The Art of Procrastination in increasing productivity in Higher Education

Composed by: Alethia Buckle

     Dr. Ferrari, in an interview by the American Psychological Association, stated his belief that everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator. He claims that we all put tasks off, but in his research, has found that 20 percent of U.S. men and women are chronic procrastinators. He believes that they delay at home, work, school and in relationships.

Steel, in his book, “The Procrastination Equation, referred to Procrastination as dysfunctional delay, yet some researchers have posited the claim that the habit of procrastinating may be a strategy for dealing with stress. It is believed that putting off tasks makes us trends-1worse off for doing so. However, is procrastination entirely negative? Steel postulates that the obsessive person who tries to get tasks done at the first opportunity may be just as dysfunctional as the procrastinator who is seen as irrational for leaving everything for last minute. He accepts that none of these persons are using time intelligently. Steel made the claim that a type of energy builds within a procrastinator, eventually, a threshold is crossed and something clicks. At this point, a procrastinator starts working on the task. He believes that there is some inner mind that automatically reduced the task down to its essence, as there are no more moments to spare. The procrastinator delves into the work, making ruthless decisions and astonishing progress. He believes that before the person starts to work, there is perhaps a menacing cloudiness, and then the panic of the last minute brings some glittering clarity over them.

 

How can I make procrastination work for me?

Megan Poorman’s article on “Procrastinating your way to a PhD,” posits that everyone procrastinates. The notion exists that this is a bad habit and one must strive to not engage in it. However, Poorman used Piers Steel’s trends2workshops, based on his book, “The Procrastination Equation,’ as a support for her arguments that state that we can make procrastination work for us. Steel argues that human nature causes us to do anything when we want to avoid tackling important tasks. She suggests that to avoid losing productive time, we should execute tasks that are less urgent while we are procrastinating on one.

Can Procrastination help to increase productivity?

Poorman notes that we need to change our mindset in order to engage in ‘productive procrastination.’ She explains this type of procrastination by suggesting five steps. These include: redefining our source of value, letting go of the guilt, using the dead time, employing the law of averages and recognizing when you have to force yourself. She explains that to conquer this problem, we must change how we view procrastination and make it produtrends-3ctive, we must redefine our source of value, which is having the ability to relax and not be so stressed about unfinished work, but be able to switch between work and life tasks.

We should forgive ourselves and not allow our minds to be clouded with guilt and remember who we want to become after completing our degree. We should use our ‘dead time’ to do other tasks such as checking and responding to important emails, and doing other required paperwork, but we should avoid doing things like checking social media. We, must try and prevent last minute rush before our deadlines, but rather clear some space so we will have more time to complete our research later in the day. Because of the flexibility of graduate school, Poorman suggests that the down weeks should allow us to be better prepared for more ttrends-4edious weeks. Deadlines will always be there to keep, hence, if we find ourselves procrastinating or behind on one task because we don’t feel like working on it, then we should push through. We should recognize that our progress will fluctuate, however we should average out time spent working. Poorman says we have to force ourselves at times because deadlines are coming up and we need to recognize when we must do this. We should employ productive procrastination, and this will allow us to feel up to the challenge instead of being overworked and burned out.

 

Can procrastination really work positively in higher education?

It is believed that procrastination may help us to become even more productive if we are able to channel it the right way. Interactions with some persons doing higher education at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, have revealed claims that engaging in this practice give them an increased flow of adrenaline that ignites a drive to get the task done. The restrends-5earcher believes that some persons may not intentionally want to procrastinate, however, more clarity for given tasks may occur when deadlines are drawing near. This means that a research topic may seem complex and unmanageable, but with the deadlines drawing closer, concepts become clearer and a plan of action appears into one’s consciousness. The researcher is of the view that people are different in nature and one approach may not work for all as humans have different levels of comfort and different conditions under which we function. Hence, if a procrastinator gets the tasks done because of the last minute drive, then one cannot discourage them from discontinuing a practice that may have become their nature. On the other hand, there are those whose best work comes only when work begins soon after tasks were given, this person may produce mediocre work if they engage in the ‘procrastination equation’ as those conditions may be stressful to them and may cause them to fall apart. Therefore the researcher stands on mutual grounds when the issue of procrastination is considered, it is not all for one, and it is not one for all.

 

References:

Ferrari, J. (2010) Psychology of Procrastination: Why People Put Off Important Tasks Until the Last Minute. American Psychological Association.  Retrieved from:

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/04/procrastination.aspx

Poorman, M. (2017) Procrastinating your way to a PhD. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from:

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/procrastinate-your-way-phd

Steel, P. (2010). The Procrastination Equation: How to stop putting things off and start getting stuff done. Random House Canada. Retrieved from

https://surveyyourself.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/procrastination_samplechapter.pdf

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The Art of Procrastination in increasing productivity in Higher Education

Guilty allegations? Weak sanctions and unwarranted secrecy!

Please watch my Vlog via link below:

Vestina Oates- M.Ed.  Curriculum Development Student (UWI- Mona)

“Pssst, sexiness”, “Girl you body look good”, “Mek me touch it nuh”; How many times have we heard these phrases thrown at women in Jamaica? Some of these have become obsolete and more modern ones have replaced them; but this still does not mitigate the effects of sexual harassment.

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Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual abuse continues to be a global phenomenon. It occurs in the work place, educational institutions, on the streets, at home and just about anywhere that people coexist.

Despite several highly publicized lawsuits and incidents heightening an awareness of sexual harassment in schools, the problem ensues. In a recent article posted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2016), Bullying and Youth Expert Dorothy L. Espelage posited that sexual harassment is a prevalent form of victimization that most antibullying programs ignore and teachers and school officials often fail to recognize. Often times the victims are left to suffer in silence while the perpetrators are let off with a slap on the wrist.images-6This is how the students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) felt when History professor, Gabriel Piterberg returned to work after he was accused of sexual harrassment. The students at UCLA demanded justice for their colleagues who were victims of sexual harassment.

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Piterberg was accused by two female graduate students of making sexual comments to them, pushing his body against them, and sticking his tongue into their mouths. Sounds uncouth and ‘unprofesoral’ right?  No wonder when he entered his classroom that day he was greeted by the symbolic words, “If a tenured Professor sexually assaults his own students, its abuse of power.”

