Public Comments for 02/08/2022 Education - Higher Education
HB355 - Higher educational institutions, baccalaureate public; website, posting of certain comparative data.
No Comments Available
HB565 - Advanced Manufacturing Talent Investment Fund; created.
Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber supports HB 565, which will assist our educational institutions in the ongoing process to fill well-paying jobs in high-demand fields. Thank you to the committee for its consideration.

HB1226 - Higher educational institutions, baccalaureate public; SCHEV shall conduct a productivity analysis.
Last Name: King-Sears Organization: George Mason University Locality: Fairfax

I am writing regarding HB 1226 and the corresponding requirement that tenured professors are required "to personally teach students enrolled at the institution for at least 12 hours per week during any fall, winter, or spring semester, quarter, or other academic term and in a live, in-person format." As a professor, teaching four courses each semester in an in-person format would impact my program, students, and institution in multiple ways. I highlight three below First, as for the IN-PERSON format: Students complete courses synchronously, asynchronously, and in hybrid formats taught by tenured faculty. Requiring in-person formats severely limits students' access to having tenured faculty teach them in alternative formats. If HB 1226 were to take effect, many university students at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral) would need to be taught by adjunct faculty in those three formats. Such a move is an adverse impact on students because it limits their receiving instruction from tenured faculty. Second, as for the 12 HOURS per week: For tenured faculty who now have federal, state, and / or private foundation grants, the research or other work for which they received those grants (e.g., financial support for students) would be seriously compromised if they were required to teach 12 hours per week. Additionally, there are other university responsibilities and services that tenured faculty provide which are, at times, in place of teaching one course. The whole of this is that there would be serious decline in the responsibilities and services for that program / institution, which subsequently impacts the quality of and affordable teaching experiences currently provided to students. Third, as for the 12 HOURS per week: Teaching 12 hours in-person per week impacts the research and scholarship tenured faculty are expected to conduct. Thus, if HB 1226 were to take effect, there would be an extensive decline in research and scholarship. To that end, some universities that currently have R1 status and similarly impressive reputations (including teaching) may lose that ranking if such an effect were to occur. Consequently, the state of VA stands to minimize or eliminate those national scholarly reputations and honors which it currently enjoys.

Last Name: Irving Locality: Midlothian

Firstly, I'm flabbergasted by House Bill 1226, written by Rep. Davis. It reads: Each tenured professor employed at a public institution of higher education shall personally teach 15 students enrolled at the institution for at least 12 hours per week during any fall, winter, or spring semester, quarter, or other academic term and in a live, in-person format. I am a full-time associate professor and can't see any benefit or advantage to this Bill. The wording is also unclear to me. Assuming it is 12 hours per week of teaching (as opposed to students enrolled for 12 hours), it raises the question: Are those credit hours or actual measures of time? If it's the former, I assume it means a professor should have a course load of 4 3-credit classes? Also, in regards to the semester or term, it is absolutely impractical: it is impossible for any professor to muster 12 credit hours a week during a one month winter intersession! Then there is the "live, in-person format": Where's the practicality in that? I teach classes online on a regular basis and it allows the department to teach a greater amount of students than a regular classroom, and without the expense of using facilities. It also allows students to more easily attend summer classes, since they can do that from home. If this bill is intended to benefit colleges and universities, the in-person demand (even aside from the current pandemic) is wholly impractical. There's more money to be made through effective online teaching. Finally, this bill doesn't address the need for tenured faculty to have research hours, so they can continue to excel in their fields. That can make the difference between Virginia colleges and universities having tenure of note compared to universities in other states, and ultimately hurt us in national rankings. Beside that, it doesn't consider the enormous strain we professors have been through via the pandemic, where we're often overworked and overloaded to begin with, and must juggle more than full course loads with faculty and other university obligations. Overall, I don't feel the state government should place these demands on universities: it begins a very uncomfortable path towards government interference that will get in the way of educational growth and freedoms for the faculty, and it completely fails to establish reasonable or realistic parameters.

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Rautenberg Locality: Fairfax

The 12 hour teaching requirement for tenured professors is literally impossible. It shows that the person(s) writing the bill have no insight on how higher education functions: In general, tenured professors divide their time in Research and Teaching! This will render all higher educational institutions in Virginia as community colleges with no research component.

Last Name: Chowdhury Locality: Loudon

While I'm not researh focused, I understand the importance of my tenure track colleagues. If VA wants to be a leader in higher education, it needs to let tenure track faculty pursue reseearch. Mandating 12 hours of teaching/week cuts into that and only hurts VA schools competitiveness

Last Name: Bigelow Locality: Charlottesville

I am a tenured professor at UVA, working in colonial history. It takes me 3-5 hours to prepare lecture notes, slides, and activities for each hour that I'm in the classroom. I meet individually with students to discuss ideas for papers/final projects. All in all, teaching 6 credits a semester takes about 20-25 hours a week. According to my contract, teaching is supposed to be 20-40% of my job. I am primarily research faculty. I direct an NSF-NEH taxpayer funded project on language revitalization among Maya communities in Mexico and Guatemala. Our team has 5 student researchers at UVA, 4 of whom are first-generation college students at UVA and all of whom are Latina/o/x. My work with them and our Indigenous partners in Mexico and Guatemala takes another 20 hours/week. Additionally, I also write books and articles on colonial history. My first book won awards from the American Historical Association, Conference on Latin American History, and Modern Language Association. In addition to my research and teaching, I also perform critical service to the university and profession. One of those projects involves co-chairing a presidential committee with a citizen of the Monacan Indian Nation, on whose territory UVA stands. We have worked with the 11 recognized Tribes of Virginia to consult on the removal of a statue that memorializes Native American genocide. After removing it last summer, we are now building programs to improve admissions and access to higher education for Native American youth (current pilot program has 9 students in grades 8-11 from the Monacan Nation), an elder-in-residence program to promote two-way exchanges of knowledge, and a permanent speaker series in the Democracy Initiative, featuring the histories and perspectives of Virginia's Indigenous people. This project takes another 10-15 hours/week because of the related committees I sit on, including an advisory committee in the UVA Library to develop a policy about preserving and regulating access of racist materials in the university archives and a first-ammendment task force to balance free speech and respectful use of the former statue space. Outside of work, I have a crazy 2-year old and another kid on the way. As you can see from the summary above, I am already working about 50-60 hours a week, often with limited or no childcare during COVID. Suggesting that tenured faculty teach 12 credit hours a week represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what we do as researchers, how long it takes to prepare course materials to really engage students, and our work in community-engaged projects.

Last Name: Fong Locality: Mechanicsville

University faculty have multiple responsibilities in addition to teaching classes that include advising, research, running degree programs, community partnerships, collaboration with companies, etc. Having a proscriptive, blanket policy dictating the teaching aspect of a faculy member's responsibilities does not accurately capture the totality of their role in a university.

Last Name: Kopryanski Locality: Richmond, VA

I am not sure if the true focus of this bill is the 12-hours of instruction per week, or the in-person format, and the proposed language doesn't clarify this. As an assistant professor in the arts, teaching 12 hours a week is untenable, when considered in light of the vast range of duties the job requires. For every hour spent in the classroom, I typically spend 3-4 hours on preparation, grading, in office hours and extra sessions with students (this alone would bring the total teaching time to 36-48 hours per week). In addition, the proposal does not acknowledge other teaching duties which, in my case, include: preparing and coaching students for departmental productions, attending student-run shows and performances, observing graduate students, serving on thesis committees, auditioning new students for incoming classes, and conducting 10-20 hours of student assessments per semester so that feedback can be provided during every year of our programs (which is required by our accrediting body, the National Association of Schools of Theatre). At VCU, I am also required to conduct research that will break ground in my field and elevate the profile of the department, and to offer service to the department, the school, the university, the community, and my profession. Research is essential for tenure and promotion, but our salary increases are also tied to merit, which hinges on being able to conduct research and publish. Currently, I am working on a book, am the Reviews Editor for an international journal, serve as the Archivist for an international organization, conduct research to coach plays at local professional theatre companies, volunteer with the Virginia High School Drama League, am on the committee rewriting our MFA program, and am preparing for two conference presentations this summer. All of the above work must happen during the time when I am not teaching, and most of it is already happening at night, on the weekends, and during the summer, when I am off-contract, meaning there is little-to-no downtime, even between semesters. My department currently has only three tenured faculty members, and employs more adjunct instructors than term or tenure-track faculty. To enact this bill would place a heavy burden on those who are already overworked. I urge you to vote against it, and eagerly await the results of the study from SCHEV. Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Fairfax Locality: Hampton, VA

I hope that this measure is voted down. As a full tenured professor with a Ph.D., I am a published author, philosopher, researcher and expert. I serve on state boards, I engage in research that informs scientific best practices and policy implementation. Many full tenured professors are women, who have family responsibilities as wives, mothers, and caregivers. To expect a full tenured professor to teach four classes each semester, and engage in these other important tasks that uplift humanity is not only disrespectful, it shows the ignorance of lawmakers about higher education. Vote this law down.

