I am writing in response to Bob Dyer’s Sept. 5 column “Academia losing out to fast food” and Carol Biliczky’s Sept. 4 article “UA ‘encouragers’ to help students.” I am one of the part-time faculty members on the UA campus, working without benefits for just above minimum wage, at around $8 an hour — a wage Jim Tressel acknowledged is comparable to the pay of an academic encourager.
This fall, a new restriction was written into the small print of the job proffer for part-time faculty, who are 59 percent of all faculty campus-wide. While an academic encourager is expected to meet the needs of 20 students in a 25-hour week, for a three-credit course, part-time faculty members are now expected to meet the needs of 25 students in only six hours a week outside of class-time.
I had to tell my students that my job is at risk if I spend “too much time” in conference with them, prepping for class or grading papers in their writing-intensive courses. This is not a policy that promotes student success.
Our students deserve better. Our faculty deserves better. I care about issues of contingent faculty because the faculty is the heartbeat of any campus. As long as we are not investing in our faculty, our students will not thrive.
As an African-American, first-generation college student who grew up in Cleveland’s inner city, I might have been one of those students assigned to an academic encourager. Around 70 percent of our students statewide are from vulnerable populations: veterans, resumed-education students, minorities, first-generation college students and students in poverty. These students need more faculty involvement, not less.
I wish everybody had an academic encourager — though investment in our students is worth more than this, which only brings into stark relief poor university support for the majority of our faculty.
It is my hope that the university won’t just do something to encourage student success, but will take the most appropriate course of action. The faculty is a good investment, as it knows the material, sets the benchmarks and, most important, knows the particular strengths and weaknesses of students.
When I tell my students they can accomplish a course goal, it is not an empty platitude.
Co-chair, Executive Committee
Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association
I saw a report about a young woman dying from taking a drug at a Labor Day concert in New York. She died from a pill called a “molly.” Also, there was a young man who died at the same party.
Amazingly, just last month our U.S. attorney general made the announcement that the U.S. should relax our laws on drugs. Just what we need, more druggies back on the street to pass out more dangerous, killing drugs.
Maybe we should tell our president that girl could have been his daughter. I doubt that the president even heard about these deaths.
So, the editorial board of the Beacon Journal argues the parents of Sarah Hershberger should be forced to administer chemotherapy to their 10-year-old daughter because the hope of her future should outweigh the freedom of the parents (“To save a life,” Sept. 6).
This is certainly a heart-wrenching case with no clear answers, but I applaud your desire to give the girl the best chance she has to live.
Your stance begs a question: Why does the editorial board consistently advocate for the freedom of parents to kill unborn children, despite the endless possibilities of hope for those children and the futures they may have?
The Rev. Kevin Burkholder