This brief is summary information that follows the reports of two football fans at the UW-Madison stadium who displayed masks depicting, now president elect, Donald Trump holding a noose around the necks of President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the UW-Madison football stadium on October 29.
Student athlete, Mr. Nigel Hayes (pictured above from: host.madison.com), authored this letter in response to the events, which was shared quickly among students, according to the Badger Herald.
While Chancellor Rebecca Blank issued her own statement, alumni mounted a series of letters that critiqued what they considered a flat response. Students, alumni and community members have called for more action to fight against racial injustice on campus and in the Madison community at large.
When budget cuts are imposed on public universities, everyone suffers. Students, faculty, and staff are directly and indirectly impacted in countless ways: more courses for each faculty member to instruct each semester, increased class sizes, lack of access to required courses which may delay graduation, and layoffs are among the tangible impacts of cuts to the UW system. See more of the impacts and risks created by cuts to the UW System schools here: CampusBudgetUpdate
According to The American Association of University Professors (AAUP):
Although inflation-adjusted full-time continuing faculty salaries increased by 2.7 percent between the 2014–15 and 2015–16 academic years, there are at least two reasons why this number may be misleading. The first is methodological: as a result of categorical revisions to the AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey, visiting faculty salaries are now being reported in the “instructor” category, and this change has had a one-time effect of making the salaries of full-time ranked faculty members (assistant, associate, and full professors) appear higher or lower than they otherwise would, depending on the institution. The second reason underlines a systemic threat to higher education: full-time ranked faculty positions are in decline.
Over the past four decades, the proportion of the academic labor force holding full-time tenured positions has declined by 26 percent and the share holding full-time tenure-track positions has dropped by 50 percent. The increasing reliance on faculty members in part-time positions has destabilized the faculty by creating an exploitative, two-tiered system; it has also eroded student retention and graduation rates at many institutions.
In many respects, higher education is at a crossroads. We can continue down the current path of increasing reliance on contingent faculty positions and accept the negative consequences, or we can take bold steps to rebuild the tenure system that made American colleges and universities the best in the world. There are clear economic benefits to expanding academic tenure. Greater job security allows faculty members to mentor students and junior colleagues more effectively. It also enables them to take greater risks in instruction and research, which often yield improved educational experiences and outcomes. Breakthroughs in research benefit the broader society as well. These claims are supported by the results of a survey conducted by the AAUP Research Office and by interviews conducted with tenured faculty members across the nation, including a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and a Nobel Prize winner.
If institutions of higher education are to excel over the coming decade, colleges and universities must develop plans to convert part-time non-tenure-track positions to full-time tenure-track positions. The AAUP hopes to lead the way in helping institutions develop these plans, which can be undertaken at an additional average cost of 2 percent of institutional expenditures per year.
The decline of the tenure system did not occur overnight. Changing course will not be easy, but this year’s report identifies opportunities for savings that can help defray or offset the cost of conversion. Over the long term, efforts to improve the security of the faculty can yield benefits for students, communities, and our nation—and, ultimately, strengthen the economic status of the profession.