Arbitrator Blocks U. of Northern Iowa From Basing Faculty Merit Pay on Student Evaluations

An arbitrator has ordered the University of Northern Iowa to stop requiring its academic departments to use student evaluations from every course taught by an instructor as the basis for deciding whether to award that faculty member merit pay. In a binding decision handed down on Monday, the arbitrator held that the university had violated a contract with the faculty union by deciding on its own to change the terms for awarding merit-based pay raises. The ruling is the second in a month in which an arbitrator has sided with the union in a dispute with the university, which has been at odds with faculty leaders over program cuts and other efforts to reduce costs.  In a nonbinding decision issued on April 5, an arbitrator held that the university last year terminated an assistant professor of finance, Gordon Klein, in a manner that violated his academic freedom and due-process rights.

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