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Monday, March 30, 2009

Blade letter to the editor re Brady for dean

Wow. I couldn't have said this better myself.


Better choices are available for dean
Article published March 30, 2009

I am reluctant to write this letter because I do not question the ethics or integrity of Lloyd Jacobs or Thomas Brady and do not wish to create doubts about these. However, I am concerned about potential entanglements and the appearance of impropriety that can sully their reputations and that of the University of Toledo.

Like your recent editorial, I, too, question the wisdom of President Jacobs' nomination of local businessman and UT trustee Thomas Brady for interim dean of the Judith Herb College of Education. Mr. Brady's academic training is in engineering and he has never held an academic position of any kind.

More troubling, however, is appointing one of the people who determine the president's salary and bonuses to a highly paid administrative position within the university. This past October, Mr. Brady and the other trustees extended President Jacobs' contract and added a third $150,000 longevity bonus to it. Now President Jacobs wants Mr. Brady appointed to a position for which he has no experience or academic qualifications that pays upwards of $150,000.

Such an arrangement, even if not technically unethical, doesn't pass the "smell test" for many people and smacks of the cronyism that led to the disastrous appointment of Michael Brown as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition, if things aren't working out well, will the president and provost be reluctant to take action since Mr. Brady would return to a position of authority over the president once again?

At a recent UT Faculty Senate meeting, Provost Rosemary Haggett said there are several people currently in the education college who could fill this interim position, so there seems to be no compelling need to make the risky and questionable appointment of Mr. Brady to this deanship.

Michael Caruso
Stanhope Drive

Editor's note: The writer is an associate professor of psychology at UT and is a member of the faculty senate.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cronyism 101?

Go, Tell it on the Mountain!

Our activist A&S tenured and tenure-track faculty at UT have a great opportunity suddenly to get their message out. Lawrence J. Burns, Vice President for External Affairs announced on Friday to all faculty and staff via e-mail that The Chronicle of Higher Education will soon conduct an employee survey called “The Great Colleges to Work for Program.”

All things considered, The University of Toledo administration exhibits tremendous balls for its willingness to participate in this study, which is designed to recognize institutions that have built great workplaces! Mr. Burns notes in his announcement that the employee-participants in this national survey will be “randomly” selected. In spite of my cynicism over the selection process, I hope I am chosen to participate.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is the highest mountaintop from which to tell to the academic world those many reasons why UT is a deliberately hostile environment for dedicated tenured professors to teach these days. There seems no shame in shaming the shameless administration that shames our beloved university. UT has fast become a Dilbert workplace where demoralized tenured professors are shunted into early retirement by ambitious carpetbagger administrators who are, in contrast, offered longevity bonuses to stick around a bit longer! This script resembles even a village pacification campaign in some great jungle war movie. Anyway, I encourage any UT employee who is asked to participate in this survey to let the Chronicle and the world know how much and why the University of Toledo is no longer the “Great College to Work For” that it once was before Jacobs arrived on the scene.

I might add that Eastern Michigan University at this time widely advertizes (billboards are everywhere) the importance of its loyal faculty and staff in its effort to brand itself as the regional “quality” provider of public higher education, as for example here: “The heart of EMU is its people, and many of those people are the dedicated faculty and staff who work every day to ensure that the EMU educational experience is alive and distinctive. The most important things to know about EMU can be found in the people who live and work here. That's why EMU continues to be a destination of choice for so many professionals in every field represented here.” This faculty-friendly and staff-friendly claim can be found here:

I don’t want to teach at the University of Michigan, yet I respect their administration for its candid public respect for their faculty and staff, which advertizes to the world its priorities as a state institution of public higher education. I will continue to invest in my career choice to serve my students at UT, to be their accessible and ever-present teacher and mentor, and to work to reform this wretched present administration and its diabolical plans to demolish our fine liberal arts traditions and the continued provision of top-quality, intimate classroom teaching experiences. I want my students to earn their degrees, and to take pride in the process and outcome. I want them to appreciate that the state public higher education choice, the opportunity to earn a degree over the course of four years, is a noble choice and not a desperate choice. I want them succeed in their studies at UT, and twenty years from that achievement, to look back over time and conclude "Those were the best years of my life, and I treasure the experience!" We also owe it to our A&S alumni who are proud of their earned degrees to fight for continued quality in the A&S College, and to increase quality in the future.

Let's grasp this opportunity to shout our protests from the CHE mountaintop, from "over the hills and everywhere," till this present maladministration and mismanagement end, and sanity resumes, and the quality-of-education concept once again prevails over this administration's inept and expensive obsessions with quantity and bean-counting and benchmarking according to the militarist disciplines of a run-amok and morally-corrosive business model.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

IC article on Provost's report to BOT

In the comments section of the previous post, Oldster said...
"it seems to me that the provost's comments as reported by the Blade make much more of this benchmarking/round-table reports than the substance of the proceedings will support.

we should beware , for in this fog they will see what they want to see--at the expense of the quality of the university"

Oh, how right you are. Something about the Independent Collegian's report below gave me even more of that funny feeling in my tummy about this whole roundtable business, especially the benchmarking. Oldster's wise words of caution are also expressed quite eloquently by Brian Patrick in the article.


