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McNay Talks Workload, Student Debt to Higher Education Committee

Earlier today, Tuesday, March 25, Ohio Conference President John McNay delivered testimony to the House Higher Education Subcommittee.
  
We learned late last week that the subcommittee would hold only one hearing for testimony on HB 484 - the higher education components of the mid-biennium review (MBR).
  
In his testimony, McNay, for the third time in a year, told legislators that state mandates for faculty workload don't make sense and are solutions in search of a problem.
  
He criticized the Governor's various workload proposals as distractions from honest discourse about the real problems in higher education today.
  
"Instead of talking about increasing faculty workload by 10 percent, why aren't we talking about increasing state funding by 10 percent or telling universities to increase administrative efficiencies by 10 percent and redirect those savings toward instruction?" McNay asked. "These are things that can be quantified and would address real problems."  
  
Additionally, President McNay advocated for the Legislature to restore funding to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) - need-based financial aid, which was slashed by more than half in 2009.
  
He said, "We need to be making it easier, not harder, for students to go to college. We cannot talk seriously about higher education's role in the economic recovery when students are being saddled with so much debt that they have extremely limited purchasing power after
graduation."

To read the full testimony, click here.
  
There were no questions from Republican committee members.

Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) asked about the trend of universities failing to replace tenured faculty who retire, as well as the overuse of adjunct faculty. McNay discussed his personal experience at the University of Cincinnati, where adjuncts outnumber tenured and tenure-track faculty, and yet receive very limited institutional support.

"What the students don't know is the person standing in front of the classroom is only making $1,500 a course, and yet they are spending thousands and thousands for their education," McNay said in regard to adjunct compensation. "Universities are spending less than 30 percent of their budgets on employing faculty. Where is the rest of the money going?"

Additionally, Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) voiced concerns over animosity developing between administrations and faculty if the workload language is passed as is. President McNay responded that it is hard to say what will happen at each campus, but that he wouldn't want to see administrations hide behind an ambiguous state mandate to unilaterally impose new workload policies. 
  

To see the Legislative Service Commission's analysis of HB 484, click here.

   

Again, we will keep you apprised of developments as this bill goes through the legislative process.
  

  Last Call for OCAAUP Annual Meeting!
  
The 2014 Ohio Conference AAUP Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with the Collective Bargaining Congress (CBC) Midwest Regional Meeting, Friday, April 11 through Saturday, April 12 at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel.
  
The Friday evening dinner will feature a presentation by One Ohio Now's director Gavin DeVore Leonard on tax policy in Ohio and how it's impacting higher education funding.
  
Professor Chad Hanson of Casper College in Wyoming will deliver the Saturday luncheon talk, entitled "Talking Higher Education: Metaphors That We Live By."
    
In addition, National AAUP Senior Legal Counsel Aaron Nissenson will provide an update on recent legal cases impacting academia. There also will be a "Midwest Government Relations Round-Up" highlighting legislative activity in Midwestern states.

 

Moreover, the Saturday afternoon workshops include:

1) For God's Sake Shut Up: A Professor's Guide to Working with the Media

 

2) Building Advocacy Chapters, General Best Practices, and Attracting and Engaging Faculty of Color
 
3) Battling Right-to-Work: A Messaging Workshop

4) Building Effective Contract Campaigns

  
Below are details for meeting registration and hotel reservations:  
  
An online registration has been set-up by National AAUP, which you can access by clicking here. Registration is only $25.
  
The hotel reservation deadline to receive the special, reduced rate has passed. However, you can still make a reservation at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown