HARRISBURG, Pa.- Recently, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) has repeated claims that they believe the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is choosing to lower the quality of education at the 14 state system schools. APSCUF President Kenneth Mash has cited this as the union’s biggest issue as contract talks continue.
What rallying APSCUF members see as proposed PASSHE changes that would result in a drop in quality of students’ education, PASSHE sees as new opportunities that would not jeopardize that education.
While APSCUF does not want adjunct faculty to teach more classes than they already are or graduate assistants to teach in the presence of mentoring faculty said Mash, PASSHE sees those chances as educational opportunities for the younger, aspiring faculty who PASSHE Chancellor Frank Brogan says would be experiencing similar training standing APSCUF teachers once received.
“We think the changes are not in a negative way,” said PASSHE Media Relations Manager Kenn Marshall.
Marshall also mentioned how faculty might be asked to move from one field to one of higher demand but said that no physics professor would be switching to teach English for example.
One might move from physics to mathematics instead according to PASSHE’s comments. They believe such changes could increase educational quality and opportunity for students.
Marshall also mentioned that PASSHE wants to encourage the use of online or distance learning. Students are demanding it, said Marshall, and it is often used as supplemental education for those who need it.
PASSHE also asks that faculty accept the same healthcare plan that state system employees have already agreed to, making for a possible $70 million in healthcare savings according to PASSHE’s website.
“We always reach a settlement,” said Marshall. PASSHE hopes to reach a contract with APSCUF in the upcoming weekend’s negotiations before the APSCUF strike date of Oct. 19.