Student Success Initiatives vs. Academic Freedom to Teach Rigorous Courses

A recent AAUP report that has relevance to our own work at UVU:

https://www.aaup.org/report/cca-colorado

and an Inside Higher Ed piece on the report:

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/29/aaup-report-says-adjunct-professor-was-likely-fired-insisting-rigor-courses

Just days before Bork was terminated, he says, he drafted an email to the state’s Higher Learning Commission, complaining about Aurora’s new Gateway to Success initiative. The goal of the program was to increase pass rates in these gatekeeper courses but, Bork said, in reality, he’d been asked to cut 20 percent of his introductory philosophy course content; require fewer writing assignments, with a new maximum of eight pages per semester; offer small-group activities every other class session; and make works by women and minority thinkers about 30 percent of the course.
Bork said he was told to keep teaching this way until 80 percent of all student demographic groups were passing the course, which in his view violated the spirit of Colorado law on guaranteed transfer courses to a four-year institution.
“Simply put,” he wrote in the draft email, “this class is now much, much easier to get an A in or pass than it was previously. … If the people we’re giving [A-pluses] to in the [guaranteed transfer] courses are only doing the equivalent of high school work at other colleges, I believe that sets up our students for harm later on. Our student success rates will spike through the roof, but we’ll be graduating people who think they’ve received a college education, but in reality have only done high school-level work.”

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