Rutgers Graduate Faculty Rejects Online Degree Compromise

May 9, 2014

Graduate faculty members at Rutgers University at New Brunswick have once again rejected administrators' plans to create more online degree programs through a partnership with Pearson. Last October, faculty members in the Graduate School blocked any new programs from being approved, objecting to Pearson's share of tuition revenue -- 50 percent -- and an "obscenity clause" in the contract that Pearson later clarified.

On Wednesday, administrators introduced a new resolution that, instead of blocking programs, tasked the executive vice president with producing a report on the partnership with Pearson. The report "should address the effectiveness of Pearson in facilitating and delivering online master’s programs, the financial success of the agreement for the university, and any issues that have arisen regarding censorship of content. The report should also describe how faculty consultation will be implemented as we go forward," according to the resolution.

Instead of voting on the proposal, faculty members passed their own resolution, 26-2 with two abstentions, to not even consider the administration's suggestion.

"The reason why people didn’t want to vote on the dean’s resolution was that we didn’t want to conform to a procedure where the deans can bring up for reconsideration a question that the faculty have decided repeatedly," said David M. Hughes, professor of anthropology. "What people were saying at the meeting was after having pushed Pearson to the margins, we have to go get back to the discussion of why we want to have online education on campus in the first place."

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