BlogNotes: Texas Law Requires Professors to Post Teaching Details Online



    • Professors in Texas Protest Law That Requires Them to Post Teaching Details Online
      By Katherine Mangan

    • Faculty members and administrators in Texas are speaking out about a recent state law that requires them to post specific, detailed information about their classroom assignments, curricula vitae, department budgets, and the results of student evaluations.

    • Opponents counter that it has created an expensive and time-consuming burden and offers little benefit to the public.

    • Beginning this fall, universities will have to post online a syllabus for every undergraduate course, including major assignments and examinations, reading lists, and course descriptions.

      Curricula vitae must include a faculty member's teaching experience and contributions to professional publications. All of the information must be no more than three clicks away from the college's home page.

    • Colleges are required to assign compliance duties to a campus administrator and, every other year, send a written report to the governor and legislative leaders.

    • Students can already find most of the required information in other forms on the Web. "It takes an enormous amount of time and effort on the part of every faculty member to assemble and post this information in the particular form that the Legislature demands," Mr. Hillis says.

    • "By forcing universities to list a professor's postsecondary education and teaching experience, students will have a more accurate representation of a professor's classroom abilities than they would have otherwise," she wrote in testimony to lawmakers debating the bill.

    • Opponents say the law will invite political interference, and one of its requirements—posting online students' evaluations of professors—could encourage grade inflation and prompt some students to choose professors and classes that look easy.

    • Cary D. Wintz, a professor of history at Texas Southern University, objects to the model of students as customers. "We're not Kmart. We aren't having a blue-light special on history this week," says Mr. Wintz, who serves on the board of the Texas Faculty Association.

    • "You get the feeling that the government sees us as slackers," she says. By requiring professors to list every assignment, she says the law interferes with her ability to respond to students' interests and current events and shift to different topics during the semester.

    • The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst, wanted to protect students and tuition-paying parents at a time of rising college costs, according to her chief of staff, Chris Steinbach. "Enrolling in a course and finding that it's not what you needed can be an expensive mistake," he says.

    • Source: http://chronicle.com/article/Texas-Law-Requires-Professors/65450/
via Educational Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas

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