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Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Roundtable Initiative Meeting Report (for 10/28)

Background to this meeting: I am one of six A&S Council appointees to the “Arts and Sciences Roundtable Initiative” implementation committee. The other A&S Council appointees are Debra Davis, Rupali Chandar, Linda Rouillard, James B. Benjamin and David Tucker. The Roundtable implementation committee met for the first time on September 30, and for the second time on Wednesday, October 28. My report for the September meeting was earlier posted here, and on the Epsilen UT Roundtable blog site accessible at:

At the September 30 meeting the newly-appointed six A&S Council representatives met for the first time with other UT professors and administrators who had been selected during the Extended Roundtable Retreat held May 2, 2009 “to assure the input of the Roundtable Steering Committee.” These other members included two or more persons from each of five Facilitator Groups tasked to report on five priority issues (“challenges” /“action items”): Scholarship, Teaching Modalities, Graduate Studies, Curriculum, and Space. Each Facilitator Group at the Retreated created its own preliminary report. These reports were forwarded to the participants of the September 30 meeting, for the purposes of further discussion.

At the end of the September 30 meeting five new sub-groups of the Roundtable formed to write five revised draft reports on the same five priority issues. Each report was this time to include a list of “implementable things.” Everyone agreed to reconvene as a single large group again on October 28 to discuss the contents of these reports, and to arrive at an implementation timetable. Members volunteering for these sub-groups were:

Teaching Modalities: Pryor, Nemeth, Rizk, Poplin Gossetti, Habrecht
Space: Anderson Huang, Denham, Tucker
Curriculum: Heberle, Barlow, Stierman, Brady
Graduate Studies: Beatty, Medina, Benjamin, Chandar
Scholarship: Gilbert, Rouillard, Nemeth, Burnett

I will briefly describe and comment here on selected aspects the October 28 meeting.

The October 28 meeting: At the October 28 meeting the five reports were distributed and their issues discussed. Roundtable Initiative (RI) participants in attendance included (in order of seating, clockwise, around the boardroom table): Nina McClelland, Ben Pryor, Lawrence Anderson Huang, David Nemeth, Jamie Barlow, Penny Poplin Gosetti, Linda Rouillard, Rupali Chandar, James Benjamin, David Tucker, Peter Lindquist, Mark Denham, Christine Habrecht, and Renee Heberle. Also, Provost Haggett was present for part of the meeting.

Dean McClelland designated Pryor and Heberle to marshal and record the discussions. The Dean’s preliminary comments stressed the importance of developing at this meeting an implementation plan and its timetable. She mentioned in this regard the importance of producing “down-the-line” strong evidence of “value returned” on the university’s significant “investment” in the Roundtable process, which she estimated at “midway” toward its goal(s). She emphasized that one of these goals would be a “hiring plan” and incentives for retention of faculty. Another goal was for the A&S College to attain a “tier one” national ranking. She reminded the committee how the five priority issues are intertwined: the final RI proposed implementation plan would “drive the train” to our first-tier ranking.

Then commenced the discussions in turn of the five revised reports, moving through their issues in this order: scholarship, graduate studies, space, curriculum, teaching modalities. Pryor’s meeting notes will soon be posted on the Epsilen Roundtable blog, to provide our faculty with details from these discussions.

There appeared to be wide agreement among faculty Roundtable participants that many related teaching modalities/scholarship/curriculum issues involving increasing faculty incentives and rewards for their successful investments of time and energy in innovative teaching and service could be integrated into existing annual ARPA, Merit and Workload processes. There was general recognition and agreement that UT should become a 24/7/365 operation if it is ever to reach its potential as a highly ranked state public higher education institution. Everyone also seemed to agree with regard to campus facilities that “space is important!” The terms “motivation,” “morale,” and “incentives” came up frequently with reference to performance of students and faculty. Everyone seemed to agree on the need for increased stipends and support for graduate students. Also, sabbaticals in support of faculty teaching initiatives had wide support.

There were disagreements, of course. Participants debated the strengths and weaknesses of “active” and “passive” modes of learning; whether or not a “first tier” ranking for the A&S College is achievable in the context of a continued open admissions policy; the purpose of and need for a faculty club; the benefits of eliminating the position of department “chairs” in the A&S College administrative hierarchy (in favor of departmental “heads”). Also, the question of the impact of President Jacobs’ rethinking ‘Directions’ [the University’s strategic plan] on the A&S College Roundtable implementation recommendations remains unanswered.

