Culling the Iowa Faculty

This proposed bill in the Iowa legislature reaches far past the abilities of my ‘word horde’: Senate File 64 – Introduced

SENATE FILE 64

BY CHELGREN

A BILL FOR An Act relating to the teaching effectiveness and employment of professors employed by institutions of higher learning under the control of the state board of regents.

 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:

Section 1. Section 262.9, subsection 25, Code 2015, is amended to read as follows:

a. Require that any professor employed by an institution of higher learning under the control of the board teach at least one course offered for academic credit per semester. (1) Collaborate with the institutions of higher learning under the board’s control to develop and adopt the criteria and a rating system the institutions shall use to establish specific performance goals for professors and to evaluate the performance of each professor employed by each institution based on the evaluations completed by students pursuant to this paragraph. Each institution of higher learning under the board’s control shall develop, and administer at the end of each semester, an evaluation mechanism by which each student enrolled in the institution shall assess the teaching effectiveness of each professor who is providing instruction to the student each semester. For a professor teaching multiple classes in a semester, the institution shall compile an average evaluation score. Scores are not cumulative. If a professor fails to attain a minimum threshold of performance based on the student evaluations used to assess the professor’s teaching effectiveness, in accordance with the criteria and rating system adopted by the board, the institution shall terminate the professor’s employment regardless of tenure status or contract. (2) The names of the five professors who rank lowest on their institution’s evaluation for the semester, but who scored above the minimum threshold of performance, shall be published on the institution’s internet site and the student body shall be offered an opportunity to vote on the question of whether any of the five professors will be retained as employees of the institution. The employment of the professor receiving the fewest votes approving retention shall be terminated by the institution regardless of tenure status or contract. Develop a policy requiring oral communication competence of persons who provide instruction to students attending institutions under the control of the board. The policy shall include a student evaluation mechanism which requires student evaluation of persons providing instruction on at least an annual basis. However, the board shall establish criteria by which an institution may discontinue annual evaluations of a specific person providing instruction. The criteria shall include receipt by the institution of two consecutive positive annual evaluations from the majority of students evaluating the person.

EXPLANATION

The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. This bill directs the state board of regents to require that any professor employed by an institution of higher learning under the control of the board teach at least one course offered for academic credit per semester. The board must also collaborate with the institutions to develop and adopt the criteria and rating system the institutions shall use to establish specific performance goals for professors and to evaluate the performance of each professor employed by each institution based on the evaluations completed by students. Each of the regents universities must develop, and administer at the end of each semester, an evaluation mechanism each student enrolled in the university must use to assess the teaching effectiveness of each professor providing instruction to the student each semester. For a professor teaching multiple classes in a semester, the institution shall compile an average evaluation score. Scores are not cumulative. The names of the five professors who rank lowest on their institution’s evaluation for the semester, but who scored above the minimum threshold of performance, shall be published on the institution’s internet site and the student body shall be offered an opportunity to vote on the question of whether any of the five professors will be retained as employees of the institution. If a professor fails to attain a minimum threshold of performance based on the evaluations or receives the fewest votes approving retention, the institution shall terminate the professor’s employment regardless of tenure status or contract.

Update: Here’s a newer post explaining a little more about the fate of this bill.

22 thoughts on “Culling the Iowa Faculty

  1. This bill is absurd. Surely a better plan would be to have the five lowest-ranked professors fight for their jobs in the football stadium with the melee weapons of their choice, with the students giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down when it comes time for the coup de grace.

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  3. Because there are any solid studies that show student course evaluations to be an accurate reflection of faculty performance . . . ? Oh wait, legislators aren’t required to know jack-poo about the things they try to regulate, especially if those organizations receive government funding of any kind.

  4. How about a “Professor Shaming” website where the five-lowest are required to be photographed with placards around their necks stating the offense they committed that led to the low student evaluation scores?

    “I required ‘too much math’ in my class.”
    “I gave an exam Friday afternoon before Spring Break”
    “I grade on BOTH content and grammar, despite the fact I teach a science class.”

    They could even monetize it by selling ads….

  5. Is this for real? Survivor: Academia.

    Because, of course, education is a service industry: paying fees is guaranteed success, right?

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  7. Let the politicking against individual board members begin. Cull that board herd and promote a faculty friendly board. It’s their game and they’ve laid down the rules. All’s fair in love and war. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Bye bye boardies, sad to see you go.

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  11. Reblogged this on History Chick in AZ and commented:
    Of all the bad ideas from those attacking higher education this one has to be one of the stupidest! In Iowa a bill was proposed to evaluate a professor’s teaching performance based on student evaluations and “If a professor fails to attain a minimum threshold of performance based on the student evaluations used to assess the professor’s teaching effectiveness, in accordance with the criteria and rating system adopted by the board, the institution shall terminate the professor’s employment regardless of tenure status or contract. ” And “The names of the five professors who rank lowest on their institution’s evaluation for the semester, but who scored above the minimum threshold of performance, shall be published on the institution’s internet site and the student body shall be offered an opportunity to vote on the question of whether any of the five professors will be retained as employees of the institution. The employment of the professor receiving the fewest votes approving retention shall be terminated by the institution regardless of tenure status or contract.”
    These people obviously know nothing about teaching or, more importantly, the relationship between teaching quality and student evaluations. Teaching evaluations often reflect the likability of the teacher and whether or not the student enjoyed the class (either because they liked the subject or because it was easy). The easiest way to improve your course evaluations is by making the course easy. I can just see it now. If this was implemented it would be a race to the bottom as professors worried more about making their students happy, rather than educating them! Yikes!

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