Category Archives: Uncategorized

John Zipp to be Honored With Sternberg Award

Award to be presented in Washington DC at National AAUP-CBC Conference in June

It is our great pleasure to share with you the excellent news that John Zipp, Past President, Akron-AAUP, has been recognized by the AAUP-CBC with the Marilyn Sternberg award.

At the 1981 annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors, the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Congress passed a resolution establishing the Marilyn Sternberg Award. The award, the resolution stated, is to be given annually to the “AAUP member who best demonstrates concern for human rights, courage, persistence, political foresight, imagination, and collective bargaining skills.” Continue reading

The Importance of Research

The University of Akron community is being asked to make painful decisions regarding how we allocate our resources. The decisions we make now will shape this institution for years to come. Examining our institutional priorities, then, is essential to this endeavor.  One priority that can easily be lost in discussions about our fiscal challenges is our responsibility to support and encourage research and other scholarly and creative endeavors among our faculty as well as our students. That part of our mission is at the heart of everything else we do; it is the lifeblood of any research university. It is also the engine that drives economic advancement.

The role of research universities.

Robert Berdahl, former President of the Association of American Universities, highlighted the key role that research universities play, not only for higher education itself but also for our society as a whole, in his 2009 essay, “Research Universities: Their Value to Society Extends Well Beyond Research.”  The public seems to understand how research in the natural sciences helps us to cure diseases, address our energy needs, and create the new technologies that promote economic growth.  But, equally importantly, few of these solutions can be effective without other areas of research such as the social sciences.

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Akron-AAUP Faculty Member Spotlight: Andrew Rancer

By Israa Eddeb & Sofia Syed, Akron-AAUP Interns and Julie Cajigas

Dr. Andrew Rancer’s key to teaching is getting his students excited. Rancer is a professor in the School of Communication at the University of Akron who teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, and directs master’s students in their projects and theses. He also serves as the chair of the scholarship committee for the School of Communication, and has served in many roles over the years. Contemporary Communication Theory, the second edition of a text he co-authored with School of Communication Director Theodore A. Avtgis, Dominic A. Infante, and Erina L. MacGeorge has just been released. Even with his many involvements, and rigorous research and writing calendar, motivating his students to develop a passion for their coursework is his primary objective.

Professor Andrew Rancer (right), with his co-author Theodore Avtgis, School of Communication Director

Professor Andrew Rancer (right), with his co-author Theodore Avtgis, School of Communication Director

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Fall 2016 Chapter Meeting

Fall 2016 Chapter Meeting
Monday, October 17 at 1 p.m. in Student Union Ballroom B

Our fall chapter meeting will be held Monday, October 17, 1 – 3:00 pm, in Student Union Ballroom B. A light lunch will be served. Please note, this is a members only event, but membership forms will be available at the door for those who wish to join the chapter. (Feel free to bring new hires who are not members so that they can join!).

The agenda is available HERE.

Minutes from the Spring 2016 Chapter Meeting are available for review HERE.

Akron-AAUP Response to the Appointment of Matthew J. Wilson as Interim President of The University of Akron

The Akron-AAUP extends a warm welcome to Interim President Matthew J. Wilson. Given recent challenges at The University of Akron, Dr. Wilson is a strong transitional figure. His background and experience as a faculty member and administrator positions him to work with the faculty to restore trust between the campus community and the university leadership, and to begin much needed improvement to shared governance at The University of Akron.

The faculty of The University of Akron are deeply committed to student success and a bright future for this institution. We see the appointment of a leader with academic experience as a sign that we have been heard. Now, we must continue to be a part of a conversation that will focus on the educational mission of the university and build on its considerable existing strengths to ensure an excellent learning environment for our students.

The Akron-AAUP looks forward to working closely with Dr. Wilson to unify The University of Akron leadership, campus and community, so we can move forward as one.

Akron-AAUP response to the resignation of President Scott Scarborough

In response to the announcement regarding the resignation of Dr. Scarborough, the Executive Committee of the Akron-AAUP welcomes the opportunity to work with Interim Provost Rex Ramsier and the university community to turn the page and move forward as one.

The faculty of The University of Akron are deeply committed to our students’ success and invested in the future of this institution. Accordingly, the faculty must be a part of the conversation that will focus on the educational mission of the university and build on its considerable existing strengths to ensure an excellent learning environment for our students.

We look forward to discussing the future of the university with Interim Provost Rex Ramsier and the Board of Trustees, and to playing a significant role in the appointment of an interim President, and ultimately, a permanent President for the University.

Frequently Asked Questions: Contract Negotiations and a Faculty Strike

February 15, 2016

Why are we considering a strike? What are the issues at stake?

