District judge says NCCB can fire, reassign faculty

June 15, 1991|By Patricia Meisol

A judge's decision sanctioning the wholesale loss of tenure for faculty at the New Community College of Baltimore means that six professors whose classroom performance was rated poor will lose their jobs June 30, the college's president said yesterday.

The ruling also paves the way for the new state-run college to hire more faculty and to assign current faculty to new fields and subjects as needed to attract students and to serve the Baltimore business community, said interim President James D. Tschechtelin.

NB The New Community College of Baltimore is the successor to the

Community College of Baltimore, a part of the city government founded in 1943. It was closed by the legislature June 30 because CCB was viewed as hopelessly mired in city bureaucracy and in an unusual collective bargaining system that made it difficult to replace ineffective faculty or faculty trained to teach courses for obsolete careers.

The campus was reopened July 1 last year with a new name, a new president and a new board of trustees. NCCB was charged with revamping the curriculum and attracting more students. The law setting up the successor college eliminated union bargaining and tenure -- job protections extended to academics -- and faculty who remained found themselves without a contract.

The faculty sued to restore tenure, but in a summary judgment on the case last week, District Judge Herbert F. Murray ruled that NCCB was indeed a new college and that the state had the right to establish new rules to govern it.

The once-tenured faculty underwent an elaborate evaluation, beginning last fall. Of 96 instructors evaluated, 26 were rated excellent; 44, good; 20, fair; and six, poor, according to Dr. Tschechtelin.

The president said the judge's ruling allows NCCB to move ahead with an innovative way to achieve the same protections of tenure -- academic freedom and job security -- while allowing the college to respond quickly and to shift faculty to new courses, as needs for such courses arise.

The new system includes rolling three-year contracts in which faculty are evaluated annually. A positive evaluation will extend a contract by one year. A professor with a three-year contract for 1992, 1993 and 1994, for instance, would be re-evaluated in 1992 and, if satisfactory, would see his or her contract extended a year to 1995. In the past, faculty won tenure under union rules if they were retained by the college for five years or more.

Rolling contracts are used at Montgomery College. Faculty at four of the state's 17 community colleges have no tenure.

vTC

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