Arbitrator Rules Against Prof Who Didn’t Want Extra Course

by E Wayne Ross on April 13, 2009

Inside Higher Ed: Arbitrator Rules Against Prof Who Didn’t Want Extra Course

The University of Florida did not violate collective bargaining rules by requiring a professor to teach an additional course, an independent arbitrator has concluded. Florence Babb, an endowed professor and graduate coordinator of the university’s Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, challenged Florida’s decision to change her teaching load, saying her employment agreement stipulated that she would only be required to teach one course each semester. Given significant budget challenges, Florida officials increased Babb’s teaching requirements. Babb is now required to teach three courses over the spring and fall semesters, in addition to carrying out her duties as graduate coordinator for the women’s studies center. Ben Falcigno, an arbitrator who reviewed the case, based his decision on Babb’s 2004 appointment letter. The letter states that the “normal” course load for Babb would be two courses a year, but Falcigno concluded current budget constraints constitute “abnormal” conditions that allow the university to increase Babb’s teaching requirements. Babb was represented by the United Faculty of Florida, a statewide union affiliated with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. Pradeep Kumar, who represented Babb for the union, said the arbitration ruling is binding and won’t be appealed. Babb could not be reached for comment.