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I agree with this statement to a great extent. How many times have we heard about cases where female employees are threatened if they don’t have sex with their employers, persons are promised promotions if they provide sexual favours (Yes I deliberately say “persons” because this includes men too!) and students are promised pass marks if they indulge in sexual behaviours with their teachers?  Did Pitersberg promise his students As ?

Recent studies such as that of Chamberlain et al (2008) agree with Pallid and Barickman (1991) who suggest that, because of power structures and cultural biases in organisations (such as universities), “women are overwhelmingly the targets of sexual harassment and, although a profile has not been empirically established, nearly all harassers are male”. Suffice to mention that even in cases where male harassment is investigated, it tends to be rare and not severe as compared to that of females. Also, in our Jamaican society if males report cases of sexual harassment, they are ridiculed.

But let us look at the bigger picture here. The bigger picture is that Piterberg returned to the classroom following a settlement with  UCLA and this spurred uproars by angry scores of students, staff and even colleagues.

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They demonstrated for what they termed as “insufficient consequences” and a “lack of transparency”. So can anyone blame the protesters? “After all, if it appen to one, it nuh caah happen to all?”

Whilst reading the article, I asked myself some critical questions, some of which I elicit your responses in answering to arrive at a defensible verdict. Is the professor really guilty? In his defence, Piterberg hummed Shaggy’s 2000 lyrics punchline, “It wasn’t me”. Since then, the professor was found guilty based purely on the allegations and was stripped of his title as head of the University’s Center for Near East Studies, charged a $3,000 fine, accepted a one-quarter suspension without pay, and attended sexual harassment training.

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Many persons love stardom and I’m sure Piterberg did not want to become famous for being a sexual predator but what if the accused is already famous? Casey Affleck, was accused of sexually assaulting two females. He won a Golden Globe for best actor and is going on to win an Oscar. Even President Donald Trump, won the United States elections with accusations of sexual harassment hanging over his head. Was Piterberg victimized because he is “just” a professor and Affleck and Trump idolized due to their celebrity statuses?

Jamaicans would say “ if  it nuh go so, it nearly go so” Hence, I would  strongly advise Piterberg that “any side wha him sleep pan last night, him better sleep pan that same side tonight because in many sexual harassment cases, predators face harsher penalties. My grandmother often say “if you lie with dogs you will rise with flees”. Certainly, for the History Professor to be accused of this type behavior he must have had a history of such insidious deeds and ‘mix up inna bangarang’.

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Maybe there are dozens of other students who also fell prey to his victimization but were too afraid to speak up about it. This reminds me of Kastl and Kleiner (2001, p.156) quote that “sexual harassment has been a problem since there has been interaction between men and women”. They also confirmed that “as long as there has been a sexual attraction between the sexes and that attraction is not mutual there will be cases of sexual harassment”. Are they putting a life punishment of Piterberg because it involves sexual harassment? Should Piterberg allowed freedom having paid
the price for his sins? Once a sexual harasser is he always a sexual harasser?

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On the other hand, the sexual harassment claims
made by the two female students would be far more defensible should they have substantiated the claims with evidence whether quantitative or qualitative, for instance, pictures, voice notes, video tape or supplemental data. Their arguments lack validity and leaves plenty room for loopholes and controversial debates. It becomes Piterberg’s word against the two female students’ words.

What if the two female students are conspiring against the professor? Do we really know if the accusations are true since there is no material evidence to tie the Professor to the “years” of harassment which the graduate students experienced? The possibility exists that the women may have a personal vendetta against Piterberg or are being malicious. What if the situation was true for Piterberg but involving male students instead? How would society have treated the case? Would Piterberg even be allowed to return to the classroom? I doubt it.  On the contrary, if it was a mal
e student accusing a female professor of the same act would it even reach this far? Would the male student be glorified and the female professor vilified?

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As a society we have too many double standards and blue ribbons. Herein lies the problem with any sort of sexual allegation in our society – an accusation is considered conviction, and the public expects the administration to respond accordingly. In this case, Piterberg should not have returned to the classroom for ethical and rational reasons. UCLA administrators should have examined the logistics of this sensitive matter. Ultimately, it has left a stigma to Piterberg’s reputation and the institution generally. From a professional standpoint it paints an ugly picture on the university and fellow professors. It would be far better for Piterberg to have resigned and sought another job than to return in such tensed environment. The repercussions of sexual harassment is aptly captured by Kayuni (2009) in a study on Sexual Harassment in Higher Education, citing one of Malawi’s weekend papers claim that “Sexual harassment is more than the act. It is the tone, the feeling and the consequences of that event that wreak the most havoc on its victims” (Malawi News, 27 January- 2 February 2007).

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Are we supposed to trust the administration to handle matters of sexual harassment when again they are complacent in assuring the quality of life and comfort of the perpetrator rather than the victim? Mohipp and Senn (2008) and Martin (2008) point out that in most schools, sexual harassment has now became an issue of research and discussion. For this reason, the Government of Jamaican has enacted a Sexual Harassment Bill for debate in Parliament. A recent article dated December 14, 2015, in the Star newspaper, pointed out that if passed, this would be a groundbreaking piece of legislation. Sexual harassment is a major factor why many Jamaican women leave their jobs. In fact those who stay, normally do so due to a lack of options. (Hussey- Whyte, 2010). Suffice to say, sexual harassment can lead to psychological , emotional and other irreparable damages on the victim. How then should it be treated? You decide.

