Tag Archives: Northwestern University

Northwestern University study: Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do

2 Dec

David DiSalvo wrote in the Forbes article, Drinking Coffee May Lower Risk Of Early Death, According To New Study:

A new study is adding to the good news about coffee, finding that drinking two to four cups a day is associated with overall lower risk of death, particularly among middle-age drinkers.
The findings, presented at the European Cardiac Society Congress 2017, are the result of a long-term observational study of nearly 20,000 people in Spain. The average age of participants was 37, and they were followed for about ten years. During that time, 337 participants died. The researchers found that participants who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower risk of death than those who infrequently or never consumed coffee. They also found a 22% lower risk of death for participants who drank two cups a day.
Lower risk was especially strong for older participants, with two cups a day linked to a 30% reduction in mortality.
“We found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above. This may be due to a stronger protective association among older participants,” says Dr. Adela Navarro, study co-author and a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.
That’s the good news. The qualifier is that this was an observational study, and several other factors could come into play. The researchers report that they accounted for factors including age, sex and whether the participants predominantly ate a Mediterranean Diet, which has also been linked to a list of health benefits. The correlation between coffee consumption and lower risk of death appears to stand out, but it’s important to note that it’s a correlation – not proof of causation…. https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2017/08/27/drinking-coffee-may-lower-risk-of-death-in-healthy-people-according-to-new-study/#7a1c1924f82a

Citation:

Higher coffee consumption associated with lower risk of early death
Date: August 27, 2017
Source: European Society of Cardiology
Summary:
Higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of early death, according to new research. The observational study in nearly 20 000 participants suggests that coffee can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170827101750.

The Harvard Gazette reported in How coffee loves us back: Health benefits a recurring theme in Harvard research:

Coffee is everywhere, through history and across the world. And increasingly, science is demonstrating that its popularity is a good thing.
Harvard scientists have for years put coffee under the microscope. Last year, researchers announced they had discovered six new human genes related to coffee and reconfirmed the existence of two others. The long-running Nurses’ Health Study has found that coffee protects against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Researchers are continuing to follow up on 2001 findings that it protects against Parkinson’s disease.
The work at Harvard is just part of an emerging picture of coffee as a potentially powerful elixir against a range of ailments, from cancer to cavities.
Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has been so impressed he’s become something of a coffee evangelist. The author of several books, Chopra included a chapter on coffee in his 2010 book, “Live Better, Live Longer.”
Chopra first became aware of the potentially powerful protective effects of coffee when a study revealed that consumption lowers levels of liver enzymes and protects the liver against cancer and cirrhosis. He began asking students, residents, and fellows on the liver unit to quiz patients about their coffee habits, finding repeatedly that none of the patients with liver ailments drank coffee.
Chopra himself makes sure to have several cups a day, and encourages others to do the same. Though other researchers are less bold in their dietary recommendations, they’re convinced enough to continue investigations into the benefits…. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/09/how-coffee-loves-us-back/

Northwestern University researchers studied why people like coffee.

Science Daily reported in Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do: Weirdly, people with a higher sensitivity to bitter caffeine taste drink more coffee:
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.
But, it turns out, the more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine, the more coffee they drink, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia. The sensitivity is caused by a genetic variant….
In other words, people who have a heightened ability to taste coffee’s bitterness — and particularly the distinct bitter flavor of caffeine — learn to associate “good things with it,” Cornelis said.
Thus, a bigger tab at Starbucks.
The study will be published Nov. 15 in Scientific Reports.
In this study population, people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea. But that could just be because they were too busy drinking coffee, Cornelis noted.
The study also found people sensitive to the bitter flavors of quinine and of PROP, a synthetic taste related to the compounds in cruciferous vegetables, avoided coffee. For alcohol, a higher sensitivity to the bitterness of PROP resulted in lower alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine.
“The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol,” Cornelis said.
For the study, scientists applied Mendelian randomization, a technique commonly used in disease epidemiology, to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in more than 400,000 men and women in the United Kingdom. The genetic variants linked to caffeine, quinine and PROP perception were previously identified through genome-wide analysis of solution taste-ratings collected from Australian twins. These genetic variants were then tested for associations with self-reported consumption of coffee, tea and alcohol in the current study…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181115104603.htm

Citation:

Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do
Weirdly, people with a higher sensitivity to bitter caffeine taste drink more coffee
Date: November 15, 2018
Source: Northwestern University
Summary:
The more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine, the more coffee they drink, reports a new study. The sensitivity is based on genetics. Bitterness is natural warning system to protect us from harmful substances, so we really shouldn’t like coffee. Scientists say people with heightened ability to detect coffee’s bitterness learn to associate good things with it.
Journal Reference:
Jue-Sheng Ong, Daniel Liang-Dar Hwang, Victor W. Zhong, Jiyuan An, Puya Gharahkhani, Paul A. S. Breslin, Margaret J. Wright, Deborah A. Lawlor, John Whitfield, Stuart MacGregor, Nicholas G. Martin, Marilyn C. Cornelis. Understanding the role of bitter taste perception in coffee, tea and alcohol consumption through Mendelian randomization. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34713-z

Here is the press release from Northwestern University:

Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do
Weirdly, people with a higher sensitivity to bitter caffeine taste drink more coffee s
More
November 15, 2018 | By Marla Paul
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.
But, it turns out, the more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine, the more coffee they drink, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia. The sensitivity is caused by a genetic variant.
“You’d expect that people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine would drink less coffee,” said senior author Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The opposite results of our study suggest coffee consumers acquire a taste or an ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive reinforcement (i.e. stimulation) elicited by caffeine.”
In other words, people who have a heightened ability to taste coffee’s bitterness — and particularly the distinct bitter flavor of caffeine — learn to associate “good things with it,” Cornelis said.
Thus, a bigger tab at Starbucks.
The study was published Nov. 15 in Scientific Reports.
In this study population, people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea. But that could just be because they were too busy drinking coffee, Cornelis noted.
The study also found people sensitive to the bitter flavors of quinine and of PROP, a synthetic taste related to the compounds in cruciferous vegetables, avoided coffee. For alcohol, a higher sensitivity to the bitterness of PROP resulted in lower alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine.
“The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol,” Cornelis said.
For the study, scientists applied Mendelian randomization, a technique commonly used in disease epidemiology, to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in more than 400,000 men and women in the United Kingdom. The genetic variants linked to caffeine, quinine and PROP perception were previously identified through genome-wide analysis of solution taste-ratings collected from Australian twins. These genetic variants were then tested for associations with self-reported consumption of coffee, tea and alcohol in the current study.
“Taste has been studied for a long time, but we don’t know the full mechanics of it,” Cornelis said. “Taste is one of the senses. We want to understand it from a biological standpoint.”
The paper is titled “Understanding the role of bitter taste perception in coffee, tea and alcohol consumption through Mendelian randomization.”
Topics: Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Medicine https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2018/november/bitter-coffee/

Joseph Nordqvist reported in the Medical News article, Coffee: Health Benefits,

Nutritional Information:
Possible health benefits of coffee
The potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee include: protecting against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, liver cancer, and promoting a healthy heart.3
1) Coffee and diabetes
Coffee may be protective against type 2 diabetes. Researchers at UCLA identified that drinking coffee increases plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG controls the biological activity of the body’s sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) which play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.4
Dr. Simin Liu, one of the authors of the study, said that an “inverse association” exists between coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes….
2) Coffee and Parkinson’s disease
Researchers in the U.S. carried out a study that assessed the link between coffee consumption and Parkinson’s disease risk. The authors of the study concluded that “higher coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a significantly lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease”.5
In addition, caffeine in coffee may help control movement in people suffering from Parkinson’s, according to a study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) that was published in the journal Neurology.6
3) Coffee and liver cancer
Italian researchers found that coffee consumption lowers the risk of liver cancer by about 40%. In addition, some of the results suggest that if you drink three cups a day, the risks are reduced by more than 50%.7
The lead author of the study, Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, from Milan’s Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, said “our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health and particularly the liver.”
4) Coffee and liver disease
Regular consumption of coffee is linked to a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare autoimmune disease of the bile ducts in the liver.8
In addition, coffee consumption can lower the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver for alcohol drinkers by 22%, according to a study at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, California, USA.
The authors of the study concluded that the results “support the hypothesis that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.”9
Research published in the journal Hepatology in April 2014, suggested that drinking coffee is linked to a decreased liver cirrhosis death risk. The researchers suggested that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%.16
A study published in the journal Hepatology indicates that drinking decaf coffee also lowers liver enzyme levels, suggesting the benefits are not linked to caffeine content.
5) Coffee and heart health
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard School of Public Health, concluded that drinking coffee in moderation protects against heart failure. They defined ‘in moderation’ as 2 European cups (equivalent to two 8-ounce American servings) per day.10
People who drank four European cups on a daily basis had an 11% lower risk of heart failure, compared to those who did not.
The authors stressed that their results “did show a possible benefit, but like with so many other things we consume, it really depends on how much coffee you drink.”
Recent developments on the benefits of coffee from MNT news
Moderate coffee drinking may prevent premature death
Incredible volumes of black gold are poured into our collective bodies on a daily basis, which makes the medical effects of coffee drinking a perpetual area of study. Now, new research points to some interesting positive health benefits of moderate consumption.
Study provides more evidence that coffee may reduce mortality
A new study adds to growing evidence that coffee is good for us, finding that consuming four to five cups daily may reduce the risk of early death – even for those who drink decaf.
Coffee may protect against liver cirrhosis
Drinking coffee every day is linked to a reduced risk of liver cirrhosis, according to a new review of published evidence that also suggests drinking two extra cups a day may nearly halve the risk of dying from the disease.
Drinking more coffee may stave off multiple sclerosis
Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry indicates that caffeine’s neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties may lower the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
Daily coffee, even decaf, may protect against colorectal cancer
Researchers from the US and Israel found that drinking coffee every day – even decaffeinated coffee – may lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270202.php

As with anything, coffee should be consumed in moderation.

