During the 132nd General Assembly (2017-2018), Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.) had introduced House Bill 66, a bill that would have required a minimum undergraduate teaching load for university tenured faculty. The underlying assumption was that tenured faculty are not in the classroom enough, especially with undergraduates.
In testimony that the Ohio Conference AAUP delivered to the House Higher Education Committee, we explained that the problem is not that tenured/tenure-track faculty are not teaching enough, but that institutions do not have enough tenured/tenure-track faculty and full-time faculty in general. We also provided data on how little it would cost universities to convert adjunct positions to full-time positions.
Virtually all interested parties were opposed to HB 66, and the bill’s sponsor agreed to change the legislation to a study committee on Ohio’s public universities’ commitment to their undergraduate missions.
Formation and Work of the Committee
The “Undergraduate Mission Study Committee” (UMSC) was formed at the end of the summer, met twice in September, and submitted its final report to legislative leaders on October 7.
The members of the committee were:
– Rep. Rick Carfagna (co-chair)
– Sen. Stephanie Kunze (co-chair)
– Rep. Candice Keller
– Rep. Catherine Ingram
– Sen. Theresa Gavarone
– Sen. Vernon Sykes
– Chancellor Randy Gardner
– Bruce Johnson (President, IUC)
– Dan Krane (Chair, Ohio Faculty Council)
– Dr. Lauren McMills (Professor, Ohio University)
– Dr. Bruce McPheron (Provost, The Ohio State University)
– Daniel Palmer (Student, University of Toledo)
– Dr. Ben Givens (Professor, The Ohio State University)
– Dr. Joe Whitehead (Provost, Bowling Green State University)
– Adrian Williams (Student, Wright State University)
In addition to the three House members, Dr. McMills, Dr. McPheron and Mr. Palmer were appointed by the Speaker of the House. In addition to the three Senators, Dr. Givens, Dr. Whitehead, and Mr. Williams were appointed by the Senate President. All other members were mandated by HB 66.
The committee was charged with summarizing how universities currently are committed to the undergraduate missions of their institutions, as well as determining how universities could further enhance contributions by faculty to the undergraduate missions.
The final report of the UMSC was generally very positive for faculty. The 70-page document is mostly comprised of appendix documentation. For better or worse, the committee strictly adhered to its six (6) statutory mandates, and did not deviate with much extraneous commentary.
“Requirement 6” — “Review of the faculty composition at each institution based on employment status, including tenured faculty, full-time tenure track faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty, and part-time faculty” was an amendment that we had worked on with committee members to ensure that the influx of non-tenure-eligible faculty was studied.
The report noted: “Per the IUC survey (Appendix A); most Ohio public universities had an increase in non-tenure-eligible faculty, while full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty numbers remained relatively stagnant. The committee recognizes that both tenured and non-tenured faculty play an integral role in fulfilling the undergraduate mission at our state universities, and supports efforts to ensure that faculty, regardless of classification, are provided with the support and tools required to operate effectively.”
We appreciate the work of the UMSC, and hope that the committee’s report will help Members of the General Assembly better understand how universities serve undergraduates, and consider how they can provide more support to all faculty.