Tag Archives: educational studies

Profs in cut departments file formal grievance

18 faculty members, all from departments that are being eliminated or downsized as a result of Dean Forman’s cuts last fall, have filed a formal grievance with Emory College. The complaint, which alleges numerous violations in CFAC’s handling of the cuts, was written in consultation with a prominent Atlanta lawyer. (One professor who signed the document told us that any administrator who glances at it will know that the signatories mean business.) It demands that Emory annul the cuts and “affirm the primacy of the [Emory] Bylaws” and the official principles governing faculty regulations.

You can view the original document here [PDF], courtesy of the Wheel.

The 18 signatories are David Armstrong and Sheila Tefft (journalism); Walter Reed, Angelika Bammer, Kevin Corrigan, Sander Gilman, Anna Grimshaw, Sean Meighoo, Catherine Nickerson and Kimberly Wallace-Sanders (ILA); Juliette Apkarian, Vera Proskurina and Elena Glazov-Corrigan (Russian/REALC); Samiran (Shomu) Banerjee (economics); Jason Francisco and Julia Kjelgaard (visual arts); and Robert Jensen and Carole Hahn (Division of Educational Studies).

Needless to say, the Grievance Committee has denied the signatories’ requests to repeal the cuts and affirm the university’s commitment to uphold its own bylaws. (The only request it did grant was to respond to the grievance during this semester.) English professor Sheila Cavanagh, writing on behalf of the ten-person committee, reportedly “finds no cause to pursue this matter further.”

Faculty members, including AAUP representatives, insist that the battle isn’t over.

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No oversight: Fact sheet on race at Emory

Whether you’re new to the controversies at Emory or just want a refresher, the SRC has prepared a fact sheet on racial representation at the university, the devastating effects the cuts are having on faculty and grad students of color, and the university’s increasing insularity within Atlanta and the U.S. South.
Fact Sheet on Race and the Emory Cuts

Edited 2/22: PDF revised for clarity

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Watch: Channel 2 interviews

Thanks to Mael and Jonathan (of the #EmoryCuts YouTube channel) for preserving this video. The text of the segment is still here.

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Pres. Wagner responds

President Wagner has responded to some of the questions the Student Revisioning Committee delivered to him at his State of the University Address and in person.

Here is his letter [PDF].
Edit: It’s in the Wheel, too, awaiting comments.

Sure to cause some controversy is the suggestion that Emory’s Center for Community Partnerships has the resources to benefit Atlanta’s public schools on the same level of an educational studies department. Of course, we are proud and thankful for a “munificent” donation from a trustee intended to raise graduation rates in city schools. Yet these projects are not the same as evidence-based research and training.

We are still awaiting an official reply from Dean Forman by this Friday.

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Wagner: “Disruptively innovative”

President Wagner delivered his annual State of the University address to a packed room this afternoon. We bring you some highlights:

  • The state of the university is “goooood” (imagine the pitch dropping halfway through, with a tiny question mark at the end).
  • Campaign Emory is likely to hit its goal of raising $1.6 billion by December. We should also expect an announcement of an “anchor” donation for the next fundraising campaign. This one’s gonna fund really wild things like student financial aid.
  • Speaking of which, Oxford College no longer has a need-blind admissions policy. The Druid Hills campus stands by its policy of selecting students based on merit rather than their deep pockets, but the $84 million a year cost of financial aid is a burden. Everyone wants to reduce attrition rates and put scholarship money to better use.
  • As one of only 200 research universities among 4600 institutions of higher education in the U.S., and one of a smaller group of R1 schools, Emory represents a “tiny niche” in the education market, but an important one.
  • Gray Crouse, professor of biology and president of the Governing Committee, has advised Wagner that the old way of running research universities is economically unsustainable. Crouse warns that “most faculty are oblivious” to this fact. (Wonder if that includes the economists and education policy analysts?)
  • The economy will affect “the college experience at the most fundamental levels”: curriculum, teaching, promotion and tenure standards, lab management, the residential experience… We couldn’t tell you how any of these items will actually change.

Clearly, what we really need are “new income streams.” Apart from expanding our partnership with Georgia Tech, examples were scarce.

  • There is a new holding company called “Emory Innovations Inc.” Officially separate from the university, it will retain patents for things that would “support our revenue goals.”
  • Where business practices are concerned, we should learn from former Emory president Atticus Haygood, who said, “Let us stand by the good and let’s make it better.” Presumably, this only applies to investment portfolios.
  • Pres. Wagner has spoken to Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-Fil-A, on two occasions, but he has not responded to letters on behalf of 9 GLBTQ student groups and GALA, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association. He will “not stand in the way of Sodexo” (loaded words) if it chooses to change up the franchises on campus. Emory students seem to have been voting against the company with our wallets…
  • We need to “capitalize on our literary assets” and live up to that #1 ranking in USA Today without encouraging literary scholarship or creativity in other languages or connecting literature to other endeavors.