Resources:

Online Courses for Coffee Professionals: Master roasting coffee, cupping, coffee quality evaluation and understand the path of the coffee from the farm to cup. https://bootcampcoffee.com/

Learn About Coffee                                                  http://www.coffeeteawarehouse.com/coffee.html

The NCA Complete Guide to Coffee
We believe that coffee is more than just a drink: It’s a culture, an economy, an art, a science — and a passion. Whether you’re new to the brew or an espresso expert, there’s always more to learn about this beloved beverage. http://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee
coffeeresearch.org

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Northwestern University study: More students report carrying guns in Chicago than New York or Los Angeles

21 Apr

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The U.S. Constitution is a bit like the Bible. People want to select passage from both documents which suit their purpose and their intent. People don’t want to deal with the parts that they don’t agree with or that they find disagreeable.

Science Daily reported in More students report carrying guns in Chicago than New York or Los Angeles:

More students report carrying guns in Chicago than in New York or Los Angeles, a new Northwestern Medicine study shows. The findings provide historical background for Chicago’s 2016 spike in gun violence, which occurred mostly among youth and young adults.
While self-reported gun carrying increased in Chicago over the 2007 to 2013 time period, it declined rapidly in Los Angeles and remained less than half the Chicago rate in New York, according to the study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The prevalence of high school freshman and sophomore students who reported carrying a gun was 9 percent in Chicago, 4 percent in New York and 6 percent in Los Angeles between 2007 and 2013, the study found.
When students were exposed to more violence risk factors, such as feeling unsafe in school, being exposed to fights or doing illegal drugs, they were more likely to carry a gun, the study found. Chicago’s students were exposed to more guns and these risk factors between 2007 and 2013 than their peers in New York and LA.
The authors hypothesize Chicago students between the ages of 14 and 16 who were carrying guns in 2013 were likely involved in Chicago’s gun violence in 2016 and 2017….
The study is the first of its kind to compare major cities on self-reported gun carrying among younger high school students. It was published April 10 in the journal Injury Epidemiology.
“It’s not hard to imagine why more students in Chicago carry guns than the other two cities with significant violence and homicide burden,” said co-author Dr. Karen Sheehan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “Kids in Chicago are experiencing multiple layers of violence and fear of violence in school on a daily basis.”
The study authors created a violence index to better categorize the most high-risk students and describe the magnitude of their increased likelihood to carry a gun. This violence index accounted for mental health risk factors, such as feeling sad or hopeless, and behavioral health factors, such as bullying and physical fights at school. Students in Chicago had a significantly higher prevalence of almost all mental health and behavioral health risk factors compared to their peers in New York or LA….
Across all three cities, self-reported gun carrying was more frequent among boys (8.4 percent) than girls (2.5 percent). Six percent of African-Americans reported carrying a gun in the previous 30 days, which was higher than Hispanics (5.5 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (3.5 percent).
The study was based on self-reported data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), an anonymous, voluntary survey of public high-school students, for the three cities between 2007 and 2013. More than 50,000 respondents represented more than 1.13 million students. The study used four biennial waves of the YRBS. It focused on freshmen and sophomores because of the significant high school dropout rates among older students.
Publication of this article was funded by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180419130030.htm

See, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University: 3-DIY: Printing your own bioprinter https://drwilda.com/tag/gun-control/

Citation:

More students report carrying guns in Chicago than New York or Los Angeles
Findings may help explain Chicago’s 2016 spike in gun violence
Date:
April 19, 2018
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
More students report carrying guns in Chicago than in New York or Los Angeles, a new study shows. The findings provide historical background for Chicago’s 2016 spike in gun violence, which occurred mostly among youth and young adults.

Journal Reference:
1. Samaa Kemal, Karen Sheehan and Joe Feinglass. Gun carrying among freshmen and sophomores in Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles public schools: the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2007-2013. Injury Epidemiology, 2018; DOI: 10.1186/s40621-018-0143-1

Here is the press release from Northwestern University:

More students report carrying guns in Chicago than New York or Los Angeles
Findings may help explain Chicago’s 2016 spike in gun violence

April 19, 2018 | By Kristin Samuelson

CHICAGO – More students report carrying guns in Chicago than in New York or Los Angeles, a new Northwestern Medicine study shows. The findings provide historical background for Chicago’s 2016 spike in gun violence, which occurred mostly among youth and young adults.
While self-reported gun carrying increased in Chicago over the 2007 to 2013 time period, it declined rapidly in Los Angeles and remained less than half the Chicago rate in New York, according to the study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The prevalence of high school freshman and sophomore students who reported carrying a gun was 9 percent in Chicago, 4 percent in New York and 6 percent in Los Angeles between 2007 and 2013, the study found.
Professor of general internal medicine, geriatrics and preventive medicineWhen students were exposed to more violence risk factors, such as feeling unsafe in school, being exposed to fights or doing illegal drugs, they were more likely to carry a gun, the study found. Chicago’s students were exposed to more guns and these risk factors between 2007 and 2013 than their peers in New York and LA.
The authors hypothesize Chicago students between the ages of 14 and 16 who were carrying guns in 2013 were likely involved in Chicago’s gun violence in 2016 and 2017.
“Our findings suggest that there is a clear link between the increase in Chicago students carrying guns in 2013 and the city’s spike in gun violence in 2016,” said senior author Joseph Feinglass, professor of general internal medicine, geriatrics and preventive medicine at Feinberg. “The city was fertile ground for this increase in shootings.”
The study is the first of its kind to compare major cities on self-reported gun carrying among younger high school students. It was published April 10 in the journal Injury Epidemiology.
“It’s not hard to imagine why more students in Chicago carry guns than the other two cities with significant violence and homicide burden,” said co-author Dr. Karen Sheehan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “Kids in Chicago are experiencing multiple layers of violence and fear of violence in school on a daily basis.”
The study authors created a violence index to better categorize the most high-risk students and describe the magnitude of their increased likelihood to carry a gun. This violence index accounted for mental health risk factors, such as feeling sad or hopeless, and behavioral health factors, such as bullying and physical fights at school. Students in Chicago had a significantly higher prevalence of almost all mental health and behavioral health risk factors compared to their peers in New York or LA.
“Our findings highlight the ongoing need to address Chicago’s concentrated poverty and unemployment problems, its extreme levels of racial and ethnic segregation and the hopelessness and isolation so many young people feel,” Feinglass said.
Across all three cities, self-reported gun carrying was more frequent among boys (8.4 percent) than girls (2.5 percent). Six percent of African-Americans reported carrying a gun in the previous 30 days, which was higher than Hispanics (5.5 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (3.5 percent).
The study was based on self-reported data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), an anonymous, voluntary survey of public high-school students, for the three cities between 2007 and 2013. More than 50,000 respondents represented more than 1.13 million students. The study used four biennial waves of the YRBS. It focused on freshmen and sophomores because of the significant high school dropout rates among older students.
Topics: Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Medicine https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2018/april/gun-carrying-chicago/

The Brady Campaign reported key statistics:

Key Gun Violence Statistics*
Every Day on Average (ages 0-19)
Every day, 46 children and teens are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention.
Every day, 7 children and teens die from gun violence:
• 4 are murdered
• 3 die from suicide
Every day, 40 children and teens are shot and survive:
• 31 injured in an attack
• 1 survives a suicide attempt
• 8 shot unintentionally
Asking this simple question is an important step every parent can take to help keep their child safe, and possibly save their child’s life. Read more about Asking Saves Kids (ASK).
Note: Numbers may not sum because of rounding of CDC averages. http://www.bradycampaign.org/key-gun-violence-statistics

What both proponents of gun control and those who advocate unfettered gun possession along with unlimited possession of ALL types of guns don’t want to acknowledge is that it ultimately goes back to the Constitutional process of a legislature enacting a law and the judiciary reviewing the Constitutionality of the law. Neither side may be happy with the result. See, Both sides in the gun debate are acting like morons https://drwilda.com/tag/gun-control/

Resources:

A Dozen Things Students Can Do to Stop School Violence http://www.sacsheriff.com/crime_prevention/documents/school_safety_04.cfm

A Dozen Things. Teachers Can Do To Stop School Violence
http://www.ncpc.org/cms-upload/ncpc/File/teacher12.pdf