The larger issues at stake are the quality of education at The University of Akron and the University’s misplaced priorities. We believe that the University administration must prioritize the educational mission of the institution in a way that places academic instruction and student learning first. Faculty who are fairly and competitively compensated is essential to this goal.

Where do we stand today?

We have submitted all of our proposals to the University and now have all of theirs. The following Articles are still being negotiated; Article 20 (Distance and Distributed Learning); Article 16 (Compensation) and Article 17 (Benefits).  Recently, we have reached agreement on Article 18 (Professional Development Leave), and Article 19 (Intellectual Property).

While there has been progress on non-economic issues, we now face very difficult negotiations on compensation and health care benefits. The Akron-AAUP regards the University’s salary proposal as entirely insufficient, and the increased costs of health care plans, and aggressive phase-out of retiree spouse and dependent coverage, all as punitive, unnecessary, and indefensible. Continue reading

Web Site Access

There have been a number of reports that our website has not been accessible on campus.  IT personnel have been notified of the problem and we’ve been assured that this is a technical issue. We expect that it will be resolved very soon.

The State of the University As Seen by The Akron – AAUP

“This historic institution may be facing its greatest challenge since Buchtel College burned to the ground” [in 1899].

        —Jane Bond, former judge and UA trustee (2008-2012)

With shrinking numbers of full-time, permanent faculty to teach its students, with a President and Board of Trustees who do not have the confidence of the faculty, and with the limited university budget increasingly diverted away from its central mission, the university has become the focus of increased concern in the community.

  • A recent poll of full-time tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty indicates that 72% lack confidence in the President’s direction and 78% lack confidence in the Board of Trustees.
  • The size of the permanent faculty has shrunk by 10% in the last five years and is well below the proportion of such faculty on the teaching staff at comparable schools nationwide.  Now, 1 in every 8 full-time faculty members are “temporary visiting faculty,” who typically earn less than beginning public school teachers with only a B.A. degree.
  • In a time of supposed financial restriction and the firing of more than 160 staff, millions are being spent on gimmicks, including “rebranding” the university as a polytechnic; hiring new, high-priced administrators to run centers before the centers are even approved by Faculty Senate; and entering into a $840,000 contract with an untested startup company to provide 16 minimally-trained “success coaches” to serve all entering freshmen.

What You Need to Know

  • There is no polytechnic wave in higher education.  More universities have added lacrosse teams in the last 5 years than are re-branding as polytechs.
  • It is a considerable stretch to compare UA to MIT, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech and Georgia Tech.  MIT rejects 92% of applicants, while we accept 96%.  Only 46% of UA faculty are full-time, while 83-91% are full-time at these other schools.  In 2013, UA had roughly $40 million in externally funded research; Texas Tech had $100 million, Virginia Tech had $350 million, Georgia Tech took in $600 million, while MIT earned $815 million.  
  • Despite the doomsayers, the number of colleges and universities is not declining, but rather is growing: there was an 80% increase in their numbers between 1970 and 2000, with another 10% increase since then.

The Strengths of The University of Akron

The University of Akron has an incredibly dedicated group of accomplished faculty and staff members.  While their numbers have shrunk and their service responsibilities have ballooned, they have continued to further the mission of the university and provide a quality education to their students in spite of the lack of support from the administration, all while continuing their scholarship in the lab, library, studio, and archive. In the words of Jane Bond, the faculty are “an asset to be cultivated.”

  • A record number of students at UA received their degrees in spring 2015, thanks to the efforts of faculty and staff.  The six-year graduation rate (based on first-time, full-time freshmen) has gone from 35% up to 40% in the last five years.
  • Federal research expenditures increased by 67% from FY10 to FY14, an especially impressive achievement given the shrinking number of permanent faculty.
  • Due to the success of the Pathways program, the retention rate for incoming students is now at the highest level for at least a generation.
  • Alumni who fondly remember their time at UA continue to generously contribute to scholarships which help our current students as well as attract future students.

A Way Forward

Akronites are proud of our town and of our university.  We know the struggles that Akron has faced, as the rubber industry and its jobs declined, and we realize the ways in which The University of Akron has increasingly come to shape and define our future.  We don’t need to run away from the name “Akron,” nor diminish it in anyway with a “polytechnic” tagline.  

In order to recruit students we should build on our historic strengths, particularly among non-traditional students and veterans.  There are 130,000 Ohioans who have completed 2 years of college without earning a BA; and we already enroll more veterans than any other NE Ohio university.  Both are groups that we can and should recruit.

The University of Akron has long provided a quality education in many different fields at a reasonable cost, at the same time as it has grown a national and international reputation in research. There is much to be proud of in this institution, and many areas of quality to build upon. We encourage the administration to learn more about the strengths and potential of this university from the student, faculty, staff and community viewpoints. We must do a better job of building on these strengths to chart a path forward.