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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A & S Meeting

I know it's election day, but we do have a fairly important meeting. Please bring with you any ideas about the future of the college. Where do you want this next round table meeting to go? If we do not decide, others will decide for us.

1 comment:

Diogenes said...

I suggest we A&S students, faculty, staff and alumni diligently work to empower our UT A&S College just as the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences is empowered at Johns Hopkins University: We might in fact use the Krieger School of A&S as a model for where we want to go from here. Here is a brief introduction to JHU’s Krieger School:

Their enviable mission statement is here:

Note in particular: "The well being of the school requires above all else strong academic departments; well-rounded and deeply engaged students; vibrant interactions across disciplines and between faculty and students; and committed alumni who feel lasting and deep connections to the School."

Also, note the strong commitment to undergraduate AND graduate studies in these departments:

Anthropology; Biology; Biophysics; Chemistry; Classics; Cognitive science; Earth and planetary systems; Economics; English; German & Romance Languages & Literatures; History; History of Art; History of Science and Technology; Humanities; Mathematics; Near Eastern Studies; Philosophy; Physics and Astronomy; Psychological & Brain Sciences; Sociology; Writing Seminars.

What a rich mix of STEMM and non-STEMM disciplines! The department mix is surprisingly similar to the traditional mix of departmental offerings in our own UT A&S College.

I should think Dr. Jacobs knows and respects this model well. After all, he took an M.D. degree in 1969 from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and later completed surgery residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He should recall that the Krieger School is an urban university like UT, and both are located “just up the street” from the urban center and waterfront. And, he should already appreciate, for example, how the Krieger School and Medical School at JHU interface successfully. But he must have selective amnesia. I would like to ask him in order to jog his memory and to apply it to the urgent issue at hand: "If you highly respect the Krieger School at JHU and its tradition at the center of that institution, why don't you think that model of success is transferable to the University of Toledo?"

The problem for UT A&S at this time is that Dr. Jacobs and the UT Board of Trustees have been convinced by Pew and Zemsky consultants that the UT A&S College is incapable of achieving the sort of excellent earned and enjoyed by the JHU Krieger School. What a sad lack of vision for a leader who could put UT A&S on track to excellence that could perhaps some day rival the JHU Krieger School!

Instead of his support and encouragement in the name of promoting more A&S excellence at UT, we get Zemsky and his TLA indignities. The Jacobs administration, distracted by market-smart nonsense and implementing managerialism at UT, has thus far been derelict in its primary duties to educate and graduate more critically-thinking students to become moral and ethical American citizens. Today we vote for the next President of the United States. Are our students casting votes at the polls the highly responsible and well-prepared citizens we teachers would like them to be. Could we have done better? Can we do better in the future with increased administrative support and encouragement? How can we plan to achieve that goal? Surely not by beggaring the A&S College and its liberal arts, or by eliminating department-based graduate programs.

Let’s tell TLA to take a hike. Instead, let’s prevail on the Jacobs administration to revisit their "Directions" strategic plan with a fresh, supportive plan for nurturing the A&S College and its liberal arts into greatness. We might gain wisdom and enthusiasm by giving close attention in our planning to the JHU Krieger School's model of excellence.