Editorials

State College Board of Trustees pursuing irresponsible faculty policies

Former SCF President Sarah Pappas asks members of the colleges board of trustees to reconsider Tuesday their decision to end tenure for faculty members hired after July 1, 2016. MATT M. JOHNSON/Bradenton Herald
Former SCF President Sarah Pappas asks members of the colleges board of trustees to reconsider Tuesday their decision to end tenure for faculty members hired after July 1, 2016. MATT M. JOHNSON/Bradenton Herald

The State College Board of Trustees got an earful this week from SCF's president, a former president, faculty members and the director of a lobbying organization representing more than 20,000 union college instructors.

The stout opposition to the board's foolish elimination of tenure a month ago pointed out an undeniable fact: The school's ability to attract and retain quality instructors will be damaged. SCF now holds the ignominious position as the only school out of 28 state colleges to quit offering continuing contracts to new faculty. Tenure must be earned through achievements.

But there's another policy proposal in the offing that degrades and devalues the teaching profession. If approved, future college job applicants would be forced to win positions via a low-bid process. This pits people against people to see who will accept the lowest pay, and most certainly will not appeal to top-notch professionals who command top dollar.

This bid process mirrors the one contractors endure to win government contracts.

Trustees appear bent on punishing instructors by adopting another new policy, one that eliminate spring break and part of the winter holidays break for full-time staff hired after Nov. 1.

Apparently, trustees embraced the idea that an educational institution should operate like private industry.

Political appointees, not educators, rule the board of trustees. Carlos Beruff, a longtime trustee, a Gov. Rick Scott loyalist and benefactor, and the owner of Medallion Home, a Manatee County homebuilder, did not attend Tuesday's board meeting -- not surprising given the backlash.

The board's action at the last two meetings took some of the wind out of the sails of the college's recently unveiled strategic plan, SCF President Carol Probstfeld pointed out. Now the college faces higher hurdles in accomplishing those meritorious objectives.

But all the opponents' objections fell on deaf ears, and now SCF stands at a competitive disadvantage with diminished prestige and academic freedom. Attracting new faculty and students will be tougher.

Trustees should reverse course.

Related stories from Bradenton Herald

  Comments