Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why freelancers need a code of ethics; Forbes, 5/30/14

Vickie Elmer, Forbes; Why freelancers need a code of ethics:
"In a business world filled with ambiguity, creating clarity around your ethical or behavioral standards can seem like a quaint notion from a bygone era. Yet freelancers and independent contractors need these "rules of engagement" to establish boundaries and general "rules of the road," says Sara Horowitz, president of the Freelancers Union...
Independent contractors have begun to ask the Freelancers Union to develop a code that addresses how the business world ought to relate to them. "We will start the conversation" on topics around what it means to be a good freelancer and how payment should work, Horowitz says. The organization expects to develop a code to help freelancers work with one another and with businesses later this year...
Many professional associations have developed ethical codes, from the American Academy of Actuaries to the National Association of Realtors, and the American Translators Association, all of which address client confidentiality and negotiation for recognition. These codes serve as starting points and can be adapted to fit an individual's brand and needs.
Those who work in multiple jurisdictions -- whether it's Texas and Oklahoma, New York and New Jersey, or simply two hospitals with different ethical guidelines -- may need room for variation."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

In Season of Protest, Haverford Speaker Is Latest to Bow Out; New York Times, 5/13/14

Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times; In Season of Protest, Haverford Speaker Is Latest to Bow Out:
"Haverford College on Tuesday joined a growing list of schools to lose commencement speakers to protests from the left, when Robert J. Birgeneau, a former chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, withdrew from this weekend’s event.
Some students and faculty members at Haverford, a liberal arts college near Philadelphia, objected to the invitation to Mr. Birgeneau to speak and receive an honorary degree because, under him, the University of California police used batons to break up an Occupy protest in 2011. He first stated his support for the police, and then a few days later, saying that he was disturbed by videos of the confrontation, ordered an investigation...
On Tuesday, Daniel H. Weiss, president of Haverford, sent a message to students and staff members that Mr. Birgeneau had pulled out of Sunday’s event. Mr. Weiss wrote that while he appreciated the views of the protesters, “it is nonetheless deeply regrettable that we have lost an opportunity to recognize and hear from one of the most consequential leaders in American higher education.”

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding; New York Times, 5/10/14

Matt Richtel, New York Times; Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding:
"The spread of coding instruction, while still nascent, is “unprecedented — there’s never been a move this fast in education,” said Elliot Soloway, a professor of education and computer science at the University of Michigan. He sees it as very positive, potentially inspiring students to develop a new passion, perhaps the way that teaching frog dissection may inspire future surgeons and biologists.
But the momentum for early coding comes with caveats, too. It is not clear that teaching basic computer science in grade school will beget future jobs or foster broader creativity and logical thinking, as some champions of the movement are projecting. And particularly for younger children, Dr. Soloway said, the activity is more like a video game — better than simulated gunplay, but not likely to impart actual programming skills.
Some educators worry about the industry’s heavy role: Major tech companies and their founders, including Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, have put up about $10 million for The organization pays to train high school teachers to offer more advanced curriculums, and, for younger students, it has developed a coding curriculum that marries basic instruction with video games involving Angry Birds and hungry zombies."

Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm; New York Times, 5/17/14

Jennifer Medina, New York Times; Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm:
"The most vociferous criticism has focused on trigger warnings for materials that have an established place on syllabuses across the country. Among the suggestions for books that would benefit from trigger warnings are Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” (contains anti-Semitism) and Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” (addresses suicide).
“Frankly it seems this is sort of an inevitable movement toward people increasingly expecting physical comfort and intellectual comfort in their lives,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit group that advocates free speech. “It is only going to get harder to teach people that there is a real important and serious value to being offended. Part of that is talking about deadly serious and uncomfortable subjects.”...
Meredith Raimondo, Oberlin’s associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the guide was meant to provide suggestions, not to dictate to professors. An associate professor of comparative American studies and a co-chairwoman of the task force, Ms. Raimondo said providing students with warnings would simply be “responsible pedagogical practice.”...
But Marc Blecher, a professor of politics and East Asian studies at Oberlin and a major critic of trigger warnings at Oberlin, said such a policy would have a chilling effect on faculty members, particularly those without the job security of tenure.
“If I were a junior faculty member looking at this while putting my syllabus together, I’d be terrified,” Mr. Blecher said. “Any student who felt triggered by something that happened in class could file a complaint with the various procedures and judicial boards, and create a very tortuous process for anyone.”

Thursday, May 1, 2014

U.S. Attorney Subpoenas Records of Ethics Panel; New York Times, 4/30/14

Susanne Craig and William K. Rashbaum, New York Times; U.S. Attorney Subpoenas Records of Ethics Panel:
"The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who sharply criticized Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s shutdown of a commission he had formed to investigate political corruption in New York State, is now seeking records from the state’s ethics panel.
The state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics received a grand jury subpoena recently from the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, for all complaints the commission has received on public corruption, according to two people briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak on the record.
The commission, whose members are appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, is the state’s ethical and lobbying enforcement agency.
The action by Mr. Bharara’s office came a month after Mr. Cuomo cut a deal with top state lawmakers to shut down the so-called Moreland Commission he had convened last year to investigate public corruption in the state. In exchange for terminating the panel’s work, the governor said he had won tougher laws on bribery and corruption and improved enforcement of election law."