Michigan is taking action toward its educational institutes; Public Act 62 asks the state to distribute funds as they relate to education.
Michigan Representative Chuck Moss introduced the act to the Committee on Appropriations in February. The bill was later passed and was made a law in June.
Article 3 covers state and financial aid for higher education. Eastern Michigan University is scheduled to receive more than $64 million in funding for fall 2012. Roughly $3.3 million will go toward tuition restraint, while the rest will be split between school aid funding and general funding.
Aside from monetary aid, the act also focuses on students’ needs. Under section 262 of article 3, educators are required to notify their students of information necessary such as textbooks and course syllabus before the start of each semester.
“I have never had an issue getting my course information,” fifth-year senior Carmen Ogden said.
Although there are students like Ogden who have no problems with getting what they need from their professors, others have been affected by the lack of communication with educators.
“My professor expected me to have read a book for class and be ready for discussion on the first day, but they never responded to my email asking what the book was,” junior Janee Griggs said.
Senior Allie Theisen had similar experiences.
“I would email professors over the summer to talk about the class and I’d get a delayed response or I wouldn’t get a response at all,” she said.
EMU’s website offers brief descriptions about courses but does not host the information needed to get the materials for those courses. Students then search through local bookstore databases such as Ned’s Bookstore for their class and potentially required texts.
“Some professors send the book information the night before class,” Africa Schawmann, an Early College Alliance student, said, “then when you come to class with the book, they hold up a different one.”
Sophomore Amelia Parnis said, “I had no idea what I needed for class until I got there.”
The law suggests educators find less costly editions to their required text. Universities must review required texts that have been written by the professors themselves for financial conflicts.
The act also requires faculty to submit course materials for review.
An anonymous faculty member believes this added clause is the government’s way of monitoring what is being taught in the classrooms. The professor referred briefly to a University of Michgan course of 2003 titled “How to be gay,” which did not make it to the start of fall semester.
Faculty members consider the true problem comes from class scheduling and the lack in preparation for classes. Some say the constant dropping and adding of classes by students affects the process. Also the well-known “TBA instructor” adds to frustrations.
“Not knowing what classes we have is a problem,” communications professor Chris Meloche said.
Political science professor Barry Pyle said, “[Failing to provide information] shouldn’t be illegal; it’s not as simple as the law would like.”
Many faculty and students alike don’t know about the law yet but have formed opinions about it. The option to fix the ways students and professors communicate may help with this. The legislative approval over section 262 shows a consideration for students not seen before.
“Although it’s a good idea, this seems to be a burden on professors,” said English professor Laurie Walker.
Senior Scott Gorman said, “A lot of the course details are on Emich, but maybe they can improve the way we get info.”