The University of Memphis, a public university in Tennessee, will be offering its professors financial incentives to infuse social justice into their courses.
The university sent its faculty an email detailing this new agenda, offering $3,000 to professors who will redesign their existing curricula to “better advance the tenets and charge of the University’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice.”
“This announcement offers a competitive grant opportunity designed to support faculty who are interested in redesigning and aligning existing course syllabi with the goals established by the workgroup entitled, Infusing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice into Existing Courses/Curriculum,” reads the university’s email.
The monetary incentive will be given in two installments of $1,500 – one after the redesigned syllabi are submitted, and the second installment will be given after the professor actually teaches according to the new lesson plans.
The participants will also have to submit a 500-word narrative describing how they approach DEI while teaching. They must also share how their DEI philosophy informs their approach to syllabi design.
“We’ve had a hard time retaining good faculty at our salary levels,” an anonymous faculty member told The Washington Free Beacon, “so anytime you see money being spent on non-student or non-faculty causes, it makes you scratch your head… Could this money be spent on students or retaining quality faculty rather than a progressive agenda that isn’t likely supported by the taxpayers or voters of Tennessee?”
This faculty member at the University of Memphis takes issue using the school’s funds in this manner. He believes there are many more important things that the money could be used for, and which might actually garner support from locals and taxpayers rather than angering them.
“I think the taxpayers of Tennessee should be aware that the administration is prioritizing spending money on systemic racism above retaining faculty, staff, cost-cutting, or lowering tuition,” the professor added.
As the professor points out, there are a lot of different ways the university could use this money, many of which would be more beneficial to the university in the long run.
The professor also admitted that he is concerned that apolitical courses will now be aimed at turning students into activists. “I’m not sure how changing an accounting, nursing, or engineering course to align with social justice principles helps students,” he said. “When faculty are underpaid in the first place, it’s hard to blame them for taking this money. But it creates an incentive for a nonpartisan instructor to turn their students into activists for a few extra dollars.”
No student needs to learn about DEI in a physics class or calculus class. Instead of prioritizing important programs, or using their money to improve the school for the students, the University of Memphis is trying to force politics and racial issues where it doesn’t belong.