what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom not anymore legal issues in higher education
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PASSHE CHAIRPERSON CONFERENCE May 15, 2014 By: Richard D. Miller, Esquire a nd

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What Happens in the Classroom Stays in the Classroom? Not Anymore ! Legal Issues in Higher Education. PASSHE CHAIRPERSON CONFERENCE May 15, 2014 By: Richard D. Miller, Esquire a nd Paul N. Lalley, Esquire Campbell Durrant Beatty Palombo & Miller, P.C. 535 Smithfield Street, Suite 700

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what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom not anymore legal issues in higher education

What Happens in the Classroom Stays in the Classroom? Not Anymore!Legal Issues in Higher Education

PASSHE CHAIRPERSON CONFERENCEMay 15, 2014

By: Richard D. Miller, Esquire

and

Paul N. Lalley, Esquire

Campbell Durrant Beatty Palombo & Miller, P.C.

535 Smithfield Street, Suite 700

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

why were you elected chairperson of your department
Why Were You Elected Chairperson of Your Department?
  • It’s your turn
  • Nobody else wanted to do it
  • You were the compromise candidate
  • Everybody likes you
  • Nobody likes you
why were you elected chairperson of your department1
Why Were You Elected Chairperson of Your Department?
  • You have demonstrated your ability to:
    • Take on administrative issues
    • Obtain a consensus among your colleagues in less than 2 years
    • Make unbiased decisions based upon the facts
    • Treat similar fact situations consistently
    • Uphold the best traditions of academia
department chairperson s role per the cba
Department Chairperson’s Role Per the CBA
  • Directs activities of the Department, subject to approval of Dean/Director:
      • Develops departmental plans, guidelines and internal office operations
      • Directs department’s administrative organization
      • Represents academic discipline both on and off campus
  • Recommends personnel actions, curricular changes, course offerings, teaching assignments and department budget
department chairperson s role per the cba1
Department Chairperson’s Role Per the CBA
  • Recommendations on appointment of faculty
  • Performance review and evaluation of faculty
  • Recommendations for renewal and non-renewal
  • Recommendations for tenure
  • Recommendations for promotion
department chairperson s perceived role
Department Chairperson’s “Perceived” Role
  • You run the Department
  • Faculty members report to you
  • Faculty members will do what you tell them to do
how do these two roles mesh when it comes to what happens in the classroom
How Do These Two “Roles” Mesh When it Comes to What Happens in the Classroom?
  • Students will come to you assuming either:
      • You can give them the answer
      • You can make things right
      • What they tell you will be maintained confidentially
      • If you do not respond in the manner they want, you are covering up for your fellow faculty member.
protect yourself from what
Protect Yourself: From What?
  • Types of claims raised by students
  • Types of claims raised by others
  • Potential liability
    • Of the University
    • Of University representatives
  • Know or should have known standard
how will you find out about problems in the classroom
How Will You Find Out About Problems in the Classroom?
  • Faculty members
  • Students
    • Facebook
    • Emails
    • Texts
    • Face-to-face
    • Lawsuit
preparing for what is going to land on your desk
Preparing for What is Going to Land on Your Desk
  • Review your University’s policies on:
    • Grade appeals
    • Social equity
    • Student code of conduct
    • Harassment and discrimination
  • You do not need to be an expert on the details
  • You do need to make sure you understand where to direct certain concerns
what is going to land on your desk
What is Going to Land on Your Desk?
  • Course is too hard
  • Course is too easy
  • Course is not what I thought it would be
  • Professor is not responsive to questions
  • Professor is boring
  • Professor talks over our heads
what is going to land on your desk1
What is Going to Land on Your Desk?
  • Professor is late for class every day
  • Professor does not keep office hours
  • Professor does not keep scheduled appointments
what is going to land on your desk2
What is Going to Land on Your Desk?
  • Professor gave me an unfair grade
  • Professor gives females better grades than males
  • Professor asked for sex in exchange for good grade
what is going to land on your desk3
What is Going to Land on Your Desk?
  • Professor is demeaning
  • Professor acts in a discriminatory manner
  • Professor came to class drunk
  • Professor threatened student
  • I have a disability that the professor will not accommodate
continuum of responses
Continuum of Responses
  • Counsel student
  • Encourage student to discuss with faculty member
  • Discuss with faculty member
  • Memorialize discussion with faculty member
  • Refer student to appropriate department or office
  • Report to appropriate office or department
protecting the rights of students and faculty members
Protecting the Rights of Students and Faculty Members
  • Students:
    • Obtaining enough information

-The recalcitrant complainant

-Nailing down the specifics

    • Confidentiality issues

-What assurances can you make?

protecting the rights of students and faculty members1
Protecting the Rights of Students and Faculty Members
  • Faculty Members:
    • Due process

-Notice and an opportunity to respond

    • Evaluation process
    • Article 43 process

-Who decides?

wearing two hats
Wearing Two Hats
  • Department chairperson and fellow faculty member
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