Earlier today, Wednesday, March 18, OCAAUP President John McNay testified to the House Finance Higher Education Subcommittee on House Bill 64, the state budget bill.
McNay began his testimony by emphasizing that faculty should be consulted on higher education policy proposals. He said, “We respect the work of our institutional presidents and the organizations that represent them, but you only get one of several important campus perspectives by consulting them.” He went on to say that the new college and university funding formulas are based on course completions and graduations, in which faculty play a key role, and yet, faculty were never consulted in any meaningful way about such a major policy shift.
His testimony pointed out that the new university funding formula gives a lopsided benefit to institutions like Ohio State and Miami that have selective admissions, while open-enrollment institutions are penalized. “One size doesn’t fit all,” he stated. President McNay also addressed the continuous decline in state funding, and pointed out that while Gov. Kasich is referring to his proposed higher ed appropriations as increases, even the proposed funding for Fiscal Year 2017 doesn’t restore funding to where it was before the governor slashed it in his first budget in 2011.
Additionally, he encouraged the committee to examine critically the College Credit Plus program – a program slated to receive additional funding under HB 64. He said that while the program is well-intentioned, it threatens the lifeblood of regional campuses, which exist primarily to offer introductory-level courses.
Furthermore, McNay expressed quality concerns over the proposed funding to train “college-level teachers” at poorer high schools and using Western Governors University to award competency-based credit.
He finished his testimony by referencing OCAAUP’s 2015 Ohio Higher Education Report, and briefly mentioning the issues of administrative bloat, athletics spending, and debt-incurring real estate spending. “When students graduate, employers judge them on knowledge of their field and being able to think critically, not by how well their college football team performed or how upscale their dorm was,” he said.
McNay received and answered questions from committee members for nearly an hour.
For example, Rep. Ramos asked how the overuse of adjuncts might affect educational quality and even the local economy. McNay responded that adjuncts are often teaching courses at multiple institutions, and receive very little institutional support.
He explained that full-time faculty are in a better financial position to contribute to the local economy by buying homes, purchasing cars, and other spending. Adjuncts, he said, are more worried about piecing together a living wage.
Rep. Anielski asked how the faculty to administrator ratio could be improved. President McNay stated that it’s not something that could happen overnight, but there are places that have made an attempt to address the issue.
He used Iowa State University as an example, which he said has increased its full time faculty by over 40 percent over the last 10 years by shrinking its administration. “We should be looking at and learning from these examples,” he said.
Chair of the committee, Rep. Mike Duffey, called McNay’s testimony “thought-provoking” and asked him if he thought capping tuition by a percentage was the right idea or whether the legislature should cap increases by some dollar amount. He also asked whether addressing tuition was enough or if they should cap total cost of attendance.
President McNay said that he believes a tuition cap percentage makes more sense than a one-size-fits all dollar amount. He also stated that total cost, not just tuition, needs to be taken into account.
For a copy of the full testimony, click here.
The Ohio Conference AAUP is conducting its trustee elections electronically via Ballot Box Online.
On Thursday, March 19, all Ohio AAUP members should receive an e-mail with instructions on how to vote. The voting period will last for two weeks, through April 2.
The candidates appearing on this year’s ballot are:
-Vice President: Martin Kich, Wright State University – Lake Campus
-Treasurer: Heather Howley, University of Akron – Wayne College
-At-Large Member – Public Institution with <100 or Private Institution: Anita Waters, Denison University
Thank you in advance for taking the time to vote! If you have any questions or concerns, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please consider attending these upcoming National AAUP and AAUP-CBC meetings:
University of Cincinnati
400B, Tangeman University Center
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
The AAUP-CBC Spring Regional Meeting will be at the University of Cincinnati in 400B of the Tangeman University Center from 9:00am-4pm on Saturday, April 18th.
06.10.2015 to 06.14.2015
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20036
Join your colleagues for the AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education and the annual business meeting of the AAUP.
07.23.2015 to 07.26.2015
University of Denver
2199 S University Blvd
Denver, Colorado 80208
Please plan to join us at the University of Denver, July 23-26, 2015, for an intensive, four-day series of workshops and seminars that will prepare you to organize your colleagues, stand up for academic freedom, and advocate for research and teaching as the core priority of higher education.