Monday, March 13, 2006

Can you borrow me a test? 

In the continued discussion of whether or not faculty speak good enough English, along comes a bill that would require MnSCU schools to test new faculty for "clear English pronunciation".
State Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, figures this is a problem and has proposed a solution: He's introduced a bill intended to ensure that all teachers use "clear English pronunciation" before being allowed to teach undergraduate students.

Heidgerken, a former teacher and cafe owner, said he's gotten an earful about incomprehensible instructors from his own kids, former students and employees.

"I've had many students say they dropped a course or delayed graduation for a semester because they couldn't get around this one professor they couldn't understand," he said. "All I'm trying to accomplish is getting the best education we have for postsecondary students."

Most of the concerns focus on disciplines such as math, science and engineering, where foreign-born professors and teaching assistants are common.

The bill would require that schools in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) ensure their teachers speak plain English.

It would "request" that the University of Minnesota do the same; the Legislature can technically only request compliance from the U because it is an autonomous body under the state Constitution.
The North Dakota law proposed that if 10% of students complain, you would remove TAs. I don't know if that would apply to full-time faculty or even adjuncts.

How, exactly, does Bud plan to test these people? Is the assumption that, when we bring faculty to campus to visit with us to decide if we want to hire them, that existing faculty do not care if the faculty member can speak English well?

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