COLUMBUS—Today, the Ohio General Assembly approved legislation that will create a study committee to review the faculty tenure guidelines and requirements at state colleges and universities.
Substitute House Bill 66, sponsored by Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Township), creates the “Undergraduate Mission Study Committee,” a 15-person panel consisting of six legislators appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President. Each chamber is required to appoint three members, at least one of which being from the minority party. A member from both the House and Senate will act as co-chairpersons.
“I believe that there is a great need for tenure reform in the state. I also recognize that each university has its own set of needs and goals,” Young said. “Teachers and universities must have as their priority the contribution to the undergraduate mission. This may, however, be different for each state university. That is why the study committee was created rather than passing legislation that would automatically apply to all state universities.”
The Speaker and Senate President also will each be responsible for appointing:
• One state university faculty member
• One state university chief academic officer or the equivalent
• One state university student
Finally, the remaining membership consists of:
• The Chancellor of Higher Education or designee
• The President and chief executive officer of the Inter-University Council of Ohio or designee
• The chairperson of the Ohio Faculty Council or designee
The study committee’s tasks will include submitting a report of its findings and recommendations, which will include a review of the faculty composition at each public institution based on employment status. This would include tenured faculty, full-time tenure-track faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty and part-time faculty. Universities will be graded in one of three categories: “exceeds standards,” “meets standards” or “needs improvement.”
The bill includes a provision that requires each public school to attempt to contact parents or guardians two hours after the of the start of the school day, if their student is absent without a legitimate excuse. This concept stemmed from the death of Alianna DeFreeze, a student who was abducted, raped, and killed while on her way to school.
Sub. House Bill 66 now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.