Faculty Senate fails to reach graduate teaching policy decision

Wyatt Loy Reporter

Graduate students looking for teaching experience might see a change in requirements to teach higher level courses following the faculty senate meeting Monday.

The meeting presented a policy that would set the credit hour requirement for first-year graduate students teaching 10000-level courses at 18, but some senators called for exceptions.

Sen. Michael Chunn, professor of music and coordinator of graduate studies at the Glauser School of Music, said there needs to be more leeway for students who come into graduate programs with an exceptional degree of experience.

“There are some majors, like journalism, music and language where a lot of graduate students will come in with some of the skills necessary to be able to teach,” said Sen. Deborah Smith. She said for these students the 18-credit hour minimum might not be necessary.

Chunn motioned to decrease the credit hour requirement from 18 to 16, but the senate could not reach a consensus. The senate ultimately voted to send the policy back to the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) due to the possibility that the proposed motion would conflict with the Higher Learning Commission.

The policy will be reintroduced at the faculty senate meeting on March 9, 2020, where members will either approve it, motion for an amendment or send it back once again to the PSC.

“It could be revised in committee and sent back to the senate, or it could not be revised at all,” said Pam Grimm, faculty senate chair. 

There is a possibility it could go back and forth between committee and senate if no one can vote to pass it.

“It’s happened before,” Grimm said. “We don’t like when it happens, but it does sometimes.”

Emeritus professor Thomas Janson said graduate teaching experience is critical to Kent State’s competitiveness as a university.

“Graduate students who don’t have teaching experience will not get hired,” Janson said. 

He said no university would hire someone who doesn’t have relevant experience, and he “hopes this policy won’t get in the way of students who need that experience.”

President Todd Diacon also announced the May 4 events schedule, which is comprised of speakers such as Jane Fonda, a concert and four new endowed scholarships. 

Diacon gave his remarks at the beginning of the senate meeting, saying that, especially during the events, Kent State wants to foster a “respect for free speech and those whose opinions and perspectives differ from our own.” 

Wyatt Loy is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]