Across the United States, there have been attempts to corporatize universities and to evaluate faculty “productivity” using student evaluations and business metrics.
Now comes news that Texas Governor Rick Perry intervened in academic decision-making, pushing Texas universities to adopt a plan for evaluating and ranking faculty by “productivity” that was developed by a campaign donor, Jeff Sandefer, who is a businessman.
The Houston Chronicle quotes the former President of the University of Texas, Dr. Peter Flawn, who described Perry’s pressuring of the regents “absolutely a new and unique situation.”
Dr. Flawn indicates that Sandefer’s plan would reduce tenured faculty at the University of Texas. He argues “to me, that would be a backward step from a first-class research university to a second-class undergraduate degree mill.”
Sandefer’s plans have sparked significant controversy in Texas, which has now led to the dismissal of Rick O’Donnell, a protégé of Sandefer, as special adviser to the University of Texas Board of Regents. Read about this development in the Chronicle of Higher Education.