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Thursday, February 5, 2009

New Center for Renewable Energy Study Emerges at UT Under Supervision of Administrative Midwifery

The pains of spending real money in an imaginary way are so dreadful, like the throes of birth, that perhaps another $156K in bonus money should be awarded.


Tired said...

Wait. The College is really going to be against a School of Renewable Energy? 40 minutes for garden discussions at the A & S Council meeting, demands that Jacobs donate a bonus he won't get until 2011. Is the goal moral victories while we become increasingly irrelevant? Also, his bonus is $150,000, not $156,000. Not a big thing, but facts help make stronger points.

Emeritus Publius said...

Thank you, Tired, for the correction. I thought when I posted this the bonus was 156k --although I agree with the people at the meeting who did not think we should tell someone how to spend their money. But that doesn't mean we can't talk about it or polk some fun at it. The fact that it was given by the board maybe deserves some discussion., however.

But re your main point, I don't think the college or ASCouncil is in any way opposed to the renewable energy proposal . I am certainly not. But it is a messianic type idea that has correlates in virtually every state at the moment--e.g., Michigan. How many centers for renewable energy does the world need? Let's do it,and I don't think anyone at ASC stands in the way, but we should consider what else we going to do as well.

And I agree 100 percent with you that Lawrence's last minute insertion of that gardening project into the agenda was absurd. Especially when there were many important things to discuss.

Thank you for the correction. And I apologize for any misleading impression I have made. I just think it is a funny picture.

Tired said...

Respectfully, the poking of fun diminishes the standing of the College by making it easier for the administration to dismiss us.

I would rather bite my tongue and get some of the respect I want by playing the game a little, than have the exercise at all times my freedom to say whatever I want. The First Amendment surely protects everyone's right to free speech, but there are consequences and responsibilities that come with the words we choose. A very vocal minority in the College are angered that we're not treated as equals and so they act like children.

It may be fun, but it ensures our continued impotence.

Bloggie said...

You have good points, and I don't dismiss them, but it seems to me that the administration dismisses us generally. While they hold up this new project as a sparkling distraction--they are actively in a defacto way pursuing the reduction of the college into something more like a community or junior college--with part time instructors, no senior level faculty (whom they are trying to buy out en masse and I hear there were 73 offers, but cannot verify this) so they can snap up the budget lines and replace them with low cost temps and less qualified people. And now they apparently are attempting to push faculty who have been hired on the basis of letters of expectation (written agreements) into an arbitray interpretation of the CBA that faculty should be really be teaching twelve hours instead of conducting the research and service that was expected of them. They are also moving toward larger classes, at least in A&S. This is changing the terms of employment , but worse it is degrading the quality of faculty and education. At the same time administration continues to bloom, bloom and bloom some more.

Emeritus Publius said...

Tired, I agree in many ways. But the "vocal minority" idea has been a standard way of this admin. of dismissing any criticism or inconvenient questions. I agree too that there are some childish faculty who like to monopolze discussions, who seem to like to be the center of attention with all their conspicuously virtuous play-acting, and who cannot see there are mutliple sides to issues .
But I submit to you the administrative ideas we have suffered in series are even more childish: it's like a kid who imagines one week she will be an astronaut, and the next, a doctor: first there was Transformational Change, and then the New Entity, and then the Learning Alliance, and then rigorous Assessment , and then The Learning Portal, and then Student Ceneterness. The white paper, the strategic plan. It is like some administrator tries to implement every pamphlet he reads or finds on the bus. No floow through. no planning and no reality testing--and all the while resources are drained from the college, faculty leave and are not repalce, and quality of the education we can deliver goes down. But there is always money to give raisies to VPs .

Tired said...

I've not heard recent criticisms of the Learning Collaborative (originally the New Entity). Are there problems with that program? I'll freely admit I'm not as plugged in as many, but I had the impression that was on balance helping students. It seems like a lot of what irritates people are the processes more than the results.

ASC sent a letter to the board chair about the president's extension and went out of its way to say they weren't questioning the president's job performance, they just wanted to be consulted. If you're gonna question Jacobs performance, than question it. And if you're not, then quit wasting people's time with half-assed "if you don't mind sir, I'd like to be aggressive, if that's ok" letters to the board.

And Bloggie, you write about the buy-outs as if the faculty taking them don't have a choice. If they want to stay, then stay. As as a younger faculty member, your assertion that only older faculty members have the wisdom and pedagogical skill to adequately educate students will increasingly create a divide between faculty members of different generations. And with the forced buy-outs, you may soon find yourself in the minority opinion there.

Bloggie said...

Tired: It's not that the yournger faculuty aren't good, quite the reverse,it's that we don't have ANY NEW TENURE track yournger faculty. The administration winnows us down to part-timers and such. I doubt my dept will ever have another tenure track faculty member, despite the fact that we have a huge enrollment and make money for the U. At some point it is no longer a university, we are part of, but a junior or comunity college.