CLC instructors could lose jobs over master's degree requirement
John Mose has decades of music experience that includes playing trombone with Tony Bennett and Frankie Valli, but his future as a part-time instructor at College of Lake County is in doubt because he doesn't have a master's degree.
Mose and at least 16 other adjunct professors are caught in CLC's accreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission, which as part of revised faculty guidelines now recommends that part-timers have a master's. Accreditation from the independent national commission, in part, gives CLC students the ability to transfer their credits to other institutions.
At a CLC meeting Tuesday night in Grayslake, the 61-year-old Mose said he could not meet the deadline to receive a master's to remain an instructor under the new guidelines for the 2017-18 academic season. He said he was told about a year ago he'd need the advanced degree.
Mose stressed that should not disqualify him from continuing in the adjunct professor position he's had with CLC's music department since 2008. About 20 supporters, most of them dressed in black, accompanied Mose to the meeting.
"CLC can and should allow adjuncts with equivalent, tested experience to bring their real-world wisdom to the students of our college," said Mose, an Elmhurst resident who was 18 when he launched his music career. He's an Elmhurst College graduate with a bachelor's degree in music education.
The issue now heads to attorneys for a review of the revised Higher Learning Commission document that recommends master's degrees for the part-time adjuncts but also includes a passage addressing work experience.
"Qualified faculty members are identified primarily by credentials, but other factors, including but not limited to equivalent experience, may be considered by the institution in determining whether a faculty member is qualified," the passage states.
CLC board Chairman William Griffin said he expects the CLC board will discuss the issue after the legal review.
Mose's lengthy resume lists freelance trombone gigs when performers visit the Chicago area and need extra musicians. He's been on stage with Bennett, Valli, Frank Sinatra Jr., Mel Torme, Nancy Wilson and many other stars.
His CLC duties include conducting the concert band, which has members who are not students. His previous teaching jobs include handling programs at Trinity Lutheran School in Roselle and St. Peter Lutheran School in Schaumburg.
CLC music department Chairman Michael Flack said he hired Mose nine years ago because of his vast professional experience as an educator. He said he's talked to colleagues in other departments who are concerned about losing the adjunct professors who don't have master's degrees.
"My fear is that CLC is ignoring a standard that allows qualified, experienced people to teach its students," Flack said. "The college will instead exclude these educators, people who have spent their careers honing skills, building a network of associates and innovating. They will be unable to teach at CLC."
CLC concert band member Bob Miller, a retired human resources and labor relations professional with a master's in business administration, spoke to the board in support of Mose. He said advanced degrees hold less importance outside academia.
"The real measure of competence is demonstrated results," Miller said. "Results matter. An advanced degree should impart extra knowledge, which may help the holder be successful. However, an advanced degree in and of itself does not ensure either competence or success."