Book Review #1775
New Directions for Higher Education: Intellectual Property, Faculty Rights, and the Public Good.
Book by: Samantha Berstein-Sierra and Adrianna Kezar (Eds).
San Francisco, Josses-Bass. 112 Pages. $26.92
Review by Shannon Lynn Burton, Ph.D.,
Michigan State University
As NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising expands its research initiatives with the establishment of the NACADA Center for Research to supplement the work of the research committee, the academic advising community hopes to see the benefits that focus on partnering with external sources to conduct research, as well as spaces to develop individual scholarship. While many already see themselves as scholar-practitioners, these pieces truly bring the community into the traditional triumvirate of teaching, research and service. As such, academic advisors may want to recognize the legal framework that surrounds their intellectual property. “New Directions for Higher Education: Intellectual Property, Faculty Rights, and the Public Good” edited by Berstein-Sierra and Kezar (2017) sheds light on these issues in a concise manner that is easily consumed. Berstein-Sierra and Kezar’s compilation centers on a few main concerns: defining intellectual property, the shifts in the legalistic culture surrounding higher education, faculty rights, as well as openness and access. Each of these pieces has implications for academic advisors seeking to do research, as well as those who teach courses.
Chapter One centers on the legal climate of higher education. The author frames the historical and cultural context for the shifts in policy on intellectual property taking place on many campuses. Focusing on higher education as a public good, Kezar questions the legitimacy of educational institutions operating more like businesses and intellectual property considered as a “strategic asset”. This view weakens academic autonomy, and by extension, faculty rights to the curriculum and research.
In relation to the curriculum, in Chapters Two and Five, the book highlights faculty rights to courses in both the traditional and online environments. This applies to academic advisors who might teach student success courses, as well as the presentations and workshops that they present. Essentially, rights to coursework center on the definition of employees and the “work for hire exception”. The chapter outlines the components of this law and its scope. For the most part, faculty (and academic advisor) rights are defined solely by tradition unless there exists an organizational policy that dictates differently. Thus, as academic advisors work to develop courses, they should be aware of their individual campus policies that govern course content and its ownership.
Related to the issue of courses, is that of scholarly research. Chapter Three outlines copyright law as it relates to research and the ways in which faculty have pushed back against the system through open access. As the academic advising community moves more directly into this space and as scholar-practitioners publish their results, they would benefit from understanding how their output will be treated and what rights exist in the publishing process. Chapter Four delves deeper into the issue as it explores the balance between openness and intellectual property, especially as it relates to higher education as a public good. For academic advisors, these chapters thoroughly explain the publishing landscape in a way that allows them to examine where they plan to publish.
The book ends with a discussion related to faculty voice and collective action in an effort to maintain courses and research as a public good. As this chapter really serves as a call to action for faculty to engage more deeply in this debate, this review will end with a call to action as well. As the academic advising community continues to move into the scholarly space, how should its voice enter these conversations? Where can individual scholar-practitioners enter these discussions on their campus? Just as faculty are becoming more visible in these conversations, so too should advisors as members of a research community.