Friday, September 03, 2010

What's WRONG with Texas?

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On Sept. 1, 2010 the Bryan College Eagle announced that Texas A&M will now start "grading" faculty according to how much $ they make for the university; this new system, says Frank Ashley, the vice chancellor for academic affairs for the A&M System, will "help administrators and the public better understand who, from a financial standpoint, is pulling their weight."

This is how it will work:
"A several-inches thick document in the possession of A&M System officials contains three key pieces of information for every single faculty member in the 11-university system: their salary, how much external research funding they received and how much money they generated from teaching.

The information will allow officials to add the funds generated by a faculty member for teaching and research and subtract that sum from the faculty member's salary. When the document -- essentially a profit-loss statement for faculty members -- is complete, officials hope it will become an effective, lasting tool to help with informed decision-making.

Ashley said the document, when complete, will be an argument to the 'people of Texas' that academia does, in fact, pull its weight."


What do you think, readers?
Will "the document" demonstrate academics' worth to Texans? How will humanities professors, many of whom teach difficult, writing-intensive courses, fare in such a ranking system? Is this really just a popularity contest/whoring out of academics cloaked in the guise of a public accountability measure? Will this type of ranking system spread to other universities?

Read the rest of the story here:

and the Chronicle's commentary here:

This latest development at A&M, combined with the state-wide mandate to publish all university syllabi online as well as the textbook controversy from earlier this year, compels me to stay very far from the Texas educational system indeed. Anyone else with me?!

*On the textbook crisis, see "Texas Textbook MASSACRE: 'Ultraconservatives' Approve Radical Changes To State Education Curriculum," from the Huffington Post:

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