Sunday, April 29, 2012

Plan to encourage professors to write less and teach more goes over like a lead balloon

The idea has recently been floated by several commentators that one way to help make law students more practice ready without adding to the already high cost of tuition is to shift resources away from funding pricey scholarship toward increasing each faculty member's teaching load so that more students can benefit from the smaller classes needed to deliver individualized instruction in legal skills. A University of Florida undergraduate Dean suggested the same cost-savings reallocation for a computer science department in order to cope with a state budget crunch. That is until the plan was met with a uniformly negative response from both faculty and students which put the kibosh on it. The Chronicle of Higher Ed reports:

U. of Florida Dean Drops Plan to Shift Faculty Focus From Research to Teaching

Facing a backlash from students and faculty members, a University of Florida dean has backed away from her plan to shift the focus of a computer-science department from research to teaching. Cammy R. Abernathy, dean of the College of Engineering, this month proposed eliminating the department’s graduate teaching assistants and research support staff as a cost-saving measure. The plan would have reassigned tenured and tenure-track faculty to focus solely on teaching. But on Wednesday, citing an “overwhelming negative response” to the proposal, the university’s president, J. Bernard Machen, said in a written statement that it had dropped Ms. Abernathy’s plan. Mr. Machen said that two department chairs in the college were working on an alternative strategy to deal with cuts in state funds.


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