The Independent Collegian > News
Provost presents study results
Joe Griffith
Friday, March 27, 2009

Six months after an outside academic consulting firm was hired to assess the College of Arts and Sciences, its strategic assessment and benchmarking study was presented to the UT Board of Trustees.

On Monday, Main Campus Provost Rosemary Haggett presented The Learning Alliance summary of the CAS roundtable discussions that highlighted five "Action Areas of Focus," including issues surrounding the definition of scholarship, reconsideration of curriculum, improvements to advising, updating teaching methods, finding better uses for space and strengthening the college’s graduate education.

The other component of the TLA assessment was a benchmarking study that compared the CAS to "peer sets" of other universities with arts and sciences programs in Ohio and across the country. The study focused on several aspects of CAS including faculty ranks, the percentage of different levels of degrees obtained by graduates, high school GPAs of freshmen within the college and CAS retention and graduation rates.

Trustee William Koester asked Haggett if she had looked at whether schools that had their arts and sciences departments separated had reduced the out-migration of students from the college.
Haggett said that of the 25 institutions used in the study, 14 organized their arts and sciences disciplines in more than one college or school while 11 universities’ arts and sciences programs were organized within a single school or college. Furthermore, 11 institutions separate specifically their fine arts, music and/or theater programs from their natural sciences or life sciences disciplines, but Haggett said there has been no discussion of splitting those disciplines within the CAS at UT.

"By far the greatest number of split cases has the fine arts in a separate school, which appeared at the board meeting to terminate the discussion," said Lawrence Anderson-Huang, chairman of the Arts and Sciences Council and professor of astronomy, who attended the BOT meeting. "I don’t think that’s advisable for our college because I don’t think our fine arts program is at a position at this point to stand alone. ... I may be mistaken."

At an ASC meeting on Tuesday, Anderson-Huang relayed Haggett’s presentation to the members. One of the concerns discussed among ASC members was the normalization of data within the benchmarking study.

"The benchmarking data is difficult; I think that she had to present it because it was a requested part of the report, but it certainly will take a more detailed analysis to determine what it really means," Anderson-Huang said.

Anderson-Huang said the peer sets need to be re-evaluated to take into consideration the validity or relevance of the data presented in the study.

"We need to look at all of them and make sure they’re consistent, so that’s another question; are we comparing apples to oranges?" he said.

Brian Patrick, an associate professor of communication, said the consensus among many faculty members was that the report was "nebulous," meaning the data is vague and difficult to understand.

Patrick said the vagueness of the report is similar to the messages received in fortune cookies.

"These things are so vague they’re almost meaningless," he said. "I’m afraid they are going to take these very vague, almost fortune-cookie-like recommendations or futures, and try to make [and] justify very specific programs with them, doing what they wanted to do with them already."

TLA was paid $79,500 to complete the CAS assessment, money Patrick said could have been better spent. In addition to issues surrounding the data, Patrick said many faculty members are concerned about the representation of the roundtable.

"We’re afraid of this thing being represented like this is some kind of product of the faculty, when it’s really a product of a very small group that was very carefully selected, and then it looks like we endorsed this somehow," he said.

President Lloyd Jacobs and Haggett are planning to meet with the roundtable on April 6 to discuss the report more thoroughly, and Jacobs referred the issue to the academic and student affairs committee, chaired by Trustee Tom Brady.

"[Jacobs] would like the academic and student affairs committee to continue to be engaged and interested in this process," Haggett said.

Haggett said there are a number of possibilities when considering the future of the roundtable.

"This is their idea; this is what came out of their discussion, and so therefore it would make perfect sense for these individuals to remain engaged in this discussion whether as a roundtable or as working groups or as individual faculty," she said.

Anderson-Huang said the roundtable group needs to come to its own conclusion regarding whether it will continue to exist, but he said he hopes there will be a broader effort to include more people with differing opinions within the discussion. If the CAS can "get its act together" and "better itself," Anderson-Huang said he thinks the BOT will listen to the college’s faculty.

"I do think that the board is prepared to listen to the college rather than demand something of the college," he said. "I don’t think we as a college right now are in their spotlight. I think the board is ready to move on and say let the college determine its own future. Again, that’s my interpretation."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Request Line: Blade article on BOT meeting

In the comments under "More words," Anonymous said...
I hear tell that THE BLADE ran an article on 3/24 on the Provost's presentation to the Board re benchmarking study. If someone would, could you please post it or make a link, as I do not really know how to do this.

Here you go:

Article published March 24, 2009
Report suggests changes at UT arts-sciences college

The University of Toledo has received an external review report for the college of arts and sciences that suggests ways to achieve a more concrete identity by focusing on faculty and curriculum changes.

The nine-page report follows roundtable discussions with university and community members and a study that compared UT with its peers.

"This really focuses the discussion," UT Provost Rosemary Haggett said. "It shines a light on areas that need to be addressed."

