November 2, 2015

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Florida state college to make potential faculty hires bid for jobs.

Putting a project out to bid is typically part of the public works process, since competitive bids tend to drive down the price and ensure fair opportunity for contracts. But should that process be applied to faculty hiring in public higher education? A member of the Board of Trustees for the State College of Florida at Manatee-Sarasota thinks so, and he’s set to brief the board on his proposal at an upcoming meeting. Even without details, the idea is causing already beleaguered faculty and staff members to shake their heads. . . .

Earlier this year, State College’s board voted to make it the only one of 28 Florida public colleges to do away with a tenure-like system based on continuing contracts for long-serving, high-performing faculty members. Instructors and administrators alike protested the idea, saying it would put the college at a competitive disadvantage in terms of faculty recruitment, and ultimately affect educational quality. The argument fell mostly on deaf ears, however, as the notion passed with a single dissenting vote.

Leading the charge against continuing contracts is Carlos Beruff, a trustee since 2008 who owns a local home construction business. Beruff argued that any competitive disadvantage could be countered by offering merit pay or bonuses to high performers, and said that the U.S. was “based on the freedom of work.”

That was in September. Between then and now, Beruff was reportedly working on a second proposal that would ask potential college employees, including faculty members, to quote their fee for services on job applications. That information would then be used in the hiring decision.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

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