Preventing School Violence: A Practical Guide
http://www.indiana.edu/~safeschl/psv.pdf

Related:

Violence against teachers is becoming a bigger issue https://drwilda.com/2013/11/29/violence-against-teachers-is-becoming-a-bigger-issue/

Hazing remains a part of school culture
https://drwilda.com/2013/10/09/hazing-remains-a-part-of-school-culture/

FEMA issues Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans
https://drwilda.com/2013/07/08/fema-issues-guide-for-developing-high-quality-school-emergency-operations-plans/

Study: 1 in 3 teens are victims of dating violence
https://drwilda.com/2013/08/05/study-1-in-3-teens-are-victims-of-dating-violence/

Pediatrics article: Sexual abuse prevalent in teen population
https://drwilda.com/2013/10/10/pediatrics-article-sexual-abuse-prevalent-in-teen-population/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Northwestern University study: Heavier babies do better in school

27 Oct

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explains why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

The New York Times reported in the article, Heavier Babies Do Better in School:
A study of children in Florida found that those who were heavier at birth scored higher on math and reading tests in the third to eighth grades.
Like so many other parts of health care, childbirth has become a more medically intense experience over the last two decades. The use of drugs to induce labor has become far more common, as have cesarean sections. Today, about half of all births in this country are hastened either by drugs or surgery, double the share in 1990.
Crucial to the change has been a widely held belief that once fetuses pass a certain set of thresholds — often 39 weeks of gestation and five and a half pounds in weight — they’re as healthy as they can get. More time in the womb doesn’t do them much good, according to this thinking. For parents and doctors, meanwhile, scheduling a birth, rather than waiting for its random arrival, is clearly more convenient.
But a huge new set of data, based on every child born in Florida over an 11-year span, is calling into question some of the most basic assumptions of our medicalized approach to childbirth. The results also play into a larger issue: the growing sense among many doctors and other experts that Americans would actually be healthier if our health care system were sometimes less aggressive.
The new data suggest that the thresholds to maximize a child’s health seem to be higher, which means that many fetuses might benefit by staying longer in the womb, where they typically add at least a quarter-pound per week. Seven-pound babies appear to be healthier than six-pound babies — and to fare better in school as they age. The same goes for eight-pound babies compared with seven-pound babies, and nine-pound babies compared with eight-pound babies. Weight, of course, may partly be an indicator of broader fetal health, but it seems to be a meaningful one: The chunkier the baby, the better it does on average, all the way up to almost 10 pounds.
“Birth weight matters, and it matters for everyone,” says David N. Figlio, a Northwestern University professor and co-author of the study, which will soon be published in the American Economic Review, one of the field’s top journals… http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/upshot/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html?abt=0002&abg=0&_r=0

Citation:

The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children’s Cognitive Development (WP-13-08)
IPR-WP-13-08
David Figlio, Jonathan Guryan, Krzysztof Karbownik, and Jeffrey Roth
This working paper makes use of a new data resource—merged birth and school records for all children born in Florida from 1992 to 2002—to study the effects of birth weight on cognitive development from kindergarten through schooling. Using twin fixed effects models, the researchers find that the effects of birth weight on cognitive development are essentially constant through the school career, that these effects are very similar across a wide range of family backgrounds, and that they are invariant to measures of school quality. They conclude that the effects of poor neonatal health on adult outcomes are therefore set very early.
David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of Economics, and Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Jonathan Guryan, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Krzysztof Karbownik, Visiting Scholar, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Jeffrey Roth, Research Professor of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Florida
Download working paper PDF http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/publications/docs/workingpapers/2013/IPR-WP-13-08.pdf

Other articles have questioned whether heavier babies are healthier:

Bigger Baby Trend Worries Doctors As Health Concerns Mount Over Supersized Deliveries http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/bigger-baby-trend_n_3780699.html

Everyday Research blog analyzes the study in Heavier babies do better in school:
Questions
a) How do we know this is a correlational study? What are its variables?
b) Here’s a quote from the article:
Mr. Figlio estimates that, all else equal, a 10-pound baby will score an average of 80 points higher on the 1,600-point SAT than a six-pound baby. Another way to see the pattern is to look only at top-scoring students: Among the top 5 percent of test scorers in elementary school, one in three weighed at least eight pounds at birth, compared with only one in four of all babies.
Does this quote address statistical validity? Construct validity? External validity? or Internal validity?
c) Here’s a great addition. Underneath the main figure in the article, are tables of results for education, race, and age. The caption reads:
The effect of being heavier is similar across many different types of mothers.
Is this caption addressing potential moderators? potential mediators? or potential third variable problems?
d) Here’s another quote from the piece:
Florida offers a window on the issue because the state tracks children from birth through college…. The authors of the new study….used the data to compare birth weight with test scores from third through eighth grades, as well as with kindergarten readiness scores. They controlled for, among other factors, the health and sex of the baby, the length of the pregnancy and the health, age, race and education of the mother
Looking at the last sentence of this quote, is this statement addressing potential moderators? potential mediators? or potential third variable problems?
http://www.everydayresearchmethods.com/2014/10/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html

The question many parents ask is what is a healthy weight range.

The What to Expect article, Your Newborn’s Weight: What’s Normal, What’s Not discusses healthy weight:

So just what is average for a newborn? At birth, the average baby weighs about 7.5 pounds — though the range of normal is between 5.5 and ten pounds (all but five percent of newborns will fall into this range).
What makes your baby weigh more or less than the newborn in the next bassinet? Several factors come into play:
• Your own diet and weight, both before and during pregnancy (If you’re overweight, you may have a heavier baby. If you don’t get enough nutrients while you’re pregnant, your baby may be smaller.)
• Your prenatal health, including whether you drink, smoke, or have diabetes
• Your own birth weight, plus genetics (your size at birth, plus your and your hubby’s size now, can both play a role)
• Whether your baby is a boy or a girl (boys tend to be heavier)
• Whether this is your firstborn (they tend to be smaller than subsequent children)
• Whether your baby is a twin or triplet (multiples tend to be smaller than singletons)
• Your baby’s race (Caucasian babies are sometimes larger than African-American, Asian, or Native American infants)… http://www.whattoexpect.com/baby-growth/newborn-weight.aspx

The key is regular prenatal care.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports in What is prenatal care and why is it important?

Prenatal Care
Women who suspect they may be pregnant should schedule a visit to their health care provider to begin prenatal care. Prenatal visits to a health care provider include a physical exam, weight checks, and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, health care providers may also do blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits also include discussions about the mother’s health, the infant’s health, and any questions about the pregnancy.
Preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care women can:
• Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. Following a healthy, safe diet; getting regular exercise as advised by a health care provider; and avoiding exposure to potentially harmful substances such as lead and radiation can help reduce the risk for problems during pregnancy and ensure the infant’s health and development. Controlling existing conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, is important to avoid serious complications in pregnancy such as preeclampsia.
• Reduce the infant’s risk for complications. Tobacco smoke and alcohol use during pregnancy have been shown to increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use also increases the risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can cause a variety of problems such as abnormal facial features, having a small head, poor coordination, poor memory, intellectual disability, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.2 According to one recent study supported by the NIH, these and other long-term problems can occur even with low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.3

In addition, taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily reduces the risk for neural tube defects by 70%.4 Most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid as well as other vitamins that pregnant women and their developing fetus need.1,5 Folic acid has been added to foods like cereals, breads, pasta, and other grain-based foods. Although a related form (called folate) is present in orange juice and leafy, green vegetables (such as kale and spinach), folate is not absorbed as well as folic acid.
• Help ensure the medications women take are safe. Certain medications, including some acne treatments6 and dietary and herbal supplements,7 are not safe to take during pregnancy.
Learn more about prenatal and preconception care. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

For exclusive content: THE OLD BLACK FART
Subscribe at http://beta.tidbitts.com/dr-wilda-the-old-black-fart/the-old-black-fart

National Labor Relations Board decision: Northwestern University football players can form union

27 Mar

Moi wrote in College football players want to form a union:
The idea of recognizing that “student” athletes are really low-paid employees of colleges and apprentices in the billion dollar sports industry would force college administrators, parents, and athletes to face some very hard truths. The NCAA has compiled a probability chart which shows just how few student athletes have a realistic change of even being drafted to play professional sports and then go on to have a successful professional career. See, http://www.collegesportsscholarships.com/percentage-high-school-athletes-ncaa-college.htm
Moi has about as much chance of playing for a professional team as the average kid with dreams of sports stardom.

Jorge Castillo wrote an intriguing report in the New York Times about historian Taylor Branch’s Atlantic article. In After Leaving Football, a Historian Emerges as an N.C.A.A. Critic, Castillo reports:

The October issue of The Atlantic magazine featured a 14,000-word cover story by Branch titled “The Shame of College Sports.” Its focus was the N.C.A.A., and the thesis Branch presented was that the organization was little more than a sham, exploiting athletes in revenue sports like football and men’s basketball to make hundreds of millions of dollars while expounding the virtues of amateurism. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/sports/ncaafootball/historian-taylor-branch-delivers-critical-view-of-ncaa.html?emc=eta1

The problem is literally 1000s of starry eyed kids and in some instance, stage parents who are willing to do whatever for a slim chance and wealth and stardom. Add to this mix the big business system of agents, coaches, and colleges who want to stay on the good side of powerful alumni.

Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education reported in the article, Northwestern U. Football Players Win Bid to Unionize:

Football players at Northwestern University cleared a significant hurdle on Wednesday, as a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that they qualified as employees with the right to unionize.
The decision, which the university said it would appeal, could lead to radical changes in how colleges treat big-time athletes. But the appeals process could take years to play out.
Some observers believe a union could allow athletes to share in television and licensing revenue and to secure long-term health benefits. Union leaders say their priority is to ensure the health and safety of players.
The unionization effort is one of several high-profile cases to challenge the NCAA’s amateur system. In interviews on Wednesday, several athletics officials said they believed the cases could prompt colleges to do more to help athletes, whether or not they ever go to trial.
Last week Jeffrey L. Kessler, a prominent sports-labor lawyer, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, arguing that it had unfairly capped compensation for players in big-time football and basketball programs at the value of an athletic scholarship. And in June a federal antitrust case involving the use of athletes’ images and likenesses is set to go to trial in California.
Defending Amateurism
Legal experts say those cases have the potential to upend the business of major-college sports. But the NCAA has shown little willingness to negotiate change in its amateur model….
RELATED CONTENT
• Employees or Not? Graduate-Student Assistants Versus Scholarship Athletes http://chronicle.com/article/Employees-or-Not-/145573/
• ‘The Days of the Brown U. Ruling Are Numbered’ http://chronicle.com/article/The-Days-of-the-Brown-U/145575/
• Reactions to the Ruling on College Athletes’ Bid to Form a Labor Union http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/reactions-to-the-ruling-on-college-athletes-bid-to-form-a-labor-union/74937 http://chronicle.com/article/Northwestern-Football-Players/145579/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en S

See, decision: http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/NU%20Decision%20and%20Direction%20of%20Election.pdf

Allie Grasgreen and Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed reported in the article, Football Players Win Union, for Now:

In what could be a landmark case, a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday backed a bid by football players at Northwestern University to unionize.
“I find that all grant-in-aid scholarship players for the Employer’s football team who have not exhausted their playing eligibility are ’employees’ under” the National Labor Relations Act, Peter Sung Ohr, director of the board’s Chicago regional office, wrote in his ruling. Ohr said walk-on players — those without scholarships — do not qualify as employees.
The ruling cites multiple factors in concluding that the scholarship football players at Northwestern are employees: that they perform services for the benefit of their employer and receive compensation (in the form of a scholarship) in exchange, and that scholarship players are “subject to the employer’s control in the performance of their duties as football players.”
Ohr also differentiated the case of Northwestern’s football players from those of graduate teaching assistants at Brown University (in which the NLRB ruled for the university in 2004) because “the players’ football-related duties are unrelated to their academic studies unlike the graduate assistants whose teaching and research duties were inextricably tied to their graduate degree requirements.”
“The players spend 50 to 60 hours per week on their football duties during a one-month training camp prior to the start of the academic year and an additional 40 to 50 hours per week on those duties during the three or four month football season,” the NLRB ruling said. “Not only is this more hours than many undisputed full-time employees work at their jobs, it is also many more hours than the players spend on their studies.”
The decision is historic in its own right, but coupled with controversies surrounding head trauma, lawsuits regarding athletes’ rights (or lack thereof) to profit off their own image, and a new challenge to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s antitrust exemption, some experts believe it could contribute to the mounting assault on the underlying viability of the NCAA’s century-old amateur model….
The ruling applies only to private colleges, so athletes at public institutions would have to petition at the state level should they seek to unionize. But if the full board affirms the regional decision, its basis could ultimately be used by athletes at other universities as grounds to seek unionization, said William A. Herbert, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at the City University of New York’s Hunter College.
“This is an important issue for both NCAA players and universities, along with graduate students throughout the country,” Herbert said. “This case may present, for the NLRB, an opportunity to re-examine the decision of Brown University.”
Ohr noted in his decision that the Brown case, in which graduate teaching and research assistants at private institutions were denied the right to unionize, should not apply to the Northwestern athletes. Northwestern administrators had cited Brown University vs. NLRB in saying that scholarship athletes are not employees.
That decision said graduate students were not employees because they are scholarship students, they play a role in graduate education and have a unique relationship with faculty. In other words, their role as teaching assistants was an educational one. Football players, on the other hand, must fulfill many duties completely unrelated to their education, Ohr said.
Michael A. Olivas, director of the Institute of Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston, said he doesn’t think this issues will ultimately be decided through a series of court rulings.
“I think it’s going to come by Congress looking at this and legislating, because they’re the only ones that can really consider this in the context of antitrust law, employment law, labor law, the variety of very specific subfields that are implicated,” Olivas said. “You can’t just do it on a sort of case-by-case basis….” http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/03/26/nlrb-office-backs-union-northwestern-football-players#.UzPFLSTVoLc.email

Maybe it’s time to look at athletes as apprentices for the sports business. The question then becomes how to adequately compensate fodder for the big business, big money sports machine? Most of the kids who are part of the process will never see a payoff in sports. Maybe the compensation should be an education trust fund for college athletes so that when they are perhaps more mature and more realistic about career prospects, they have the resources for a real education.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
http://drwilda.com

Adjunct professors are the new serfs

4 Feb

Moi has posted quite a bit about adjunct professors. In USC study: Adjunct faculty pay disparity can be fixed at reasonable cost, she wrote:
A good basic description of teacher tenure as found at teacher tenure. James gives the following definition:
WHAT IS TENURE?

Tenure is a form of job security for teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. Its primary purpose is to protect competent teachers from arbitrary nonrenewal of contract for reasons unrelated to the educational process — personal beliefs, personality conflicts with administrators or school board members, and the like.
WHAT PROTECTION DOES TENURE OFFER THE PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER?
The type and amount of protection vary from state to state and — depending on agreements with teachers’ unions — may even vary from school district to school district. In general, a tenured teacher is entitled to due process when he or she is threatened with dismissal or nonrenewal of contract for cause: that is, for failure to maintain some clearly defined standard that serves an educational purpose. http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-925/tenure.htm

Time has a good summary of the history of teacher tenure at A Brief History of Tenure http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859505,00.html https://drwilda.com/2013/09/10/northwestern-university-study-adjunct-faculty-better-teachers-at-one-school/

Joanne Jacobs posted Adjuncts v. Fulltime Faculty at Community College Spotlight:

Retired State Sen. Ken Jacobsen once called Washington state’s community colleges “a chain of academic sweatshops,” Longmate writes.
At Olympic College, full-time faculty average $55,797 a year, while an adjunct who taught full-time would average $27,833.
“The same tension has arisen elsewhere — at Wisconsin’s Madison Area Technical College, for instance, adjuncts filed suit to stop overloads,” notes Inside Higher Ed.
In New Hampshire, community college adjuncts have joined a state employees union.
At Chicago’s Columbia College, experienced, top-scale adjuncts charge they’ve lost class assignments to newly hired part-timers who cost less. http://communitycollegespotlight.org/content/adjuncts-vs-full-time-faculty_3701/

The question is whether colleges can afford to fix the disparity.

Claudio Sanchez reported in the NPR story, Part-Time Professors Demand Higher Pay; Will Colleges Listen?

When you think about minimum-wage workers, college professors don’t readily come to mind. But many say that’s what they are these days.
Of all college instructors, 76 percent, or over 1 million, teach part time because institutions save a lot of money when they replace full-time, tenured faculty with itinerant teachers, better known as adjuncts.

Kathleen Gallagher, a published poet and writer with advanced studies and a master’s degree, spent 20 years as an adjunct English professor at several colleges in Akron, Ohio. The most she’s ever made in a year is $21,000; last year, she made $17,000.
After one college laid her off last summer, Gallagher was desperately short of money, so she sold her plasma.
“It is embarrassing to talk on the radio and say, ‘I think I’ll have to go give some blood,’ ” she says with a sigh. “But I needed gasoline….”
More than half the faculty at the University of Akron teaches part time. Ramsier says he’s sorry some adjuncts are struggling, but they know, or should know, what they’re getting into.
“Part-time work is truly part-time work,” he says. “We’re not expecting, or trying, to take advantage of people.”
Two-year and four-year colleges started replacing full-time faculty with part-time instructors in the mid-1970s. That shift has created lots of tension on college campuses where adjuncts are treated like cheap labor, according to a congressional report released last month.
Initially, part-time teachers were popular because they brought “real-world experience” to the classroom, according to Adrianna Kezar, an expert on workforce issues in higher education and a professor at the University of Southern California. She says things are different today.
“Higher education has begun to adopt corporate management practices,” Kezar says. “Corporations move to more contingent labor because it is a cheaper form of labor.”
It’s certainly cheaper, though the amount depends on the size of the institution and whether it’s public or private. A full-time professor’s salary can average from $72,000 a year up to $160,000; adjuncts average $25,000 to $27,000 a year, and often much less, regardless of where they teach.
‘We Have To Stop Hiding In The Shadows’
At Cuyahoga Community College, just outside Cleveland, 3 out of 4 faculty members are adjuncts, like David Wilder. Now in his late 50s, he has a degree in library sciences and has taught art history at Cuyahoga for 10 years, and 15 years at another school. Despite that, he lives paycheck to paycheck and moonlights in the deli of a nearby hotel. He says the professors are just minimum-wage workers.
“We’re just part of working people starting to step forward,” Wilder says. “We identify with the fast-food workers that are telling their stories, and we want to do the same.”
Some adjuncts here are on food stamps; others struggle to make their car or rent payments…. http://www.npr.org/2014/02/03/268427156/part-time-professors-demand-higher-pay-will-colleges-listen

A University of Southern California study argues colleges can afford to fix the disparity.

