Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
One might ask what problem was being solved when the University rewrote its mission statement? Were we not a bunch of proud, upstanding, caring folks before? Exactly what makes us a transformational force for the world? I suppose one could interpret that as anytime I meet with a student it can be a transforming experience for both of us, but did that not take place under the old mission statement? Have any of you asked your students whether they have read the mission statement? Do they understand their obligations under this document? What does celebrate human diversity really mean? There are some folks out there that I see no need in celebrating and they are incredibly diverse.
Given that I think one could drive a truck through the University's mission statement, I have, in all modesty, undertaken to rewrite the mission statement so that it is something other than a statement of truth and beauty or whatever the administration decides it means.
The University of Toledo Community claims the right to examine the past, present and future unfettered by the doctrines of governments, religions, or other dogmas, We claim the right to information, freely sought and freely shared. As such, we use as our guiding principle the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
There you have it. A document that allows for the free exchange of ideas and beliefs. It is something I thought universities were supposed to be about. And just in case you're wondering why I did not produce this when the mission statement was being discussed, I did. I got the usual thank you for your input letter.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
The faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences are involved in a struggle to sustain academic integrity and faculty governance traditions in the 98-yr-old college. We are interested in creating a College in the new UT that sustains its relationship with other Colleges, serves the needs of the entire University in terms of the liberal arts, and has a strong commitment to those students of Northwest Ohio who wish to graduate with BA's, MA. and Ph.D's in the many and varied fields of the liberal arts.
We are engaging with the current administration, who took the NC vote by the representatives of 300 faculty as "just one more input" rather than consulting with us seriously. He called a public mtg to "respond" to the vote. None of this would be done by a competent administration interested in sustaining good relations with the faculty.
The lack of attribution by the Dean of some quotations in the article in the Free Press were never even mentioned in the discussions leading to the NC vote. It was rumored about, sometimes wondered about, but did not play any serious role in the decision. The faculty are fed up with incompetence and naked assertions of power. That is what the NC vote is about.
I do not know why you resigned from the advisory board. I hope it was not because of some misperception that the misappropriation in the article drove any of our decisions.
We need the Toledo press to be paying careful attention to what is happening at UT. If nothing else this administration has inspired the faculty to work together in unprecendented ways, and a stronger UT may emerge in spite of the battles currently being waged.
I assume your resignation was due to any perception of conflict of interest as a member of the press that will be covering the situation at UT.
Thank you for your attention and care in pursuing the issues at UT.
ps. I respectfully disagree with your thoughts about M. Dixon. If I were to be a racist in my personal life who did not believe persons of color should enter the University, and said so in the local press, I would deserve to be fired. I can no longer do my job with any credibility.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
WTOL.com - "Emotional and difficult" time for UT Liberal Arts program
toldeoblade.com- Look at UT Arts & Sciences sought
Let's remember the basics:
Lloyd Jacobs cares nothing about the academic integrity of the College and only about sustaining his power and control over the University.
He proved his incompetence in calling for an outside review of the College in response to a no-confidence vote. This is inappropriate and only poses a further threat to the College (above and beyond the ongoing presence of the Dean).
I would like to begin discussing the possibility of a strategy of non-cooperation. What that would look like, I do not know. But I believe there is no convincing or persuading this President. He has turned this into a public power struggle. (I could use crude language that would be more to the point, but will refrain for now.)
He said he wants us to support and work with with the Dean. We made clear that is what we have been doing for 11 months and that will no longer be possible. We cannot possible, with any integrity, work with a person we have declare publicly to be incompetent.
We have to do something as soon as possible before they do further damage to our University. This means putting pressure on the BOT that they cannot afford to ignore. They must either tell this President to back off and ask the Dean to resign and to start working with the faculty, students, and staff to repair the damage he has done or they must ask him to resign.
I hope this blog will be a place for strategizing as much as it is a necessary place to vent our outrage at the insulting behavior of those who think they own this place.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Attendees included but were not limited to:
the President, the Provost, and the Dean;
The full Executive Committee;
At least two board members, Vasquez and Ashley;
University administrators Gold, Snyder, Patten Wallace, Calzonetti, Scarborough, McMillen, and Lehnert, among others.
Observers incuded students, faculty, and reporters from the Blade, WTOL, and Fox News.
The A&S Executive Committee arrived a few minutes early and restructured the chairs into a circle around tables.
The President opened the meeting and immediately launched into a speech about how he took the vote seriously as input for the evaluation of the Dean, and reminded us that the BoT is responsible for the Dean's tenure and has delegated that responsibility to the President, who in turn has delegated it to the Provost. Then he said he would do the following: request evaluations from other parties, and in the Fall bring in an independent agency to evaluate both the Dean and the College. Meanwhile we should continue working with the Dean.
Then the Provost and the Dean spoke briefly.
Council Executive Committee members described the constitutional legitimacy of Council and its representation, and the process of the vote. They stressed that a no-confidence vote was
a) More than an Evaluation tool; university presidents have gracefully resigned under such situations.
b) Of course the tenure of the Dean is at the pleasure the Provost. That is why we asked to meet with her.
c) The College is not responsible for the problem; the Dean is. An outside evaluation engendered by our vote will be perceived as blaming the College, and seen as a threat to our existence.