Last Name: simmons Locality: Richmond, VA

I have taught for >30 years in higher education – at four US universities and at three universities abroad. I am currently a tenured, full professor at VCU. I think that HB1226 shows complete ignorance of the workload required of tenured faculty at universities in that it proposes a minimum of 12 contact hours of teaching. I enjoy my job enormously and love teaching my students; however, I have no time to teach 12 contact hours per week since my current workload requires WELL over a 40 hour/week workload. Furthermore, I think the workload I describe below is fairly typical of others full professors in other universities. This semester, I am teaching two classes. One is combine lecture/lab class (4 contact hours, plus 1.5 hours set up, .75 hour take down, and 2 hours research/preparation to teach each week – and since there are 20 students at it is a 500-level class, some 5 hours of grading assessments each week) and the other is a lecture class that I have never taught before (3 contact hours with 26 students, plus 3 hours preparation and 3 hours grading assessments each week). Add to that at least an hour of answering students queries by email/class, and 2 in-person office hours per week. I also run a research lab, which consumes ca. 16 hours of my time each week, I also serve as a consultant for a state agency (ca. 5-10 hours per week), which benefits the university financially and in community relations; often, this requires me to testify in criminal courts, both state and federal. I also teach workshops for outside groups, which benefits my department financially and in terms of community relations as well. I serve on two department committees (ca. 1 hour/week), must attend department meetings (45 minutes/week), and serve on 2-3 university-level committees (ca. 2 hours/week). I also regularly serve as a reviewer for government funded grants, manuscripts submitted to professional journals, as a judge student essay and presentation competitions for two different professional organizations, as a judge for local high school science fairs, as a board member of a professional organization, and do a fair bit of pro bono consulting for NGO’s. I am expected to apply for grants (very time consuming) and to publish ca. 4-5 professional peer-reviewed journal articles per year (very time consuming). In order to maintain my professional certification in my field, I must attend workshops in my field and continue to do casework as well. Every week, I maintain contact and write references for jobs and graduate schools for many current and former students. Given the above, which is excellent use of my time and adds up to a work week that assuredly does not end at 40 hours, HB1226 proposes an absurd requirement. Exactly what parts of my workload beyond teaching should be scrapped in order to mandate that I provide 12 contact hours of teaching? My students benefit greatly from the other job-related things I do – my research, my professional and community contacts, etc. – as these ultimately provide them with job and further educational opportunities. Please, kill this bill.

Last Name: Sander Locality: Fairfax County

I strongly oppose this bill. If enacted, tenured faculty would no longer having time to do research, write books, advise PhD students, advise undergraduate research projects, work on community outreach, serve as journal editors, referee papers, run labs, apply for grants (which support the universities), or serve as chairs, deans, or center directors. It would result in the best faculty leaving the state, thus bringing down the quality of the state university system. Thomas Jefferson recognized the importance of top quality edu. Let us not ruin his legacy.

Last Name: Antil Organization: George Mason University Locality: Fairfax, Burke, VA

Comments Document

To whom it may concern, Dear Committee, I am currently a full professor of Mathematics and the founder and director of the Center for Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence (CMAI) at George Mason University Virginia. You may find details about me on my website ( I read the proposed bill last night and I am highly concerned that the proposed bill will threaten the US national security. The bill does not take into account that a significant portion of my research profile is research, publishing journal articles, advising PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. I am currently advising 7 PhD students and 2 postdocs. My research is funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and Department of Energy. With the proposed heavy teaching load, it is impossible to carry out the ongoing research program. After reading the bill, my first impression was to think about leaving the state of Virginia and move to a different state. I strongly believe that many researchers and professors will do the same if this bill passes. Best, Prof. Harbir Antil P.S. I am attaching a copy of my CV here so that you are aware of our research program and threat this bill bill is posing to this program.

Last Name: Goldin Locality: Fairfax Station

I’m a full professor of mathematics at George Mason University. I am strongly opposed this bill. The bill would ruin higher education in the state of Virginia, by turning all our universities into something not much different from high schools for older students. Tenured faculty currently teach approximately 6 hours per week. With course preparation, office hours, grading, course management, student management and other administrative aspects of teaching, we typically spend 20 hours a week to support those 6 hours of teaching. The rest of our time is spent on research, mentoring under grads and graduate students, and many aspects of university admin such as program development. Increasing our teaching load will cause faculty to flee as quickly as you can bet an eye,. Research would come to a halt, even for faculty who do not seek jobs elsewhere . No further graduate programs would exist, for mentoring requires research faculty. Within a year; the ranking of Virginian schools would plummet, and fewer students will want to attend. If a university doesn’t stand for the preservation and creation of valuable human knowledge, then what is for? Community colleges may meet the needs of students who learn at an introductory level. Universities need faculty with research jobs. The effort not to pay for research is short-sited, as our investment now has long term benefits. These benefits include the value to those who are educated in VA universities, and whi subsequently invest in a career/make a company and pay taxes in Virginia. This bill will make Virginia less competitive, and less excellent. Our schools are ranked top in the world, and tied with the very best of public universities in the US. We will lose that status if this bill passes. Instead Virginia will experience the kind of brain drain that most of Europe has experienced. The best students and faculty would leave our remaining skeletal programs , leaving our universities to rot.

Last Name: Tracy Locality: Henrico

This bill would severely curtail opportunities for diverse educational modalities and place an undue burden on non-tenured and contingent faculty to meet online teaching needs. Many universities rely on online courses for commuter students, summer courses, graduate courses, and for faculty who must teach from a distance. Limiting tenured faculty to live, in person teaching also reduces the opportunities for equal access for some students with disabilities. This bill is a knee-jerk reaction to necessary modalities during a pandemic that will have far reaching, and perhaps unintended, financial consequences for public universities. I urge you to vote no.

Last Name: Cantiello Locality: Arlington

We have several fully online programs in our department. These programs are very successful. We created online pathways a long time before the pandemic. Students find it convenient to take classes in a flexible manner. Requiring classes to be taught in person only would be detrimental to the students in these programs. Not all students learn by listening to a lecture. In fact, most students learn by "doing". This follows the theory of constructivism, a long-held pedagogical theory. Online courses facilitate learning by providing opportunities for students to learn by "doing". I don't know how we could require students to sit in a classroom and listen to someone speak at them for 3 hours. This is not how students learn. Online programs are rigorous and have thoughtfully designed learning outcomes. Our students graduate and obtain excellent jobs. They very much appreciate the flexibility that online courses offer. Online courses require an extraordinary amount of time to design and require more time to teach than face-to-face courses. I encourage the decision-makers to research the benefits associated with online learning and how online programs are significantly increasing enrollment and tuition dollars in Virginia and across the nation.

Last Name: Carchedi Locality: Fairfax

My name is David Carchedi. I am an associate professor at George Mason, with tenure. This bill is absurd on two fronts. First and foremost, many faculty members do not teach 12 hours per week. A typical course at George Mason is 1:15, and meets twice a week. Most tenured faculty teach two courses per semester, which would amount to 5 hours of in class teaching per week. Many research-oriented faculty teach even less than this. To even conceive of a bill to mandate over twice as much teaching per week, is laughable, but to actually bring such a bill to the floor is both appalling and terrifying. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the higher educational system. Secondly, to mandate that this be done in person, as opposed to online, or in any other format, is clearly nothing more than a political move. It's also unnecessary. Most classes are already in person, and most professors are just as anxious as anyone else to get on with normal life and be on campus again. It also shows a complete lack of flexibility if, heaven forbid, a new variant of Covid19 spreads and the numbers go back up again. Frankly, this bill is a waste of House of Delegate's time. I implore you to toss it in the garbage, where it belongs.

