During the final days of the Ohio General Assembly’s “lame duck” legislative session, the Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 66, the House concurred on the changes, and Gov. Kasich signed the bill into law.
Initially, HB 66 was legislation that would have required a minimum teaching load for all tenured faculty at Ohio’s public universities. After significant push back, the bill was modified heavily to instead create the “Undergraduate Mission Study Committee,” as the original bill purportedly was aimed at ensuring that undergraduates were learning from tenured professors.
Because of the Ohio Conference AAUP’s efforts, the bill includes language that requires the committee to “Review…the faculty composition at each institution based on employment status, including tenured faculty, full-time tenure track faculty, full-time nontenure track faculty, and part-time faculty.” We believe it is important for legislators to understand the attrition that has occurred with tenure-track positions, and that we need more tenured faculty (and more full-time faculty in general) to teach undergraduates, rather than imposing a cumbersome minimum teaching load for all university tenured professors.
The committee will be comprised of the Ohio Department of Higher Education chancellor, the president of the Inter-University Council, a faculty member appointed by the House Speaker, a faculty member appointed by the Senate President, the chair of the Ohio Faculty Council, two chief academic officers, two students, and six legislators (three each from the House and Senate).
While we still are of the opinion that this committee is an unwise use of time and resources by our state government, it will be an opportunity to highlight the excellent work of Ohio faculty — tenured and not — and hopefully shed light on the real problems facing our institutions of higher education. We intend to follow the work of the committee and communicate our views to the faculty and legislative representatives.
Innovation Ohio (IO), a policy think tank based in Columbus, has issued a new report by fellow Stephen Dyer, entitled “The Heart of it All: How Ohio’s Lagging Investment in Post-Secondary Education Must Be Reversed For Its People to Prosper in Today’s Economy.”
A few key findings from the report:
1) Ohio’s investment in higher education has dropped by 25% over the last three decades. Need-based aid has also been cut. Both of these factors disproportionately impact college access for poor students in both urban and rural districts.
2) Fewer and fewer Ohioans today are earning more than their parents did a generation ago. While more and more jobs require a post-secondary credential, Ohioans continue to lag behind the rest of the country in obtaining them.
3) Socioeconomic status impacts not just enrollment, but also completion.Students from poor school districts are twice as likely to fail to complete their programs. A similar gap exists between suburban and rural districts.
Like IO, we believe — and the research shows — that investment in post-secondary education is crucial for ensuring Ohio cultivates and retains a strong, talented workforce that allows us to stay competitive in a fast-changing economy and provides equity in opportunity to Ohioans all across our state.
Over the coming months, the Ohio Conference AAUP will be partnering with the IO Education Fund to develop specific policy initiatives to help policymakers develop a better trained, more educated workforce, ensuring a prosperous future for all Ohioans.
In accordance with our Code of Regulations, this will serve as our call for nominations for the 2019 OCAAUP elections. The positions to be elected in 2019 are:
-Vice President-Treasurer-At-Large Member from a public institution with less than 100 members or a private institution
The Vice President serves in the absence of the President and serves as a delegate to the National AAUP Annual Meeting and the Assembly of State Conferences Annual Meeting. The Treasurer also serves as a delegate to the Assembly of State Conferences Annual Meeting and is responsible for overseeing the Conference’s finances.
To nominate yourself or another member, or if you have any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations are due by January 15, 2019.