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Check Out the New Issue of Academe

Dear Colleague:

The information age is taking faculty places we couldn’t have imagined—and all too often, taking us without our knowledge. The September-October issue of Academe has a trio of articles on what behind-the-scenes issues faculty need to understand: copyright in the digital age, the importance of open software to campuses, and understanding the challenges universities face in protecting patents. What happens in IT and technology transfer matters both to academic freedom and to preserving the public good functions of higher education.

Colin Ramsey and Martha McCaughey’s essay, Copyright for Academics in the Digital Age , warns us that while information wants to be free, it doesn’t always benefit faculty to have their work and teaching materials spread across the web. Transparency can be a double-edged sword, as Texas faculty are discovering with new, conservative laws mandating that reading lists and curriculum be available within “three clicks.” As our authors note, faculty materials can easily become “low hanging fruit” for sensationalist critiques.

Jonathan Poritz argues, in a different vein, that Information Technology Wants to Be Free. In his essay, Poritz notes that it’s critical that faculty get engaged in IT issues on their campuses. Open-source software works in tandem with public knowledge. Information technology may feel removed from some of our disciplines, but it increasingly defines the parameters of academic freedom and knowledge on campus.

In Sue U. , Jacob Rooksby takes us behind the scenes of technology transfer and patents, where universities are becoming increasingly large players in the field of commercial knowledge, and increasingly proprietary about their patents. The guidelines that universities adopt in this battle will help define the parameters of profit versus public good.

In other articles, former AAUP president Cary Nelson gives advice on why Media Matters. Art professor Margaret Bellafiore listens and learns from veterans on campus with her sound installation. Stephanie Kerschbaum shows how Access in the Academy for those with disabilities can benefit everyone. And students and faculty at Wesleyan University break down departmental boundaries in an effort to address worldwide issues.

Visit the book review section for former Academe editor Paula Krebs’ review essay, Take Me to Your Leader, which examines the challenges of higher education administration. And, of course, read our other book reviews.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts about this issue of Academe, as well as the Academe Blog. This is Academe editor Cat Warren’s last issue. Our new faculty editor, Aaron Barlow, will have his debut issue in January–February. If you are interested in contributing to the blog or see something in the news that deserves the blog’s attention, send an e-mail to academeblog@aaup.org. Comments about Academe articles, as always, can be sent to academe@aaup.org.