Last Name: Trebing Organization: George Mason University Locality: Woodbridge

This decision should not be codified, but should remain with individual higher education institutions. People have the freedom and the right to choose what is best for them as individuals, as long as they are not directly harming themselves or others in society. Institutions of higher education should retain this same autonomy when deciding what is best for their students, employees, and communities. Higher education institutions should have the right to seek increased online offerings that could potentially make them more competitive in the higher education marketplace. As with all things, the market will work itself out naturally without much interference, and higher education is within that market. Students who want more face to face instruction will go to universities that offer it and vice versa. Government intervention has already caused many issues within the higher education landscape. We should not seek to add to these issues with more government input.

Last Name: Anonymous Locality: Woodbridge

This decision should not be codified, but should remain with higher education institutions. People should have the freedom to choose what is best for them as individuals, as long as they are not directly harming themselves or others in society. Institutions of higher education should retain this same autonomy when deciding what is best for their students, employees, and communities. Some faculty members have immunocompromised persons in their care or are immunocompromised themselves, so this ruling would be harmful to them and to their families. Additionally, higher education institutions should have the right to seek increased online offerings that could potentially make them more competitive in the higher education marketplace. As with all things, the market will work itself out naturally without interference, and higher education is within that market. Students who want more face to face instruction will go to universities that offer it and vice versa. Government intervention has already caused many issues within the higher education landscape. We should not seek to add to these issues with more government input.

Last Name: Ellwein Fix Locality: Chesterfield

Bill HB1226 appears to have no basis in the reality of a professor's workload expectation at a research intensive university. I am a tenured research math professor at VCU with teaching, research, and service responsibilities. I am paid to teach 6-8 hours a semester in the classroom but this is only 40% of my workload. Then 40% is research and 20% is service which consists of curriculum development, assessment, student mentoring, and other roles that advance the missions of the university. Our faculty that do teach 12 hours a semester have no research responsibilities and as such it is considered a full time teaching load. Every hour in the classroom amounts to another 1-3 hours outside the classroom. If every faculty member were required to teach 12 hours, all research and the "free" service that makes the university run would cease -- or, faculty would leave for institutions that would pay for their research time. This would be even more pronounced in engineering, medicine, and heavily research dependent fields. This path would be unsustainable and counter to the mission of VCU and all other research institutions including UVA and Virginia Tech. I am not in support of this bill and believe it to be not based an accurate representation of how universities function.

Last Name: Longo Locality: Midlothian

I respectfully advise the House to vote against this bill. While it may seem like common sense, it is counterproductive because it impacts grant-funded research opportunities. For instance, tenured professor, often the most experienced grant writers and researchers, are unable to commit to the hours of research that large grants require. This will lower the university’s prestige, research output, and student desirability which will negatively impact VA’s reputation and bottom line.

Last Name: Smith Organization: Associate Professor of English, Longwood University Locality: Midlothian, VA

This legislation seems horribly at odds with the long-held Republican belief that government should stay out of people's lives, especially at the local level. Accreditation organizations such as SCHEV and SACSCOC already police VA's colleges for academic integrity, and legislation like this is likely to run afoul of the policies and procedures governed by the those agencies. There are also a number of other problems with this bill. While there are several colleges in VA that require faculty to teach 12 hours per semester (a 4/4 load), there are many that don't (UVA, V Tech, GMU). These research-focused universities have 2/2 loads, and faculty are required to do a great deal of research in addition to their teaching duties. If professors at UVA--some of the best professors in the US--are suddenly required to teach a 4/4 load, they will leave the state, and the university will have great difficulty in attracting the best academics in their fields. VA will immediately lose its standing as one of the best places for higher learning in the US. This bill also prevents colleges from granting to faculty course releases to accommodate their work in other areas (research, committee work, administrative work). And by eliminating the possibility of online learning, colleges will be less able to adapt to emergency situations such as the COVID epidemic. SCHEV already has rules for how online learning requires students and faculty to do the same kind and amount of work they would do in a regular classroom. I strongly encourage the House of Delegates to reject this bill.

Last Name: Turbeville Locality: North Chesterfield, VA

It is completely unrealistic to expect tenured professors to teach 12 hours per week in an in person format or otherwise because of attendant responsibilities which include among others, office hours for students, exam preparation, grading, student mentoring, grant writing, letter of recommendation writing for students, departmental, college and university committee activities and meetings, and research for those at research universities). The bill reflects a glaring lack of knowledge concerning the responsibilities of tenured faculty members.

Last Name: Brigham Organization: George Mason University Locality: South Riding

The text of HB1226 seems simple and straight-forward. In that, it clearly demonstrates that the bill’s author lacks clear understanding of the nature of higher education. I am a researcher; however, I find my greater purpose in teaching and love my work with students. I teach classes, I work with students on their own research projects and idea development. For every hour I spend in class, I estimate that I spend six hours outside of class speaking with students and corresponding with them over emails. Such engagement is clearly teaching and, according to many observers, the best kind of teaching—individual attention. Many of my colleagues keep logs of the time they spend with students outside of class. I do not do that and find it demeaning that as an educator, I should orient myself to ‘billable hours” as does an attorney or a physician working in corporate medicine In addition to my on-campus office hours, I provide my students with my home telephone number and give them a 12 hour per day, seven day per week window in which they can call me for help with their classes if I am not in class or working in my office. Imposing the unnecessary requirement in this bill upon university faculty suggests that the bill’s authors believe that we are disengaged from our students. Nothing could be further from the truth. This bill focusses on a superficial metric and should be defeated. In the long run, it will punish highly engaged faculty by switching the focus of our work from students to clock hours.

Last Name: Lancaster Locality: Washington, DC

I've worked at George Mason University for most of my professional life. It's been a rewarding experience. I've published five books (so far), won three book awards, and contributed to national and international conversations about social inequality, family life, human sexuality, crime and punishment, and other questions of public interest. I've also sent undergraduates on to grad school, where they've studied law, anthropology, sociology, and other subjects. I'm pretty sure that we University professors have not been very good about communicating what we do, so let me try to describe something of the rhythm of my work here. On any given week, I spend a full day, sometimes more, prepping for classes. Nobody likes a professor who comes in without having reread the texts and having composed some incisive thoughts about them. I spend another day in classes and office hours. If I've prepared well, my classes are lively. If I haven't, they're not. Office hours give students a chance to seek mentoring and I try not to be stingy with my time. I spend another day reading students' work. In my case, these are mostly graduate students, and I provide them with line-by-line feedback on their essays, field statements, dissertation proposals, and dissertations. Many will go on to publish their essays and dissertations. Various kinds of service commitments consume a good portion of the fourth day. These activities include work on program and university committees, including the program admissions committee and executive committee. Part of this day invariably involves curricular development, mostly my own courses, mostly in our own unit -- but sometimes in courses or programs shared with other units. I then spend days five and six doing research, writing, editing, and publishing. This is supposed to represent a third of my work, but the only way I can make that happen is to work a six-day week. (I might also schedule Zoom meetings with students on my weekend because that's when we could find a mutually acceptable time.) I try to rest one day a week. It doesn't always happen. I'm often up late at night because the sorts of activities I've just described invariably exceed an eight hour day. I end with an observation: I like live, face-to-face classes. But there is a place for online courses -- and many students need them to meet their requirements.

