In Their Own Words
Kevin P. Reilly
University of Wisconsin System
Despite a governing board’s tremendous responsibilities, fulfilling these obligations hinges, to no small degree, on the quality of experiences among students and their professors. Curriculum and instruction are appropriately the domain of the faculty. But our face-to-face and online classrooms can’t be a “black box.” Too much is riding on what happens inside. How, then, can trustees, system leaders, and policy makers make instructional quality a priority?
In short, raise the issue. It’s appropriate for boards to engage with presidents and provosts about the role of teaching in strategic plans. It’s fair to ask: What policies are supporting faculty development? Are these efforts scalable? Are they reaching those instructors—including adjuncts—who teach the classes where we see our highest rates of attrition, incompletes, and failing grades? And are these policies being properly resourced?
These questions are fundamental to our educational mission. Let’s pursue them together in a collaborative dialogue with senior administrators, faculty, students, and other members of the campus community—and with open and informed discourse that characterizes the best of higher education.
Reprinted with Permission from Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning