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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More meeting stuff

Dr. Tinkle has graciously allowed me more time on his dime. (sorry about the rhyme) At yesterday's A & S meeting several items were discussed as regards the Monday round table meeting. I would like to clear up a few of those items. First, the President was not present at the meeting. The Provost said he had been called to Columbus. At yesterday's A & S meeting I mentioned this and our speaker said well maybe that wasn't quite what happened and rambled on about how the executive committee of the round table had discussed whether he should be present and if he was should he just be an observer etc. etc. I never really got an answer. Frankly, I want to know what the President thinks about the round table, the Learning Alliance, the final report and the benchmarking study. It would have been nice to have him in a smaller more informal setting without either his minions or thousands of us. Second, I mentioned that the attendees of the Monday round table seemed exhausted. Those were my words and I stand by them. I was challenged by Ben Pryor as to why I thought that. I was not given a chance to respond so I will now take the time to do so here. The Monday meeting was chaired by the Provost. The first thing she did was ask if she could take the "draft" off of the report. No one responded. The responses that were then offered were rather tepid. I felt as if the whole meeting went that way. That is an opinion. As they say it's opinions that makes a horse race. Others may feel differently. In retrspect, we probably should have taken the time to move the tables closer together to at least give us the impression we were all in the same room (SU 2592). I have one other thing to say about this process. I sat next to Tom Brady at the second meeting of the round table last December. He has now spoken at several A & S meetings. I think he means well. But I have learned after 30 years of college teaching that you must judge actions, not words. He claims that what he wants is for UT to move forward, to achieve greatness. I do not doubt his words. But in the last several years, half of the college of Arts and Sciences has been systematically ignored. Our resources have been taken from us. We are given visiting professors, not tenure track slots. This is not a path to greatness. This is a path toward becoming a community college. He says we must do more with less. Is that true of the entire university or just those of us in the social sciences, humanities and the arts?

The round table concluded that there are five areas that should be examined. Exactly how faculty will be choosen for those committees seems at the moment to be up in the air. The chair of A & S said he was going to send something out. His term is about over. The process has to be more transparent than the one used for selecting members of the round table. I urge the Dean to develop a committee structure that will be representative of the diversity of programs in the college. I then urge all of you to participate.

I wish to again thank Dr. Tinkle for the time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the report!