One of the biggest threats is the move in many states to allocate funding for public universities based on measures such as graduation rates, rather than simply enrollment, say Fichtenbaum and others. They say that will compel faculty to pass more students, including some who may not deserve to be passed.
“I have no doubt this is going to create a subtle pressure to pass students who wouldn’t otherwise,” says Fichtenbaum. He says the pressure may be even greater for part-time faculty, or those who don’t have the job security of tenure. Advocates for change say the faculty who resist it have an obvious stake in a status quo that doesn’t work.