Colleen Flaherty reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, Not Too Expensive to Fix:

Or so argues a new paper from the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, a partnership between the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities to examine and develop the role of adjunct faculty.
“[Although] leaders in higher education do face budgetary constraints and uncertainty over future funding sources, it is a myth that resources are the sole reason that prevents us from ensuring that all our faculty members are adequately supported so they can provide the highest quality of instruction to their students,” reads Delphi’s “Dispelling the Myths: Locating the Resources Needed to Support Non-Tenure-Track Faculty.”
The paper, written by Adrianna Kezar, director of the Delphi Project and professor of higher education at the University of Southern California, and Dan Maxey, Kezar’s research assistant, outlines a variety of practices institutions may adopt to better support all faculty – not just adjuncts – rated on a scale from “$” (free to marginal in cost) to “$$$$” (indicating a “more substantial” expense).
Some obvious means of supporting adjunct instructors, who make up nearly three-fourths of the higher education work force — better pay, benefits — are costly. But others — such as enhancing data collection efforts to better track adjunct employment on campus, ensuring protections for academic freedom in faculty handbooks, and inviting adjuncts to participate in curricular discussions and governance – aren’t.
That’s the paper’s biggest takeaway, Kezar said, given the many “myths and stereotypes,” coupled with the lack of national data, about the costs of rethinking adjunct employment conditions. It’s based on previous case studies of different campuses’ costs and strategies related to adjunct faculty members.
“This new resource on how to understand the actual costs to support [adjuncts] should be paradigm-shifting for campus leaders,” she said via e-mail. “So many changes cost little or marginal amounts of money. But they do require priority-setting and making this a goal for departments or institutions.”
Inexpensive Ways Institutions Can Support Adjunct Faculty
Cost Practice
$ (marginal) Enhance data collection efforts on adjunct employment on campus
$ Ensure or clarify protections for academic freedom
$ Provide access to instructional materials, resources and support services (library, photocopies, etc.)
$-$$ (some additional expense) Provide access to on-campus professional development opportunities
$-$$ Extend opportunity to participate in departmental meetings, curriculum design and campus life (inclusive in e-mail distribution lists, etc.)
$-$$ Participation in governance
$-$$ Facilitate opportunities for faculty mentoring
$-$$ Ensure access to orientation for new hires
$-$$ Access to administrative staff for support
Maxey said that once institutions begin to make meaningful but inexpensive changes to adjunct working conditions, they can become convinced of the value of such investments.
“Non-tenure-track faculty are committed educators and should be provided proper support and fair compensation,” he said via e-mail. “We see all of the recommendations as important, but by offering this range of choices, campuses can target a few to start with that are within reach. In our experience working with campuses, those that start out with just a few low-cost changes often quickly realize that these changes to better-support the faculty are worth any added expense….”
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/16/paper-argues-more-support-adjuncts-wont-cost-much#ixzz2hv2YAHXI

Adjuncts do not want to be overlooked in the discussion of income inequality.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has written several articles about the plight of adjunct teaching faculty:

o ‘Chronicle’ Survey Yields a Rare Look Into Adjuncts’ Work Lives http://chronicle.com/article/Chronicle-Survey-Yields-a/48843/

o Love of Teaching Draws Adjuncts to the Classroom Despite Low Pay http://chronicle.com/article/Love-of-Teaching-Draws/48845/

o Full-Time Instructors Shoulder the Same Burdens That Part-Timers Do http://chronicle.com/article/Full-Time-Instructors-Shoulder/48841/

o At One 2-Year College, Adjuncts Feel Like Outsiders http://chronicle.com/article/At-One-2-Year-College/48844/

o Video: Voices of Adjuncts http://chronicle.com/article/Video-Voices-of-Adjuncts/48868/

Related:

Report: Declining college teaching loads can raise the cost of college https://drwilda.com/2013/04/02/report-declining-college-teaching-loads-can-raise-the-cost-of-college/

USC study: Adjunct faculty pay disparity can be fixed at reasonable cost https://drwilda.com/2013/10/19/usc-study-adjunct-faculty-pay-disparity-can-be-fixed-at-reasonable-cost/

Important statement from American Association of University Professors about cutting adjunct teaching hours in response Obamacare
https://drwilda.com/2013/04/05/important-statement-from-american-association-of-university-professors-about-cutting-adjunct-teaching-hours-in-response-obamacare/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Northwestern University study: Young adolescent use of marijuana results in changes to the brain structure

23 Dec

Often children who evidence signs of a substance abuse problem come from homes where there is a substance abuse problem. That problem may be generational. eMedicineHealth lists some of the causes of substance abuse:

Substance Abuse Causes
Use and abuse of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs may begin in childhood or the teen years. Certain risk factors may increase someone’s likelihood to abuse substances.
Factors within a family that influence a child’s early development have been shown to be related to increased risk of drug abuse.
o Chaotic home environment
o Ineffective parenting
o Lack of nurturing and parental attachment
Factors related to a child’s socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse.
o Inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom
o Poor social coping skills
o Poor school performance
o Association with a deviant peer group
o Perception of approval of drug use behavior
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/substance_abuse/article_em.htm

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self-esteem. Dr. Alan Leshner summarizes the reasons children use drugs in why do Sally and Johnny use drugs? http://archives.drugabuse.gov/Published_Articles/Sally.html

Anahad O’Connor reported in the New York Times article, Increasing Marijuana Use in High School Is Reported:

A new federal report shows that the percentage of American high school students who smoke marijuana is slowly rising, while the use of alcohol and almost every other drug is falling.
The report raises concerns that the relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, which can now be sold legally in 20 states and the District of Columbia, has been influencing use of the drug among teenagers. Health officials are concerned by the steady increase and point to what they say is a growing body of evidence that adolescent brains, which are still developing, are susceptible to subtle changes caused by marijuana.
“The acceptance of medical marijuana in multiple states leads to the sense that if it’s used for medicinal purposes, then it can’t be harmful,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which issued the report. “This survey has shown very consistently that the greater the number of kids that perceive marijuana as risky, the less that smoke it.” Starting early next year, recreational marijuana use will also be legal in Colorado and Washington.
Experts debate the extent to which heavy marijuana use may cause lasting detriment to the brain. But Dr. Volkow said that one way marijuana might affect cognitive function in adolescents was by disrupting the normal development of white matter through which cells in the brain communicate.
According to the latest federal figures, which were part of an annual survey, Monitoring the Future, more than 12 percent of eighth graders and 36 percent of seniors at public and private schools around the country said they had smoked marijuana in the past year. About 60 percent of high school seniors said they did not view regular marijuana use as harmful, up from about 55 percent last year.
The report looked at a wide variety of drugs and substances. It found, for example, that drinking was steadily declining, with roughly 40 percent of high school seniors reporting having used alcohol in the past month, down from a peak of 53 percent in 1997. Abuse of the prescription painkiller Vicodin is half what it was a decade ago among seniors; cocaine and heroin use are at historic lows in almost every grade.
Cigarette smoking has also fallen precipitously in recent years. For the first time since the survey began, the percentage of students who smoked a cigarette in the past month dropped below 10 percent. Roughly 8.5 percent of seniors smoke cigarettes on a daily basis, compared with 6.5 percent who smoke marijuana daily, a slight increase from 2010.
Studies show that the concentration of THC in marijuana, its psychoactive ingredient, has tripled since the early 1990s, and Dr. Volkow said there was concern that the rising use and increased potency could affect the likelihood of car accidents and could lower school performance.
“What is most worrisome is that we’re seeing high levels of everyday use of marijuana among teenagers,” Dr. Volkow said. “That is the type that’s most likely to have negative effects on brain function and performance.”
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/growing-marijuana-use-among-teenagers-spurs-concerns/?_r=1
Northwestern University researchers studied the effect of early marijuana use on adolescent brains.