Last Name: Hunt Organization: George Mason University Locality: Manassas, VA

I am writing about HB1226, which would require 12 hours per week of in-person teaching. Since in college courses every hour of in-person teaching requires an additional 3-4 hours of preparation/grading/student meetings outside of class, this would add up to a weekly workload of 36-48 hours just doing the teaching, with no time for any research, committee, admin, or anything else. This might be fine if teaching was all that tenured faculty were expected to do. But (speaking as a tenure-track GMU biology professor) it is literally in our job contracts, as well as in the federal grants that a lot of us currently have with NSF, NIH and the US military, that we must also do a substantial amount of research, often half or more of our work hours. In my case I am involved in a U.S. Navy military research contract as well two major NSF grants, and GMU has signed contracts with federal government to that effect, requiring me to devote about half my time to research up through 2025. HB1226 would immediately halt hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grant revenue that currently flow to the VA state university system since no faculty member would be able to do research during the fall or spring semesters. Not least, it would also deprive VA students of virtually all the research opportunities that they currently have. Finally, asking faculty to halt all research would cripple their careers; most STEM faculty would immediately seek jobs in other states (I would leave right away; I already work 60 hour workweeks as it is, so there's no way I could add additional classes). Additionally, the requirement for in-person teaching is bizarre. First off, we're already back to in-person teaching anyway (GMU went back to in-person this semester). But secondly, long before the pandemic ever hit, we were always doing some classes remotely - they are called "distance-learning classes" - and we were doing that on purpose, in order to allow VA residents in distant towns to advance their education without having to move hundreds of miles away from their homes. For example GMU has always offered a remote class in human anatomy & physiology, so that VA residents throughout the state can prepare for nursing school from wherever they happen to reside. As another example, right now I teach one class in-person but my other class is taught virtually so that it can be attended by students who are based in at the Front Royal or Fairfax campuses (while I personally am at the Manassas campus of GMU). I would be happy to teach it in person but not all the students can come to Manassas. Having a few distance learning sections gives students more options. It is not the legislature's role to decide the exact balance of research vs. teaching that a given faculty member should have. It's also not the legislature's role to ban a perfectly good teaching option, distance learning, that we've been using successfully for more than a decade now to reach all of Virginia's residents. The pandemic's already ending and teaching has literally just gone back to normal; the bill is pointless. These decisions are best left to the individual colleges and universities. In conclusion, HB1226 would cripple all the VA universities, reduce options for students, cost VA hundreds of millions in federal grant revenue, and drive a large chunk of science & engineering faculty to leave Virginia. Is that really the way to improve Virginia education and serve Virginia residents?

Last Name: Solomon Organization: George Mason University Locality: Manassas

I am very unclear on the content of this bill. As part of my official duties I oversee a laboratory. Does this count as part of my 12 hours? Also, what if this research involves meetings over zoom due to constraints on student travel? I have one student who is doing computational research because he does not have a car and getting to Manassas is difficult. Does this mentorship not count even though we are working on an important research project? This bill needs far more clear instructions or to be pulled out of committee and scraped entirely.

Last Name: Hursey Organization: Longwood University Locality: Appomattox

The proposed bill is a disaster in the making. No sabbaticals of any kind? No release time of ANY kind for research? Incredibly valuable and productive research grants would have to be cancelled and refunded. Tenured ADMINISTRATIVE faculty would ALSO have to teach a 12 hour load under the bill. Release time for incredibly time-consuming committee work would also be eliminated. Doesn't the State have more important and pressing issues to address?

Last Name: Munson Locality: Farmville Va 23901

The proposed bill would seriously impact recruitment of quality faculty, especially since it provides no flexibility for sabbatical research, leave for fellowships like the Fulbright, or course reductions for those serving as directors of programs, directors of grants, or as department and division chairs. Institutions of higher education always spell out the normal workload for faculty, but it is best left to deans and other academic officers to grant exceptions when a faculty member is engaged in activities essential to the institution's mission. That includes scholarly research and activity, since all four year institutions require faculty to be current and engaged in their field, as do accrediting organizations like SACS-COC, since this is a fundamental precondition of good teaching. I taught for almost 30 years at Longwood University and never once saw a professor get a sabbatical or a reduced teaching load for spurious or frivolous reasons. The normal workload for me and my colleagues was close to 60 hours a week, or more if there were chair or other added duties involved. There are slackers in every occupation, but I saw none in the teaching faculty when I was at Longwood. Quite the opposite. I also believe that that institutions need flexibility in their guidelines for how instruction is to be delivered. I was forced to go on-line by the COVID crisis in my last semester and like nearly all my colleagues, found it a deeply unsatisfying experience. However, I know professors who successfully integrate on-line learning with in-person instruction in 'hybrid' courses, not as a way to avoid the classroom but in order to promote active learning outside the classroom. As with course load, it is important for deans and other administrators to be left with the flexibility to determine instances where this is appropriate. Faculty and administrators can be trusted to always have a strong preference for in-person learning. It is the reason they go into higher education in the first place. Once candidates for faculty positions find out that Virginia has rigid rules about course load and methods of instruction, the best ones will go elsewhere, since they are the ones who can. Others will leave when the opportunity arises. I have been involved in many job searches and can assure you that it is no longer quite the buyer's market it once was. If Virginia wants to be in the top tier in higher education, the proposed bill will make that task much more difficult.

Last Name: Chiari Locality: Fairfax

Tenured professor should not necessarily mandate to teach 12 live in person contact hours per week every week, every semester. Depending on the institution, tenured professor also are expected to carry out high profile research, train graduate and undergraduate students, and providing service to the Dept and the University. Tenured professors became tenured because of their excellence in research and teaching, not just teaching. Teaching 12 hours a week, every week, every semester live and in person could be achieve ONLY if that was the only thing the person does. Teaching 12 hours in person means requires investing all the rest of the working time to interacting with the students after class, preparing the class, correcting tests and assignments. It is just not compatible with any research or training of students for research. And this is not what a tenured professor is supposed to be doing - just full time teaching in person live and nothing else. Someone proposing this does not understand what the job and the position is about.

Last Name: McGee Organization: Longwood Locality: Farmville

This bill seeks to predetermine how faculty teach their classes, without a clear understanding of how faculty teach their classes with the best interests of the students in mind. Nor does it have any clear indication of how this affects research, which is also in the best interests of students. What does this mean for sabbaticals? What does this mean for summer sessions? All of these formats, remember, or about the best interests of students. They serve students, not faculty. This is government interfering into something it doesn't quite understand, presuming it is doing something that it isn't actually doing. This bill will harm students more than it will faculty.

Last Name: verhoeven Locality: alexandria, Va

This is really not possible. The load at big state universities would be crippling to research.

Last Name: Robinson Locality: Work in Fairfax

I’m writing to express my opposition to HB 1226. This bill would shrink the enrollments, shutter fully-online programs, and consequently diminish revenues at public institutions across the Commonwealth, and it would limit access to public higher education for all Virginians, especially those in rural and underserved areas. The bill would have a net negative impact on the economic health of the Commonwealth. Faculty research makes universities into financial powerhouses that bring large numbers of high-paying, professional jobs to cities like Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Fairfax, and Richmond. But faculty research is only possible if faculty aren’t tasked with teaching loads disproportionate to these outcomes. While I’d imagine this bill might seem penny wise to its supporters, it's certainly pound foolish. Virginia's public universities are in competition with the most high-powered institutions across the country and the world for recruitment and retention of top faculty talent. Big-government resolutions like this would severely damage their ability to compete in this marketplace. To avoid degrading the standing of Virginia’s world-class public universities, to avoid seeing our best faculty leave for greener pastures, and to prevent a downstream exodus of small businesses, startups, and good-paying jobs out of the Commonwealth, I encourage you to reject this bill.

Last Name: Gutiérrez Locality: Farmville

Dear Delegate Davis, I am one of your constituents who is a tenured professor. I do teach 12-hours a week and in-person, but I can't imagine why this bill is necessary. My university is perfectly capable of making the decision about how my courses are taught, and should have the flexibility to reassign courses and or deliver modes according to our students' needs. My department and my university can also manage my own needs as a professor. My husband is terminally ill, and we need my job to pay for healthcare. While I do not now need to teach virtually, (and frankly hope to never have to), given that his condition will worsen, I may at some point need the flexibility to teach virtually so I can keep my job, and continue to do the work I love even after he is gone. I also wonder how my colleagues at research institutions will feel about the bill, as it is normal for them to spend far more hours on their discipline, and to teach fewer classes. Or even how my colleagues at our teaching university feel about not being able to t4ach classes that can reach students all over Virginia, to help them further their educations, without taking an overload. (Their 12-hours in person, plus an additional on line class.) This bill will restrict education to those who can afford to attend in person. That is not the vote you want on your record. In short, this ill-advised bill seems to meddle in personnel decisions that are best left at the local level. I'm disappointed that the House has even proposed this. Let our students decide what kind of education is best for them, and let them vote with their feet. I would be happy to discuss this further, so feel free to contact me. And I vote. Yours, A. Renee Gutiérrez, PhD 434-392-3066

Last Name: Miskec Organization: Longwood University Locality: Farmville

This bill does not fit the needs of all institutions, especially those that are rural. Summer courses, for example, are needed, but few institutions can support having students on campus year round (keeping the dining hall open, for example), and few students can afford to live on campus or in a rural area (where jobs are scarce) all summer just to attend classes in person. This Bill would effectively kill summer programs. This doesn't fit the needs of all programs, either. Project based classes can be highly successful in a hybrid or online format. This Bill would also hurt the quality of low-residency programs, like many graduate programs, too. What's more, putting undue burden on non-Tenure Track faculty is unethical and exploitative, and this Bill would effectively force non-tenure Track Faculty to cover the online and hybrid needs that all colleges have. More and more students want online options, but while traditional universities resist that as much as possible, there comes a point when we have to explore all of our options or else we will lose all of our students to for-profit universities, which takes away tuition dollars from the state.