Where To Now? These productive discussions continued till near noon. The Roundtable meeting quickly wound down with an agreed-upon extension of a timetable into the future. Participants agreed to allow a representative from each task group to further revise each report, and to combine the five reports, perhaps with the appointment of an editor, into one draft complete report. This single document will be distributed to A&S Council members for their comments in late November. These comments will be appended to the document when the full Roundtable Implementation group reconvenes end of November. Discussion at that meeting will result in a revised single report. This revised report will then be posted on the A&S College Roundtable Epsilen webpage for general public review. Thanks to all who Emailed me to comment on my first RI report. Please continue to contact me personally with your comments and concerns, or post them on this blog as "Comments" if you wish to engage in a broader conversation about my report. You may also want to contact any of the named participants above to discover their perspectives on the meeting.

David Nemeth, Professor of Geography and Planning, A&S Council Appointee to the A&S Roundtable Initiative implementation group.

Higher Morality Does Exist in Administration


"Clearly the university has a lot of mojo right now," trustee Brian K. Hicks said. 

"Thank you for leading our mojo, Dr. Gee." 

The board gave Mr. Gee high marks for recruiting an outstanding leadership team; 

involving students, professors, staff members, and the board in all levels of 

decision-making, and partnering with businesses and community groups to 

address issues greater than just the university. 

Trustees also praised him for pushing a $1 billion expansion of the OSU Medical 


Based on his performance this year, the board decided to give Mr. Gee a $20,053 

raise. The increase, equal to 2.5 percent of his current base salary of $802,125, 

mirrors the aggregate percentage given to OSU's faculty and staff. 

The money will be diverted to the university's "Students First, Students Now" 

scholarship fund. 

Another $950,000 in raises and bonuses that would have gone to Mr. Gee's senior 

management team will go into that fund. 

Trustees also decided that Mr. Gee had earned a 35 percent bonus for meeting 


But his bonus, like those of other top officials, was reduced by 10 percentage points 

because of the lousy economy. 

Mr. Gee will receive the $200,531 bonus, but he will donate it to a scholarship fund 

that he established this year with a $1 million personal pledge. 

Mr. Gee will pay the taxes on that income out of his other earnings. 

Mr. Gee said the university's success is a reflection of the people under him.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dean Resolution Passed at A&S Council's Recent Meeting

A few notes on the above resolution:
 (1)  Bloggie understands it was passed by a vote of something like 50-3 (or so) by Arts and Sciences Council; there is no question, then, of dismissing it as an act of a few "disgruntled" faculty members.   We could, however, reasonably attribute the arbitrary and self serving  acts of recent university policy as the acts of a few disgruntled administrators who have no idea what words like "trustee" and "stewardship" imply.
(2) Note this resolution is by no means anything like an "endorsement" of an interim dean, although UT administrators will probably try to treat it in this way. 
(3)  Bloggie predicts that there will be no good faith effort on the part of administrators, including the interim dean, to really honor any of these reasonable expectations. 
(4) Isn't it curious that a national search is begun immediately for the Dean of the new School of Renewable Energy (or whatever it's called), even though this school is essentially fictive, but meanwhile the Deanship of the largest college at the University goes unfilled?    Is this punitive action, incompetence, or a combination of both?  We have seen by the acts of our disgruntled administrators that these categories of behavior are by no means mutually exclusive. 

Love to all, 


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Round Table

Well the excitement builds again as the next session of the politburo meets tomorrow morning. Dr. Tinkle wonders if the dean's complicated schedule will allow her presence. He'll have to check with particpants (his betters) to see what new and incredibly exciting things will arise. Rumor has it her nibs the provost will also be in attendence. Folks better lay off the coffee before going to such an esteemed gathering. Does one get a bonus for this?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Join A&S Forum Force!