Citation:

Cannabis-Related Working Memory Deficits and Associated Subcortical Morphological Differences in Healthy Individuals and Schizophrenia Subjects
Matthew J. Smith*,1,
Derin J. Cobia1,
Lei Wang1,2,
Kathryn I. Alpert1,
Will J. Cronenwett1,
Morris B. Goldman1,
Daniel Mamah3,
Deanna M. Barch3–5,7,
Hans C. Breiter1,6,7 and
John G. Csernansky1,7
+
Author Affiliations
1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL;
2 Department of Radiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL;
3 Department of Psychiatry, Washington University, St Louis, MO;
4 Department of Psychology, Washington University, St Louis, MO;
5 Department of Radiology, Washington University, St Louis, MO;
6 Warren Wright Adolescent Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
7Denotes shared senior authorship on this article.
↵*To whom correspondence should be addressed; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, 13th Floor, Abbott Hall, Chicago, IL 60611, US; tel: 1-312-503-2542, fax: 1-312-503-0527, e-mail: matthewsmith@northwestern.edu
Abstract
Cannabis use is associated with working memory (WM) impairments; however, the relationship between cannabis use and WM neural circuitry is unclear. We examined whether a cannabis use disorder (CUD) was associated with differences in brain morphology between control subjects with and without a CUD and between schizophrenia subjects with and without a CUD, and whether these differences related to WM and CUD history. Subjects group-matched on demographics included 44 healthy controls, 10 subjects with a CUD history, 28 schizophrenia subjects with no history of substance use disorders, and 15 schizophrenia subjects with a CUD history. Large-deformation high-dimensional brain mapping with magnetic resonance imaging was used to obtain surface-based representations of the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus, compared across groups, and correlated with WM and CUD history. Surface maps were generated to visualize morphological differences. There were significant cannabis-related parametric decreases in WM across groups. Similar cannabis-related shape differences were observed in the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus in controls and schizophrenia subjects. Cannabis-related striatal and thalamic shape differences correlated with poorer WM and younger age of CUD onset in both groups. Schizophrenia subjects demonstrated cannabis-related neuroanatomical differences that were consistent and exaggerated compared with cannabis-related differences found in controls. The cross-sectional results suggest that both CUD groups were characterized by WM deficits and subcortical neuroanatomical differences. Future longitudinal studies could help determine whether cannabis use contributes to these observed shape differences or whether they are biomarkers of a vulnerability to the effects of cannabis that predate its misuse.
http://schizophreniabulletin.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/10/schbul.sbt176.abstract

Here is the press release from Northwestern University:

Marijuana Users Have Abnormal Brain Structure and Poor Memory
Drug abuse appears to foster brain changes that resemble schizophrenia
December 16, 2013 | by Marla Paul
• The younger drug abuse starts, the more abnormal the brain
CHICAGO — Teens who were heavy marijuana users — smoking it daily for about three years — had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study.
A poor working memory predicts poor academic performance and everyday functioning.
The brain abnormalities and memory problems were observed during the individuals’ early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking marijuana, which could indicate the long-term effects of chronic use. Memory-related structures in their brains appeared to shrink and collapse inward, possibly reflecting a decrease in neurons.
The study also shows the marijuana-related brain abnormalities are correlated with a poor working memory performance and look similar to schizophrenia-related brain abnormalities. Over the past decade, Northwestern scientists, along with scientists at other institutions, have shown that changes in brain structure may lead to changes in the way the brain functions.
This is the first study to target key brain regions in the deep subcortical gray matter of chronic marijuana users with structural MRI and to correlate abnormalities in these regions with an impaired working memory. Working memory is the ability to remember and process information in the moment and — if needed — transfer it to long-term memory. Previous studies have evaluated the effects of marijuana on the cortex, and few have directly compared chronic marijuana use in otherwise healthy individuals and individuals with schizophrenia.
The younger the individuals were when they started chronically using marijuana, the more abnormally their brain regions were shaped, the study reports. The findings suggest that these regions related to memory may be more susceptible to the effects of the drug if abuse starts at an earlier age.
“The study links the chronic use of marijuana to these concerning brain abnormalities that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it,” said lead study author Matthew Smith, an assistant research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “With the movement to decriminalize marijuana, we need more research to understand its effect on the brain.”
The paper was published Dec. 16 in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.
In the U.S., marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and young adults have the highest — and growing — prevalence of use. Decriminalization of the drug may lead to greater use.
Because the study results examined one point in time, a longitudinal study is needed to definitively show if marijuana is responsible for the brain changes and memory impairment. It is possible that the abnormal brain structures reveal a pre-existing vulnerability to marijuana abuse. But evidence that the younger a subject started using the drug the greater his brain abnormality indicates marijuana may be the cause, Smith said.
The groups in the study started using marijuana daily between 16 to 17 years of age for about three years. At the time of the study, they had been marijuana free for about two years. A total of 97 subjects participated, including matched groups of healthy controls, subjects with a marijuana use disorder, schizophrenia subjects with no history of substance use disorders, and schizophrenia subjects with a marijuana use disorder. The subjects who used marijuana did not abuse any other drugs.
Few studies have examined marijuana’s effect on the deep regions in the brain — the ‘subcortical gray matter’ below the noodle-shaped cortex. The study also is unique in that it looked at the shapes of the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus, structures in the subcortex that are critical for motivation and working memory.
The Marijuana and Schizophrenia Connection
Chronic use of marijuana may contribute to changes in brain structure that are associated with having schizophrenia, the Northwestern research shows. Of the 15 marijuana smokers who had schizophrenia in the study, 90 percent started heavily using the drug before they developed the mental disorder. Marijuana abuse has been linked to developing schizophrenia in prior research.
“The abuse of popular street drugs, such as marijuana, may have dangerous implications for young people who are developing or have developed mental disorders,” said co-senior study author John Csernansky, M.D., chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “This paper is among the first to reveal that the use of marijuana may contribute to the changes in brain structure that have been associated with having schizophrenia.”
Chronic marijuana use could augment the underlying disease process associated with schizophrenia, Smith noted. “If someone has a family history of schizophrenia, they are increasing their risk of developing schizophrenia if they abuse marijuana,” he said.
While chronic marijuana smokers and chronic marijuana smokers with schizophrenia both had brain changes related to the drug, subjects with the mental disorder had greater deterioration in the thalamus. That structure is the communication hub of the brain and is critical for learning, memory and communications between brain regions. The brain regions examined in this study also affect motivation, which is already notably impaired in people with schizophrenia.
“A tremendous amount of addiction research has focused on brain regions traditionally connected with reward/aversion function, and thus motivation,” noted co-senior study author Hans Breiter, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Warren Wright Adolescent Center at Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial. “This study very nicely extends the set of regions of concern to include those involved with working memory and higher level cognitive functions necessary for how well you organize your life and can work in society.”
“If you have schizophrenia and you frequently smoke marijuana, you may be at an increased risk for poor working memory, which predicts your everyday functioning,” Smith said.
The research was supported by grants R01 MH056584 and P50 MH071616 from the National Institute of Mental Health and grants P20 DA026002 and RO1 DA027804 from National Institute of Drug Abuse, all of the National Institutes of Health.
– See more at: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/12/marijuana-users-have-abnormal-brain-structure–poor-memory.html#sthash.coRZr6cm.dpuf

What Steps Should a Parent Take?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a series of questions parents should ask http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/content/default.aspx?pud=a8bcb6ee-523a-4909-9d76-928d956f3f91
If you suspect that your child has a substance abuse problem, you will have to seek help of some type. You will need a plan of action. The Partnership for a Drug Free America lists 7 Steps to Take and each step is explained at the site. http://www.drugfree.org/intervene
If your child has a substance abuse problem, both you and your child will need help. “One day at a time” is a famous recovery affirmation which you and your child will live the meaning. The road to recovery may be long or short, it will have twists and turns with one step forward and two steps back. In order to reach the goal of recovery, both parent and child must persevere.

Questions to Ask a Treatment Facility

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (Center), lists the questions that should be asked of a treatment center. http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/faq.htm Assuming you are not one of those ill-advised parents who supply their child with alcohol or drugs like marijuana in an attempt to be hip or cool, suspicions that your child may have a substance abuse problem are a concern. Confirmation that your child has a substance abuse problem can be heartbreaking. Even children whose parents have seemingly done everything right can become involved with drugs. The best defense is knowledge about your child, your child’s friends, and your child’s activities

Related:

University of Washington study: Heroin use among young suburban and rural non-traditional users on the increase https://drwilda.com/2013/10/13/university-of-washington-study-heroin-use-among-young-suburban-and-rural-non-traditional-users-on-the-increase/

Resources

Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base
http://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/teenage-substance-abuse/adolescent-substance-abuse/signs-drug-use/

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/drugsofabuse/a/driug_abuse20.htm?r=et

Is Your Teen Using?
http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

Al-Anon and Alateen
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

WEBMD: Parenting and Teen Substance Abuse http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/teen-substance-abuse-choosing-a-treatment-program-topic-overview

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment? http://store.samhsa.gov/home

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

USC study: Adjunct faculty pay disparity can be fixed at reasonable cost

19 Oct

Moi wrote in Northwestern University study: Adjunct faculty better teachers at one school:
A good basic description of teacher tenure as found at teacher tenure. James gives the following definition:
WHAT IS TENURE?
Tenure is a form of job security for teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. Its primary purpose is to protect competent teachers from arbitrary nonrenewal of contract for reasons unrelated to the educational process — personal beliefs, personality conflicts with administrators or school board members, and the like.
WHAT PROTECTION DOES TENURE OFFER THE PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER?
The type and amount of protection vary from state to state and — depending on agreements with teachers’ unions — may even vary from school district to school district. In general, a tenured teacher is entitled to due process when he or she is threatened with dismissal or nonrenewal of contract for cause: that is, for failure to maintain some clearly defined standard that serves an educational purpose. http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-925/tenure.htm
Time has a good summary of the history of teacher tenure at A Brief History of Tenure
http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859505,00.html
https://drwilda.com/2013/09/10/northwestern-university-study-adjunct-faculty-better-teachers-at-one-school/

Joanne Jacobs posted Adjuncts v. Fulltime Faculty at Community College Spotlight:

Retired State Sen. Ken Jacobsen once called Washington state’s community colleges “a chain of academic sweatshops,” Longmate writes.
At Olympic College, full-time faculty average $55,797 a year, while an adjunct who taught full-time would average $27,833.
“The same tension has arisen elsewhere — at Wisconsin’s Madison Area Technical College, for instance, adjuncts filed suit to stop overloads,” notes Inside Higher Ed.
In New Hampshire, community college adjuncts have joined a state employees union.
At Chicago’s Columbia College, experienced, top-scale adjuncts charge they’ve lost class assignments to newly hired part-timers who cost less. http://communitycollegespotlight.org/content/adjuncts-vs-full-time-faculty_3701/

The question is whether colleges can afford to fix the disparity.

