Professor, publisher clash over stance on open-source education

Dive Brief:

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University Professor Rajiv S. Jhangiani withdrew a chapter from a forthcoming text on undergraduate teaching philosophies for introductory psychology. 
  • Jhangiani advocated for more openness in affordability and research, and greater access to free learning materials and settings.
  • Editors and project managers with Cengage, the book's publisher, asked for editorial license to add language about 'traditional publisher practices' that would have been in stark contrast to Jhangiani's position.

Dive Insight:

In a growing climate of "publish or perish" for university faculty members, forfeiting a publishing opportunity is a unique and strong stance in any discipline. Add that to the recent news of shrinking opportunities for faculty positions in liberal arts disciplines, and Jhangiani's position seems even bolder. 

But his stance is part of a new culture of faculty exposure, one that expands expertise and thought leadership beyond academe, and into pop culture discussion. In the same way Columbia University President Lee Bollinger gained a new audience in 2007 for his introductory speech of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Marquette University Professor John McAdams grew as a conservative academic voice earlier this year after controversy surrounding his blog, provacative postions delivered in the name of academic freedom can achieve far beyond what a book chapter can deliver. 

In the near future, colleges and universities may look to expanding tenure considerations not just on the basis of prolific research and teaching talent, but to those voices which can command audience and rile response especially those who can do so within the confines of institutional brand and scholarly credibility. 

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Technology Policy & Regulation
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