Iowa Bill Proposes Faculty Play “Survivor” (updated)


A bill (Senate File 64) under consideration in the Iowa legislature, proposed by State Senator Mark Chelgren, would turn faculty positions into something like Survivor. Or maybe the Hunger Games. The bill would:

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Require that 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.

But wait. Here is what turns this from run-of-the-mill stupid to “the idiocracy is upon us” stupid:

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.

(via Ben Hale and the Academe Blog)

UPDATE (4/23/15): From IHE: “After receiving a substantial number of emails from outraged faculty members, Inside Higher Ed determined that the bill had died in committee — six weeks ago.” Meanwhile, a bill in North Carolina would require all faculty at state universities to teach eight courses per year. Details in the The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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