Colleen Flaherty reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, Not Too Expensive to Fix:

Or so argues a new paper from the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, a partnership between the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities to examine and develop the role of adjunct faculty.
“[Although] leaders in higher education do face budgetary constraints and uncertainty over future funding sources, it is a myth that resources are the sole reason that prevents us from ensuring that all our faculty members are adequately supported so they can provide the highest quality of instruction to their students,” reads Delphi’s “Dispelling the Myths: Locating the Resources Needed to Support Non-Tenure-Track Faculty.”
The paper, written by Adrianna Kezar, director of the Delphi Project and professor of higher education at the University of Southern California, and Dan Maxey, Kezar’s research assistant, outlines a variety of practices institutions may adopt to better support all faculty – not just adjuncts – rated on a scale from “$” (free to marginal in cost) to “$$$$” (indicating a “more substantial” expense).
Some obvious means of supporting adjunct instructors, who make up nearly three-fourths of the higher education work force — better pay, benefits — are costly. But others — such as enhancing data collection efforts to better track adjunct employment on campus, ensuring protections for academic freedom in faculty handbooks, and inviting adjuncts to participate in curricular discussions and governance – aren’t.
That’s the paper’s biggest takeaway, Kezar said, given the many “myths and stereotypes,” coupled with the lack of national data, about the costs of rethinking adjunct employment conditions. It’s based on previous case studies of different campuses’ costs and strategies related to adjunct faculty members.
“This new resource on how to understand the actual costs to support [adjuncts] should be paradigm-shifting for campus leaders,” she said via e-mail. “So many changes cost little or marginal amounts of money. But they do require priority-setting and making this a goal for departments or institutions.”
Inexpensive Ways Institutions Can Support Adjunct Faculty
Cost Practice
$ (marginal) Enhance data collection efforts on adjunct employment on campus
$ Ensure or clarify protections for academic freedom
$ Provide access to instructional materials, resources and support services (library, photocopies, etc.)
$-$$ (some additional expense) Provide access to on-campus professional development opportunities
$-$$ Extend opportunity to participate in departmental meetings, curriculum design and campus life (inclusive in e-mail distribution lists, etc.)
$-$$ Participation in governance
$-$$ Facilitate opportunities for faculty mentoring
$-$$ Ensure access to orientation for new hires
$-$$ Access to administrative staff for support
Maxey said that once institutions begin to make meaningful but inexpensive changes to adjunct working conditions, they can become convinced of the value of such investments.
“Non-tenure-track faculty are committed educators and should be provided proper support and fair compensation,” he said via e-mail. “We see all of the recommendations as important, but by offering this range of choices, campuses can target a few to start with that are within reach. In our experience working with campuses, those that start out with just a few low-cost changes often quickly realize that these changes to better-support the faculty are worth any added expense….”
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/16/paper-argues-more-support-adjuncts-wont-cost-much#ixzz2hv2YAHXI

Here is the press release from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP):