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Written by Vestina Oates- MA Curriculum Development Student- UWI Mona

References

Chamberlain L, Crowley M, Tope D and Hodson R. (2008). Sexual Harassment inOrganizational Context. Work and Occupations, 35(3), 262-295Chancellor College. undated. Students Rules and Regulations. University of Malawi,Chancellor College

Hussey-Whyte, D.(2010). retrieved from:http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/sexual-harassment-

Kastl, M and Kleiner, B. (2001). New Developments Concerning Discrimination and Harassment in Universities. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 21 (8/9/10), 156-164

Martin, J. (2008). Peer Sexual Harassment Finding Voice, Changing Culture-An Intervention Strategy for Adolescent Females. Violence Against Women, 14 (1), 100-124

Mohipp C and Senn C. (2008). Graduate Students’ Perceptions of Contrapower Sexual Harassment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,. 23 (9). 1258-1276

Paludi, M.A., and Barickman, R .(1991). Their Own Voices: Responses from Individuals Who Have Experienced Sexual Harassment and Supportive Techniques for Dealing with Victims of Sexual Harassment. In Paludi, M.A., and R. Barickman (Eds.) Academic and Workplace Sexual Harassment: A Resource Manual. Albany: State University of New York Press

Star(2014).The Sexual Harassment Bill: Part one. Retrieved from:http://jamaica-star.com/article/features/20151214/sexual-harassment-bill-part-one

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2016, December 9). Sexual harassment common among middle school children, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 20, 2017 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161209184825.htm

Watanabe, T. UCLA professor sanctioned over sexual misconduct allegations returns to teaching, sparking protests. Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucla- sexual-harass-20170109-story.html

Guilty allegations? Weak sanctions and unwarranted secrecy!

ANOTHER UNIVERSITY IN JAMAICA: YAY OR NAY?

20150328_ldp001_0

ARE UNIVERSITIES SERVING THEIR PURPOSE?

Do we really need another university in Jamaica? Are universities even serving a purpose? Did someone not refer to a particular university as an ‘intellectual ghetto’? Selingo (2015) posited that the primary purpose of attending university is to get an education and to be prepared for the workplace. Let’s be honest, are the currents universities adequately preparing students for the workplace? Are students even being properly educated or are they being victims of indoctrination? I have heard too many tertiary students lamenting that they are clueless about their purpose for attending university.tumblr_nlz30lcz1e1qhiaqno1_500

Some are aware and are capable of critically explaining their purpose but too many do not know. Duderstadt (1991) lamented that, “an array of powerful social, economic, and technological forces is driving change in the needs of society and the institutions created to respond to those needs. It is time once again to reconsider the social contract between the university and the nation.” This salient point was raised over two decades ago, yet it is applicable to current times. Despite the author, speaking about the United States, one can envision this concern within the Jamaican context. Once again, are the universities preparing people for the current labour demand of Jamaica and the world? While strides are being made to boost the training of skilled labourers and computer literate graduates, there is an enormous room for improvement.

DID SOMEONE SAY CARIBBEAN MARITIME UNIVERSITY?

fritzpinnockpq20160112jb

According to the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) there are only three universities in Jamaica. That figure will soon become four because on January 24, 2017, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will see Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) becoming Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) early this year. This new addition will level the field and attempt to supply the labour market, both local and global with graduates who are ready to work. The Bill was well received and supported by both sides of the House. Dr. Morais Guy, boasted that he first  brought the Bill to cabinet in 2013 and he is elated that it has manifested. However, it was Minister Mike Henry who piloted the bill that was introduced to the House on January 10, 2017. Many have expressed that it was one of the quickest bills to get pass in a House. President of CMI, Dr. Pinnock expressed how elated he was to see the House agreed on an issue while placing their political beliefs aside. The passing of the Bill was a breath of fresh air to the members in the Shipping and Logistics industries  who usually struggle to fill vacancies.

Who would have thought? After that shocking audit in January last year! Stop gwan like yo eva hear!

legislature

It was said by the Auditor General that CMI had unqualified and inexperienced staff. Dr. Pinnock cried foul and all the fowls scattered and no more was uttered. Anyways, CMI is going to become a UNIVERSITY! The crowd goes wild and everyone is blowing them kisses.

Currently, CMI is the only higher education institution that provides maritime training in Jamaica and the region. I would think that everyone should be happy for their achievement. Nonetheless, CMI becoming a university could suggest that the proposed logistic hub will be materialized very soon and the government is placing CMI at the forefront. This is a huge YAY because that spells JOBS JOBS JOBS. Reality is, the world is changing and society cannot digest anymore of the ‘book’ graduates…we need graduates who are ‘workplace’ ready and CMI produces them.

CARIBBEAN MARITIME UNIVERSITY LOOKS PROMISING AND PROSPEROUS

cxoxchhwiaivlkm

Former Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna declared sometime ago that ninety percent of CMI graduates are most likely to be employed after graduation than any other graduates in Jamaica. Current Minister of Transport and Mining, Mike Henry recently expressed similar sentiments. Transforming CMI to CMU will increase this statistics and add prestige to the institution. Becoming a university will increase the institution’s attractiveness to foreign students. One can imagine that students from across region will flood CMU now that it is a university. Applicants will be confident that CMU will give them a paper at the end of their tenure that is globally accepted. In 2013, former Minister of Education, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who is now the Executive director at Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (JTEC) expressed to  a Jamaica Observer reporter that “At the moment, anybody can set up a shingle and say I’m a tertiary institution, and people call them by all kinds of names — institute, college, university…” The former Minister made a salient point and it highlights the importance of gaining accreditation. Current and prospective students of Caribbean Maritime Institute will not have to wonder if they are apart of an institution that is not recognized and accredited.

Though, gaining university status does not necessarily means that all the programs are accredited, it provides hope and comfort to students. Johnson (2017) shared that Dr. Pinnock did mentioned that university status will enable the school to access better funding for their programmes as well as improve their image in the higher education market. Boulton and Lucas (2008) stated that “in research, universities create new possibilities; in teaching, they shape new people.” The authors made a salient point and this is evident by the numerous research done by the current universities operating in Jamaica. These researches have opened gateways for our nation and the world. CMI becoming a university will have to invest a lot of time, effort and money into research. Research in the maritime field could share meaningful and pertinent information with our government officials who will embark on developing a Logistic Hub on Goat Island. Research will also aid in the academic growth and development of CMI’s faculty members. CMI becoming a university will create a need for CMI academic staff and students to contribute to the theoretical landscape.

Cadets on parade at the Caribbean Maritime Institute.

It makes no sense we dance around the mulberry bush. Let us pick the fruits and market them. CMI is the mulberry bush and the opportunities are ripe. The world is craving the fruits and CMI ‘no ave hand fi sell dem!’ The Jamaica Observer (2015) shared the views of former Governor General, Sir Kenneth Hall, that tertiary institutions should be “responsive to the needs of society.” The former Governor General made a salient point, as the society is craving skilled workers. Caribbean Maritime Institute vision is to produce “industry ready maritime logistics leaders.” CMI’s vision meets the society’s workforce demand and gaining university status will ensure their vision stays alive.

