QuickWire: Rutgers Graduate Faculty Opposes Pearson eCollege Deal

Graduate-school faculty members at Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus voted on Wednesday to oppose a seven-year deal with Pearson eCollege under which the university and the company would jointly offer online courses and degrees and would share revenue, according to The Star-Ledger, in Newark, N.J.

Deepa Kumar, an associate professor of journalism and media studies, told the newspaper that faculty members thought Pearson’s contract with the university would give the company too much money as well as too much say over the curriculum—particularly because the contract would let Pearson delete course materials it decided were inappropriate. The measure approved in the faculty vote also said that the university should include the faculty union in any future negotiations with Pearson.

The dean of the New Brunswick campus’s graduate school, Jerome J. Kukor, said such fears were unjustified. “Rutgers retains all academic decision making, from admissions to what courses are offered, and the content in all courses,” he told The Star-Ledger. “There are no threats to academic freedom, no corporatization of Rutgers education, no influence by Pearson as to who teaches courses—that remains solely a Rutgers decision, and there is no claim on any faculty intellectual-property rights.”

About 75 faculty members attended a meeting on Wednesday at which the deal was considered, and 39 voted to oppose it.

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