Thanks to a strong showing by the SRC and supporters, the cuts dominated the Q&A. Andrew Zonderman presented the SRC’s statement of demands and handed Wagner a list of prepared questions. To the question “Are you willing to work with us?” Wagner answered yes.

  • Katherine Bryant of neuroscience asked about the crises facing Emory’s reputation, capped off most recently with the threat of censure by the AAUP (“where we’ll join a long list of eminent peers inclunding the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the University of Dubuque, and North Idaho College”). Wagner responded, “Quite the contrary”: peer institutions have been commending Emory for its courageous leadership. He wasn’t too concerned with the AAUP statement insofar as it represented opinions from on campus. The only faculty who count teach at other universities.
  • Amber Jones of the DES wanted to compare the university’s rhetoric of diversity with its actions with regard to the compromised positions of African American and Latino/a undergraduates, graduate students and faculty (“we know that because that’s part of what we study”). They quarreled over the figures on minority students’ dropout rates. Asked how he justified cutting a division that has produced the highest proportion of black PhD graduates in the country for the last twenty years, Wagner replied, “Whatever rationale the deans have used, I’m sure they took that into account.”

According to Wagner, the faculty need to take more initiative in governing the institution and examining the status of the liberal arts.

  • Professor Kevin Corrigan of the ILA: “Why would you allow the effective dismemberment of the ILA before the committee on the liberal arts, headed by Provost Lewis, got down to business?” No definite answer, although Wagner was sure he had sent Corrigan a warning letter back in March.
  • Corrigan also asked if Wagner had a “real vision for the liberal arts.” Wagner had come prepared. A liberal arts education requires critical thinking, creativity, integrity: “I think we’re failing because we just emphasize the critical thinking part.” (Cf.) The liberal arts also requires an “authentic identity,” something that isn’t defined by an institutional tie–thus, Wagner says, the Goizueta Business School, the medical school and the law school are all liberal arts schools. (I always knew my humanities background made me a phony.)

I’ve compiled this from my own notes, and am happy to correct inaccuracies or omissions. @EmoryCuts and the Wheel are following the speech as well.

Tomorrow The next day, the zombies walked on Asbury Circle.

Edited to add: You can now watch Wagner’s speech–sans Q&A–on YouTube.

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Get your cringing muscles limbered

Evan Mah at the Wheel: Faculty Clash with Forman at Meeting.

An AAUP representative told the crowd to expect an official statement soon.

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Running EDS’ legacy into the ground

Amber of the Division of Educational Studies shared this disturbing tidbit with the Student Re-visioning Committee last night: Challenge and Champions, a summer academic enrichment and athletic program for middle school students co-sponsored by the DES and the graduate school. Like many DES initiatives, this one stemmed from an awareness of profound inequalities in the existing education system:

Our vision is that all middle-grades youth, regardless of income, ethnicity or home life can work toward increased: skills as a student, confidence as a learner, cultural competency in a global society, and comfort with taking on leadership…. We accept students with physical disabilities and learning differences.

Only 10 years old, the program has already been ranked one of the top 5 summer learning institutes nationwide. The teachers are M.A.T. (Masters of Arts in Teaching) students who are up on the latest research.

Dean Tedesco has quietly promised to maintain the C&C program in the absence of a Division of Educational Studies. Yes, it is better than stamping out the program entirely. But what will the name and the legacy mean in the wake of the cuts? The faculty who designed and ran the initiative would still be laid off, and the student teachers may not have received professional training.

Amber expressed a sentiment that’s been on many of our minds: Deans Tedesco and Forman are increasingly eager to appease graduate students in “token” ways. Making the best out of a bad situation? Or just giving up?

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Rally round-up

Nearly all of today’s speakers stressed that our lobbying is not a departmental issue or even, ultimately, an Emory issue.

  • Chants were chanted.
  • A member of the Division of Educational Studies remarked that the last time she checked, the DES was eminent. It would be nearly impossible to write a scholarly article on the history of African-American education or education measurement without citing some of Emory’s faculty. If there was any decline, it was because the Division was constantly being pressed to do more with less. She emphasized the DES’s historic and current position as a haven for black scholars, and its initiatives with prisoners and other extremely under-served populations in the South.
  • As Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies PhD students Mairead and Noemi pointed out, Emory publicly congratulates itself on attracting a growing number of Latino/a students–but to what end, if language and ethnic studies programs are in a shambles?
  • Joey of the ILA remarked that the night before, the editor-in-chief of Art in America delivered a plenary lecture against the backdrop of an obliterated Visual Arts department and a mutilated ILA.
  • John Demar encouraged us to spread the story as widely as possible–to the national press, to celebrities, and especially to alumni. In that spirit, there’s a new initiative: Make a short video of yourself explaining how Emory’s programs and/or the liberal arts in general mean to you. Post it on YouTube with the tag #MyEmoryCutsStory.
  • Finally, Emiko Soltis of the ILA and Students and Workers in Solidarity brought some optimism to a sweaty, tired crowd by performing a Chilean protest song and some Emory-specific Pete Seeger.
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