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Chancellor postpones controversial teaching policy at Fayetteville State University

Provides more time to set standard for how many classes the professors teach

Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University
CityView photo by Tony Wooten

Fayetteville State University Chancellor Darrell T. Allison has postponed a controversial new teaching workload policy at the university until January 2025, following the faculty’s “no confidence” vote this month of university Provost Monica Terrell Leach.

“The Faculty Workload policy is still under administrative review, but I was happy to announce that we will delay its implementation until Spring 2025,” Allison said in a letter to the faculty on Monday. “Also, the Summer School pay rates, as stated, will remain at the most robust levels for the foreseeable future.”

The letter reiterates announcements that Allison made on Friday morning during a town hall meeting with the faculty, two professors told CityView on Monday.

What made the professors angry

The Faculty Senate’s “no confidence vote” of the provost — who serves as the chief academic officer and makes academic policies — and Allison’s town hall meeting followed two proposals from the university regarding teaching workloads that had upset the professors, faculty members said:

  • Fayetteville State faculty have been teaching three classes per semester in the fall and spring semesters. The new policy that Allison postponed until January 2025 would have boosted this to four classes per semester starting in the fall.
  • The university had been considering a plan to reduce pay for teaching summer school while increasing the number of students in each summer school class. The plan was canceled for this summer, faculty said, after they protested. But it remained on the horizon for next year until Allison declared that it won’t happen for now.

Did the chancellor make the faculty feel better?

The professors CityView spoke with on Monday said they were appreciative of the chancellor’s announcements. But they also are waiting for the outcomes.

“The receipt of the memo from him has been received well from some faculty members,” said Kim Hardy, associate professor in the university’s School of Social Work. In a large faculty texting group chat discussing Allison’s letter, some “seemed to be willing to give him a ‘kudos,’ an ‘attaboy,’ if you will, for that.”

“I’m feeling hopeful,” said Rob Taber, an associate professor of history and a member of the Faculty Senate. “My concern about figuring out the workload policy is that it’s still up in the air.”

“It’s kind of a ‘trust, but verify’ sort of thing right now,” said Hardy. The provost and faculty previously had discussions of the teaching workload, she said, and the new policy still came out with four classes instead of three.

“There needs to be some assurance that that’s not going to happen again,” Hardy said. “Is this real change, or is this a placation?”

Where did the new teaching workload proposal come from?

Fayetteville State University is part of the statewide University of North Carolina System, which has 16 universities and a high school.

The UNC System’s Board of Governors advanced a new teaching workload policy last summer that says professors should have a workload that equates to 24 credit hours per fall-spring academic year, which works out to four classes per semester.

The Fayetteville State University Board of Trustees has until June 30 to approve the workload policy; the deadline to implement the plan is Jan. 1, 2025.

Hardy, Taber and other professors have told CityView they think the UNC System’s mandate makes allowances for the faculty members’ other job duties and each university’s mission.

“Faculty members holding additional responsibilities for research/creative activities and service as identified in their annual work plan can have their teaching workload adjusted on a commensurate basis,” the policy says.

Taber hopes the delay will provide time for Fayetteville State to make a policy that works well for the faculty and fits the UNC System’s mandate.

“One professor on Friday related it to ‘kicking the can down the road,’” he said. “But if giving us a little extra time helps us get it right, that’s really helpful.”

Senior reporter Paul Woolverton can be reached at 910-261-4710 and pwoolverton@cityviewnc.com.

This story was made possible by contributions to CityView News Fund, a 501c3 charitable organization committed to an informed democracy.

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