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Saturday, May 16, 2009

From a Contributor

Dear Bloggie:

The following two items from the Blade might be useful posts to the ASCforum Blog:

Article published May 08, 2009

University stuck in a time warp

At a time when the nation and the state are forced to make tough decisions about how best to cut costs, the University of Toledo seems to be caught in a time warp. 

Scott Scarborough, vice president for finance and administration, continues to hammer home the message that deep cuts are necessary, but the board of trustees can't help but award their cronies wage increases and contract deals that make double dipping fashionable.

At a time when employees have been asked to consider furloughs and layoffs as an option to control costs, why is the board so quick to rehire the retired, create new titles to award pay increases, and pass out bonus money like there is no tomorrow (and maybe there won't be if they keep it up)? 

It's been going on for so long that they just can't help themselves. 

While it's true that old habits die hard and desperate times call for desperate measures, these desperate times may be just what it takes to change those "old habits."

Come on, you guys, take the lead from President Obama and put some common sense into your decisions.

Mary Villegas

Cresthaven Lane

Also see this article from May 13:

University of Toledo fires softball coach


University of Toledo softball coach Jo Ann Gordon was fired Wednesday after a 105-235 record the last seven seasons. The Rockets finished 8-38, 6-16 in Mid-American Conference play this season.

"I felt it was time for the softball program to move in a new direction," UT athletic director Mike O'Brien said.

O’Brien said a national search for Gordon’s replacement will begin immediately and that assistant coach Sunny Jones will run the team in the interim until a new head coach is named. 

The Rockets never finished higher than fifth in the MAC West division under Gordon. 

In reference to this second item, I ask the question: if a softball coach can be fired for "nonperformance" with a national search to start immediately, why can't we fire the president, provosts and CFO and do NATIONAL searches?


Name Withheld by Request

(Excellent Question!!---so notes Bloggie.)


Ed Tech said...

“[W]hen you try to force compliance rather than elicit cooperation, it’s prone to backfire.” This editorial opinion about the inefficacy of torture from today’s New York Times applies to the present poor condition of relations between the Jacob’s administration and A&S tenured-faculty. It explains the root cause of faculty low morale and the reason that organized resistance to the implementation of Jacobs’ “Directions” strategic plan has grown so strong and is rapidly growing stronger. Three years into their estranged relationship it is clear that Jacobs’ attempt to force tenured-faculty compliance to his inhumane and corrupting business model for UT is backfiring. A viable and ethical alternative to Jacobs’ “Directions” has appeared in Earl Broussard’s “Thought Community,” now being discovered and discussed daily by more and more concerned UT students, faculty, staff and alumni. After three years of aggressive administrative assault on the tenured professoriate it now seems too late for cooperation. Jacobs must go.

umbraged said...

About a year ago, during discussions for the no-confidence vote for former Dean Lee, the suggestion was made--at least twice--at A&S Council that a vote of no-confidence in Pres. Jacobs be considered, too. In view of all that's happened in the interim, a vote of no-confidence, followed by ouster and a real search for a new president, is timely, if not overdue, and seems more justified now than ever--now, before even more of UT goes down the tubes. At some point the damage will be irreparable.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the business model for higher education?

Anonymous said...

Peter Katopes' article referred to in the above post is one of the best I've read on the topic of the misapplication of the "business" model for education. ONce we ousted Jacobs, I suggest we consider Katopes a candidate for president of UT.

Ed Tech said...

Anonymous asks "What is wrong with the business model for higher education?" and then cites Inside Higher Education (online) as a general source of credible opinion and information on this topic. I recommend also a specific recent IHE article that addresses the topic: "Business and the Relevance of Liberal Arts":

Reader comments directly following this article are also informative. Anyone who understands the “business model” threat to state public higher education and its traditional A&S colleges realizes that the private-sector model is fundamentally secular and inhumane: it justifies (as best practices) robbing Peter (the liberal arts) to pay Paul (STEMM) and rationalizes its crime as a "financial exigency." Whatever collateral damage takes place during the crime is deemed acceptable, as its ends justify its means. This is morally corrupt.

As the first reader’s comment to the above article states: (1) The purpose of education is moral development; and (2) Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore obtain wisdom. State public higher education -- if it is sincerely student-centered -- should in the first instance imbue students with wisdom that includes providing a graduated, rich learning experience that nurtures student critical thinking about diverse and significant moral and ethical issues. Dedicated tenured faculty across a broad range of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts departments are most highly qualified and protected to provide this provocative learning experience. In contrast, the business model is a corrupting influence on state public higher education students because it does not grasp its profound mission nor have its priorities in order. In sum: the business model for "success" at UT presently aims to mass produce online degrees at a rapid pace for vulnerable, trusting students facing an unpredictable global economy. On close inspection implementation of the business model at UT is wrong to the extent that it trades on the long-established good name of The University of Toledo at the risk of fast becoming a fraudulent enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Very plainly, the main motivation for a university patterned after the business model is to produce product and generate revenue. The main goal of a real university is to educate future leaders. You cannot have both. I once worked at a for-profit college before they became such a fad. One student came to me in tears because he said he could not read the text book, yet he was admitted. I failed one student but the dean changed the grade from an "F" to a "C." These things happened repeatedly because the main goal is not education but cash flow. I believe that same school later got into trouble for signing up students for federal loans and then telling them they didn't have to pay them back!