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Action Alert: Another resolution on Academic Analytics, May 10 at Graduate School New Brunswick

Submitted by Staff on Mon, 05/09/2016 - 10:21

On April 27, 2016, Deepa Kumer and David M Hughes informed New Brunswick-area Graduate School faculty about next steps on Academic Analytics:


Important info:

Please come to the meeting of the Graduate School – New Brunswick on Tuesday 10 May at 2pm in Busch Campus Center, Central Hall. Note the room change: The new location is Central Hall in the Busch Campus Center. The meeting room is located across from the International Lounge and down the ramp that leads to the room on the interior wall of the Campus Center. We were informed via general email that the turn-out is anticipated to be quite large, so that's the reason for the room change.

We will add Academic Analytics to the agenda of the meeting and vote on a resolution very similar to the one passed by faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences (NB) in December.

Here is the text of the resolution for GSNB faculty consideration, revised to show the room change to Central Hall in New Brunswick: AA Resolution for May 10 GSNB Faculty Meeting. Please arrive promptly as it will require a 2/3-vote to amend the official agenda. 

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to both members and non-members because many of you, including non-members, care a great deal about the Union’s campaign against Academic Analytics (AA). (You can catch up by reading one of David's previous messages here: [Link to the message of 25 January 2016].) In this effort, we are attempting to preserve the qualitative, peer-driven measure of individuals and academic units. If you have a subscription to The Chronicle of Higher Education, you may access an opinion piece written by David entitled "Academic Analytics: Buyer Beware" that was published online on February 29, 2016:

The Administration has not changed its position since December. At that time, Chancellor Richard Edwards refused to commit, in writing, to exclude AA data from the process of tenure and promotion. Also, in March, the faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) passed a resolution insisting upon the same firewall against use in evaluations – as well as upon the exclusion AA data from budgetary decision-making. There was also a demand for access to AA profiles for affected faculty. This demand for access came with a deadline: 1 March 2016. As that date passed, David encouraged you to use the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) to request your AA profiles. Roughly seventy of you did, and the Administration denied all of your requests (strangely, since the Administration honored David's request, although “outside the OPRA process” as they put it). So we are at stalemate.

To move forward, your union is undertaking three actions. First, we would like to hold the administration accountable for the Dean's failure to respond to the express wish of the faculty. Having signed the proper petition, fifteen SAS faculty have inserted, in the next SAS faculty meeting, a question-and-answer session with Executive Dean Peter March. I urge all SAS members to attend that gathering on Tuesday 3 May at 10am-12pm in Voorhees Hall, room 105.

Second, as mentioned in the subject line of this message, we would like to pass a resolution against AA in the Graduate School – New Brunswick. (Note: old version that has previous room, but text of resolution is unchanged). Although quite similar to SAS’s resolution, this draft document leaves out any mention of AA’s role in the evaluation of individual scholars: the Graduate School is not involved in tenure or promotion. In common with the SAS version, however, the resolution stipulates that the Dean should share AA profiles with faculty – this time, by a deadline of 1 September 2016.

Should Dean Jerome Kukor allow that date to pass, we will embark upon our third line of attack. We have consulted with the Union’s legal team. In the lawyers' view, we may continue to demand that the Administration provide information pursuant to OPRA. They have also advised that, under the Common Law, faculty have a right to file a collective request for information to obtain the data used to determine their scores and the scores of their department. An action brought under the Common Law by faculty members and the AAUP-AFT would bring the Administration before a proper court of law and compel it to explain why faculty should not be allowed to see publicly collected data about themselves. We also expect that the request will, in fact, free up those data for our inspection.

Let us end by assuring you that the Union is in this for the long haul. We employ an extraordinary staff of full-time contract enforcement representatives and attorneys on retainer. For its part, the New Brunswick Faculty Council has investigated AA. You may read their report here. At the national level, the AAUP issued a strong statement last month against academic analytics. In short, professionals at 11 Stone Street and beyond are working to ensure the fairness of the University's evaluative processes under this administration and the next one. And something even larger is at stake: we must preserve the many varieties of scholarship, teaching, and service – a diversity increasingly imperiled as unimaginative, corporate models colonize the Academy.

In solidarity,

Deepa Kumar
Vice-President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Associate Professor, Journalism & Media Studies (SC&I-New Brunswick)

David M. Hughes
President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Professor, Anthropology (SAS-New Brunswick)



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