Tuesday, June 23, 2020
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.