 

Written by: Shanique Walker-Carty, Curriculum Development M.Ed. Student – The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

 

References:

Barnaby, J. (2016). Caribbean Maritime Institute – Smooth Sailing to Success. Retrieved from: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160115/caribbean-maritime-institute-smooth-sailing-sucess

Bolton, G., & Lucas, C. (2008). What are universities for?. Retrieved from: https://globalhighered.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/paper_2008-07_1_final_version.pdf

Tertiary institutions urged to become responsive to the needs of society. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Tertiary-institutions-urged-to-become-responsive-to-needs-of-society_19234986

Selingo, J. (2015). What’s the purpose of college: a job or an education?. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/02/02/whats-the-purpose-of-college-a-job-or-an-education/?utm_term=.6df2e5c18c46

Wilson, N. (2013). Move to register all tertiary institutions. Retrieved from: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Move-to-register-all-tertiary-institutions_14413346

ANOTHER UNIVERSITY IN JAMAICA: YAY OR NAY?

ANOTHER UNIVERSITY IN JAMAICA: YAY OR NAY?

20150328_ldp001_0

ARE UNIVERSITIES SERVING THEIR PURPOSE?

Do we really need another university in Jamaica? Are universities even serving a purpose? Did someone not refer to a particular university as an ‘intellectual ghetto’? Selingo (2015) posited that the primary purpose of attending university is to get an education and to be prepared for the workplace. Let’s be honest, are the currents universities adequately preparing students for the workplace? Are students even being properly educated or are they being victims of indoctrination? I have heard too many tertiary students lamenting that they are clueless about their purpose for attending university.tumblr_nlz30lcz1e1qhiaqno1_500

Some are aware and are capable of critically explaining their purpose but too many do not know. Duderstadt (1991) lamented that, “an array of powerful social, economic, and technological forces is driving change in the needs of society and the institutions created to respond to those needs. It is time once again to reconsider the social contract between the university and the nation.” This salient point was raised over two decades ago, yet it is applicable to current times. Despite the author, speaking about the United States, one can envision this concern within the Jamaican context. Once again, are the universities preparing people for the current labour demand of Jamaica and the world? While strides are being made to boost the training of skilled labourers and computer literate graduates, there is an enormous room for improvement.

DID SOMEONE SAY CARIBBEAN MARITIME UNIVERSITY?

fritzpinnockpq20160112jb

According to the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) there are only three universities in Jamaica. That figure will soon become four because on January 24, 2017, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will see Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) becoming Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) early this year. This new addition will level the field and attempt to supply the labour market, both local and global with graduates who are ready to work. The Bill was well received and supported by both sides of the House. Dr. Morais Guy, boasted that he first  brought the Bill to cabinet in 2013 and he is elated that it has manifested. However, it was Minister Mike Henry who piloted the bill that was introduced to the House on January 10, 2017. Many have expressed that it was one of the quickest bills to get pass in a House. President of CMI, Dr. Pinnock expressed how elated he was to see the House agreed on an issue while placing their political beliefs aside. The passing of the Bill was a breath of fresh air to the members in the Shipping and Logistics industries  who usually struggle to fill vacancies.

Who would have thought? After that shocking audit in January last year! Stop gwan like yo eva hear!

legislature

It was said by the Auditor General that CMI had unqualified and inexperienced staff. Dr. Pinnock cried foul and all the fowls scattered and no more was uttered. Anyways, CMI is going to become a UNIVERSITY! The crowd goes wild and everyone is blowing them kisses.

Currently, CMI is the only higher education institution that provides maritime training in Jamaica and the region. I would think that everyone should be happy for their achievement. Nonetheless, CMI becoming a university could suggest that the proposed logistic hub will be materialized very soon and the government is placing CMI at the forefront. This is a huge YAY because that spells JOBS JOBS JOBS. Reality is, the world is changing and society cannot digest anymore of the ‘book’ graduates…we need graduates who are ‘workplace’ ready and CMI produces them.

CARIBBEAN MARITIME UNIVERSITY LOOKS PROMISING AND PROSPEROUS

cxoxchhwiaivlkm

Former Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna declared sometime ago that ninety percent of CMI graduates are most likely to be employed after graduation than any other graduates in Jamaica. Current Minister of Transport and Mining, Mike Henry recently expressed similar sentiments. Transforming CMI to CMU will increase this statistics and add prestige to the institution. Becoming a university will increase the institution’s attractiveness to foreign students. One can imagine that students from across region will flood CMU now that it is a university. Applicants will be confident that CMU will give them a paper at the end of their tenure that is globally accepted. In 2013, former Minister of Education, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who is now the Executive director at Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (JTEC) expressed to  a Jamaica Observer reporter that “At the moment, anybody can set up a shingle and say I’m a tertiary institution, and people call them by all kinds of names — institute, college, university…” The former Minister made a salient point and it highlights the importance of gaining accreditation. Current and prospective students of Caribbean Maritime Institute will not have to wonder if they are apart of an institution that is not recognized and accredited.

Though, gaining university status does not necessarily means that all the programs are accredited, it provides hope and comfort to students. Johnson (2017) shared that Dr. Pinnock did mentioned that university status will enable the school to access better funding for their programmes as well as improve their image in the higher education market. Boulton and Lucas (2008) stated that “in research, universities create new possibilities; in teaching, they shape new people.” The authors made a salient point and this is evident by the numerous research done by the current universities operating in Jamaica. These researches have opened gateways for our nation and the world. CMI becoming a university will have to invest a lot of time, effort and money into research. Research in the maritime field could share meaningful and pertinent information with our government officials who will embark on developing a Logistic Hub on Goat Island. Research will also aid in the academic growth and development of CMI’s faculty members. CMI becoming a university will create a need for CMI academic staff and students to contribute to the theoretical landscape.

Cadets on parade at the Caribbean Maritime Institute.