Last Name: Jackson Locality: Esmont

The state government should play no role in determining individual job descriptions and workloads of individual employees. Faculty members have a deep hierarchy of supervisors who determine workloads and evaluate performance already, including department chairs, deans, provosts, and other administrators. If the state wants to streamline education, they should reduce funding for higher education administrators, and reduce the bureaucratic rules that require hiring thise administrators.

Last Name: Weiss Locality: Fairfax

Members of the House Higher Education Subcommittee, I am currently a tenured associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. I am writing to describe to you how passage of a bill to require me to teach 12 hrs/wk of an in-person class would severely limit my ability to contribute to the learning community in which I teach AND to the select research community in which Mason now resides as a Research 1 institution. I am just one example of the problems with this bill. There are two points that I would like to make. The first is that being in a classroom and providing direct instruction is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of teaching. There is also preparing for instruction, advising students, providing feedback, and providing mentoring opportunities. So creating a required number of hours to provide direct instruction without recognizing the other time necessary does not address the entire picture. That is, not for quality teaching. The second point is that there are many other responsibilities to the job. If required to provide 12 direct hours of teaching per week and to spend additional hours for the preparation and additional activities required for teaching, I would not have the hours to spend: 1. observing and interacting with/supporting teachers in local schools 2. observing and providing feedback for teacher interns 3. providing oversight and direction for the VDOE Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) for our region for which I am the Principal Investigator 4. mentoring and developing doctoral level students on three separate Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Doctoral Leadership grants in which I participate (nor would I be able to write additional grants for these funding sources) 5. conduct research on effective instructional practices to further the field and improve outcomes for students with disabilities (and seek funding to offset the costs of my salary and projects to George Mason and Virginia) 6. disseminate new knowledge to the field through presentations at conferences and writing articles for publication 7. serve as a leader in the field as a treasurer or president-elect of a national professional organization. Again, I am only one example but I believe it is important for you to have specific examples when making policy. I love what I do and spend many hours in excess of the typical 40 hour work week every week. While I understand the need to have faculty, especially experienced faculty who have developed national reputations, in classrooms with students, I would argue that setting a specific number of hours for that direct teaching each week is neither helpful nor productive in maintaining the standards of excellence and national reputation that Virginia's institutes of higher education have achieved. I would respectfully ask the committee to reconsider the bill and its purposes and determine a better way to help institutions balance teaching and the development of new knowledge.

Last Name: Tricker Locality: Richmond, VA

I write to express my disapproval of HB 1226 and its implications for higher education. Specifically, I urge the committee not to pass this bill, which, in its current form, outlines an inflexible set of expectations for university faculty at state institutions. As we have seen with COVID, there will be times when universities and other state institutions of higher learning will need to pivot to online teaching in certain situations (such as a public health crisis). I am a university professor and I think in-person teaching is the best form of education. With that said, having a law on the books that requires professors to teach in person for a regularly and inflexibly prescribed number of hours does no one any service. Additionally, the implications of this bill may detract from the ability of faculty to take research sabbaticals--periodic leave from teaching responsibilities that enable vital research activities that not only advance the cause of inquiry in the intellectual community, but reinvigorate and updated teaching curricula. As a constituent, I therefore urge the legislative body to vote against this bill, HB 1226.

Last Name: Yang Organization: George Mason University Locality: Fairfax

This bill will dramatically reduce the science contribution of Virginia professors and drive away most talented professors, as well as deprived students the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge R&D by their professors. 12-hour teaching is a 4-4 course load that requires 40 hours of preparation in general. If implemented, professors will have to steal family time to work over hours. Research will be stopped and further downgrade the innovation, creativity, and engagement of students in cutting-edge research for better preparing their future career. It will be a disaster for both professors and students, and the commonwealth's future. The teaching load should be kept to the individual schools to decide since they understand best their innovation, teaching, and training needs.

Last Name: Davis Locality: Prince William County

The bill needs clarification. With the increasing use of online and remote technologies, there is a different understanding of what " in person" means. If I have an appointment with my doctor, and he and I are online, we are " in person, " face to face, at the same time. This is the meaning of synchronous. This is in person. This also applies when I meet my class twice a week in a synchronous, same time in person setting. Online in an asynchronous fashion is not in person because you are not in the same time period. This needs clarification. What is the intent of this bill? Do you mean 12 hours or 12 credit hours? Big difference. Poorly written bill which will lead to much confusion. Is this bill targeting tenured professors? Need to rethink and rewrite this bill if you move it forward. Keep in mind that there are accommodations that people can have that allow them to work remotely. How does this bill uniformly require people to be in person physically.

Last Name: Kravetz Organization: Longwood University Locality: Richmond, Virginia

If you want to require each tenured professor at a public institution of higher education to personally teach students for at least 12 hours per week during any term, you will likely have a very difficult time attracting faculty to some of Virginia's finest and oldest public universities. At some of the research-heavy institutions around the state, faculty teach less than 12 hours per week because they have won national grants to do their own research, research with students, or even professional development. Not only does this bring national attention and prestige to Virginia's public universities, but it also brings some of the most qualified and best faculty. In addition, this bill would deny the possibility of any type of sabbatical or teaching leave, which would also detract stellar faculty from coming to teach at Virginia's public universities. Not only would the institutions be impacted with the loss of these faculty, but students would also lose out on the opportunity of working in labs or on research projects with faculty, who couldn't take teaching leave in order to work on prestigious, nationally or university funded projects as a result of this bill. Publication is also a requirement of achieving tenure, even at a teaching-focused university like Longwood. At Longwood, we already teach 12 credits a term, but to not have crucial teaching leave in the second year or sabbaticals, there would be virtually no possibility of faculty achieving tenure because the teaching and service requirements are so demanding. In order to realistically expect faculty to achieve tenure or to serve in major university roles (such as dean, provost, etc.), teaching leave must be possible. You can, thus, imagine that the consequences of this would be enormous and very damaging at a larger research-focused university where the publication requirements are much more demanding for tenure. While I value of in person learning and prefer it, I recognize that there are some circumstances where online teaching suffices or works better for recruiting students to take classes. This is especially the case for summer or winter intersession courses. Frankly, many courses wouldn't fill without an online option, which would also hurt students who wouldn't have this option to take summer or winter courses. Additionally, while the CDC's isolation requirements stand for exposure or a positive COVID-19 test, online teaching is also a good temporary solution for continuing classes while a faculty member is isolating or recovering from COVID-19. To simply not offer any option of continuing classes in exceptional circumstances is doing a disservice to students. I am against this bill because it would hurt Virginia's public institutions as a whole, as well as faculty, and most importantly, students.

Last Name: Fowler Locality: Stafford

This bill will be a detriment to higher learning in Virginia. Requiring all tenured professors to teach 12 hours a semester, which is the equivalent of a 4:4 load - or 4 classes each semester - is ridiculous, especially at an R-1 institution. Most R-1 institutions only require tenured professors to teach 1 class a year. Most of us work 70-80 hours per week, dividing time between teaching and mentoring, research (writing grants, admin, doing research, writing results), and service to the department, university, and academic institutions. This requirement would ultimately mean a substantial reduction in the amount of external funding that would come into public universities in VA, as professors would not have time to write or complete grants. This bill would also lead to the loss of tenured faculty, as anyone that is tenured at an R-1 institution would not stand for having to teach a 4:4 load and would leave the state for other institutions that do not have that requirement. In summary, this bill is proposed by a person or group that has no idea what tenured professors actually do, and most likely think that all they do is teach. This uneducated viewpoint has led to this ridiculous bill that would eviscerate the ability of tenured professors to do research, the ability of universities in Virginia to hire new faculty, and retain the faculty which we have.

