Professor lacking master’s degree requires exception to teach; students petition to save his job

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Students are petitioning to save the job of an adjunct professor in the business department who doesn’t have a master’s degree, which means every semester he teaches, the university needs to make an exception to its hiring policy. 

College accreditors visited campus recently and raised concerns about Brad Harker, an adjunct business professor, and his lack of a master’s degree. To remain an accredited university, Dixie State University must follow the accreditation process and have teachers who are eligible to teach, which involves having a master’s degree and experience in the field, according to Kyle Wells, the dean of business and communication.

“For several years, we have asked Harker to teach this class because of his vast experience, but we’ve had to write a letter of exception each time because his lack of a degree,” Wells said.

Harker is a published author, motivational speaker and influence expert. Through his company, Founders Inc., he consults with “professionals and organizations in the disciplines of sales, leadership and influence,” according to his website, bradharker.com.

“Harker has an irrefutable record from the sales world,” said Sky Crystal, a junior marketing major from Kimberly, Idaho. “It really doesn’t make sense for them to not let him teach.”

Harker said he didn’t have any knowledge of the petition before being questioned about it before last week.

“Whatever my students have done, it has been something they have taken the initiative to do, which I think is awesome,” Harker said. “But I really can’t be involved in that. It’s not my decision.”

Wells said having too many instructors teaching without a master’s degree could have an adverse effect on DSU’s accreditation.   

Students who said they believe Harker should be able to continue teaching despite his lack of master’s degree started a petition to help save his job. Students starting the petition said his experience is worth more than his lack of a master’s degree. However, according to DSU administrators, Harker has not been fired,which is contrary to student beliefs.

The students organizing the petition think Harker is being let go without notice.

“[Harker] really connects with each individual student, and he has given us such a great education,” said Kendra Jensen, a sophomore English major from Richmond.

Wells said the university doesn’t hire or fire adjunct faculty because their teaching assignments are temporary. Harker’s scheduled class isn’t offered until fall 2016.  

“[Adjunct professors] are at-will employees, and we have adjunct faculty that come and go frequently,” Wells said. “We hire as needed, (and) the course [Harker] is teaching is not scheduled in the spring.” 

Wells said he is working with accreditors to see if another exception can be made. However, Harker’s exception will not go through until fall when his course is offered, much like it has in the past, Wells said.   

Harker refused to comment further on the record about the  petition or his standing with DSU.