Court Sides With U. of Missouri in Fight Over Teacher-Prep Syllabi

A state appeals court has ruled that the University of Missouri system does not have to release course syllabi, as they are the intellectual property of the faculty and therefore exempt from the state’s open-records law, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.

The decision, handed down on Tuesday, is the latest chapter in a bid by the National Council on Teacher Quality to rank teacher-preparation programs by obtaining course syllabi and other materials from institutions nationwide. The group sued a handful of university systems that would not release syllabi it had requested, including in Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Judge Lisa White Hardwick, of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District, wrote the court’s opinion, which affirmed a lower court’s decision.

“We are pleased with the ruling by the Court of Appeals,” a system spokesman, John Fougere, said in a written statement. “In responding to the NCTQ’s request for course syllabi, we felt it was important to respect the rights of the faculty members who created the syllabi. We are glad that both courts to review the matter have concluded that we acted lawfully.”

The council has released two rankings, first in 2013 and again this year.

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