Join Epsilen Force!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Rumor

Okay so the dean ducked another A & S meeting. Contrary to popular belief, the world continues to spin and the sun generally rises in the east. According to my furry little peanut eating buddies on the campus, the latest idea is to merge the natural sciences with the school of perpetual motion with our dean continuing as an interim until sometime in the distant future. The rest of us go to the learning collaborative and are taught how to teach. I hope the furry ones are wrong about this, but they hit the Lions score right on the nose.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Roundtable Initiative meeting report

I am one of six recent A&S Council appointees to an “Arts and Sciences Roundtable Initiative” implementation committee which met on Wednesday, September 30, nine to noon, in UH3300. The Other appointees are Debra Davis, Rupali Chandar, Linda Rouillard, James B. Benjamin and David Tucker. We joined a group of other UT professors and administrators “selected to assure the input of the Roundtable Steering Committee and two or more persons from each of the five Task Groups” (Scholarship, Teaching Modalities, Graduate Studies, Curriculum, and Space) formed during the Extended Roundtable Retreat held May 2, 2009.I would like to briefly describe and comment here on selected aspects the September 30 meeting.

Background to this Meeting: Our A&S College Forum blog captures a dramatic history of this Roundtable Initiative, which began as an outside consultant’s “Strategic Assessment of the College of Arts and Sciences” contracted at the initiative of President Jacobs and duly announced by Provost Haggett in June of 2008. Visitors to this blog site can review its chronicle of Roundtable-related events by searching its homepage under key words “roundtable” “Zemsky” and “bus.”

An informational letter of welcome from Dean McClelland accompanied my appointment letter. Her letter clarified that the six A&S Council appointees were to be part of a “next-step implementation committee” as specified as a recommendation in the “Learning Alliance Report” (created at the Retreat) which designated the five “Task Group Reports.” The letter concluded “I do hope you will agree to be part of this ‘writing team’.”

The Meeting: Roundtable Initiative (RI) participants in attendance included (in order of seating, clockwise, around the boardroom table): Nina McClelland, Ben Pryor, Tom Brady, Jamie Barlow, Lawrence Anderson Huang, Renee Heberle, David Nemeth, Mysoon Rizk, Don Stierman, David Tucker, Rupali Chandar, Penny Poplin Gossetti, Christine Habrecht, Mark Denham, James Benjamin, and Charlene Gilbert.

Ben Pryor took detailed notes during the meeting and these were subsequently (October 5) distributed to the RI participants. Participants introduced themselves then began to discuss the five Task Group Reports compiled from discussions taking place during the Extended Roundtable Retreat. These reports were perceived by the Roundtable Steering Committee to be “firm directives that we have given ourselves” resulting from the Extended Roundtable Retreat.

Preceding their discussion, this observation and question were raised: “President Jacobs is rethinking ‘Directions’ [the University’s strategic plan]. Would these five reports have been the same had ‘Directions’ been different?”

Review of the five reports commenced, beginning with the “Curriculum” report then moving to the “Scholarship” report. During this freewheeling and scattershot discussion one of our A&S Council appointees delivered an eloquent broadside against “administrative culture” and how it is “deaf” to faculty input, and how that culture must change before any informed and progressive structural changes can be formulated and implemented in the Arts and Sciences College. Also, Dean McClelland raised this profound question “Why are students not coming to class?” This mystery of student motivation in the classroom seemed to me and some other A&S Council appointees to be tied to faculty motivation in the classroom, and thus a morale issue. However, the discussion at this juncture took a new trajectory and shifted to the promise of “The Boyer Model” and the UT Academic Journey Initiative (a component of the UT Learning Collaborative initiatives), and how these existing student-centered learning models and initiatives apart from the Roundtable Initiative may be already sharpening the focus and trajectory of philosophical and structural “transformations” already taking place in the A&S College. The Boyer Model again came up in our discussion of the “Scholarship” report. For this reason, I feel a need now to digress from my report here to make mention of the following:

The decades-old Boyer Model (of scholarship) comes highly recommended by its demonstrated success in the health care industry (see here: and, for example, it’s entrenched institutionalization in some prominent private-sector higher education institutions (for example, Pepperdine University in California). All A&S faculty should take the time to read here about Dr. Boyer and his ideas about scholarship and curriculum reforming higher education. This model is based on some controversial assumptions that address and critique the traditional professoriate; for example: “Boyer declared that the students were not getting the full attention of their instructors, stressing the importance of more resources into undergraduate education programs, expanding orientation and faculty mentoring for new students, and creating community service programs for students … Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate challenged the current views of faculty priorities and the true meaning of scholarship. Boyer classified four kinds of scholarship: discovery, integration, application, and teaching. This report has created debates around the country and has influenced many colleges and universities to evaluate their faculty differently.” Indeed, the A&S tenure-track and tenured faculty are being presently subjected in this Boyer Model-inspired evaluation process. This Roundtable Initiative is negotiating our professional identities, roles and activities at this time toward implementing irreversible structural changes in our A&S College’s educational mission and delivery systems.

