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Academe brings faculty the latest news and thought-provoking commentary

We’re rushing full speed into a new paradigm in higher education . . . but are we doing so without looking to the past? The September–October issue of Academe (http://www.aaup.org/issue/september-october-2013) doesn’t try to slow us down, exactly, but rather tries to convince us at least to look at the costs of recent changes, ones we now only see in our rearview mirrors. In this new issue, Helena Worthen explores consequences of the turn to dependence on contingent faculty that has overwhelmed many of our institutions over the past few decades, as do Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey. Leslie Bary and William Vesterman both discuss the sidestepping of shared governance that has been one of the hallmarks of college and university administrations. And Joe Moxley proposes an alternative to the growing high cost of textbooks and the encroachment of publishers into curriculum development.

What else to do as we “move forward”? Teach well, says Silvio Laccetti. And organize. Rick Perloff shows how this was done thirty years ago at Cleveland State University and how it can be done today on those campuses (far too many) without union representation.

If we don’t manage to use faculty power to return the student to the center of education, strengthening the teacher’s ability to keep the student at that center, education is going to continue down its new road to mechanical process. When that happens, it won’t be students saying goodbye to us. It will be administrators saying it instead, together with those—not students—who stand to gain from the new profit-centered, restricted-entry highway of systematized education.

The September–October issue of Academe also features two online-only articles. In his article, Norm Wallen brings forward a discussion on critical thinking sparked by Chad Hanson’s article in the January–February 2013 issue of Academe. In “Eaten by E-mail,” also online only, Anna Curtis, Jennifer Lundquist, Abby Templer, and Joya Misra plead with us to start establishing protocols for online communications, something desperately needed in many of our institutions.

As always, you can read others’ comments and share your thoughts at the bottom of each article on our website. You can also join the discussion on Academe Blog (http://academeblog.org), which features daily posts on topics such as academic freedom, governance, and faculty work.