Math professor keeps his TMCC job

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 2:59 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Last month hearings took place concerning the termination of TMCC Math Professor Lars Jensen.

For two days attorneys for the Nevada System of Higher Education, Jensen’s attorney, a hearing officer, and TMCC faculty members heard testimony as to why Professor Jensen should or should not keep his job. According TMCC he received two unsatisfactory evaluations over the course of two years. It’s s violation of NSHE code.

But the professor says this all boiled down to academic freedom. Specifically his questioning the lowering of math standards by the NSHE. The new criteria required only one class for students to meet the pre-requisite to enter a college level algebra course. He brought his concerns to a math summit in 2020.

“And I was speaking up about the lowering of standards in order to improve completion rates,” says Professor Jensen.

The TMCC president anticipated she would render a decision concerning Professor Jensen’s future at the college in December. That was after a report from the hearing officer as well as the faculty panel’s recommendations.

In the hearing officer’s report dated November 16, Vicky Oldenberg said in some instances TMCC proved Jensen’s acts constituted insubordination. In in those cases she wrote he was in violation of the school’s code. But just seven days later the special faculty committee recommended continued employment for Jensen. With a split decision TMCC’s President sided with the committee.

“Of course, I was relieved with the president’s decision,” says Jensen of the decision.

Professor Jensen says during this uncertain time he was forbidden to talk about academic standards in his field.

The ruling he hopes will take the focus off him and place the focal point back on academic standards and their impact on what a diploma represents at TMCC.

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