Academic Partnerships, the company

Most people I know either ignore online teaching because of the problems and the hype, and being tired of staring into screens already. Others are so gung-ho about it that they ignore the problems. One problem, I have discovered, in a neighboring R-1 is that this firm, Academic Partnerships, that runs their platform, also gets 50% of the tuition dollars generated by the classes. And most faculty do not know about, or pay attention to this technicality and its implications.

In its work to actively shape quality online education at Eastern Michigan University, EMU-AAUP has fought against pressure from Academic Partnerships to cut costs by using more part-time instructors. Educators know well that such instructional cost cuts lead to the exploitation of faculty, to part-time, under-resourced positions, and to the erosion of academic freedom. As a result, they diminish the quality of the experience in the classroom. To defend against these cuts, EMU-AAUP proposed a letter of agreement with the administration that includes a clause prohibiting the use of “coaches or teaching assistants employed by Academic Partnerships or its strategic partners for instructional duties regularly performed by tenured or tenure-track faculty.”

This is the kind of boring, technical issue people do not want to bother with because they have more juicy things going on, but that have implications they discover later. Here’s a primer on privatization worth referring to.


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