(KXNET) — North Dakota legislature is considering a new emergency bill, House Bill 1446.
Introduced by Representative Mike Lefor, the bill seeks a pilot program that would focus on two North Dakota college campus models.
Those colleges are Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University.
The goal of this bill is to improve the tenure process by focusing on the responsibilities of tenure faculty members.
“I want more universities to say I can. That we are not limiting the ability for the universities to grow,” said Representative Mike Lefor of District 37.
According to the bill, tenured faculty members would be evaluated based on their ability to generate tuition or grant revenue. Along with their ability to connect with their students.
“We need to have everybody on board because this is a competitive environment. This is an environment where we going to start losing students,” said Rep. Lefor.
If passed, the bill would allow university presidents or delegated administrators to review the performance of tenure staff at any time. This means it would allow the president or the administrators to make the decision to not renew contracts based on the staff not living up to the expectations of the university or college.
“If you come to work at a university and your tenure should you get a 30-year commitment and we don’t worry about your productivity because you have a process that another faculty member is reviewing you and not the president of the university. That needs to change,” said Rep. Lefor.
Representative Lefor states this bill will ensure accountability.
However, opponents at Friday’s meeting brought up that there are already systems that ensure accountability and if this bill passes it would have a negative effect.
Representative Eric James Murphy says there is already a rigorous process in determining to the productiveness of high-education faculty members.
“If you think we have a problem with hiring faculty in higher education today, just wait until this bill passes and wait until some legal action is taken on it,” said Rep. Murphy.
Representative Eric James Murphy says if the bill passes it will cause a slippery sloth for all colleges in North Dakota.
Dickinson State University’s president, Steve Easton, was present at the hearing as well.
He believes the bill is necessary in enforcing the duties and responsibilities of tenured faculty members along with university presidents.