Little or no understanding of the the process, intensity, or urgency of the situation was displayed by the administration.
At one point, Jacobs told Chair Anderson-Huang (who had had two private meetings with the Provost to try to work out understandings) that we can work with you and you can spin it to bring the rest of the faculty in line.
Jacobs closed the meeting abruptly when it was clear that the Executive Committee was not going to play the game.
Some conversation with other attendees continued, but the President and Provost walked out.
A more detailed report will follow.
-Lawrence Anderson-Huang for the A&S Executive Committee
p.s. Please also read the report by Dr. Renee Heberle that appears as a comment to the posting
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The first major attack was before he actually became president when he floated the idea of splitting the Natural Sciences and Mathematics off into either a new college or merging it with the college of Engineering. Of course, this sent A&S faculty scurrying to defend ourselves. This meddling also sabotaged the Dean search going on at the time. After the airport interviews, four of the seven initial candidates were chosen to be invited beack to campus for the full two-day interview process. At this point, there was a three week delay in inviting the candidates while Jacobs mulled the fate of the Sciences in A&S. Finally, the go ahead was given to arrange the campus visits, but out of fairness the candidates were of course told of the potential split and informed that the job they applied for (Dean of A&S) might not be job they actually get (Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences). We lost one candidate with the delay who ended up taking another position before he could visit us. We may have lost him anyhow, but without the delay he would have at least visited our campus and he may have decided against the other job if an offer had been made by us, who knows. A second candidate was actually scheduled to visit UT but informed the chair of the search committee that he was withdrawing, specifically because of the prospect that the A&S college might split. So two remained, had the campus interviews, and both names were going to be forwarded to Provost. At this point, the man who wasn't even president yet, cancelled the search saying the choice of candidates was too narrow -- a situation he in large part created. Later, after he finally decided to drop the idea the splitting the college he stated that it was "just an idea" and was surprised that we took it so seriously!
The second major assault was the "straw man" "white paper" he provided to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee in which the liberal arts were non-existent in terms of priorities for funding or growth and the only doctoral program in the Humanities was to be terminated. Again, Jacobs denied any attempt to denigrate the liberal arts but we care about the actual consequences of his proposals, not his intentions. Fortunately the final document was far less noxious and provided some role for the liberal arts at UT.
The third major attack is now underway with the "Re-engineering the Undergraduate Experience" proposal that threatens to "restructure" A&S departments, majors, and programs, to reform the general education core curriculum, and to make more general education courses "computer-assisted," "distance learning," "peer-instructed," and "purchased from outside the University." And yet again, he denies that any detriment to the liberal arts or to the A&S college is intended. How stupid does he think we are?
Anyhow, with the recent online petetion and the student unrest it seems that finally others beside the A&S faculty are realizing the permanent damage he is doing to our college. Continue to speak out.
MyFox Toledo | UT students protest arts and sciences dept. changes
toledoblade.com -- UT students protest changes to arts and sciences department
toledoblade.com -- UT president says he backs liberal arts
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Tuesday, April 29: Council meets. First the old council wraps up business, then the new council elects officers (the new council consists of about 2/3 continuing members, 1/3 new members). The council is dead: long live the council. The new council unanimously passes a resolution affirming the vote of no confidence cast by the old council. That evening, new chair Anderson-Huang sends a message to Provost Haggett giving her the new exec comm roster and the results of the affirmation vote.
Wednesday evening, April 30: Provost Haggett responds (quite cordially) to all exec comm members (including Davis) with a suggestion for meeting on May 9th with Jacobs, herself, and the Dean.
Thursday, May 1: The Past-Chair of Council decides to post the letter to the blog.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
First, I do emphasize a bit with Tully's comment. I was surprised to see the letter to the provost posted since the blog goes beyond the University. But realize that most (all?) the points had been reported in the minutes of the 4/1/ and 4/15 Council meetings and that this letter had already been sent to all A&S faculty, so it's not new knowledge to most readers. Also realize that people outside the A&S college, most notably the BOT have publicly stated that they felt the vote of no confidence was "without merit," and that it was "shameful" even though they admitted that they didn't know what the issues were. Well, now they know what the issues are.
As for Tully's comment that the letter shouldn't have been sent -- the chair of Council had little choice since the Main Campus Provost requested it, apparently as a condition for or in lieu of meeting with the Executive Committee of Council. Let me summarize the sequence of events.
Tuesday, April 15: Vote of "no confidence" in the Dean passes Council 42-7. Council chair announces that the Executive Committee will contact the Main Campus Provost for a meeting and that the Executive Committee will meet on Friday, April 18 to summarize complaints against the Dean to discuss with the Main Campus Provost in preparation for that meeting.
Friday, April 18: Council Executive Committee meets and hammers out list of complaints.
Monday, April 21: Chair of Council e-mails the Provost and asks that Executive Committee meet with her.
Wednesday, April 23: The Provost e-mails Council Executive Committee and requests a specific list of concerns that she can review.