The Learning Alliance for Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania, which was paid more than $75,000 for the assessment, suggested five areas of focus:

•Rethink the definitions of scholarship and academic reward system for a more balanced recognition of scholarly achievement.

•Reform the curriculum to address evolving learning needs.

•Revise teaching and advising methods for more effective learning.

•Devise new approaches to the use of space.

•Strengthen the college's graduate education programs.

The review was prompted by a college faculty vote of no confidence in former dean Yueh-Ting Lee, which led to his resignation.

The report was shared yesterday with the UT Board of Trustees.

The Learning Alliance review always was meant to be a starting point to focus the conversa-tion, Ms. Haggett said, and she anticipates more discussions and analysis of the suggestions before any changes are made.

One trustee asked if the university considered separating arts and sciences as it tried to bring focus to the college, an idea that has come up before and was not well received.

Ms. Haggett responded by saying that most of UT's peer institutions have one college of arts and sciences, and a common way of focusing the varied disciplines is by having a separate school for the fine arts, such as music and arts.

Also during yesterday's trustee meeting, the idea of UT Trustee Tom Brady as a potential interim dean for the college of education came up briefly.

UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs said he expects to hear soon from the state regarding his request for a leave of absence for Mr. Brady from the board so that he could serve in that role.

Mr. Brady, chief executive officer and founder of Plastic Technologies Inc. in Springfield Township, was not at the meeting.

Students have started an online petition asking Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to deny the leave request. The petition supports Dr. Jacobs searching for an educator for the position. The petition had more than 65 signatures yesterday.

Evan Morrison, a senior studying history in the arts and sciences college, helped create the petition and said many students consider Mr. Brady an inappropriate selection.

"We want to let them know what is going on on campus and there is opposition to [Dr. Jacobs'] decisions and the direction he is pushing the university," Mr. Morrison said.

The trustees meeting also included an overview of UT's requests for federal stimulus dollars.

UT has asked for more than $430 million in
80-plus requests that include facility upgrades, work-force development, research, and clinical services.

The top priority is a $40 million request to convert the Scott Park campus into a Campus of Energy and Innovation, which would build on the university's established strengths in the area of alternative energy. It also coincides with its plan to create a School of Solar and Advanced Renewable Energy.

UT trustees yesterday also approved a formal written performance evaluation process for Dr. Jacobs with specific goals of improving faculty recruitment, enhancing UT's external structure, improving the quality of programs and financial stability, and creating a more prepared student body.


More words

I wish to thank the fine folks who are contributing words to my previous post. Anyone who has been in higher education will remember continuous improvement, stakeholders, paradigm shift, and collegial. (Please see the comments on my earlier post for a more complete list.) To this growing list I wish to add assessment. We are now closing in on twenty-five years of this and I have yet to see any great leap forward in the quality of education in this country. I am beginning to believe that instead of calling it assessment we should refer to it as "the perpetual employment act for bureaucrats."

As someone has already noted the A & S meeting accomplished little. The Learning Alliance report doesn't tell us much we don't already know. The benchmarking study is a sham. The good Dr. is still waiting to actually see the entire study. It seems there's a meeting sometime in April where all the round table folks will get to talk to the big pickle and the provost about the results. Those friends taking involuntary furloughs will be asking why we spent 80 grand on something we already knew. Maybe they'll get a complimentary copy of the report on their way out the door.

AAUP Member Newsletter - Furloughs: NOT the Simple Solution

I don't know how many of us on this blog receive the AAUP Member Newsletter, so if this is old news, please excuse the redundancy. Since furloughs have been mentioned on this list, I thought this piece might be of interest to some.


AAUP Member Newsletter - Furloughs: NOT the Simple Solution
Tue 3/24/2009

It is still early days for fully evaluating higher education’s response to the worldwide recession, but a number of institutions are exploring unpaid furloughs as a short-term solution. In some cases, administrations seem to be using the external economic crisis to justify extraordinary internal measures without sufficiently consulting with faculty, providing them with adequate information about the financial condition of the institution, or taking into account alternative measures for addressing whatever financial challenges the institution faces.

Of course, when faculty or staff have collective bargaining contracts, such drastic measures are subject to negotiation. At other institutions, faculty and staff need to organize to insist that furloughs, layoffs, or salary reductions not be unilaterally imposed. All campus constituencies should be consulted and given an opportunity to propose alternatives.

The AAUP chapter at Louisiana State University responded efficiently to the challenge, issuing a principled letter establishing how the campus should proceed. The success that individual chapters will have in enforcing such principles will depend both on the size of their membership and the level of their resolve. It is urgent that chapters work to increase both. The strength of our Association rests in considerable part on the strength and commitment of our members, chapters, and conferences, as well as on the strength and ability of national leaders and staff to respond to emerging challenges and to support the good work of our members at the local level.

Not every faculty will want to insist that financial exigency be declared before budget adjustments can be made, but some of the principles articulated in the Louisiana letter deserve widespread consideration. The most obvious point to make is that not only faculty members but also some staff cannot simply stop working for a given period of time. Thus a furlough really means working without pay. Since that is fundamentally unacceptable, delayed compensation is the only tolerable alternative.