Last Name: Luo Organization: United Campus Workers of Virginia Locality: Manassas

HB1226 operates from a willful misunderstanding of how Virginia's higher ed institutions function. Tenured faculty are already required to teach a certain number of credit hours on top of research and service obligations. This bill represents a massive overreach of legislative authority and an attempt to micro-manage the work of Virginia's higher ed faculty. Further, it creates additional hoops for disabled faculty and/or faculty with childcare and family responsibilities to jump through in order to do their jobs. Please vote down this bill.

Last Name: Hodges Locality: Prince Edward

The requirement that tenured professors teach at least 12 hours per week, in-person, for each semester is based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of how modern universities and colleges work. The largest universities in Virginia are research universities and professors in those institutions are expected to dedicate a significant amount of time to their research. These institutions bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the Commonwealth. This would not be possible if these professors were teaching 12 hours per week. Additionally, all universities also require service, such as serving as the chair of a department or leading an institute dedicated to improving teaching skills. These positions are often filled by tenure professors. Once again, if those professors are required to teach 12 hours per week, they would not be able to fill these roles. Finally, taking away the option to teach virtually, whether it be in the case of a dangerous situation (e.g. weather) or to provide someone with a new baby the ability to teach from home, makes absolutely no sense. I agree that most teaching should be done in-person but to require all teaching to be done in-person is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Last Name: Vesely Locality: Fairfax County

Public research universities are meant to develop new knowledge vis-à-vis research that is for the public good. Especially during this time of disinformation, high-quality trustworthy research is more important than ever. This is a time in history when we ought to be even more focused on ensuring the citizens of our great state of Virginia have access to credible research—with much of this evidence traditionally being produced in public research one (R-1) universities. Increasing teaching loads of tenured professors at state universities of Virginia will severely curtail the breadth and depth of research faculty are able to produce. Specifically, with increased teaching responsibilities, tenured faculty at R-1, research intensive universities will have less time to contribute to the development of new scientific knowledge regarding some of the most complex issues of our time, to benefit the constituents of Virginia. Research that is conducted by faculty at Virginia universities has important implications for Virginians—as one example of this, faculty at George Mason University have a number of on-going research programs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants are an important aspect of the research enterprise and funding for universities. However, if tenured faculty are responsible for teaching additional credits, faculty will have less time to write and submit grants, and will be less competitive for grant funding as more of grant budgets will need to be allotted to “buying” faculty time rather than to research endeavors. Finally, without the necessary structures to ensure a portion of tenured faculty time be dedicated to research, faculty will be less likely to conduct robust research, and in turn, their teaching will also suffer. Evidenced-based practices developed by research conducted by tenured faculty at universities inform best practices for teaching. Curtailing research conducted at public state universities will indeed negatively impact the education students in the classroom, and will provide limited opportunities to create the next generation of scholars to ensure evidence-based decision-making rather than perpetuation of disinformation.

Last Name: Letiecq Locality: FALLS CHURCH

HB 1226 should be voted down for several reasons: 1) tenured professors at public institutions of higher education perform multiple roles. Teaching typically equates to 40% of workload and engaging in research (40%) and service to the university, profession and nation (20%) rounds out the effort. Changing the hours of teaching in the classroom to 12 hours/week would kill any research and service production at our institutions. 2) R1 institutions produce research of consequence to the nation and world. This bill would make it impossible for VA public universities from maintaining that R1 designation -- this would have significant consequences of our ability to generate external research funding. 3) With some 54% of external funding dollars going back to the institution through indirects, reductions in research production would significantly reduce the funding researchers bring to the university and the state. Tenured professors who teach 2 courses per semester spend 6 hours in the class on average. Yet we spend at least that much time if not more preparing for class, grading assignments, and mentoring students. Those two courses equate to 2 days worth of effort minimally. Doubling class time to 12 hours in person would make it impossible for faculty to conduct research and manage external funding obligations. This bill must be reconsidered and voted down.

Last Name: Shiflet Locality: Harrisonburg

This proposed legislation would greatly harm public higher education institutions by limiting the amount of scholarship completed on important issues for the Commonwealth, including issues related to sustainable environmental initiatives, business and entrepreneurial endeavors, and supporting teachers in their work with only name three. As well, online education has shown to be effective for supporting students and eliminating that option would also harm students and universities. Please vote against moving this legislation forward.

Last Name: Jones Locality: Fairfax City

HB 1226 would essentially make state universities very unfriendly to tenured faculty who conduct research and cause mass exodus of our best and most eminent tenured faculty. It would essentially require tenured faculty to forego research as 12 credits per semester (what we call a 4:4 load) is considered to completely saturate a faculty member's time. We hire term professors whose only responsibility is teaching and they have a 4:4 load so your are asking tenured faculty to stop doing research. This could have very profound effects on our ability to attract new faculty and our best tenured faculty would leave to go to schools with a more reasonable expectation of teaching. Tenured faculty at state universities have three responsibilities: teaching, research and service. The typical formula is 40% teaching, 40% research and 20% service. This is similar to what is found at other major universities throughout the US. Also to be considered is the articulation between research and teaching. We want our students to receive state--of-the-art knowledge of current techniques and findings and perhaps work in a research lab under a tenured professor. This gives them valuable training and credentials for their chosen profession. GMU has had a very successful program incorporating undergraduates in research active professor's labs. This would become difficult if faculty got no time for research which is what is being proposed. Also, graduate students need to work with research active faculty to turn out quality theses and dissertations. At GMU there is currently a 2:2 teaching load for research active tenured and tenure track faculty. This allows faculty to be active in their research and continue to publish in the peer-reviewed literature and obtain grants which benefit the their research as well as the university and the commonwealth. If this bill were approved, I predict there would be mass exodus of the best and most active tenured professors and the standing of our state universities would drop precipitously. Our current model of 2:2 load for tenured professors with consideration given to extra service and large grants administered by each university as it sees fit is the best model. I don't think that the General Assembly should try to legislate and dictate teaching loads at state universities. This would result in a precipitous drop in our standing in the national and international academic area and frankly make it impossible for us to hire new tenure track faculty. As a professor at one one our state universities for the past 40 years, I would suggest that the sponsor of this bill does not understand the dire implications of this proposal for our state universities especially for the students. I hope that you will vote AGAINST HB 1226.

Last Name: Gimm Locality: Fairfax

As a tenured faculty member at George Mason University, I am concerned that the proposed bill (HB1226) would be harmful not only for the research productivity and scholarly contributions of tenured faculty, but also the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Imposing a 12-credit hour mandate on teaching hours would effectively remove faculty from any research activities or writing of deliverables to inform policy and advance knowledge that leads to scientific innovations that benefit all citizens in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Therefore, I am opposed to the proposed bill (HB1226) which would have many negative impacts for the Commonwealth.

Last Name: Conour Organization: Germanna Community College Locality: Spotsylvania

House Education - Higher Education Subcommittee Committee Chair: Freitas, Nicholas J., and Committee Members Subject: HB 1226 Higher educational institutions; tenured professors, in-person teaching. HB 1226 is concerning not so much to faculty as it is to students. The majority of students at the community college level are no longer enrolling or desiring to take classes on-campus face-to-face live. The community college population are busy working adults and parents who often struggle with multiple layers of issues that create barriers that would otherwise keep them from an education unless it was offered virtually. If full-time faculty are required to teach the majority of their courses on-campus this limits enrollment and demand for those courses, and it places the sole responsibility on adjunct faculty who often are not equipped and do not have the time to devote to students who are struggling academically or otherwise to ensure success. Full-time faculty in the VCCS have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to learn, improve, and provide the best virtual education to students along with creating ways to ensure we have ongoing, positive relationships with students to help them be successful learners. This is now the format that students feel the most successful and are demanding especially in particular disciplines. Virtual learning allows us to remain competitive in the marketplace and meet the needs and demands of students. HB 1226 will create barriers that limit opportunity and success for a large group of students who need to gain an education to further career opportunities. I ask you to please consider the needs of students and not put limits on full-time faculty. We are committed to providing the best education to students regardless of learning format. Respectfully Submitted, Teresa Conour, M.Ed., MA Associate Professor Education/Early Childhood Germanna Community College 540-645-2636

Last Name: Snyder Locality: Springfield

This bill seems to have no idea how a university is run, or how classes are administered. It is misguided and would severely damage higher education in Virginia. This would lead to an immediate exodus and VA students would soon have to follow to states, and these extremely negative effects would echo for generations. What ever problem this is trying to fix, it is a confident idiot's low-effort attempt at doing so.

