On May 19, Steve Mockabee, Chair of OCAAUP’s Government Relations Committee and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati, testified to the House Finance Higher Education Subcommittee on House Bill 474.
HB 474, which is being called the higher education “mid-biennium review” (MBR) or “higher education policy update,” proposes substantial changes to the trajectory of Ohio’s college and university system.
In his testimony, Mockabee expressed concerns with the College Credit Plus Remediation Pilot Program, community colleges being able to offer baccalaureate degrees, as well as the state recognizing Western Governors University as a public institution of higher education and embracing competency-based education.
“We urge the General Assembly to be cautious that in trying to make higher education less expensive, you are not unintentionally cheapening it,” he said. “There is so much emphasis on degrees and not enough emphasis on education. We want — and the people of Ohio deserve — opportunity and quality, not simply degree production. We hope that this committee critically reexamines this direction.”
Prof. Mockabee answered questions from committee members, including from Chairman Mike Duffey (R-Worthington), who asked why the state shouldn’t be promoting additional educational pathways. In response, Mockabee stated that “HB 474 would create a two-tiered system where the people who are wealthy enough to go to universities would get a first class education and those that are poorer are told, ‘You can go get your bachelor’s degree from WGU or a community college.'”
In addition, Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus) asked about the expansion of dual enrollment, to which Mockabee replied that it’s too early in the CCP program to determine how such a major push to dual enroll students could impact the current education structure.
“I have yet to run across a study that demonstrates that less education produces more educated students. Streamlining for the sake of streamlining I would not support,” he said. “We have different levels of education for a reason.”
HB 474 is being tabled for now, but may resurface in the fall for further consideration. Additionally, certain aspects of the bill that the legislature is more intent on passing could be amended into other legislation.
HB 48: House Bill 48, the legislation that would allow college and university boards of trustees to permit “campus/carry” has had no additional hearings in the Senate. If the bill moves forward at all, it likely will happen during lame duck session — the time between the November elections and end of the year.
If you would like to contact your Senator about HB 48, you may do so via this link. When contacting legislators, we recommend that you use your personal e-mail address. Your institution may have a policy about using your .edu account in expressing views to government officials.
HB 160: House Bill 160 is legislation that would prohibit faculty from assigning their own textbooks, as well as prohibiting institutions from allowing any textbooks produced by that institution to be used on campus.
The underlying assumption of this legislation is that faculty and institutions produce and assign proprietary textbooks to earn royalties. While we can agree that textbook costs need to be addressed, this bill seeks solutions in the wrong places.
So far, the bill has received just one hearing — sponsor testimony — in the House. Should the bill move forward, we will offer opposition testimony. In the meantime, we are working to educate lawmakers on this issue.
OCAAUP President John McNay, Professor of History at University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash, spent the last weeks of the semester as a Visiting Fellow at The Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.
On April 21, McNay delivered a presentation at the Institute entitled American presidents choosing peace, from Truman to Clinton.
The Nobel Visiting Fellows program was started in the early 1990s and has hosted over 200 of the world’s leading historians and social scientists.
Congratulations to President McNay on this wonderful opportunity!
Congratulations to the following members on their election and re-election to the Ohio Conference Board of Trustees:
President: John McNay (University of Cincinnati)
Secretary: John Blackburn (Ohio State University)
At-Large Member – Private Institution: Anita Waters (Denison University)
At-Large Member – Private Institution or Public Institution <100 members: Mitchell Eismont (Central State University)
National AAUP’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC will be held June 15-19. More details can be found here: http://www.aaup.org/event/2016-aaup-annual-conference.
The AAUP/AAUP-CBC Summer Institute will be held July 21-24 at Portland StateUniversity in Portland, Oregon. Preliminary details are available at:
OCAAUP offers a limited number of scholarships to the Summer Institute for members from new chapters and chapters with fewer resources. The scholarships cover the registration fee (which includes room and board), flight, and other travel incidentals. If you are interested in a scholarship, contact Sara Kilpatrick at email@example.com.