It is also more than misleading to suggest that a 10 percent pay cut means the same thing to an administrator earning hundreds of thousands of dollars as it does to a contingent teacher or an assistant professor. Lower-paid employees should be exempted from any form of salary reduction. Many campuses should also take this opportunity to consider reductions in the number of administrators, as well as considering disproportionate reductions in administrative compensation, which has disproportionately increased in recent decades. They should also take a look at reining in the salaries of administrators at the upper end of the salary scale.

Above all it is critical that decisions about furloughs and other salary measures be collaborative, not imposed by fiat.

Cary Nelson, AAUP President
Gary Rhoades, General Secretary

The AAUP Online is an electronic newsletter of the American Association of University Professors. The mission of the AAUP is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good. By joining, faculty members, academic professionals, and graduate students help to shape the future of the profession and proclaim their dedication to the education community. Visit the AAUP Web site or visit AAUP on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More on Higher Ed Holdings

Inside Higher Ed has a new article on the "simmering war" surrounding HEH and public-private partnerships (sorry I used a term on the list of verboten words) that includes a brief mention of the recent events at UT. Enjoy.

Words and Meetings

Well A & S meets again today. The excitement builds as they get to discss the proposed school of perpetual oops sorry, Renewable Energy. Wow what a great idea. Dr. Tinkle must admit some confusion here as he/she is really not a greenie (drives an SUV, puts fertilizer on the lawn, has a carbon footprint the size of Ohio etc.) However, a few years ago the good doctor did express concern at all the hullaballoo over ethanol. Anyone who could do basic math could have explained to those fine politicians that we could not grow enough corn to both power vehicles and feed folks at the same time. Along those same lines, has anyone done the math on what happens when 200,000 vehicles in Cleveland all get plugged in to recharge at the same time???? The good doctor will also be interested in what constitutes "renewable." In a strict sense solar power is not really renewable. Eventually the sun dies. Perhaps we should think of it as long term oil. Aside from these silly little issues, there's the real issue of faculty. Who goes into the school and what does that do to the departments (and their students) they just left?

By the way, I am enjoying the list of words you fine folks are supplying in regards to my last post. How could I have ever left synergy off of the list?

Monday, March 23, 2009


Can we all agree that some words are so overused they have lost their meaning? Here's Dr. Tinkle's preliminary list:
Paradigm shift
learning institution
business model (most businesses fail)
new entity
learning alliance
benchmarking (sounds like something a dog does)
sage on the stage
scribe on the side (both are simple answers to complex issues)
modality (as in teaching modalities)
furlough (as in I take a day off without pay)

Friday, March 20, 2009



The following statement was attributed to VP of external relations Larry Burns on the UT website this past week:

Branding…what is it?
Hello friends. As you know, the term ” Branding” has become an extremely popular marketing concept for all types of organizations and businesses. Two of the most prominent and well-known brands in the world are “Coke” and “Polo”. What exactly is a “Brand” and how does that relate to The University of Toledo.

Bloggie thinks this is an excellent question. A cookie and a big cash bonus to Mr. Burns for astuteness!

And indeed, under the Jacobs administration the university’s innumerable VPs, working alongside the president, have been hard at work developing a Presidential UT Brand that truly stands out in the community, in the state of Ohio and, increasingly, even nationally.  

Keep up this work, BOT, and UT will become a leader in the second tier of K-8 education in the State of Ohio!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Response to "New Dean" Post

Dr. Tinkle asks if it is true that BOT member Tom Brady has been appointed as interim Dean of the JHCOE. Brady hasn't been appointed yet, but they are exploring the possibility.

From the UToday of 3/17/09:

"According to an e-mail Dr. Rosemary Haggett, Main Campus provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, sent to the college’s faculty and staff, “This morning, President Jacobs sent a letter to Gov. Ted Strickland requesting that Dr. Tom Brady, chairman, CEO and founder of Plastic Technologies Inc., be provided a leave of absence from his role as a UT trustee so he may have the potential opportunity to serve as interim dean of the Judith Herb College of Education.”

If his leave is approved by the governor, the University would enter negotiations with Brady to serve in the role."

(full story at


In the comments section of the "New Dean" post, commentator What Hath Jake Wrought? said "Word has it that Faculty Senate was, let's say, unenthused over the idea of Brady as Ed Deanator. Many objections were raised."

'Tis true. Haggett answered questions about this at Faculty Senate yesterday afternoon (3/17/09). She said the information was made public in the interest of "transparency" and that the faculty should be aware that this appointment is a possibility. I'm guessing the info was put out as a "trial balloon" to guage faculty reaction. If so, I must say the reaction at Senate was quite skeptical and negative.

Some of the concerns were:
  • His qualifications for such a post (He has a Ph.D. in Engineering, has never held an academic administrative position, and, although Haggett "wasn't sure," quite possibily has never taught a college course)
  • Ethics/complications of appointing your boss's boss as a subordinate knowing that he will become your boss's boss again at the end of the interim period
  • Why he would take a "leave of absense" and return to the BOT instead of simply resigning from the BOT to take the position
  • Ethics of moving from a position as a trustee into a highly paid administrative position in the organization, that is, is he leveraging this highly paid plum from his position of power on the BOT?
  • The fact that we have had individuals serve as an "interim" dean at UT for years (note: Mary Jo Waldock was "interim" Dean of University College for a long time. (Six years if H n' F's memory serves)
  • The appearance of a pattern of cronyism in Jacobs' admin appointments
  • The possibility of a "hidden agenda" in (or at the very least the wisdom of) appointing a person to head the JHCOE who during an address to Senate last semester stated, "We have got to start better using our public education resources. For example, we have two schools of education ten miles apart. My question as a trustee of the University System of Ohio is “Is that the best way to teach education to kids?” (see Minutes of the Senate Meeting of October 28, 2008 available at

And I undoubtedly left something out as this is just the "top of my head" recollection. When the minutes come out in a few weeks you can read the whole exchange including the Provost's responses.


My own point of view is that Brady may be a good enough and capable enough fellow in general, but this appointment would probably be a big mistake unless, of course, the admin actually wants another huge fight with the faculty as justification for some other course of action. Dr. Brady is undoubtably a very capable businessperson who is very involved in his community. He dedicates much of his time, energy, and money to supporting worthwhile causes, including higher education in Ohio, and at UT in particular. However, I doubt that he would be successful as Dean of the JHCOE for a number of reasons. It's hard for me to believe he would be accepted by the college's faculty. He would be coming in under a cloud of suspicion about the propriety of the appointment and of the motives of the president and provost in making it. He doesn't have experience in the culture of academics at the college level. The way we operate and interact within our colleges as professors, department chairs, and deans is so vastly different than how trustees and the upper admin operate and interact, that I doubt that trust, communication, and understanding between the dean and faculty will have a chance to be established.

The perspectives that he seems to hold appear to fundamentally clash with the perspectives of many of the faculty. As an example, at the Feb 17, 2009 A&S Council meeting a proposal to create an "early admissions" option to the Master's programs in Economics, Poltical Science, and Geography and Planning was discussed and passed. This proposal allows UT students majoring in those departments to be admitted to the Master's programs during their senior year, to take nine credits of graduate level courses for undergraduate credit, and then also apply the same nine credits to the Master's program as well. One Council member pointed out that the "double dipping" does in effect either reduce the credit hour requirement for the undergraduate degree by nine hours, or reduces the credit hour requirement for the graduate degree by nine hours (which of course it does). The opinion of the Council, including me, was that this was fine and the advantage to our students in those majors and the recruiting advantages for those M.A. programs gained by allowing this "shortening" of the time required to complete the B.A./M.A. degrees made this "early admissions" option a good idea.

Tom Brady made a comment near the end of the meeting commending Council and the Social Sciences departments for the proposal. He mentioned the annoying "no longer in a teaching world but a learning one" thing that Dr. T noted in his post and stated that the students would be receiving "more education in less time." On the way out I was talking to a colleague and I said that while I too thought that the early admission program was a very good idea, that the students received less education (nine credit hours to be exact) in less time (which is how attaining the two degrees takes less time). The next day I realized why Dr. Brady and I saw this differently. I saw "education" as a process, experience, exposure to new information and opportunity for learning, and the aquisition of additional knowledge, practice and skills. So for me, nine fewer credits in the program meant less education. I think Dr. Brady saw education as something the student was "purchasing," that is, the degree. So in his view the student received more education (the two degrees) in less time. There may be validity to this view, even if I obviously don't share it. My point is that I think the distance between how the BOT/Jacobs' admin views higher ed and how most faculty view it is so far apart that this appointment will result in even more faculty/administration conflict.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Dean

Okay, has the good Dr. Tinkle heard correctly that the new interim dean of the College of Education is a member of our esteemed Board of Trustees Tom Brady???? Gee, I wonder what he knows about Praxis exams and state requirements?? It's nice to know that A & S has company. I assume the next item of business will be to have an outside group come in to chat with the faculty. The good Dr. Tinkle has no idea whether the interim dean is wise, dumb or somewhere in between. What the Doctor does know is that the new appointee has been known to utter words like paradigm shift and we're no longer in a teaching world but a learning one. Dr. Tinkle has no idea what is actually meant by any of that. However, it is my opinion that such jargon will likely achieve very little for the College of Education.







Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Toxic Mushroom Invasion! Save UT and A&S College!