Thursday, April 24: Chair of Council e-mails the Provost and states: "The A&S Council Executive Committee feels it is important to meet with you directly to discuss our vote of no confidence before we send you a written complaint. This will allow us to give a more nuanced presentation, to convey the intensity of the Council’s concerns, and to retain flexibility. Furthermore it will protect Dean Lee because many of our concerns revolve around his honesty and truthfulness."
Monday, April 28: Having heard no further response from the Provost, after having consulted with other Council Executive Committee members, and having to report to Council at the meeting the next day, Chair of Council decides to honor the Provost's request and put the complaints in writing and e-mail those to her. This letter was also sent to all A&S faculty that afternoon.
Tuesday, May 1: Having heard no response from the Provost the Past-Chair of Council decides to post the letter to the blog.
It may make some people uncomfortable, but you should know the facts surounding the past-chair's decision to post the letter to the blog.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
April 28, 2008
To Provost Haggett:
The Arts and Sciences Executive Committee regrets you have not yet agreed to meet with us to discuss the Council vote of no confidence in the Dean. You asked for reasons to remove Dean Lee.
1. The Dean lacks credibility. He frequently makes contradictory statements and changes words he has said. He often dissembles. For example the chair of Women=s Studies sent him an e-mail saying her department did not want to merge with Law and Social Thought, MLS etc., and within minutes, the Dean sent out an e-mail to all College faculty saying the merger would go forward effective July 1. When I telephoned him to question this, he replied that it was all right because the proposal was in writing. This excuse was not logical. He acted as if he had never heard from the Women=s Studies chair. He is commonly described as lacking principles. Dr. Lee often tries to use secrecy to enhance his authority. For example at a monthly meeting with the Council Executive Committee he asked us to keep secret his proposed reorganization of his office staff even though he had written about it in one of his Monthly Reports e-mailed to all faculty a week or two before. Dr. Lee claims he will be transparent like water, but actually is secretive, opaque and duplicitous.
2. The Dean has poor management skills. He makes arbitrary decisions, hasty edicts and last minute changes. An example is his hiring freeze last February that sabotaged the position in Theatre. Another example was to call in the chairs of English and Foreign Languages to tell them that their departments would be merged, apparently so he could make an announcement at the Council meeting that afternoon. The previous day he had done the same to the chairs of History and Philosophy. A third example is his proposal to merge Communication with Theatre and Film, which took the faculty by surprise when they received a eight page single spaced proposal one morning, and then were asked to keep it secret. He demanded the merged departments-schools be in place on July 1 with the cavalier statement that “we can work out the details.” Since last October professors have been telling me he is “clueless” and “over his head.” He seems unable to understand the big picture. He displays a sharp temper and shouts at his subordinates. He only accepts yes for an answer. If he doesn=t hear yes, he proceeds as if he did. He discourages advice. Frequently in meetings he is agitated and rushes in and out of the room.
3. The Dean has bad relations with departmental chairs, his associate deans and the A&S Council. He fails to take advice from his chairs and associate deans. As Council chair I was routinely invited to attend monthly meetings of the departmental chairs. On February 22 they were very upset with a proposal by the Dean to sacrifice their faculty lines. After an hour of discussion and objections, the Dean left and proceeded as if the meeting had not taken place. Dr. Lee no longer invites me to attend the meetings.
4. The Dean is not good at representing the College in the community and with other colleges. He is a poor speaker, even after multiple rehearsals. Many faculty feel embarrassed for the College. In nearly all his speeches, all he says is SHARE. In addressing the Council, Dr. Lee mumbles at great length about obvious points, yet fails to address the topic. He dissembles before the Council, for example saying the hiring freeze was not a hiring freeze, but an offer freeze.
5. The Dean infringes on faculty shared governance. He has directed me to remove certain items from the A&S Council agenda. He has asked to approve the minutes before they are distributed. He told me he wanted to approve memos I sent to the faculty.
6. The Dean does not advocate for the College. Examples are the 10 percent budget reallocation, the unwanted mergers of departments, the lack of positions, etc. The minutes of our meetings on April 1 and 15 give many details.
We have given Dean plenty of time. As noted, professors have been telling me since October that the Executive Committee should meet with you to complain. We have been quite patient. Dr. Lee has had ample opportunity to hear our complaints. He attends nearly all Council meetings, and the Executive Committee meets with him monthly. Our minutes are sent to him along with all faculty biweekly. He meets with the departmental chairs as a group twice a month, and regularly meets with them individually. Moreover this is not an issue of poor communication. He can understand “yes, Dean,” but not “no, Dean.”
Please recall that with over three hundred faculty, we are the largest college. We teach virtually every student at UT, and the Student Senate passed a resolution on April 15 supporting our vote of no confidence. The Directions strategic plan says the University will be a model of shared governance.
The Council debated the no confidence resolution for 40 minutes on April 1 and one hour on April 15. The vote was 42‑7. The dean should resign. Now that we have explained the problem in writing as you requested, we look forward to meeting with you directly.
David H. Davis, Chair
Arts and Sciences Council