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Monday, December 15, 2008

Presidential Message

I have just watched the Presidential message about cutbacks. I am willing to do my part but there are a couple of questions I must ask. Why is it every time he talks, the only people he concludes are worth praising are the doctors and scientists? Do the rest of us not exist in President Jacobs' world? Also, please notice the hiring freeze occured right after the Medical College hired a new faculty member. (I forget the exact name and title, but it is in his video.) Why, if we are all in this together did the President not say anything about forgoing his bonus? Also, I really wish he, and evryone else, would stop referring to our students as customers. That makes it sound as if I'm the clerk at the candy counter. Education is not a buying and selling process, but a mutual effort on the part of all concerned. One might also ask why we spent $80,000 dollars in A & S on the round table to come to conclusions that, with a little leadership, we could have come to ourselves? I do not want to be a wet blanket here, but in the past, sacrifice has always meant the faculty, staff and students, not the administration. Many of us went three years without a raise in the 90s. That, of course, is what led to the decision to have a union.

There is a theory in Communication. It is called Standpoint Theory and I believe it applies here. According to theorists Harding and Wood, in order to truly understand how a society or organization works, it is necessary to ask those at the margins of that society or organization how well it operates from their perspective. The president was reviewed, not by the students, staff or faculty, but by the BOT. I imagine that a different and perhaps more accurate view would have come from those of us at the margins: the students, faculty and staff.


yo, duh! said...

The very end of your comment, I think, reveals an unfortunate truth about the situation (not just here, not just in this instance): " ... those of us at the margins: the students, faculty and staff"--who are really the core of any institution of learning.

Odysseus said...

Some ASC council members have been discussing the President's BIG bonus and his renewal., We were promised a review of the President after the Board hired him without a national search, a most irregular process that flies in the face of established practice a public universities. Hiring a chief executive is supposed to be a transparent process, not a back-room deal. There is a such a thing as public oversight and accountability.

That said, way back on May 9 when the President met with the Exec Committee of Arts and Sciences Council, in expressing his displeasure over the no confidence vote in the former A&S Dean, the President said he was a believer in impartial objective, external review process. Therefore he ordered a review of the College that subsequently turned into the Round Table discussions. Certainly the President will be anxious to apply his own high standards to his own administration, therefore he should contract with an external consulting firm to review his Presidency at UT.

As a gesture of faith in the school and in light of the the news of financial exigencies that the President has shared with us recently, the President should also donate his considerable salary increase/signing bonus (whatever it was termed) back to the students in the form of scholarships. This would be a princely act.

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