Before the UT/MCO merger, our Arts & Science College competed successfully with quality public higher education institutions in our region for quality traditional and non-traditional students anxious to earn quality undergraduate and graduate diplomas that could be displayed with pride. Our nearest competitors (including Bowling Green University and Eastern Michigan University) also offered quality earned degrees in liberal education and so prompted us to constantly strive and succeed to improve ourselves as an excellent A&S community of students, faculty, staff and alumni. With the Jacobs administration came its “New Entity” business model, increased privatization and outsourcing, and its distance-learning drive to achieve quantity at the expense of quality. Their mission is to manufacture diplomas for students who don’t have time or the inclination to earn them. Their competitors in this predatory and cutthroat "for profit" educational market include the following degree mills, all who have recently sprouted like toxic mushroom around the rot created by our mismanaged university:

Herzing University – Toledo Campus

"A student can progress seamlessly from a diploma program to an associate degree to a bachelor's degree, and now to a master's degree, stopping anywhere along the line and then resuming when the time, need, and ambition of the student warrant. And the student can choose the method of instruction that fits his or her time commitments and learning style - from all resident to EdFlex (part resident, part online) to entirely online.",742480.shtml

Excelsior College in Toledo

Excelsior College helps busy working adults earn the degrees they need with flexible distance education programs. A World Leader in Distance Education: As a world leader in distance education, we apply the college credit you have already earned to a respected degree in Liberal Arts, Business, Technology, Nursing, or Health Sciences -- giving you the best start toward degree completion.

Southwestern College – Toledo Campus

We offer a wide-range of Diploma and Associate Degree programs that can help you start living out your dream.

Toxic mushroom are on the move! Its approaching midnight! Where is your institute of quality public higher education? It is time to save our UT soul, spirit, tradition and reputation, and to reverse this trend to poison the deep roots of quality liberal education at UT. Preserve the high quality of our diplomas! The present UT administration has to reform its mission and strategic plan, or depart. Save A&S College!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Caption Contest Announced

Bloggie announces a Caption Contest for the above artful rendering. Submit your ideas on the "Comments" function immediately below.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Some more web coverage

Here's another article re: HEH pulling out of discussions about delivering UT master's programs online, this time from The Chronicle.

Wired Campus: Faculty Opposition Derails Plans for New Online Programs at U. of Toledo

There's not much more news per se, but what I find interesting about the online articles are the comments. Now that's interesting reading.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Inside Higher Ed - Deal Dead in Ohio

March 4, 2009

A private company that sought to help the University of Toledo for a share of tuition revenues has “deferred” its negotiations, citing a lack of “alignment” between faculty who opposed the plan and administrators who embraced it.

In an e-mail circulated on campus Tuesday, Provost Rosemary Haggett lamented the end of talks with Higher Ed Holdings and criticized faculty for their objections.

“The fact that they felt the need to take this action in the midst of exploratory conversations is something I believe reflects poorly on our university because we could not have reasonable dialogue about this proposal,” she wrote. “What could have been a truly compelling dialogue about opportunities to broaden the number of graduate education students benefiting from the expertise of College of Education faculty was never allowed to get under way by those who would seek to demonize those that disagree with them rather than debate what is best for the institution in a thoughtful and professional way.”

Haggett went on to say that she hoped to "begin discussions on other potential models that might help us achieve our mission."

Jon Strunk, a university spokesman, declined to discuss the matter further, saying “the e-mail speaks for itself.”

Tom Evans, vice president of Higher Ed Holdings, did not return a call for comment Tuesday.

The company, which was started by the Texas entrepreneur Randy Best, had proposed a partnership in which Higher Ed Holdings would help the university deliver two master's-level education programs online. In exchange for its support, the company was asking for 70 percent of the tuition revenues the program generated, according to faculty familiar with the negotiations.

Faculty in the college were critical of the plan, saying it appeared to emphasize profit generation over quality. Higher Ed Holdings had promised to expand enrollment in the Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership programs by hundreds of students, relying upon the company’s “coaches” to engage most directly with the students. Through its distance model, which has been implemented already at Lamar University, in Texas, the company planned to offer the degrees for roughly $5,000, about half of what students pay on campus, a faculty member said. In addition to being less expensive, the programs would also have been offered in a compressed time frame.

Faculty reaction to the provost’s e-mail Tuesday was harsh. Leigh Chiarelott, chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said he thought it was unfortunate that Haggett chose to blame faculty for opposing a deal that raised legitimate academic and financial concerns.

“We’re a little upset by the tone [of the e-mail], the sense that we dug our heels in and we weren’t open to this when in fact pretty much the opposite is true,” he said. “We had hours and hours of meetings and tried to make it work.”

The deal with Higher Ed Holdings was characterized by administrators as part of a broader effort to expand “access,” but meetings with company officials left little impression that Toledo would be reaching new students in underrepresented areas, Chiarelott said. The company was planning to aim its marketing at major cities like Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, he said.

“Obviously that’s where the big numbers are, but the idea of bringing accessibility to the state of Ohio is really a big misnomer,” he said.

Faculty were also concerned about the history of Higher Ed Holdings, which was founded by Best, a major fund raiser for President George W. Bush. Best endured charges of cronyism when he won lucrative federal contracts for testing programs designed by one of his companies. The programs were later criticized for showing little evidence of effectiveness.

A Toledo faculty member, who asked not to be identified, said objections to the company were well founded.

“Although we’re pleased that the administration is going to allow us the time to explore other options, it is disappointing that the [provost’s] letter suggests that the faculty members in the College of Education did anything wrong by wanting to be involved in shared governance, asking questions about data and questioning the reputation of Randy Best with Higher Education [sic] Holdings,” the faculty member said. “Faculty are pleased that the provost is going to have further discussions with us, explore other options.”

