Monday, December 20, 2021
Following up on my previous posts (links below): Brian Leiter reports [Univ of Illinois-Chicago Has Gone Crazy: The Latest on the Kilborn Case] that the University of Illinois Legal Counsel sent this letter last Thursday informing tenured law professor Jason Kilborn that his Spring 2022 will be assigned to other faculty while he undergoes "individualized training and coaching ... to facilitate his return to the classroom":
- Professor Kilborn will be enrolled in Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation, “Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom Online Course.” ... The course consists of 5 modules spanning 5 weeks. Each module requires an approximate time commitment of 2-4 hours.
- The modules will also be supplemented by readings, podcasts, and/or videos. • After completion of each module, Professor Kilborn will be asked to prepare a written self-reflection paper in response to specific prompts.
- In conjunction with his Cornell coursework, the Law School is retaining an instructional advisor to work with Professor Kilborn one-on-one. ... The instructional advisor will connect with Professor Kilborn weekly .... These meetings will consist of 60 to 90-minute sessions to discuss the Cornell modules and supplementary assignments, to provide feedback on reflection papers, and to discuss the assignments, answer his questions and offer insights. In addition, the advisor will assess whether Professor Kilborn is gaining insight, learning, and competencies in the subject matter presented, with a particular focus on applying the course content to his work responsibilities as a faculty member.
- Following the 5-week Cornell course, Professor Kilborn will be provided with additional supplementary material and will meet with the instructional advisor weekly to discuss the material. During the course of the program, the instructional advisor will also provide feedback regarding Professor Kilborn’s engagement and commitment to the goals of the program.
Professor Kilborn will continue to be paid and he will continue his scholarship and service work and "[i]t is anticipated that he will return to teaching in Fall 2022." Professor Leiter concludes "[s]ince the trainer will provide 'feedback regarding Professor Kilborn’s engagement and commitment to the goals of the program,' disagreement or skepticism about the content of the program is presumably not welcome. This is simply chilling."
The Legal Counsel's letter concludes:
As I am sure you can appreciate, litigation is time consuming, expensive, and cedes authority for resolution to a third party; whereas following the above approach allows the parties to maintain control of the outcome in what is hopefully a cooperative process. We are not asking that Professor Kilborn waive, relinquish, or release any claims that he may believe he has; but should Professor Kilborn decide to pursue those claims in court, the University will vigorously defend against them.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage: