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.