It makes no sense we dance around the mulberry bush. Let us pick the fruits and market them. CMI is the mulberry bush and the opportunities are ripe. The world is craving the fruits and CMI ‘no ave hand fi sell dem!’ The Jamaica Observer (2015) shared the views of former Governor General, Sir Kenneth Hall, that tertiary institutions should be “responsive to the needs of society.” The former Governor General made a salient point, as the society is craving skilled workers. Caribbean Maritime Institute vision is to produce “industry ready maritime logistics leaders.” CMI’s vision meets the society’s workforce demand and gaining university status will ensure their vision stays alive.

 

Written by: Shanique Walker-Carty, Curriculum Development M.Ed. Student – The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

 

References:

Barnaby, J. (2016). Caribbean Maritime Institute – Smooth Sailing to Success. Retrieved from: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160115/caribbean-maritime-institute-smooth-sailing-sucess

Bolton, G., & Lucas, C. (2008). What are universities for?. Retrieved from: https://globalhighered.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/paper_2008-07_1_final_version.pdf

Tertiary institutions urged to become responsive to the needs of society. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Tertiary-institutions-urged-to-become-responsive-to-needs-of-society_19234986

Selingo, J. (2015). What’s the purpose of college: a job or an education?. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/02/02/whats-the-purpose-of-college-a-job-or-an-education/?utm_term=.6df2e5c18c46

Wilson, N. (2013). Move to register all tertiary institutions. Retrieved from: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Move-to-register-all-tertiary-institutions_14413346

ANOTHER UNIVERSITY IN JAMAICA: YAY OR NAY?

The need to quantify Educational Quality!

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Can we really quantify educational quality?  This is as ridiculous as saying Hogwarts University offers accredited degrees in Wizardry and Witchcraft. The need to quantify educational quality must not be entertained especially under modern day circumstances where there exist so many Higher Education Institutions. Before going any further one must first arrive at a definition on what constitute as quality education/educational quality.

What is meant by educational quality/quality education?

The notion that some schools, depending on their location in terms of country, state, island or even continent, offers education of higher quality than others exist long before the twenty first century. This ideology still exists today and will continue existing alongside mankind. It is man’s nature to believe and project the act of superiority against another entity within any organization or society that they exist. In reading Dan Berrett’s (2014) article the first question to answer is, “what is educational quality/quality education?”.   

Rasheed (2000) in a paper commissioned by UNICEF outlined certain criterion that defines quality education; he posits that quality education refers to:

“learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities; environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities; content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace; processes through which trained teachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skillful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities; outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.”

edu2The aforementioned criterion used by the UNICEF researcher gave insight into how one can judge quality education. With this understanding of quality education’s definition and measurement, would one agree with Corbin Campbell as cited by Berrett (2014) that American colleges are neither the envy of the world nor of questionable worth but instead Campbell’s findings suggest that American schools are in between. Naturally we will assume that being in between means that there’s room for improvement. But how did Campbell arrive at this conclusion; by means of quantitative studies. Can we trust this quantitative methodology though? 

Can we quantify educational quality?

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Based on the criterion outlined in the UNICEF research paper, can all those variables be quantified to a plausible degree. Can a number be attached to the skills and attitude of a learner? The method that Campbell’s team utilized to conduct their study supports that of a qualitative study versus one quantitative in nature. The quality education being offered by a school cannot be adequately quantified especially with the various type of learners existing in the classroom. Saying that America’s colleges, or any other country’s educational quality is lack thereof based on quantification can be challenged. There are students who can be described as ‘twice-exceptional’, a term that is used to refer to the student who is gifted but also has a learning disability. The learning disability can compromise the method being used to quantify the school’s educational quality. Especially today where our school’s ranking and quality service offered is so heavily reliant on quantifying methodology, some students fall between the cracks, those with learning disabilities that mask their intelligence.

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This ultimately will affect the school, as schools with a greater number of students with learning disabilities will be deemed as not providing quality education to the public, when in truth the child maybe creative or skillful with his/her hands. The individuals selected by Campbell to engage in this research, may not have any knowledge surrounding these additional factors; Berrett (2014) stated that the graduate students watched courses in the discipline they had their baccalaureate degree, but he did not mention them having additional training in areas that are crucial to assessing teaching and learning. ‘Reading the syllabi and conducting classroom observations’ (Berrett 2014), are not sufficient in drawing conclusions where quality education is concerned especially being that students who as outlined by Job in her UNC online article stated that there are ‘student who may use a large vocabulary but have very poor spelling’. Listening to the child speak, one would assume that he or she is performing above grade level but only through deeper research can it be recognized that the child has subtle learning disabilities. How credible would Campbell’s result be in this scenario if all students within the school has a large vocabulary but 95% of them, unknowingly to Campbell’s team, have very poor spelling? Would the method of quantifying educational quality be accurate considering her statistic would show only a part of the reality?

Academic Rigor and Teaching Quality; can we accurately measure it?

Berrett (2014) recounted Campbell’s study was largely based on academic rigor and teaching quality. His article looked at academic rigor as ‘the complexity of the course aligned with the revised version of Benjamin’s Bloom’s taxonomy, the quantity and complexity of work assigned along with the level of expectations sets for students’ preparation and participation in classes’. While the three mentioned premises are commendable in terms of determining academic rigor, it is still not sufficiently geared towards maintaining that we can accurately quantify educational quality. The study conducted by Campbell failed to take into consideration the concept of differentiated instruction.  

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As outlined in an online article by ASCD (2017) ‘differentiated instruction is an approach to teaching in which educators actively plan for students’ differences so that all students can best learn’. The above-mentioned premises used to determine academic rigor is not sufficient in offering quantification of educational quality primarily because they will need to be some amount of communication with the teacher to understand why some objectives are written as they are, as well as justification for the complexity of task used in the class. Teachers today understand the need to cater to all students that engage secondary or post-secondary studies thus the division and allocation of their time, resources and efforts to deliver an appropriate lesson, tapping in the diverse background and capabilities of their students. 

