When students arrived on campus for the fall 2016 school year they had to contend not only with new classes but also with a potential strike in the future, since discussions between the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) have been going nowhere.
As the contract discussion continues, students are the ones left out of the loop. Although both the APSCUF and the PASSHE website are regularly updated with information, there has not been a lot of information distributed to students about the discussion, though students are affected by the changes in contracts.
Some of the changes would include eliminating the funds provided to professors for updating their licenses and increased training. Another change would reduce compensation for professors teaching labs. One proposed change would also allow for classes to be taught by those who don’t have the appropriate grades.
While some of the changes would affect students in a future contract, the strike itself would affect students to an even greater extent. Professors on strike won’t be able to do academic advising, won’t meet with university committees, do field work/research, won’t advise clubs, won’t write letters of recommendation, won’t supervise internships or respond to email or phone calls.
Obviously, this is a situation that Slippery Rock students did not anticipate happening during their collegiate careers. It has produced a massive black cloud over the beginning of the 2016 academic year, and will continue to cause panic across the campus community until the situation is resolved.
Students who are attempting online classes will be completely in the dark with their professors, making an online class virtually useless and an absolute waste of that students’ tuition. Other students who are working on fall internships also will not be able to talk to their advisors and internship coordinators.
PASSHE has also proposed allowing for people without higher-level degrees to teach classes as a solution to the dispute. In a nutshell, this would mean classes could be taught by individuals who have experience of the field that is being studied, but has only completed their bachelor’s or master’s degree. This would obviously by a prime solution for PASSHE because paying faculty members without a doctorate degree would be far cheaper than paying for faculty who do have one.
As a result of this particular proposed change, the value of a Slippery Rock degree would probably plummet, because less qualified individuals would be educating its students. This would be sore subject not just at SRU, but also among every state school in the state system of education.
Apparently, PASSHE is more interested in saving money than they are providing its students with a quality education.