Students accuse professors at meeting

Kent State students caused a stir at the Faculty Senate meeting last night when they claimed professors have said it is OK to skip class except on exam days.

At the meeting, Provost Robert Frank played a video featuring five “high-achieving” students – who were in attendance – responding to opinion questions about Kent State’s existing LER curriculum. There were some positive student opinions about the current LER system, but many were negative.

Frank played the video to show that LER reform is in the students’ interest.

In the video, one of the students says he had professors tell students they don’t need to come to class and can get through by reading the assigned text and showing up for exams.

This led to what Frank called a “very spirited” conversation between the students and the senate.

Jarrod Tudor, assistant professor of finance at Kent State Stark Campus, said the statement was “a serious accusation” and asked the student to name the professors he had described. The student couldn’t recall any of the professors’ names he had mentioned in the video.

The discussion cooled off when some students suggested the statement represented a sentiment they, too, had observed – that some large classes’ lectures aren’t worth attending.

“I’ve never heard of any faculty saying that,” Tudor said. “If it’s a sentiment, that’s different. I take issue with the statement that faculty have said you don’t have to come to class.”

But even with the lively exchange, the senate seemed to appreciate the students’ comments.

“I was very glad they came,” said Thomas Sosnowski, associate professor of history at the Stark campus. “I have to praise them. I mean, it’s not the easiest thing to go before 60 faculty members . I was very disturbed with hearing about bad teaching. That bothers me horribly.”

The students left the meeting before they could be reached for comment.

After the LER discussion, the senate discussed and approved the Educational Policies Council’s recommendation to create a regional campus college that would serve as an administrative home for unique programs and degrees for other regional campuses.

The last item of the senate meeting was the first discussion of the Professional Standards Committee’s recommendations to the tenure and promotion policies. Frank said he was pleased with the presentation.

“I think the committee did an excellent job,” Frank said. “They were very careful in their deliberations.”

The committee left the decision up to the departments to use aspects of the Boyer model, which reviews faculty for tenure based on four areas: scholarships of discovery, teaching, integration and application. The departure of this model has been controversial for some faculty members.

Contact academic affairs reporter Jamie Shearer at [email protected] and faculty affairs reporter Colin Morris at [email protected]