Tuesday was not the first time Haggett sparked controversy with e-mail. Last spring, Haggett wrote to President Lloyd Jacobs, advising him not to meet with a faculty group that had voted “no confidence” in their dean, saying that doing so “actually rewards bad behavior.”

Conflict of Interest Concerns

Faculty who opposed going into business with Higher Ed Holdings also raised conflict of interest concerns. Scott Scarborough, the university’s chief financial officer, once sat on the company’s corporate board. Scarborough said he had no financial interest in the company, but that assurance did little to quell criticism that the company was considered by Toledo officials only because of its connections to a key administrator -- not its reputation for quality.

Gregory Stone, an associate professor of research and measurement, said he was relieved to see the deal not go through. That said, Stone supports an expansion of distance learning models, and says he looks forward to more discussion about reform.

“You can look at this as a negative or positive. I tend to look at it as a positive that we want promote new and novel ideas like this,” he said. “But we want to do so in a careful, deliberative and thoughtful way, and not necessary [just focus on] how cheaply we can do this, making the biggest buck.”

Even if the university had hopes of increasing revenues, the plan gave little promise that Toledo would realize much in the way of gains, according to Chiarelott, who analyzed how the proposal might benefit the department he chairs. In order to accommodate the new influx of students that would be required to make the venture profitable for Higher Ed Holdings, the university would incur infrastructure costs that weren’t discussed, he said. Furthermore, there were sensible objections to a public university in Ohio sending 70 percent of tuition revenues to a private company in Texas, Chiarelott said.

“I looked at the financial aspect of this and didn’t see how it would work,” he said.

Students: President “Is A Threat”

The debate over Higher Ed Holdings has re-ignited criticism of Jacobs, president at Toledo. Jacobs is taking barbs for an e-mail he sent to the provost, insisting that the next dean of the College of Education be a business-minded leader from “outside the ‘educational establishment.’ ”

Student activists, who had already criticized Jacobs as insensitive to the role of liberal arts at the university, are now calling for his resignation in a critical two-page flier being distributed by the thousands on campus. “Lloyd Jacobs is a Threat to Your Future,” the flier declares in bold black typeface.

The flier gives a laundry list of objections, calling the Higher Ed Holdings deal a plan to transform Toledo into a “diploma mill,” and criticizing Jacobs for his $390,000 salary and generous bonuses. In a call to action, the flier presses students to contact trustees and “tell them Enough Bullshit, Jacobs Must Quit!”

Evan Morrison, a history major who is helping distribute the fliers, said the latest controversy in the College of Education is just another example of Jacobs’ poor leadership.

“This isn’t an isolated event,” said Morrison, a senior. “If we’re able to put a stop to this it would just be a matter of time before something else comes up.”

— Jack Stripling

Original Inside Higher Ed article and reader comments:

Deal Dead in Ohio

These articles in the Blade may also be of interest:

Company drops discussions with University of Toledo after faculty outcry

UT professors halt online grad program

Accounting 101

The lucky folks who inhabit the A & S Council evidently got some rather interesting insights into our financial difficulties here at the Bank of Toledo. First they were told that the financial problems are not the result of the state taking money away, and are not the result of any revenue stream drying up. No, it was something else entirely. I am sure you're on the edge of your chair wondering what possibly could be so dramatic that Jake would ask people to take an unpaid leave????? Well, it seems previous administrations didn't handle the money well. Yep that's the excuse. Wow, so we're going to blame Dan Johnson.

It reminds Dr. Tinkle of the three envelopes story. A new CEO has just taken over the firm. The outgoing CEO says "I left three envelopes in the desk drawer. Each time you run into trouble, read one." So about a year goes by and things are getting difficult so the new CEO takes out the first envelope and reads the letter. It says, "blame me." He then blames the troubles on the previous leadership. Another couple of months go by and trouble reappears. He takes out the second envelope and reads the letter. It says, "Reorganize." He does and it works for a while. A few more months go by, trouble reappears and he takes out the third envelope and reads it. It says, "Get three envelopes." We have seen the attempts at both reorganizing and blaming previous administrations. It's probably time for our glorious leader to get three envelopes.

I suggest you might send them to him as a courtesy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"I have some ideas ..." -- Lloyd Jacobs

