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Popular UK professor under fire (again)


Notable UK professor Buck Ryan is under fire again and this time Kentucky is looking to move on for good.

The Lexington Herald Leader is reporting that UK is looking to fire the tenured Ryan because “he made students buy his book for classes he taught and then kept the proceeds without telling administrators.”

You can read the LHL’s story here.

Kentucky’s case is simple: Ryan took advantage of his students by forcing them to purchase his book. That is not a practice unique to Ryan. As a student from 2009-2013 I had Ryan for several classes, but I was forced to purchase teacher’s books in other classes, too.

But unluckily for Ryan it’s not that simple. UK has rules in place for these practices and teachers must donate royalties from their books to UK or charities of their choosing, but not the Buck Ryan bank account charity. Supposedly kept his earnings and UK alleges that the audit revealed Ryan once had the journalism school print his books because he wasn’t going to charge students. That didn’t come to fruition.

Ryan has been with UK since 1994 and was once the director of the journalism school. He plans to fight for his job but it’s not the first time he’s been in trouble at UK.

In 2015 Ryan was reprimanded for inappropriate touching and language of sexual nature:

“More than a preponderance of the evidence reveals that Mr. Ryan acted inappropriately in violation of the discrimination and harassment policy prohibiting inappropriate touching and language of a sexual nature,” Bender’s letter said. “Making it especially egregious is the fact that he was with students at a university where he was a representative of the University of Kentucky, and he fails to acknowledge any responsibility.”

Ryan criticized that investigation in 2015 and said all he did was sing “California Girls” to a group of students.

You can read more about that here. 

I had Ryan a couple times at UK and he’s the only member of UK’s journalism school that I don’t have great things to say about. Any UK JOU grad knows Ryan and several non-JOU majors took JOU 101, which Ryan taught for years. I never had the sense he cared about his students and all of his classes were planned so far in advance that you were rushed through the material. If the class was behind he would scrap a project and move to something different.

Also, Ryan was guilty of having favorites and teaching differently to those select students. No teacher should provide different learning experiences because he likes some students more than others.

I don’t have great things to say about Ryan and I won’t pretend to know UK’s case against him, but there’s so many great professors in UK’s journalism department that moving on may not be the worst thing for those involved.

Strangely enough, the book that Ryan profited from “Writing Baby, Editing Dog & You: A Friendly Place to Begin Your Writing,” was actually more helpful than anything Ryan taught in class.

Article written by TJ Walker

25 responses to “Popular UK professor under fire (again)”

  1. PillsburyThrowboy

    Professors should not be allowed to force their book onto their students. People don’t go to college to learn about a professors opinions.

    1. BBNDan7

      Um…yes they are? Lol how do you think teaching works

    2. michaelb

      Lol

    3. TBW3011

      That a serious question? You should teach facts. Not opinions, stated as facts. Big difference.

    4. Luether

      Ryan is a Democ Rat. Enough said…

    5. jaws2

      BBNDan do you seriously believe teaching is about a professor shoving his opinion down young adults throats? Seriously? You are so far off the reservation it’s incomprehensible. Please explain to us how a professor teaches history, math, science, finance, accounting, physics, or any other subject by giving students their ‘opinion’. We’ll wait for your wisdom to be bestowed upon us.

    6. gocats8

      The book was like $10 if I remember correctly, or at least it was in 2009-ish, and was a steep discount from the normal $100+ books. The class was a joke and most people only showed up to turn in homework or take a test, but TJ is right the book was actually decent and somewhat helpful.

    7. PillsburyThrowboy

      @jaws2

      Some subjects are pretty concrete, like math and science. However, there are other classes where the professor can twist their curriculum to align with their opinions. History can be one of them. My SO just took a economics class and every single lesson/hw had to do with Trump’s “bad economics”. Sure, Trump may or may not have good economical intelligence, but when every assignment is a negative hit piece on him, that’s an opinion. I’m sure there are countless of other examples of economics the professor could use.

  2. Patrick_David

    Pillsbury Throwboy – Not trying to start something….but did you attend College?

    1. PillsburyThrowboy

      Yes, UK Grad 2015. I remember taking a political science class and 2 of the books we had to have were written by the professor. Waste of my time.

  3. Blue Jesus

    If this post is indicative of Dr. Ryan’s ability to teach journalism, he probably should be fired.

    1. Blue Jesus

      I see the post has been edited quite a bit since it first went live, and it’s much clearer now… I retract my criticism (FOR NOW! 😉 ).

    2. Blue Jesus

      Understood!

  4. The Professor

    This article contains several grammatical errors. Perhaps too many mistakes kept this professor from warming up to you. If you plan on a writing career you should “proof” your work.

  5. DennyC

    Fore sure!

  6. wildcat74

    The grammar and sentence structure in this article is horrendous. As a college professor, I’m more concerned that this found its way online on a legitimate website, than I am about Dr. Ryan requiring his own book.

    1. TBW3011

      Legitimate website. Lol

  7. BoogieDMC

    This is what you consider a legitimate website? I love it to death, but I wouldn’t exactly judge it by it’s grammar and sentence structure. As a college professor, you’re not really concerned with “real life” anyway. That’s cool.

  8. JVice

    This is a great story and really deserves some more work. I logged in just to comment on the writing though. Would it really take more than 5 minutes to proof these few paragraphs? Many years ago when this site was in its infancy I offered to proof articles on here for free. It’s not like I’m an editor, but the sheer amount of mistakes was just over the top. I’m sad to see this trend has continued, and from a self-professed Journalism student, no less. It’s not charming, it’s distressing. This is all so easily fixed.

  9. ac14

    He should have forced you to buy my book!

  10. quietude38

    I wonder if he donated the royalties from the copies of “The Editor’s Toolbox” he made required for his classes? I wound up buying at least two copies so he could pontificate about the “Maestro Concept.”

  11. notFromhere

    If it’s in the policies that he can’t profit from forcing students to buy his book, and he didnt and doesn’t want to give UK the money due them, he should be fired. Pretty simple

    The university doesn’t need any other reason. If he already has had other issues, they need to move on from this prof quickly. If he’s awesome, he’ll find teaching work in no time.

    Tenure shouldn’t mean you can avoid keeping with policies you don’t like. Had a prof at UK that never showed up to classes. Scheduled things with the class then he never showed up. We all had to sit there doing nothing, though, or we’d get docked points. Graded on a whim without regard for work turned in. He’s still there and still sucks.

    The best profs rarely become tenured vecause they always threaten the jobs of those who suck and are already in place as heads of depts. Just my experience at 4 such schools. Im sure there are exceptions

  12. notFromhere

    This is an entertainment, blog site. It’s not a news site. If you read their description of the site, it pretty much tells you that.

    Don’t expect the grammar to be perfect, the punctuation to be proper, nor the news posted here to be without opinion, because it’s being posted in the most ridiculous manner possible (or something like that).

    1. JVice

      The “something like that” you left out actually includes the word “news.” I don’t expect perfection. I don’t think asking for it to be above 10th grade level is asking too much, however. Am I really being that unreasonable?