Continuing on: RI participants discussed the topic of effective learning “delivery systems” as these related to the “Teaching Modalities” report, a discussion that carried over into briefer discussions of the “Leadership” and “Space” reports. As we were short on time and the discussions redundant of matters already covered during the Extended Roundtable Retreat (yet necessary to rehash because the six A&S Council appointees were not part of earlier discussions) the participants agreed to meet in sub-groups to revise and condense the reports into a list of “implementable things,” and to reconvene as a single group a month hence. The meeting concluded with a listing of sub-groups (writing teams) and their members:

Learning Modalities: Pryor, Nemeth, Rizk, Poplin Gossetti, Habrecht
Space: Anderson Huang, Denham, Tucker
Curriculum: Heberle, Barlow, Stierman, Brady
Graduate: Beatty, Medina, Benjamin, Chandar
Scholarship: Gilbert, Rouillard, Nemeth, Burnett

A dedicated blog site was established for the purposes of posting of documents for RI group members and for intra-group communications.

In Conclusion: I have some serious concerns about any rush to draft a final Arts and Sciences Roundtable Implementation Plan while the UT “Directions” strategic plan is being reconsidered. I quote here from the approved Faculty Senate minutes of September 29 distributed campus wide October 12: “Another matter of note is that Pres. Jacobs is contemplating the creation of a new strategic plan. As this develops, we want to make sure there is significant and broad based faculty involvement in the process.”

I doubt from what I observed and heard at the RI Meeting that sufficient numbers of A&S tenure-track and tenured faculty (not holding administrative positions) have been meaningfully involved in the Roundtable Initiative project from its beginnings to the present. I am concerned about some of the untenable “business-model” assumptions in the reports and “managerial” terminology used derived from these assumptions. These seem hostile to our senior professoriate, their traditions, values and interests. Among these assumptions and ideas are obvious ideological artifacts of the Zemsky Report, the Boyer Model and other dangerous ideas that have contaminated the A&S “transformational process” that began in the hastily prepared “Directions” strategic plan and resulted in this present Roundtable Initiative. In these late stages of the Initiative process I have been invited to help A&S faculty “take ownership” of the process, as if this offensive secular term had anything to do with the professoriate’s sacred duty to willingly participate in the shared governance and planning of an Arts and Sciences College in a state public university.

I will make my concerns known to my fellow Roundtable Initiative participants as we rewrite the five reports and list our “implementable things.” Meanwhile, I encourage all A&S faculty to contact me and these other participants with their concerns and comments in the coming weeks. There is an urgent need to do so. Faculty Senate minutes from September 29 quote Provost Haggett regarding the RI history and timetable: “The report that came from the [Zemsky] Learning Alliance, that report was shared across the College of Arts & Sciences. There was a follow up group in early May, there were five recommendations and working groups generated in each of those focus areas. The dean has just sent an email a couple of weeks ago to reconvene and put together implementation plan with a November date.” The Roundtable Initiative Implementation Plan deadline for November is almost upon us.

David Nemeth, Professor of Geography and Planning, A&S Council Appointee to the A&S Roundtable Initiative implementation group.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I heard this a few days ago while wandering around the campus feeding the squirrels. According to my impeccable sources our dean will not be attending the A & S meeting next Tuesday. Her schedule seems to have become a wee bit complicated. Now, she was invited to the last meeting and did not make it. So, to give her plenty of time, the executive committee gave her a month's advance notice. Does this mean one should conclude the dean is ducking the council? Why praytell? The council seems like such a nice bunch, at least from a distance. Could it be she's a little peeved over the council's lack of an endorsement for a third year? Could she actually be upset that the council did not immediately say, "of course, stay as long as you like."?

