A new compulsory course being developed by the administration of Bowling Green State University could usher in an era of 1,700-person online courses that push back the traditional small, in-person departmental classes.
Christopher Frey, President of the Faculty’s Senate, made a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting regarding the proposed MOOC, or massive open online course, that the administration has grown outside of normal channels of development of the Faculty. programs.
“The professors are very concerned about the development of this course, as we currently understand it, based on the very little information we have been given about it,” Frey said.
“All students would be required to take this course. These statements are clear, ”he said. “We’re talking about 1,700 students taking a new course every semester, according to this proposal. “
He also said they heard the course described as a MOOC in meetings.
In his presentation on Tuesday, Frey cited the BGSU Academic Charter (1), Article 1, Section d, of the Basic Principles: “The primary responsibility for the development and maintenance of the University’s academic programs rests with Faculty. “
The minutes of the September 24th Diversity and Membership subcommittee of the board of directors noted details of the proposed course.
In the spring, a committee started working on the Race and Democracy course. A draft of the pilot project was completed by the time the Trustees met.
It also reports that “faculty are identified to write the curriculum, in line with the diversity, equity and inclusion learning outcomes adopted by the Ohio Department of Higher Education in March 2021.”
The September 24 minutes indicated that approvals would be needed from the BG perspective committee, the undergraduate student council, the faculty Senate and the rector.
In a follow-up interview, Frey said the professors were not involved.
“To date, the teachers have had no participation. I have not heard from any faculty, tenured, tenured, teaching, adjunct, or graduate student who participated in this project so far. I’m very open to news from our college community about their participation in this, ”said Frey.
A statement from the university was released after Friday’s BGSU board meeting acknowledging the role of faculty in the course development process.
“Administrators recognize that any new course must go through the formal process, which requires faculty approval,” said Joe B. Whitehead, Jr., president and senior vice president of academic and student affairs at BGSU. “Due to the continuing challenges of the global pandemic, the faculty group has yet to be nominated to move from concept to course proposal for consideration throughout the program process. Therefore, no prototypes or pilots were developed for the spring, and there will be no BGSU 1914 course without the approval of the faculty.
The minutes describe the course as a requirement for graduation, in the area of cultural diversity in the United States. Frey pointed out that there is already a compulsory course in this area, which has been created by the different departments.
Frey said there were two possible futures if the new course was a requirement. It could be additional credit hours and an additional cost for students, or it would replace what is already provided.
If this were a massive course of 1,700 students, it would mean job losses among the faculty, he said.
As part of the requirement to teach the course, Frey said professors would also be required to complete a MOOC from the online education company Coursera. He said the professor who teaches it is qualified, but BGSU professors are already teaching similar courses.
“In the days following my presentation, no faculty member – actually no one – came forward to say they were part of this process. It is a concern. Statements are being made publicly about the requirements for teaching a course that has had no faculty input at this point, ”Frey said.
A pilot course is already planned, according to the minutes of the trustee, for “Spring 2022 as a three-credit course for 160 students spread over eight sections. The pilot will include students from the first year to the last year.
Whitehead, in his statement, said the directors received an update at the Diversity and Membership Committee meeting in September.
“The concept for this course is still in its early stages and, like any other potential new course, its development will follow the process outlined in the University’s Academic Charter,” wrote Whitehead. “There is always a clear understanding that the faculty is responsible for the curriculum at Bowling Green State University. In addition, the responsibility of the faculty for the program is required by the Higher Education Commission and is a fundamental principle of all universities.
The Professors’ Association, the union that represents the professors of the BGSU, supports the Senate of the Faculty.
“The Faculty Association fully supports the Faculty Senate in protecting faculty control over the curriculum,” said David Jackson, President of the Faculty Association. “We are very happy to support the Senate of the Faculty as they remind the administration that professors are eminently qualified and empowered by the charter to be involved in decisions regarding program modifications and that no changes to the program should be made. occur without faculty participation.
“It’s a shame that the faculty had to learn about these administration plans through the media. It’s not a very respectful way of doing things, ”Jackson said.