The Ohio General Assembly has been back in full swing since after the holidays. Below are updates on specific bills that we have been tracking.
Sub. HB 66 – “Tenured Faculty”As we have reportedly previously, Substitute House Bill 66 began as a bill that would have required all tenured university faculty to teach at least one three-hour undergraduate course each semester.
A substitute bill instead was introduced to create a study committee responsible for assessing universities’ commitments to their undergraduate mission, including how they encourage tenured faculty to contribute to the undergraduate mission.
The bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives in December and has begun receiving hearings in the Ohio Senate. OCAAUP will offer interested party testimony when the opportunity presents itself in the near future. As we did in the House, we plan to point out that undergraduates may not be getting enough face-time with tenured and other full-time faculty not because those faculty don’t have a commitment to teaching, but because institutions have chosen to hire armies of adjuncts, in part, due to insufficient state funding.
HB 512 – “Mega-Bureaucracy of Education”You may have read about House Bill 512 in the newspapers over the last couple of weeks. This legislation is receiving much attention, as it is proposing an extensive structural change to Ohio’s educational system. The bill would create what some are calling a “mega-department” or “mega-bureaucracy” of education. The Department of Education, Department of Higher Education, and Office of Workforce Transformation would be merged and headed by one appointee that would be part of the governor’s cabinet.
While we support Ohio’s educational agencies working closely together, HB 512 would give tremendous educational policy power to one political appointee. By involving the Office of Workforce Transformation, a concern is that too much emphasis will be placed on responding to economic changes rather than delivering a high-quality and well-rounded education to students.
This bill is fully supported by Republican House leadership and Gov. Kasich, and is expected to pass the House by summer. On the other hand, key members of the Ohio Senate have expressed concerns and are not as eager to pass such a sweeping proposal under a lame-duck governor.
The Ohio Faculty Council testified against the bill at its third hearing earlier today. You can view the testimony here.
Sub. SB 216 – “Public School Deregulation Act”Senate Bill 216 primarily deals with K-12 teaching and testing requirements. As originally drafted, though, it also would have made a dramatic change to the College Credit Plus (CCP) program, requiring that all CCP courses be taught at the high school unless the high school course is fully enrolled or not offered.
However, after push-back from higher education stakeholder groups, including us, the Ohio Senate Education Committee introduced a substitute bill eliminating the CCP provision.
President, Secretary, At-Large Position to be elected
Please see the candidate statements for our 2018 nominees below. While all candidates have provided a short statement, only the position of secretary is contested.
John T. McNay (University of Cincinnati)
Statement: “In seeking another term as president of the Ohio Conference, I am hoping to continue to build on the progress that has been made over the last several years in important ways. One is enhancing the Conference’s role as an outspoken advocate of affordable and accessible quality higher education. Second is continuing to build the Conference’s role as a place where shared problems and concerns can be discussed and solutions developed in ways that help both our large and small chapters. Finally, I think the experience I’ve gained over the last few years will be an asset as we navigate the new world in the anticipated post-Janus decision. I would appreciate your support and am excited to serve another term.”
John Blackburn (Ohio State University)
Statement: “I am the current secretary for the State Conference. I have been an AAUP member since 1985. I am currently the president of the Ohio State University chapter. The OSU chapter is trying to rebuild its membership, which is below the 100 members needed to have an automatic place on the Conference board of trustees. I would like to continue as secretary, because it provides the OSU chapter a board seat, where I learn much that is helpful for rebuilding the OSU chapter, while at the same time being of service to the Conference.”
Constance Kendall Theado (University of Cincinnati)
Statement: “Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself as a nominee for the position of Secretary. I am an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati, where I also serve as the Director of Graduate Studies. I have been a member of the AAUP since arriving at UC in 2007, have served as an At-Large member of the UC-AAUP Executive Council for four years (2012-2016), and am just completing a two-year term as Vice President (2016-2018). I am committed to the fundamental values of academic freedom and shared governance the AAUP advances, and believe that the experience gained as an active Executive Council member for my
local Chapter has prepared me to contribute productively to the OCAAUP agenda of advocacy for Ohio’s college and university professors. I ask for your vote and look forward to representing your interests in the critical statewide conversations and legislative decisions impacting higher education, generally, to protect the welfare of our union membership, in particular, now and in the future.”
At-Large Member from a Private Institution
Chris Howell (Oberlin College)
Statement: “I have taught at Oberlin College for 28 years, where I am now the James Monroe Professor of Politics. I am running for the Ohio AAUP Board of Trustees to bring a private college perspective to the board, and to contribute in ways that benefit all faculty in Ohio. As a scholar of employment relations, chair of my institution’s Compensation Committee for the last five years, chair of our Governance Committee, and a member of every major elected committee at my college, I believe passionately in shared governance and academic freedom, and the need to protect them in the current era of corporate attacks. I am particularly interested in exploring the potential of union-like, alt-labor organizations for faculty at private institutions.”
On March 15, ballots will be e-mailed to all members. The election will run through the end of March and results announced by April 15.
On February 24, thousands of workers from across Ohio, including AAUP members, came together at the Statehouse for the Working People’s Day of Action to rally for workers’ rights. We stood in the cold and rain, but the weather didn’t stop us from speaking out against the Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court case as well as state measures that seek to weaken the power of unions and workers as a whole. Thank you to those that showed up!