Last Name: Laskey Locality: Reston

This bill represents egregious overreach and micro-management of higher education by people who have no expertise in university teaching. It betrays a complete lack of knowledge about how higher education works. Many if not most tenured professors do fewer than 12 hours per week of classroom teaching because they have administrative and professional responsibilities that consume much of their time. Many courses taught by tenured professors are designed for remote learning in order to reach students who cannot commute to campus. If this bill were enforced, Virginia would lose its most respected and prestigious faculty to universities that do not micro-manage their faculty. Students would go elsewhere because we would lose our best teachers. This bill would destroy Virginia's top-notch university system, relegating us to the bottom tier of universities.

Last Name: Maughan Locality: Work in Fairfax, VA

My apologies for a second response. I am still very concerned with this bill for many reasons. There is the research money the institutions will lose, and faculty who will leave due to the increased load as there are expectations beyond teaching for tenured faculty. At any rate, I believe the bill needs some clarification in wording: Is 12 hours in the classroom (in person) mean 12 clock hours, which translates to 12 credits (that doesn't count time outside of teaching -correcting and one one one time) or is it 6 credits of class. Does in person include zoom or other technological interactions? How do graduate assistants factor into this? Please clarify these concerns, if the bill proceeds. Although my first recommendation is to vote no on this bill. Thank you,

Last Name: Rowley Locality: Virginia Beach

As many of these comments point out, this bill is misinformed. Perhaps the representative who submitted it should have taken the time to do some serious research? Tenured professors are required to teach, do research, and engage in service at their home institutions. Original research is time-consuming, but it also drives economic, technological and cultural advancement. Preparing thoughtful and effective university-level classes also takes a tremendous amount of time; the time spent in the classroom is the tip of the iceberg with regards to how university professors divide their time and resources. Face time without the careful preparation of the most up-to-date materials based on original research does not benefit students. Students benefit from the ways in which professors model research, inquiry and the development of knowledge. There few professional or scientific fields out there that do not require some kind of research on a regular, if not a daily, basis.

Last Name: Jones Locality: Herndon

A typical full time teaching load for a tenured professor conducting no or limited research is 4 3-credit hour courses per semester; this equates to 12 contact hours per week for a fully in-person class, and less if *any* of the classes have an online component. For research active faculty (the engine that drives an R1 institution), this teaching load is reduced to 1 or 2 3-credit hour courses per semester, i.e., 3 or 6 contact hours per week, and less if any of the classes have an online component. To require 12 in-person teaching hours per week for tenured faculty will: (a) prevent *any* online teaching, which is an emerging and necessary capability of higher education to augment in-person learning, (b) prevent any research activities by tenured faculty, as loads are currently designed to balance teaching, research, and service, (c) drive research activities to research-only faculty, removing the well-established valuable connection between teaching and research, and (d) discourage researchers from entering higher education, at least in the Commonwealth.

Last Name: Maughan Locality: Work in Fairfax, VA

I am very concerned about HB 1226, which is requiring tenured professors to teach in person 12 hours a semester each year. Tenured professors bring in millions of dollars to help support public institutions and requiring them to teach this many credits would not allow them to pursue their research, which means less money for the institutions and less advancement of knowledge and science in the field. Please do not pass this bill.

Last Name: Williamson-Ashe Locality: Chesapeake

HB 1226 Higher educational institutions; tenured professors, in-person teaching. Delegate Davis, Students receiving an education in the Commonwealth of Virginia deserve the delicate attention of not being reduced to an ordinance that removes the individualized programmatic concerns of various learning requirements that stipulate diversity according to populations, majors, and associated professorial services. A blanketed bill removes the necessary flexibility Universities and Colleges possess to deliver the quality specific majors need to deliver the richness associated with each discipline. The scholarship and service that provides current and meticulous knowledge and research would be absent without the ability to engage in the same processes that elevated professors to acquire their tenure status. The acquisition of tenure does not complete the process of research and it should not stagnate students to yesterdays engaged research. Please consider the unnecessary and non-productive restrictions this bill would impose on Universities and colleges.

Last Name: Puri Organization: University of Virginia Locality: Charlottesville

This bill demonstrates a misunderstanding of what professors do with their time. Our job contracts generally state that we must teach, research, and provide administrative service to our institution. The balance among these activities varies according to the individual, and their present assignment. Those who are doing significant administrative work--leading a division of a department, or a department, or a school, etc.--usually have much less time to devote to teaching and research, but these assignments rotate regularly. And vice versa for the other two areas of activity. As in any business, this flexibility in work flow is designed to allow both the institution and the individual worker to flourish. But if the underlying concern is that "tenured" faculty members are not spending enough time on the job--don't worry. ("Tenured" comes from your bill, but institutions generally employ many people who are not tenured but still teach, research, and administer. This stipulation shows another misunderstanding of institutions of higher education, which are quite complex.) I am a tenured professor, and I can assure you that I spend a maximum number of hours per day--every day, not just the workdays--doing my job, and doing it as well as possible. The Faculty Senate conducted a university-wide survey at UVa in 2007, I believe, and I seem to remember that I calculated spending 70 hours per week doing my job. And most other faculty members reported similar amounts of time on the job. It is a crushing workload, for relatively little pay. We make this sacrifice because we believe in our mission, which is to serve our students, the Commonwealth, and the world-at-large in the acquisition of knowledge and bolstering of humanity in all respects.

Last Name: Williams Locality: Richmond

This proposal exhibits significant misunderstandings about the way higher ed operates, especially since universities have put so much funding into developing online programs (pre-pandemic). Additionally, the assumption that those external the the academy should set arbitrary limits for teaching time is in appropriate, and frankly, insulting. Faculty go to great lengths to be experts in their fields, and the university system offers them plenty of incentive and evaluation on their craft.

Last Name: Lafrenaye Locality: Mechanicsville

I am worried that this bill will inadvertently limit VA's economic and technological growth moving forward. Many tenured faculty members of public VA universities are primarily focused on research endeavors that dovetail into new companies, fuel VA's prominence as an educational hub, and attract additional research companies to set up in VA. Ultimately, forcing every faculty member to participate in 12 hours of in-person student teaching each week, will kill VA's ability to keep up with the rest of the country's research and development at higher educational facilities, reduce VA's ability to grow their public universities, and drive away good researchers and educators to other parts of the country.

Last Name: Grace Locality: Fairfax

HB 1226 does not reflect the reality of academia in the 2020s. Many academic programs are entirely online, making it impossible for tenured professors to comply with a requirement to teach in person for 12 hours a week. It is also unclear to me how the figure of 12 hours a week was arrived at. 12 hours of teaching time per week would be approximately 4 courses, which does not allow any time for grant-funded research activity.

Last Name: Patricia Jennings Locality: Charlottesville

Public university-based research and online learning are both valuable assets and this bill would have a significant negative impact on them both. The provisions of HB1226 would result in a huge reduction in research funding and externally funded research activity, which is currently flourishing in our universities. Typically full time, tenure track faculty bring large grants to universities to conduct their research and this funding "buys out" some of their teaching load. Grant funding not only covers a portion of their salary, but also brings in funds to cover university overhead costs, which can amount to more than 50% of the total grant. Also, our universities are offering highly ranked asynchronous online courses that bring tuition dollars to the commonwealth from both in state and out of state students, including international students. This bill would result in the loss of this important and valuable activity.

Last Name: Noel Locality: Fredericksburg

In keeping up with the changing times, I believe tenured faculty should be able to have a choice. They should be able to teach fully online, face to face, or a combination of the two.

