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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A & S Meeting

Well it took several hundred phone calls but Dr. Tinkle has gathered a view of yesterday's public sighting of the dean. Her performance by most accounts was pretty so so. Here are the gathered details. First she was asked about the Confucius Institute. It seems the Chinese government wants to place "institutes" on various college campus around the U.S. Colleges. We were evidently required to apply for the pleasure of having this group on campus. Our Asian Studies faculty did most of the leg work on this. However once the Chinese said yes our faculty were pretty much cut out of any decision-making process and are now more than a touch aggravated. The Dean's response was the make-up of the governing board was three of them and four of us. They had appointed "high ranking officials" as their three members and therefore we appointed three deans and a provost as our representatives. The Dean was unable to explain exactly what "high ranking" meant here. It strikes some that it might have been a good idea to have at least one Asian Studies faculty member on the board. First, they had evidently done most of the work and two it would explain to Chinese administrators that faculty matter here. O, I'm sorry, what a silly statement to make. Also, the Institute was originally supposed to be housed in the Foreign Language Department. However, when Foreign Language asked for resources to make this happen they were told none were available. So we have an institute that the Dean thinks is very important, but an administration that wishes to do this on the cheap and without any questions from the faculty. The Dean made it very apparant that the complaining had to stop or the whole institute deal would go somewhere else. The next A & S meeting will have a panel discussion on the institute. It should be enlightening.

The Dean made a big deal out of making the chairs real managers. She pointed out that the chairs would be given real power when they showed they could handle it. She then used an unidentified department as an example saying that half the faculty had been allowed to submit sabbatical requests. That was evidently not her idea of a chair making the decisions a chair is supposed to make. Now, the problem with this example is that's all the information that was given. Therefore it is difficult to judge if the Dean has given A & S enough information or there are other circumstances. It is entirely possible that the chair abdicated his/her responsibility for this. There may also be real reasons this was done in this fashion by the department. We will wait for "the rest of the story" before passing judgment.

The Dean dropped a little bomb on the A & S crowd near the end of her presentation. Evidently the President wants to meet with the faculty who are up for promotion and tenure. She thought this was a dandy idea. She's wrong. First, it is a probable violation of the contract. There is no "meeting with the Pres." in the process. Second, if they had asked, Henry Moon tried this and stopped it because several lawsuits were threatened. I suggest that anyone wishing tenure or promotion should show up in a lab coat with a stethascope (sp?) around his/her neck.

Finally, the Dean noted there were no resources for hiring but we should look ahead and plan. It has been Dr. Tinkle's experience that there are always resources, just none for what you wish to accomplish. They are available, in this case, for the medical campus. The rest of us get to take a hike.

It was a tragic day around the department. The coffee pot died. Probably all the cigar smoke.


Anonymous said...

Is this a Dean or a parole officer? Sounds more like the latter.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising. And if the deal should fall through, who's fault do you think it will be in the administrations eyes?

If someone could relay the message to Jacobs that, he doesn't have to shout and use his "holier than thou" tone of voice when saying hello to students, it would be much appreciated.

Rickety Rocketeer said...

The UT news actually reported the facts of the former president's attempt to decide the fate of his lessers. Must have slipped through an administrative crack.
As far as the interviews, I'm sure no one will use them as evidence as to the support that faculty members have for the administration. Good thing that no one has a brown nose when looking for a promotion.

Anonymous said...

In forgetting that a university is not a business commanded from above, and in their efforts to further concentrate power, authority, and decision making, haven't our fearless leaders realized where all this will eventually lead to? Will it not lead to a sterile environment free from bold and independent thought and inquiry? How can creativity be nurtured in an environment where everything is given and pronounced from above? Because of such leadership, we may end up with alot of buildings, even alot of cowed faculty and students, but it will not be an institution of higher-education. Instead, it will just all be a stale self-replicating and narcissistic reflection of what our Leader and his few associates think a university should be. My heart breaks.

Anonymous said...

Regarding sabbaticals and the Dean's comment reportedly that there was a department where "half" the faculty had sabbaticals approved. In fact, there were five approved and the department is one of the largest at UT.

More to the point, however, the reason five faculty submitted sabbaticals was because last year only one sabbatical was approved. So, those from last year who were not approved resubmitted sabbaticals this year.

Everyone on this blog who is faculty knows what the sabbatical policy has been at UT for years and how last year's "change" was unprecedented. Everyone can also read the contract language on sabbaticals.

Had the three from last year been approved there would have been three this year. And on a final note, none of the proposals from last year were denied because the proposals were deemed unworthy - they were denied for "financial reasons" at the provost level.