The Advance-Titan

Walker proposes tracking professors’ teaching hours

Gov. Scott Walker announced in his new budget proposal in his new budget, professors start recording their hours and those who spend more time in the classroom would be entitled to bonuses.

President of the history department Karl Loewenstein said he discussed the budget proposal with other system administrators in the University of Wisconsin System.

“The faculty and I talked about the budget proposal, but we know little of it,” Loewenstein said. “We tried talking about the little pieces that make up the statement, but it is hard to understand what they want.”

Loewenstein said former Gov. Tommy Thompson also tried to accomplish something similar, where professors had to file activity reports.

“Every once in a while there comes someone who says faculty is not working hard enough, and they ask us to do a bunch of reporting for them,” Loewenstein said. “And then they find out that professors generally work more than forty hours a week.”

Loewenstein said last year the governor tried issuing a statement to the staff and faculty that the UW System was not interacting enough with students he said it is also a misconception among some of the leadership in the state that professors are not doing enough.

“Reporting is an extra burden, but in the end, if it is responsibly done, they will find out that we do plenty of work.” Loewenstein said.
UWO political science professor James Simmons said the proposal really has not changed anything drastic.

“We are already recording,” Simmons said. “I do not understand why the governor [wants us to record hours when we are] already doing it.”

Simmons said the UW System already records the number of hours professors teach.

“We are transparent,” Simmons said. “Every year we report any number of indicators of quality of education, salaries, number of hours and class size. Everything is public.”

Most UWO entry-level classes are taught by instructors, and they are already paid purely on the basis of the courses they teach, according to Simmons.

“I didn’t understand what the governor is asking for that he doesn’t already get” Simmons said.

Loewenstein said Walker letting the Board of Regents take control is one of the good things about the budget.

“Whatever they’re forced to come up with it will be a better reflection of the kind of work we do here,” Loewenstein said.

Loewenstein said professors spend a lot of time either preparing for a class or grading, and if you add in all the other services and responsibilities, it all adds up pretty quickly.

“The fundamental rule is we are teachers and that is our primary responsibility,” Loewenstein said. “But I am Faculty President so I make and form committees; we shape the curriculum.”

UWO freshman Emily Adas said professors are busy, but that it all depends on the circumstance, especially if professors will get a bonus for more class hours.

“I feel like it’s okay in some instances, like if a student has a tight schedule and wants to talk to the professor outside of class,” Adas said. “Everything is situational; [it] all depends on if the professor is willing to meet with a student outside of class.”

Adas said the proposal seemed confusing because of what is allowed and not allowed by professors.

“It is going to be frustrating for that student if they need a one-on-one meeting, the proposal might eliminate the incentive for office hours,” Adas said.

Adas said it would depend on the professor, if they are willing to work outside of work hours without being paid, getting those benefits.

“Professors should do their job regardless of pay and bonuses,” Adas said.

Loewenstein said the new proposal will probably just mean more paperwork.

“I can’t see a huge difference as of right now,” Loewenstein said.

Loewenstein said this might be a poke at UW Madison, whose professors do more research than teach.

“Particularly at Oshkosh, professors and staff are very busy,” Loewenstein said. “You will find here that everyone teaches quite a bit.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Walker proposes tracking professors’ teaching hours