Hold Faculty Accountable

An Ohio General Assembly proposal — House Bill 66 — is being labeled “an attack on faculty,” by critics such as John McNay, president of the Ohio chapter of the American Association of University Professors and a history professor at the University of Cincinnati, who hope to keep tenured professors safe from accountability.

But lawmakers understand it is time to make certain students are getting what they pay for at the state’s colleges and universities, and not just keeping a percentage of the faculty comfortable in their offices and labs (or not) for the rest of their careers.

House Bill 49, the state budget proposal that passed the House earlier this month, requires boards of trustees at state institutions of higher learning to update policies on faculty tenure. The goal of that proposal is to “promote excellence in instruction, research, service and commercialization.”

HB 66 gets more specific, with requirements such as mandating tenured faculty at public universities undergo performance evaluations in the form of annual reviews and teach a minimum of three credit hours per semester. At most colleges and universities, that is one course. Faculty who do not show a contribution to the “undergraduate mission” could be subject to remediation programs.

McNay let slip what would be his true concern with the bill. He is afraid it would strip unions of their negotiating powers.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp., told the Dayton Daily News the requirements would “ensure that our students have the best teaching faculty. There should be a system of accountability at our universities that benefits our students.”

Bravo to lawmakers looking to ensure the faculty of Ohio’s public institutions of higher learning are contributing to students’ educations rather than merely collecting paychecks.

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