Change Requires Discipline
Disciplinary societies can lead the battle for the rights of non-tenure-track faculty members, say two leaders of the University of Southern California’s Delphi Project.
By Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey
Today, approximately seven out of every ten instructional faculty members at nonprofit institutions of higher learning are employed off the tenure track; nearly half of all faculty members providing instruction in nonprofit higher education hold part-time appointments. The characteristics that distinguish tenure-track from non-tenure-track faculty members are not limited to the latter’s lack of eligibility for tenure. Rather, most non-tenure-track faculty members, particularly those teaching part time, experience poor working conditions (no job security, low salaries, and little or no access to office space) and are denied many types of support that are provided to their tenure-eligible colleagues (professional development opportunities, access to resources for instruction and administrative personnel, and sometimes even e-mail accounts and library privileges). While many faculty members, administrators, and other higher education stakeholders surely know that large numbers of non-tenure-track faculty members are employed on some campuses or within particular disciplines, the implications for teaching and learning are often not considered or discussed. Yet recent research has documented how greater exposure of students to these faculty members, whose performance is often constrained by poor working conditions and a lack of support, is negatively affecting retention, graduation, and transfer rates as well as other indicators of student success such as GPA.
This is a systemic problem, but one that presents disciplinary societies with various opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways to the overall solution. One of the reasons that contingent faculty issues have not been adequately addressed is that responding requires the attention, support, and action of many different groups across higher education. No single group or coalition representing only a few stakeholder groups has the ability to act unilaterally to make the changes needed. Academic leaders control budgets and make many of the decisions that affect faculty work, boards and policy makers determine the priorities of institutions and systems, accreditation agencies hold institutions accountable to standards, unions decide who will be included in collective bargaining intended to improve conditions, and disciplinary societies influence how faculty members are socialized and which work is valued and rewarded. Although these groups and others often cannot act alone, there is sometimes little or no communication among them to align their efforts and goals. To address complex, systemic problems, a wide range of stakeholders need to participate and powerful levers such as disciplinary societies and accreditation must be used.
Collective Action
Although there has long been a paucity of attention to the growing reliance on non-tenure-track faculty members, individual researchers and activists and organizations such as the New Faculty Majority and the AAUP have recently been advocating for change. Now that teachers off the tenure track have come to represent nearly 70 percent of the faculty—and with some evidence of the adverse effects for students—this issue should be handled with urgency. One of the main reasons we started the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success was to work with a broad range of stakeholder groups. This national project engages disciplinary societies, organizations representing presidents and boards, unions, academic leaders, policy makers, accreditation agencies, faculty advocacy organizations, and other groups in discussion about how the faculty has changed and what the implications are for student success. We have also asked what the implications are for institutional missions, governance, curriculum development, academic freedom, and equitable employment among the full professoriate. The AAUP joined the project at its inception and has been a voice for the faculty in our work.
Two main questions are the basis for the Delphi Project’s core strategies: What steps can be taken to increase awareness about and improve the working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty members and thus create a better environment for teaching and learning? And how should the faculty model be reconsidered to ensure that we have the best faculty members in place to support the needs of students, institutions, and communities, now and in the future? Faculty members must also ask these questions, and disciplinary associations can have an important leadership role in raising awareness of contingent faculty issues.
An important early step for stakeholders (including disciplinary societies) seeking to change policies and practices is to recognize their roles as part of a collective effort, acknowledging and complementing others’ work toward achieving shared objectives. Faculty leaders should seek to identify who is already working to address contingent faculty issues, begin communicating with them, and align their efforts when possible. The Delphi Project is one such group that can provide resources and tool kits, data, and a well formed statement on the reasons for change that is based on research. Our tools provide campus leaders a clear explanation of the problem, the rationale for change, and step-by-step inquiry processes to rethink existing policies.
Several other groups have been involved in efforts to advocate for non-tenure-track faculty members nationwide. For example, academic unions have collected data and developed statements about advisable policies for campuses. New Faculty Majority, a membership organization serving non-tenure-track faculty members, has a strong advocacy mission but also conducts research and promotes policy change, often by collaborating with other groups. A few disciplinary societies, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Historical Association (AHA), have taken steps to increase the participation of non-tenure-track faculty members. And the work of educational researchers who are studying contingent faculty issues can be used to help frame an evidence-based argument for change.
Identifying the work of active or potential change agents on individual campuses is important as well. Several examples of administrators, faculty members, accreditors, media outlets, students, and unions collaborating at the campus level can be found in Adrianna Kezar’s book Embracing Non-Tenure-Track Faculty as well as the Delphi Project’s Path to Change series. By working with other groups at the national and campus levels, rather than in isolation, faculty leaders and disciplinary societies can be more successful in their efforts.
Disciplinary Society Leadership
In the past, professors mobilized through their disciplinary societies to support broader efforts to create systemic change by taking actions that helped to remove barriers and facilitate reform. For example, in the 1990s, efforts to promote the adoption of service learning, an important innovation in teaching, appeared to have stalled after nearly twenty years of slow progress. Close to a hundred departments, mostly sociology programs, had integrated service learning into the curriculum, but a common obstacle was the belief that service-learning strategies could not be applied in meaningful ways in fields such as chemistry or physics. Proponents sought help from disciplinary societies; they called upon prominent scholars to produce monographs describing how service learning could be used in each field. The leaders of the disciplinary societies also helped to build a base of support for service learning by extolling its benefits and creating opportunities at conferences to share knowledge about its processes and strategies. The work of faculty members through disciplinary societies was only a part of a larger movement that included interconnected and interlocking strategies among different stakeholder groups. Still, these important contributions have helped service learning be adopted and integrated by more than three thousand campuses.
Learning the lessons of past efforts to support change, we offer some advice and strategies to address the non-tenure-track faculty issue: actively reaching out to non-tenure-track faculty members to include them in disciplinary societies; eliminating barriers that hinder participation of non-tenure-track faculty members; creating task forces to call attention to the issues; highlighting data and solutions in journals, websites, and other publications and at conferences; distributing data to raise awareness and enhance discussion; developing policy statements; and creating coalitions with other disciplinary societies.
Active outreach: One of the first steps disciplinary societies can take is to encourage participation of non-tenure-track faculty members in their activities. Greater involvement can help to make these faculty members more visible in the field and allow them to share not only their concerns but also their knowledge and ideas. Including them helps to create a culture of respect for all faculty members within the society that can spread as members carry the spirit of mutual appreciation back to their home institutions. Since many disciplinary societies tend to attract mostly tenure-track faculty members, a conscious and planned outreach effort may be needed.
Elimination of barriers: Inviting non-tenure-track faculty members to join disciplinary societies may not be enough to encourage their participation. Often, high membership fees and the cost of attending conferences is a barrier, particularly since non-tenure-track faculty members usually do not have access to discretionary or travel funds to help cover these expenses. Disciplinary societies such as the MLA and the AHA have thus created membership fee scales that reduce the cost of membership based on a salary scale. The MLA has also created a fund to provide grants for non-tenure-track faculty members to travel to and participate in major conferences. Societies can encourage departments to seek sources of travel funding as well.
Inclusion and engagement: As steps are taken to reduce or eliminate barriers to participation, disciplinary societies have to ensure that non-tenure-track faculty members are included and more fully engaged. Societies can seek out contributions from non-tenure-track faculty members for their publications and consider them for awards and honors given to members for outstanding contributions to their field of study and service. Conferences offer opportunities to invite non-tenure-track scholars to present their research on these issues and host panel discussions and workshops, and they are occasions for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members to meet and engage one another in a conversation about the future of their field of study. Treating all members the same fosters a culture of respect, increases the visibility of non-tenure-track faculty members and of the issues they face, enhances the vitality of the disciplines, and generates new ideas and approaches to solving problems.
Use of publications and conferences: Disciplinary societies can also commit to expanding their efforts to advance dialogue about non-tenure-track faculty member issues through conference sessions, journal articles, commissioned reports, and other forums. These are important resources for building greater awareness among a disciplinary society’s membership. Faculty members can share their findings about conditions on their campuses with one another as well as the obstacles they face at home or efforts that have been successful. Panel discussions can highlight best practices or efforts to institutionalize the disciplinary society’s professional standards.
Use of task forces: Often, a lack of discussion about contingent faculty issues is related to a lack of data to demonstrate the nature and scope of the problem. Task forces are a good way to begin to collect data, identify trends, and examine the implications of findings for the future of the discipline. For example, a task force could lead an effort to collect data from departments in the field about the numbers of non-tenure-track and tenure-track faculty members employed, compensation and benefits, policies and practices such as programs for professional development, or access to office space and other forms of support. A few disciplinary societies have planned to conduct additional studies to follow up on their earlier efforts in order to examine how trends might be changing over time.
Dissemination of data: The efforts of task forces and similar entities often lead to reports that document current conditions, which can be widely circulated and used to make recommendations for leadership. They might also suggest actions that can be taken by members’ departments to improve faculty support and lessen inequities. Data and reports can provide a snapshot of conditions, which can help deans, department chairs, and faculty members better understand the nature of the problem. These academic leaders should consider the implications of policies and practices for student learning, equity, and risk management. Many of these concerns are summarized in the Delphi Project’s recent publication, The Imperative for Change.
Development of policy statements: Efforts originating from task forces sometimes lead to the development of policy statements and professional standards to inform the creation or revision of policies, such as those related to faculty working conditions. In 1982, for example, the MLA executive council adopted a statement regarding the use of part-time faculty members, which was expanded in 1994 to include full-time nontenure- track faculty members. The MLA Statement on the Use of Part-Time and Full-Time Adjunct Faculty Members called for an evaluation of non-tenure-track hiring practices, support and resources, compensation and benefits, professional development, and departmental and institutional governance. The 2003 Statement on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members addressed the implications of converting increasing numbers of full-time positions to part-time ones and reiterated the importance of improving standards for professional practice. There have also been efforts to address inequitable compensation. Recommendations for full-time non-tenure-track faculty compensation emerged from the MLA’s delegate assembly and were adopted in 2002, followed by the addition of similar guidance on the salaries of their part-time colleagues. Both sets of recommendations have been maintained and are updated to reflect current levels of compensation. Another policy statement, the MLA’s 2011 Professional Employment Practices for Non-Tenure- Track Faculty Members, provides guidelines for evaluating the role of non-tenure-track faculty members in individual departments.
Formation of coalitions: Disciplinary societies can (and in some cases already do) make important contributions by forming or working with existing coalitions. The Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW) has been one of the more active coalition groups. Its membership is composed of higher education associations, including the AAUP; disciplinary associations; and faculty organizations that are committed to addressing deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on students. The group has grown over the years, and today more than seventeen disciplinary societies are participating. Recently, CAW has garnered attention for its research efforts, notably the creation of a large data set on non-tenure-track faculty members’ experiences and working conditions that contains information collected from approximately twentynine thousand respondents. The group has conducted other research using national faculty databases and has compiled a list of policy statements from member disciplinary societies and organizations.
The Future of the Faculty
Disciplinary societies have long shaped norms for research, teaching, and service and for faculty roles and rewards. They can play an important role in future discussions about the changing nature of the faculty. Accepted methods and theories in research, approaches to teaching, and the type and intensity of service that is valued vary from one discipline to another. Yet, more recently, disciplinary societies seem to have had much less influence over shaping the roles and expectations of faculty members. Criticism of tenure and claims about publishing at the expense of teaching and about inattention to undergraduate education have grown throughout the past thirty years, yet the disciplines have typically had little part, if any, in rethinking expectations. Rather, some argue that we are failing future faculty members by training them for roles and expectations that no longer exist or have been—and likely will continue to be—dramatically changed. Faculty leaders and disciplinary societies must foster discussions about the future of faculty work and how faculty roles could be reconceived not only to address the concerns raised repeatedly by the public, policy makers, academic leaders, and students but also to ensure the future vitality and health of their profession.
Many might think that what we propose sounds too ambitious. Some will suggest that the issue is not really complex at all, retreating to the explanation that the problems related to our changing faculty are simply the result of constrained budgets in an era of economic uncertainty for educational institutions. But this is much more than a budget problem; the trends began long before the current decline in appropriations and other revenues, although today’s budgetary shortfalls have certainly exacerbated the problem. We are never fully constrained by budget issues, and with so much on the line, we should all be working together to address these problems collectively. Still, the evidence that suggests growing reliance on nontenure- track appointments has serious implications for students as well as for the individuals employed in those positions. We need to work within our disciplinary societies and collectively throughout higher education to achieve systemic change. Too many students—and too many faculty members—are being let down by the current system.
The Delphi Project has made a wide range of data and other resources available through its website, http://www.thechangingfaculty.org. We encourage you to visit the site periodically, since we are continuing to work with our partners to improve our understanding of the problem.
Adrianna Kezar is professor of higher education at the University of Southern California and director of the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success. She has written several books and articles on the issue of the changing faculty and served on the non-tenure-track faculty committee at USC. Daniel Maxey is dean’s fellow in urban education policy at USC’s Rossier School of Education and Pullias Center for Higher Education. His research focuses on faculty, governance, and politics and change in higher education.

These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.
Abraham Lincoln

The Chronicle of Higher Education has written several articles about the plight of adjunct teaching faculty:

o ‘Chronicle’ Survey Yields a Rare Look Into Adjuncts’ Work Lives
http://chronicle.com/article/Chronicle-Survey-Yields-a/48843/

o Love of Teaching Draws Adjuncts to the Classroom Despite Low Pay
http://chronicle.com/article/Love-of-Teaching-Draws/48845/

o Full-Time Instructors Shoulder the Same Burdens That Part-Timers Do
http://chronicle.com/article/Full-Time-Instructors-Shoulder/48841/

o At One 2-Year College, Adjuncts Feel Like Outsiders
http://chronicle.com/article/At-One-2-Year-College/48844/

o Video: Voices of Adjuncts
http://chronicle.com/article/Video-Voices-of-Adjuncts/48868/

Related:

Report: Declining college teaching loads can raise the cost of college
https://drwilda.com/2013/04/02/report-declining-college-teaching-loads-can-raise-the-cost-of-college/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/