From this distance it seems the council was owed more than "my schedule has gotten complicated" as a reason for not showing up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Again the Blade has noted the possibility of significant layoffs. This time it is over at the hospital. So, I ask again, "If the enrollment is up, what's causing the layoffs?" "What money did we have before that we do not have now?" "How many jobs could be saved by retracting bonuses?" "What are we funding now that we did not fund one year or two years ago" I believe those who are about to lose their jobs deserve an answer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let Them Eat Jake

This is another depiction of Marie Antoinette.  Bloggie is torn between depictions. Which is more suitable? 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The "Let Them Eat Cake" School of Public Relations

One of the most astonishing utterances in past months concerning the University of Toledo was made by UT BOT Chairwoman Olivia Summons.   As quoted in the Sept. 17 Collegian, Summons said, regarding communication between the faculty and the board, "So what you're asking is for us to consider a dotted line to the Board of Trustees.  I am saying that I do not believe this is necessary. We are delegating to the president of this institution, be it Lloyd Jacobs, or his successors."  

So it's Lloyd Jacobs as oracle of the board and the voice of faculty, too (and staff also, for that matter). He must be a happy man to to be so trusted.  This is like having the prosecuting attorney double as your defense attorney, which certainly saves time wasted in testimony, deliberation and examining evidence.  Omniscient Jake.  In Jake We Trust.  Jake, Advocate of the Oppressed! 

Even more astonishing is that Summons is a high level public relations executive for a major oil company in town.  Is this how PR is done these days?   "We can't be talking to no mere underlings. We will delegate."   

Is "LET THEM EAT JAKE" the new motto of the BOT? 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

UT AAUP Brings Home the Bacon

From the latest UT AAUP newsletter:

Family Pigs at the Public Trough
by: Donald K. Wedding 
photo of uhall towerAccording to the Toledo Blade on September 22, 2009, certain members of the Board of Trustees (Szuch, Hussain),  voiced support for President Jacobs' need to pay high salaries and bonuses for the retention of administrators.  Undoubtedly Jacobs enjoys such support from others on the Board of Trustees which tends to be clueless on the true state of affairs at UT. The Board of Trustees does not seem to grasp that the academic excellence of a university is determined by its faculty and students, not by its administrators and their financial gains.
High salaries and bonuses are only part of the payout to the UT administrative elite.  The Jacobs Administration has provided other perks including the hiring of family members of administrators as highly-paid consultants or employees.  The UT-AAUP has sought information on these family hires under the Ohio Public Records Act, but has been stonewalled by the Jacobs Administration.
Tammy Scarborough, wife of VP Scott Scarborough, has been hired as a Senior Accountant on the Health Science Campus. Also, Gordon Haggett, husband of Provost Rosemary Haggett, is employed by the UT Foundation. The UT-AAUP is seeking detailed information including salaries for these hires and others. For example, were the positions newly created? Were the positions posted or advertised? There are many questions, but UT has failed to provide information requested under the Ohio Public Records Act.  UT-AAUP will continue to press for more information.  We also request that persons having information on the above hires and others provide such information to the UT-AAUP in confidence. 

Thomas Gutteridge, Dean of the College of Business Administration (COBA), hired Peter Gold, the brother of Health Science Provost Jeffrey Gold, as a consultant at $5,000 per month for six months for 30 hours per month of his time.  It is not clear what services Gold provided to Gutteridge and the COBA. This contract was apparently not advertised or competed, but merely awarded by Gutteridge to Gold.  The contract is in the form of a letter from Gutteridge to Peter Gold, signed by both. 
Gutteridge and other administrators have expressed concern over the use of the noun pig in the UT-AAUP newsletter. In response, we refer them to Animal Farm by George Orwell, published in 1945. Animal Farm is a perfect caricature of the Jacobs Administration. In the book, the pigs take over the animal farm for their exclusive benefit to the detriment of all others. The piggish UT administrators are running UT for their private benefit and enjoyment including high salaries, bonuses, and the hiring of family members while faculty and staff are being terminated and/or threatened with furloughs.  The State of Ohio and its taxpayers are suffering severe economic hardship.  Meanwhile, back on the farm, the Jacobs Administration continues business as usual.