Last Name: Saladino Locality: Henrico

This is a foolish and uninformed bill. Faculty who are tenured have demonstrated strong research skills. These skills have been facilitated by limiting weekly teaching hours to 3-6 hours per week, thus GIVING THESE SCHOLARS the time and focus to produce the necessary research that universities and the public require and demand. There are AMAZING teaching professors who provide EXCELLENT learning opportunities for the students in all programs who are UNABLE to pursue the scholarship opportunities that tenure provides. It is tone deaf to what students need (great teaching professors) and what high-end research requires (established scholars who can pursue cutting edge research agendas, having earned tenure) Tenured professors work hard. Untenured professors work hard. Teaching professors work hard. That is the consistent thread that connects them. But they often do different yet necessary jobs. Those jobs collectively add up to the value of any given department. Simply having tenured professors teaching a 4/4 teaching load as some sort of arbitrary requirement would reduce their research output and limit student access to excellent teaching professors. It also assumes that 4/4 is the normal teaching load in contracts that also heavily stress RESEARCH and SERVICE besides teaching. Finally, having legislators make the rules on what faculty should do in all state university departments from Art History to Zoology is fundamentally flawed. By their job requirements, department chairs, deans, and faculty are EXPERTS in their field. Legislators have NO IDEA what these jobs require and should never have this kind of input. Shall they be telling medical school professors to limit how many clinic hours or how many patients they should see so they can teach more credit hours? This is so very misguided and foolish.

Last Name: G Locality: Richmond

How is this proposal expected to be remotely compatible with expected teaching loads for tenured faculty across other parts of the country? And how will this allow other critical faculty roles such as research (which adds up to 6-8 hours per day easily including scientific writing, reviewing, presenting, refereeing and so on). Research is a critical part of many academics. After all, 48% of US basic research is carried out in higher ed institutions, and 57% of Nobel prize winners are affiliated with US universities. In an era of intense international competition, can we really afford to lose our scientific edge, especially in basic research that is the foundation of tomorrow's technology?

Last Name: Lloyd Locality: Newport News

Furthermore, the competition for the finest faculty in the country is REAL! When other universities in the nation require their tenured professors to teach 6-9 hours per semester, why would any but the most desperate take a position at a Virginia institution. Of course, the private universities won't be held to the same hours requirement, so those schools will become superior and the public institutions will become second or third tier schools for those not in the upper class. But that's probably part of Davis's overall plan!

Last Name: Lloyd Locality: Newport News

HB1226 provides proof that those who have proposed this bill have little to no idea how universities function nor why the U.S. has some of the best institutions of higher education in the world. Teaching 12 contact hours per week would make it virtually impossible for professors, tenured or otherwise, to do ANY research or produce any scholarly products. Not only would this severely impact the body of knowledge of all disciplines, it would actually negatively affect professor's ability to teach their students the most current information, skills, and industry standards. The 12 hour per week requirement is simply absurd and indicates the prioritizing of short term financial gains over the long term well being of the institutions and the students they serve.

Last Name: Roman Mendoza Locality: Washington, DC (state employee of GMU, Fairfax, VA)

I am a full professor at Mason, an institution to which I have devoted 26 years of my life. I was surprised to read about this bill, which will make mandatory to teach 12 hours per week on campus. I understand we all want to go back to "normal," but for our students, many years before the pandemic, "normal" was to learn online. A considerable number of GMU students work and have families, and there is no way for them to finish their degrees without taking classes online. These students deserve the same education as the students who can afford to live on campus or drive to college every day. But if we just allow term faculty, untenured faculty or adjuncts to teach online, the quality of the education of our online students will be different to the ones who have the luxury to attend classes on campus. Tenured professors are needed both in class and in the online teaching environment. They engage students in the discipline and recruit them for new classes in their departments. Teaching online demands way more work and effort than teaching face-to-face. We can't require term faculty, who usually earn 30%-50% percent less than a tenured faculty, to teach courses that are more demanding and stressful. Moreover, students taking classes online are usually more negative in their evaluations of instruction (it is proven that students with a positive learning experience are less likely to respond to the online evaluations of teaching). Term faculty and pre-tenured faculty can't risk having low evaluation rates that could affect their promotion and/or their salaries. Pre-tenured faculty need to get to know their students and feel comfortable teaching. That's something that should be accomplished in the classroom during the first years of their appointments. Once they are granted tenure, it will be the time to embark in online teaching. I hope you will reconsider your proposal and allow departments and colleges to decide who is best suited to teach online and assign courses accordingly. If VA colleges stops offering a variety of quality online courses, I am afraid we will lose enrollments to other institutions outside the Commonwealth. Thank you for your attention

Last Name: Broeckelman-Post Organization: George Mason University Locality: Fairfax, VA

Dear Delegates: I am writing to urge you to vote against HB1226, which would require tenured faculty to teach 12 hours of courses in a live, in-person format. First, this bill would undermine the research capabilities of our universities, as most tenured faculty currrently teach for 6 hours each week (a workload of 20 hours after accounting for lesson planning, office hours, feedback, and other teaching responsibilities) and spend an additional 20+ hours (or more realisitically, 30-40+ hours for many tenured faculty) conducting research, advising students, etc. This bill would effectively make all tenured faculty fully instructional, and would leave no time in our workloads for scholarship and other university work. This would diminish the prestige of Virginia's universities, would inhibit our ability to do research, and would have a huge negative financial impact on our institutions since we would no longer be able to devote time to grant-funded research that also contributes to each university's bottom line. Second, this bill undermines our efforts to provide an accessible education to all Virginians who want to earn a 4-year degree. At George Mason University in particular, we have a large population of students who are working on their degree while also working a full-time job, caring for children or other family members, are unable to live geographically close to campus, or who have other constraints. Because of this, we provide a significant proportion of synchronous and asynchronous online courses to make an excellent education accessible for these students and for others who prefer online courses for a variety of reasons. If all tenured faculty are required to teach in-person, we would no longer be able to offer these online courses, and thousands of Virginians would lose the opportunity to earn a college degree. Sincerely, Melissa Broeckelman-Post, Ph.D. Chair of the Faculty Senate George Mason University

Last Name: Kisliuk Locality: Charlottesville

Those who prepared this bill are either grossly misinformed about how higher ed is taught, or they are trying to subversively kill higher ed in the state. Anyone remotely informed knows that regular courses at the university level meet for no more than three hours a week in person, will significant prep time on behalf of instructors and students outside of class. Maybe a physical ed class or other practicum might conceivably meet for 12 hours a week, but otherwise, the writers of the bill may have been thinking about middle school. Get serious please and don't play with our lives. Sincerely, a tenured and highly valued associate professor at UVA. And in case you didn't know, research and service (administrative work, advising, committees) make up two thirds of our job.

Last Name: Hawks Locality: Mount Sidney

Vote no on HB 1226. Higher Ed needs flexibility to determine appropriate course offerings. Experts in their respective field should determine how to best deliver course content. College is not a one size fits all endeavor. Passing this bill will activate the “law of unintended consequences”.

Last Name: Hulshof Organization: Virginia Commonwealth University Locality: Richmond

I am writing to express strong opposition to HB 1226 for the following reasons: The bill is embarrassing. It lacks a basic understanding of the roles and obligations of a tenured professor. This bill would damage the competitiveness of Virginia to attract and retain nationally and globally recognized leaders and experts in their respective fields. Tenured professors have preexisting contracts specifying the time spent on teaching, research, and institutional service based on many factors including the amount of federal and state research funding they obtain which benefit individual institutions across Virginia (through overhead). The bill is in direct opposition to the increase in demand for online instruction. Online courses provide flexibility to students most at risk of not graduating; and reach a larger demographic of students, such as working professionals continuing their education. Expanding online instruction has become a priority for many top institutions around Virginia and the country because it also addresses the enrollment cliff many institutions, including those in Virginia, are currently confronting. HB 1226 is shortsighted and uninformed at best and, at worst, will cause economic damage to the state of Virginia and compromise the integrity of higher education at colleges and universities across the state.

HB1275 - Virginia Credential Registry; established, report.
No Comments Available
HB1277 - Higher educational institutions, public; earning academic credit in Armed Forces of the U.S.
No Comments Available
HJ145 - Higher education; statewide strategic plan, report.
Last Name: Crossin Organization: GMU/ self Locality: Fairfax

Tenured faculty are already stretched thin and underpaid for the far more than 40 hours per week most pour into their jobs. Increasing teaching loads on tenured faculty would likely lead highly impactful faculty to leave academia for industry to double or quadruple their pay for less hours of work. Tenured faculty lead amazing research and advise and support undergraduate and graduate students as well as advise industry and policy in their fields all primarily for the betterment of society. I think the time needed to be amazing in the classroom and the already incredibly heavy load outside the classroom is vastly misunderstood and undervalued. Please don’t drive good people away from academia.

End of Comments