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Additionally, curriculum adaption is another method that can and will determine teaching quality and academic rigor. The education realm is one that is dynamic and with that dynamic nature evolved the process of modifying courses or program offered at an institution to facilitate the different learners who encounter it. This looks at the way in which a learner’s prior knowledge is activated, the complexity of task given; that is challenging students based on their abilities. Berrett’s article posit none of these methodologies that are currently being used in programmes of study in higher education across the globe. This suggest that Campbell’s task-force would not have looked or even be versed in any of them. Knowing and examining these methodologies would have significantly deterred her claim that educational quality can be quantified. As cited by Berrett (2014), Campbell merely stated that it was observed of faculty doing a good job of teaching in-depth subject matter. This does not suggest that strategies behind the ‘good job’ were explored, otherwise the complexity behind it would have revealed how hilarious it is to want to attach a figure to quality education.

CLASS SIZE MATTERS!

lemorvan2Campbell’s study did allude to class size playing an important role in the move towards the quantification of quality education. This must be recognized as a salient point but not in relation to quantifying educational quality of an institution but from the view point that small class size does allow more successful courses but this must be in conjunction with the use of appropriate methodology to enhance students’ learning. Perhaps what Campbell’s research team should have focused on is the use ‘small class size and appropriate methods to improve educational quality’. Perhaps a study of that nature would prove more beneficial to the education sphere.

At present, it simply isn’t plausible to quantify the educational quality of an institution, especially those of higher education, given the number of factors to be considered as outlined in the UNICEF research, most of which were not addressed by the Campbell in her study. It is also imperative for us to highlight that her sample size is too small to accept that such generalization can be made amongst institutions that offer higher education, in addition to the data collection method used was not being appropriate for the task intended.

Prepared by: 

Trevis Morgan, Curriculum Development M. Ed Student – The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus 

Reference:

Effective teaching strategies for successful inclusion: Curriculum Adaptation. Retrieved from:   http://www.dsnetworkaz.org/PDF/PREP/part_vi.pdf

Rasheed S. (2000). Defining Quality of Education. UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/education/files/QualityEducation.PDF

Differentiated Instructions. ASCD Learn Teach Lead. Retrieved from: http://www.ascd.org/research-a-topic/differentiated-instruction-resources.aspx

Job, J. K-12 Teaching and Learning from the UNC School of Education. Understanding twice-exceptional students.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/6960

Berrett, D (2014). A New Kind of Study Seek to Quantify Educational Quality. Retrieved fromhttp://www.chronicle.com/article/A-New-Kind-of-Study-Seeks-to/144621/

The need to quantify Educational Quality!

The Future of Higher Education – University debts and unpaid tuition fees by Shenhaye Ferguson

The Future of Higher Education – University debts and unpaid tuition fees

It is often sfuture-higher-edaid that education is the route to success, the way out of poverty and a path that allows one to climb up the social ladder. However, is education accessible to all? Was it meant for everyone? Will universities be able to sustain their future when students are unable to pay high tuition, miscellaneous and accommodation fees?

After reading the blog post by Boroughs (2013) about the effects of unpaid tuition fees on South African colleges, I recalled the research days 2017 at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, February 1-3, where students complained about the rising costs in accommodation fees on the campus. Three years later since Boroughs’ post (2013), the university students in South Africa continue to protest about high tuition fees in 2017 and here in Jamaica the battle continues. This is one of the trending issues across the globe and the quandary between students and universities continue and it begs the question of how will higher educational institutions (HEIs) like the UWI sustain its future if critical sources of funding, the students, are unable to pay their fees. Subsequently, how will Jamaica sustain its future through higher education, if students are not able to access for financial reasons.

Universities as an educational institution are seen as change agents. According to Mulhern, Spies, Staiger & Wu (2015) one of the missions of higher education is to prepare and educate its students to assume productive roles in the working world to contribute to the economy of the nation, live enriching lives and strengthen their communities. Arguably, this is a fair statement that any reasonable person can agree with; however, with students not being able to afford the high fees, they leave the universities and themselves indebted. As such I ask, are HEIs like the UWI, fulfilling their mission of serving the students and the nation as a public good? Is the future of higher education secured when students are not able to fund their degrees?

Unsecempty-purseured Future for Indebted Universities

Johnstone (2003) posits that the financial problems faced by institutions of higher education are worldwide and the increasing cost of tuition per student continues to be an issue for many. With a significant reduction in government funding at the UWI, the institution has been forced to resort to alternative measures, one of which includes increasing fees for students and by fees I refer to tuition, miscellaneous and accommodation.

Similar to the students in South Africa, the Guild of Students at the UWI can decide to protest violently at Queensway against exuberant fees. In truth, universities are now being operated as businesses, whereby, creating income generating avenues to meet the institution’s expenses. All businesses have to earn to stay afloat and if stagnant funding continues to prevail upon HEIs like the UWI, they might be forced to close their doors like St. Augustine College in South Africa in 2013 or the University of Pretoria that closed and re-opened in October 2016 due to violent protests by students (Redden, 2016).

Therefore, to secure the future of higher education, universities must be able to sustain themselves and as such must have a surplus and not a deficit for the organization to operate. In light of this, the reality is, fees are needed and Jamaica’s economy cannot afford free education. But are fees the only source of funding? What about sourcing more funding for research and seeking more investments. For example, the UWI recently added the Burger King and Bad Dawgs chain to their range of food offerings, for the campus this means additional income from these businesses. Students have already been asking for another healthy restaurant, which opens the possibility having opening doors to another restaurant that serves healthy meals.UWI-water.jpg

Additionally, in December 2016, the UWI on its mission of sustainability, commissioned their own well which removes them from paying high costs for water supply to National Water Commission (“UWI to save $150 m in water bills with new well,” 2016).

Implications of unpaid fees for students

Mstill-paying-loanscCaffrey (2010) states “the introduction of variable fees has accelerated a trend whereby students are much more likely to work during term-time (while studying full-time) yet still face greater debt on completion” (p. 272). Many students work pa
rt time on and off campus (for example Sutherland Global call centre) to pay their fees, others receive scholarship or funded by parents/guardians, while some resort to loans. Those that resort to loans end up paying twice or more upon completion of their degrees. We have seen this in Jamaica with the plethora of complaints about the Student Loan Bureau repaying system.

It is within this context that I ask how students will be able to provide and create their own sustainable future if they have to repay such high loans. They graduate, have the degree but spend half the time trying to repay the loan. Sadly, some students have also beeloan debt.jpgn asked to leave the university or not able to receive their transcripts or degrees until they have repaid all fees. Graduates socio-economic mobility hampered by high fees.

