engage the introverts in your classroom.

Safe Schools: 'We Need to Fulfill This Promise to Our Students'

Katie Lyles was a sophomore at Columbine High School when two gunmen massacred students and staff. Now, she's an educator working to end gun violence.

Raise Your Hand for Student Success

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel introduces the next step in educator-led school reform.

School Gardens Put Learning On the Menu

Farm to School projects produce healthy results with help from parents, teachers, and education support professionals.

Want to Celebrate National Teacher Day?

From posters to proclamations, we have what you and your community need to celebrate your day and thank a teacher on May 7.
Share Your Story
Works4Me - Ideas and Tips by Teachers, For Teachers

Building Students' Confidence and Fluency in Math

Learn educators' tips for using games to sharpen students' math skills. What interactive methods or drills do you use to help students master basic math facts? Share your ideas.
NEA Today Express - Great Public Schools for Every Student
Our Facebook Page
Our Twitter Profile
Our Youtube Page
Find more education news at »    Learn about NEA advocacy at Education Votes »
Published by the National Education Association, 1201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-3290


CHEA Federal Update #32



On April 15, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) published a notice in the Federal Register that USDE will hold negotiated rulemakings over the next several years "to address more directly access to, and the affordability of, higher education and possible steps to improve the quality of higher education in the United States and to better encourage students to complete their education." "Negotiated rulemaking" is a process by which the federal government consults with key constituents as part of drafting or revising regulations.
USDE will establish a negotiated rulemaking committee later in 2013 to draft regulations intended to prevent fraud related to federal student aid program funds. The negotiated rulemaking will address issues that include cash management of federal financial aid funds, state authorization for programs offered through distance education, state authorization for foreign locations of institutions located in a state, clock-to-credit hour conversion, gainful employment, changes made by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 to the campus safety and security reporting requirements in the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the definition of "adverse credit" for borrowers in the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program. State authorization and gainful employment regulations have been the subject of litigation during the past two years, with several legal rulings blocking implementation by USDE.
USDE will hold three public hearings in May 2013 on the proposed topics for the negotiated rulemaking and will seek suggestions for additional topics. The hearings will be held in Washington, DC on May 21, in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 23 and in San Francisco, California on May 30. More information on the hearings, including how members of the public may register to make presentations, may be found in the Federal Register notice. The negotiated rulemaking committee will begin meeting in September 2013 in the Washington, DC area. Committee members will be chosen following the public hearings.
Articles on USDE's announcement appeared in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training both held hearings on college affordability on April 16, 2013. The hearings were described as preparing for the process of reauthorizing the HEA, expected to begin later in 2013 or early in 2014.
The Senate hearing, "The Challenge of College Affordability: The Student Lens," featured testimony addressing the cost of higher education, The House hearing, "Keeping College Within Reach: The Role of Federal Student Aid Programs," included witnesses addressing student aid and its impact on college affordability. Copies of testimony and archived webcasts of the hearings are available on the committees' Websites.
The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and the Workforce will hold an additional hearing, "Keeping College Within Reach: Enhancing Transparency for Student, Families and Taxpayers," on April 24, 2013.


A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform was introduced in the U.S. Senate on April 17, 2013 by eight Senate Democrats and Republicans. The legislation (S. 744) contains language similar to that in visa bills introduced recently in the Senate and House (see Federal Update #31) regarding accrediting organizations' recognition by USDE or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
The language in the Senate immigration reform legislation stipulates that, in order for immigrants with advanced degrees in a field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics from a U.S. institution or program to receive a visa, the institution that awarded the degree must be "accredited by an accrediting body that is itself accredited by either the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation."

The Federal Update informs CHEA members and interested parties on federal policy developments related to self-regulation and peer review. Please direct any inquiries or comments to Jan Friis, CHEA Vice President for Government Affairs, at or at (202) 955-6126.

Copyright 2013, Council for Higher Education Accreditation. All rights reserved.


Dillard University: Jim Muro, Camera on Terminator, Titanic, XMen etc at 330pm today!

Sent on behalf of Mr. Keith Morris:

One of the best guest speakers DillardFilm has ever had will be speaking at 3:30 today!

Jim Muro, Camera on Terminator and a ton of other big films, Titanic, etc., 3:30 p.m., COOK141
Don’t be late. Door will be locked if it's too crowded. I've been trying to land this guy all semester. He just confirmed.

Check out his resume:

Keith Alan Morris
Assistant Professor
School of Mass Communication - Film
Dillard University
2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70122

Office: Professional Studies Building, Room 280F
Phone: c(917)701-7163 w(504)816-4548
Twitter: @keithalanmorris @DillardFilm


TLT Group FridayLive! Experience First: A Model for Active Teaching and Learning Strategies April 26, 2013

FridayLive! Experience First: A Model for Active Teaching and Learning Strategies April 26
26 Apr 2013 2:00 PM EDT

Bookmark and Share
Experience First: A Model for Active Teaching and Learning Strategies

April 26, 2013  2:00-3:00 pm ET - free to all.  

Presenter;Trey Mireles Madison College


Leverage the power of experiential learning and technology to engage students and improve retention. This session will explore how using an experiential learning instructional design model called "EAT" shifts perceptions and empowers your students.

    NOTE:  Login instructions for the session will be sent in the Registration Confirmation Email. Please check your Junk folder as sometimes these emails get trapped there. We will also send an additional login reminder 24 hours prior to the start of the event.

More information and online registration: FridayLive! Experience First: A Model for Active Teaching and Learning Strategies April 26

Hope to see you there!

The TLT Group, A Non-Profit Organization301-270-8312