Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Faculty Want A Say In Whether They Teach Face To Face. The Conversation Is Not Going Well.

Following up on Saturday's post, Penn State Faculty Demand Right To Decide Whether To Teach In Person Or Online, Guarantee Of Jobs, Full Salary, Benefits, Raises, And Hiring Of New Faculty:  Chronicle of Higher Education, Faculty Want a Say in Whether They Teach Face to Face. The Conversation Is Not Going Well.:

In announcing its plans to resume in-person instruction as of August 10, the University of Notre Dame became one of the first major institutions to answer the question on higher education's collective mind: How will we approach the fall semester? Weeks after that announcement, Notre Dame's president, John I. Jenkins, doubled down on the importance of face-to-face education in a New York Times op-ed [We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk.], writing that "the mark of a healthy society is its willingness to bear burdens and take risks for the education and well-being of its young."

But in doing so, Jenkins and the administration raised a second, equally thorny question: What if faculty members don't want to take those risks? That's the concern shared by 140 Notre Dame faculty members who have signed a petition asserting that “all faculty members should be allowed to make their own prudential judgments about whether to teach in-person classes."

At Notre Dame and colleges across the nation, faculty members argue that they’re not being given a say in a decision that could have consequences crucial to their own health and livelihoods. Even on campuses where administrators have solicited faculty members' thoughts about a return to face-to-face education — often through surveys asking about how they'd prefer to teach their fall classes — those efforts have generated a backlash. The way administrators try to gauge faculty opinion, many instructors say, feels coercive.

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Wayne State University may be ahead of the curve on this. Our "restart" committee process, which involves Academic Senate representatives on all but one of the specific restart committees, concluded that faculty and academic staff who teach courses must be permitted to opt for remote/online instructon rather than F2F if they consider themselves at risk (which includes those who must interact at home with others who are at risk). A clear notification of that choice was sent to faculty a few weeks ago, and we are now determining exactly what courses will be able to be held, with masks and physical distancing, in person.

Posted by: Linda Beale | Jun 24, 2020 12:06:54 PM

Employers set the terms of employment. Failure to comply amounts to voluntary resignation. In this case, the employer is so squishy that may not happen. Eventually that will be even worse.

Posted by: doc | Jun 24, 2020 5:22:33 AM

Sorry, but the administration v. faculty war is over. The dust has settled and the bodies have been buried. All that remains are signing the articles of surrender. You are now employees, fairly well-paid ones, but employees none the less. I was rooting for you, but most of the public isn't. They're tired of the abuse you've heaped on them and your highly partisan teaching. You're reaping what you've sown.

Posted by: Mike Perry | Jun 24, 2020 5:22:13 AM