The Ministry of Education, Jamaica, places emphasis on the phrase “every child can learn, every child must learn.” Is this phrase a true reflection of our society today? If aspiring higher educational students are not able to afford tuition fees, how will we achieve sustained economic growths if a basic need such as education is hard to reach for many?

The irony –> Rise in Cost = More Students

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Despite the constant rise in tuition fees at the UWI Mona campus, student enrolment in full time undergraduate programmes has increased consistently between 2010 and 2015, from 8,817 in 2010/11 to 11,403 in 2014/15 (Statistical Digest, 2016). Contrary to popular belief, one can argue that, the reality is fees will increase and since Jamaica has not gotten to the stage of the South Africans, then more students will continue to enrol and still complain about the fees. I will end how I began, education is the key to success, and we have recognized that it is an investment, fees high or low; universities will continue to have more students. Yes, some departments’ numbers have decreased but the overall enrolment rate has increased as stated above.

In Jamaica, the economy does not allow for fees to remain low, our dollar is weak and the inflation rate is high and universities will continue to increase.

Recommendations: Alternatives –> payment optionssave for college.jpg

As a nation, we have to create the policies that will lead us towards a sustainable future. Parents and guardians should be encouraged to plan for college. This planning should begin from before the child is born or while they are at a tender age. Additionally, universities should align themselves with graduates and strengthen alumni association to give back as a means of providing financial assistance to students in need. Furthermore, universities can offset the cost by continuing to explore other business ventures through public-private partnership. Finally the restructuring of the loan systems, such as the Student Loan Bureau’s payment plan, where students should be able to pay when they are employed and without interest or at a reduced interest rate.

Fees cannot be avoided, education is needed and without it we cannot create a sustainable future for all.

References

Boroughs, D. (2013, December 16). Plague of unpaid tuition afflicts colleges in South Africa. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/Plague-of-Unpaid-Tuition/143611/

Johnstone, D. (2003, September). Higher education finance and accessibility: tuition fees and student loans in Sub Saharan Africa. A case study prepared for a Regional Training Conference on Improving Tertiary Education in Sub Saharan Africa: Things that work, Accra. Retrieved from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTAFRREGTOPTEIA/Resources/bruce_johnstone.pdf

McCaffery, P. (2010). Higher education manager’s handbook. New York: Routledge.

Mulhern, C., Spies, R.R., Staiger, M.P., & Wu, D. (2015, March 4). The effects of rising students costs in higher education: evidence from public institutions in Virginia.

Retrieved from http://www.sr.ithaka.org/wp-content/mig/reports/SR_Report_Effects_of_Rising_Student_Costs_in_Higher_Education_Virginia_030415.pdf

Redden, E. (2016, September 27). Protests continue at South African universities. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/09/27/protests-continue-south-african-universities

The University of the West Indies. (2016, April). Statistical Digest 2010/11 to 2014/15. University Office of Planning and Development. Retrieved from http://www.mona.uwi.edu/opair/statistics/2014-2015/Statistical-Review-2010-11-to-2014-15.pdf

UWI offers 2% discount on tuition. (2016, July 25). The Jamaica Observer. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/UWI-offers-2–discount-on-tuition

UWI to save $150m in water bills with new well. (2016, December 16). The Jamaica Observer. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/UWI-to-save–150m-in-water-bills-with-new-well

 

The Future of Higher Education – University debts and unpaid tuition fees by Shenhaye Ferguson

Shackles of Academic Freedom

The first question that comes to mind from the topic of the article by Benjamin Mueller – John Hopkins University plans to put out its first policy on Academic Freedom –  is what exactly is meant by academic freedom?picture-3

In 1915, the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) Declaration of Principles proposed that academic freedom is not the absolute freedom of utterance of the individual scholar, but the absolute freedom of thought, of inquiry, of discussion and of teaching.

William Van Alstyne (1990) defines academic freedom as a “personal liberty to pursue the investigation, research, teaching, and publication of any subject as a matter of professional interest.” (Van Alstyne, 1990).

In what could be described as a seminal case in the US in 2006 – that of Garcetti v. Ceballos an expanded definition for academic freedom was formulated. Academic freedom was defined as the freedom to teach, both in and outside the classroom, to conduct research and to publish the results of those investigations, and to address any matter of institutional policy or action whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance. Professors should also have the freedom to address the larger community with regard to any matter of social, political, economic, or other interest, without institutional discipline or restraint, save in response to fundamental violations of professional ethics or statements that suggest disciplinary incompetence.

Donald A Downes (2009) in his paper on Academic Freedom – What it is, What it isn’t and How to know the difference, defines academic freedom as the freedom of scholars to pursue the truth in a manner consistent with professional standards of inquiry. This freedom, Downes further indicates applies to institutions as well as scholars, and to students as well as faculty (Downes D. 2009).

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The article by Mueller cites two distinct occurrences involving academics sharing publicly their views on a particular issue.  The example of Benjamin Carson brings back to mind the 2014 case involving the University of the West Indies and Professor Brendon Bain, the then director of the Regional Co-ordinating Unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network).

Dr Benjamin Carson’s, renown professor of neurosurgery, public comment comparing those who advocates for gay marriages with those who promote bestiality and paedophilia, led to a withdrawal by Dr Carson to speak at the John Hopkins University’s medical school commencement under pressure from students.  While, Dr Bain, which one local newspaper stated is regarded as a pioneer in clinical infectious disease practice in the Caribbean and a leading medical authority on the HIV epidemic in the region, had developed a formidable reputation for caring and devoted service to the HIV/AIDs community, lost his job following news reports that a coalition of lobby groups called for his head because of expert testimony he gave in a constitutional challenge brought by a gay Belizean man against that country’s criminal code in September 2010 (Jamaica Observer, March 2014.

Mueller’s article also gave the case of the criticism of a national state strategy by John Hopkins’ cryptology researcher Matthew Green.  Green described a government agency strategy on surveillances as aggressive.  John Hopkins initially had the blog commentary taken down, but later that decision was reversed.