And that is the problem Mr. President. Your ideas over the past three years have tossed us, and suddenly you, into a Great Pickle. As you are on your way out, now A&S and UT in general must turn to polishing up its tarnished (thanks to your caustic Big Ideas) reputation. Why did you ever think that turning our fine public higher education institution into a Fordist mass production line selling cheap degrees would make UT "great"? Because you read a silly five-step book titled From Good to Great (Collins, 2001)? And now you and Provost Haggett and Dean Nina will be coaching A&S students to learn whatever curriculum reconfiguration and implementation that emerges from your sponsored Zemsky Report’s "five-step" tango-to-greatness! Wake up, Sir! The Fordist system is in ruins! Bankrupt, failed -- kaput! Look to Detroit to see the future of UT if it continues to be shaped by your rusty Fordist pipe dreams posed as New Paradigm. Even stuffed with microchips, your Big is doomed! Your New Entity is Postmodern Jurassic education! However, with your rehabilitation or departure on the near horizon, I remain optimistic that A&S and UT can still be saved from the legacy of your initial follies. UT’s A&S College should not be under siege by you and your minions at this celebratory time. Instead, it should be proud of the 100 years of Goodness embodied in every earned degree it ever awarded while advancing quality public-sector liberal education. Goodness will always trump Greatness, Lloyd. Goodness nurtures and erects resilient economic stability, productivity and civic responsibility on its strong ethical foundations. Greatness – as embodied in your outdated and simplistic notion that "bigger is better," and given spin as a New Paradigm -- is, in contrast, just noisy carnival, founded on a fescennine fantasy that feeds raw ambition to an administrative cadre raised on a disciplined diet of corrupt practices. We can no longer abide your relentless striving for a Greatness that sows injury and disenchantment among students, faculty, staff and alumni. In the end, your Greatness will revert to mediocrity at best and at worst -- oblivion. In sum, you President Jacobs and your swill ideas are transforming UT into a dinosaur. You are a clear and present danger to A&S and UT. Leave it to concerned UT students to themselves come up with a better idea for the immediate and long-term future of our beloved institution. They are fed up and finally demanding you sell your snake oil someplace else.

Monday, March 2, 2009

UT Senior Administration Responds to Student De-Lloyding Campaign

Above is depicted the official UT administrative reponse to the students' campaign to dump Lloyd Jacobs. This is "communication" a la Jacobs' Administration, and would seem to epitomize his "one communication model fits all" style of management.

UT Students Commence De-Lloyding Program

The following pamphlet is being circulated on campus this week, 4,000 copies have been made already it is reported, and is wholly attributable to UT students. Reproduced here is its content and not its format:

Lloyd Jacobs
Is A Threat To Your Future

Keeping your head down and working towards graduation won’t protect you!

There are very few “conventional students” at UT, many of us are commuters, or part-timers, or returning after years in the workforce. You, whatever your situation, need to take part.

Lloyd Jacobs’ decisions are going to haunt you whether you ignore him or not. If you take action you’re taking your future into your own hands and you have the opportunity to change what is happening.

Jacobs is working to turn the University of Toledo into a diploma mill. This will devalue your degree and make it harder for you to be competitive in the job market or go on to a higher degree. You have worked too hard to have that happen to you without a fight.

Since he was handed the office of the president Lloyd Jacobs has disregarded the will of students, faculty, parents, alumni and even dissenters within his administration in his quest to dismantle the University of Toledo and reform it in a business model. If you try to fix want isn’t broken Lloyd, you break it.

We need an academic as president, someone who values higher education and academic pursuits. Someone who will work hard to raise money and find funding-not just make cuts to every degree but his pet departments. You can make this happen. You have to take action for your future.


Diploma Mill
Inside Higher Ed on February 26 reports that “administrators are exploring a partnership with a private company known for churning out quick and inexpensive degrees.”
This will follow you, whether you graduate now, or graduated ten years ago. President Jacobs is going to devalue your degree.
That isn’t all. In a letter President Jacobs “outlined the parameters for finding a new interim dean to replace Thomas Switzer, who is retiring. In the Jan. 27 letter, President Lloyd Jacobs told his provost that a ‘business orientation’ – not a background in education – was essential.
‘I strongly suggest a person outside the [College of Education]: indeed, a person outside the ‘educational establishment,’ wrote Jacobs, who is a medical doctor. ‘I have some ideas I would like to share with you.”
These are the latest in a long string of half-baked, harmful ideas to come from the Office of the President, and they won’t be the last as long as Lloyd Jacobs is the president of the University of Toledo.
Inside Higher Ed article

National Search
After 2008 and the resignation of Dean Lee in response to student and faculty protests, one would think that President Jacobs would refrain from implementing half-assed ideas during his tenure at UT.
Lloyd Jacobs is not the President of the University of Toledo because he was found to be the best candidate in a national search, something that is standard practice at all levels of hiring at the university -- no, his was a sweetheart deal pushed through during the merger of MUO and UT. He has been the president since July 2006 and it is time for a national search for a new president to start.

“”How much do you make?”
Any time that Dr. Jacobs is challenged on his policies or on the direction he is forcing the university in he whines “I could be making three times my salary in the private sector.” What his salary is, he can’t remember (it is over $390,000 a year, with a $450,000 bonus over 3 years for not looking elsewhere for work)
It’s time for Dr. Jacobs and the university to part ways. He gleefully rubs it in others faces how overqualified he is, now is the time for him to print up a few resumes and start looking for a new job.

WE can stop this!
This University will respond to the students, but only if we refuse to be ignored. Only if we make enough noise that they cannot make a decision without our input.

This won’t be easy. The Board of Trustees loves Lloyd Jacobs, they’re the group that hired him without looking anywhere else and just gave him a raise. But they are the only ones that can remove him. And you as a student are in charge of the decisions of the board.

Call the Board of Trustees office today and tell them Enough Bullshit, Jacobs Must Quit!

Office of the Board of Trustees

Send an email to to help organize!