COLUMBUS — October 8, 2009 — Representatives from the Ohio Board of Regents, state lawmakers, college administrators and representatives from the three higher education faculty organizations held a summit Oct. 2 to discuss the connections between student success in Ohio’s colleges and universities, academic staffing needs and Gov. Ted Strickland’s 10-year plan for higher education in Ohio.
Faculty organizations of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors support Gov. Ted Strickland’s comprehensive higher education plan and want to be active participants along with the Ohio Board of Regents in helping students, universities and the state thrive and grow. To that end, Summit participants agreed to create a working group to review current policies and practices, as well as seek ways to address the current academic staffing crisis—that is, the impact of steadily deteriorating faculty working conditions on the learning experience of students.
The working group seeks to improve the quality of higher education for Ohio’s college students by addressing staffing issues. For example, Ohio Board of Regents authorization guidelines mandate that at least 60 percent of college and university courses be taught by full-time faculty. Yet, that standard is not enforced.
Full-time faculty members often bring more experience to the teaching role which can improve student achievement. In addition, Full-time faculty are provided the resources and opportunity (office space and time to meet) to provide additional assistance to students where part-time faculty and adjuncts are not. However, some colleges and universities prefer to over-use part-time faculty and adjuncts because they can pay them less and provide fewer employment benefits. This trend does not benefit Ohio’s college students.
Solving the staffing crisis in higher education is critical to accomplishing Gov. Strickland’s goals of expanding access to an affordable college education, helping students stay in college and attain a degree. To help achieve these goals, the working group will look for strategies to ensure that both full- and part-time faculty members at Ohio’s colleges and universities receive the support they need to ensure the highest possible quality of education for all of Ohio’s students.
The groups look forward to working together on this important project, which is essential to maintaining Ohio’s world-class quality colleges and universities and keeping higher education within reach of all who have the desire and academic skills to attend.
The Ohio Education Association (ohea.org) represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.
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