It may be that we now live in a society and a world, where sharing publicly an opinion that goes against the views and opinions of groups that are considered a minority (based on sexual orientation or practice) is a certain ticket to a sentence of silence and removal.  Holding and expressing views like those of Dr Carson and Dr Bain may be fast becoming the views of the minority and if shared would be subjected to intolerance, dissent, and outright rejection.  Was there discrimination against either men because of their discriminatory comments against particular sexual orientations and practices? Are the tables turning? This may be for another discussion.

picture-1  Academics may need to understand that they operate within a reality of limitations and restrictions to their freedom (an oxymoron).  With freedom comes responsibilities and consequences for how one use or exercise that freedom.  While one may still be free to have an opinion, expressing that opinion publicly one may not be free so to do.

Using the definitions and explanations of academic freedom in the case of Gracetti v. Cellabos, questions that come to mind are – was the opinion shared by Mr Green, Dr Carson and the expert advice given by Dr Bain, based on truth coming out of research into the respective matter to which they each spoke?  Would their comments or advice provide any benefit to the society? Were they addressing matters of social, political, economic, or other interest? Were they sharing their views as free academics irrespective of institutions of employment or association?  One could reasonably expect that these men, renowned for their work and research, would not have spoken glibly, but with a sense of responsibility and honesty, with concern for benefit of society, to provoke meaningful, open and discussion.

The students of John Hopkins in the case of Dr Carson, those in the case of Mr Green and the lobby groups in the case of Dr Bain, certainly enjoyed some freedom to share their opinions on what should happen or not happen to the related academics.  It could be said that John Hopkins University acted in interest of their students who may have been offended by the utterance of Dr Carson.  What though would have happened, if a small group of student wanted to still have Dr Carson – would their voices be heard, or do we err in the interest (or fear) of the majority?  Did the pressure from the students in the exercise of their freedom result in academic freedom taken away from Dr Carson?   Would not this speaker with opposing views be ideal for the students as they prepare to commence formal careers in a world differing views, views which does not in themselves take away from the value that each person have to bring a discussion or the intellect of the person – can we not learn from each other?

Downes (2009) argues that the principle of academic freedom is not as simple as many of its advocates assume. It involves both rights and responsibilities in a professional context, and it has both individual and institutional dimensions that can sometimes be in tension (Downes, 2009).  Maybe, like professional athletes who have a list of banned substances, that should be checked regularly for updates before taking anything into their body, there should be a checklist of ‘banned public opinions and views’, for academics to check regularly for updates before engaging the public speech.

Some questions raised in the editorial column of The Jamaica Observer (March 2014), comes into focus again – Must all academics of the University now subscribe wholly to the lifestyle of the various communities they serve? Was it in Dr Bain’s job description, as well as that of the other academics at the UWI, that he must hold no public opinion against homosexuality? How far must the university go in censoring and muzzling its academics to suit interest groups? Is this the end of scientific freedom and freedom of expression in the academic community? (Jamaica Observer, March 2014).  The same questions could come up for Dr Benjamin Carson, was it in his invitation to be commencement speaker that he shall not make any public statement of his views of those who advocate for gay marriages?

The heart of academic freedom is the protection of the right of teachers, students, and picture-4researchers to express their ideas with intellectual honesty and without fear of reprisal. But professional responsibility requires that instructors and researchers abide by basic standards of intellectual integrity (Downes, 2009).   If this position is to be taken, then it could appear that neither Dr Carson, Mr Green nor Dr Bain acted out outside the heart of what academic freedom intends or allows when they shared their views publicly of what they believe to be true– however all three were met with some form of reprisal. In the case of Mr Green, his ‘academic freedom’ was restored.  This seems to imply that the topic or issue at hand may determine the level of freedom, allowance and tolerance extended within the framework of academic freedom.  There seems to be intolerance on both sides for contrary views.

Controversies involving academic freedom often arise in gray areas, requiring practical wisdom if they are to be resolved. In such cases, it is wise to make freedom the default position, because an enlightened citizenry depends on honesty and courage in teaching and research (Downes, 2009).   Arthur O. Lovejoy and Austin S. Edwards  (1933) in their book- Academic Freedom and Tenure: Rollins College Report, states that research is rendered impossible to find new truths if the work of the academic/researcher is shackled by the requirement that his or her conclusions shall never seriously deviate either from generally accepted beliefs or from those accepted by the persons, private or official, through whom society provides the means for the maintenance of universities (Edwards and Lovejoy, 1933).

On whose side, should the Institution stand? It appears that honesty and courageousness to share what one may believe to be true was not met with acceptance or tolerance by the “enlightened” citizenry in the cases sited.

I think the real issue at hand in the article by Mueller was nicely summarized by Downes (2009) when he indicated that, in the past, the academic freedom of the institution and the individual were largely in harmony. The contemporary university, however, is torn by a cultural clash between traditional notions of individual freedom and recently emergent ideologies that stress the need to be sensitive and caring, especially toward members of historically oppressed groups. Many institutions have adopted speech codes and related policies that restrict what faculty members and students can say about matters relating to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like (Downes, 2009).  This may be where the short fall lies for John Hopkins University, there may not have been clear policies, codes and restrictions on academic freedom.  John Hopkins is to come up with its policy on academic freedom. All Universities should have one of their own policies to protect themselves, their students, faculty and staff.

Academic freedom, may not be so free after all depending on the shackles of what may be the current views or prevailing opinions of the time.  We may have to return to the primitive and restrictive definitions of academic freedom, such as 1915 AAUP’s definition and that of William Van Alstyne in 1990. To extend the meaning of academic freedom beyond seems to lead to more shackles of controversies and gray areas.

 

References

AAUP’s 1915 Declaration of Principles. Retrieved from

https://aaup.org.uiowa.edu/sites/aaup.org.uiowa.edu/files/Gen_Dec_Princ.pdf

Downes, D. A. (2009).  Academic Freedom, what it is, what is isn’t and how to tell the

difference. Retrieved from

http://www.jamesgmartin.center/acrobat/AcademicFreedom.pdf

Mueller, B. (March 2014).  John Hopkins U. Plans Its First Policy on Academic Freedom.

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Johns-Hopkins-U-Plans-Its/145155/

Shackles of Academic Freedom