Monday, December 20, 2010
b. The committee decides to hire an outside consulting firm to assess the situation. This means more cuts at UT to pay the members of the consulting firm--per person, more money for a week than most faculty make in a month.
c. The committee decides to change not just the faulty bulb, but all the bulbs at UT! This involves changing them around and renaming them in the process! Forget the cost! Why bother figuring that out? ! Some that have served faithfully for years, truly illuminating UT, are pitched out, and the ones with a slightly brownish tinge are relocated to the best, most glorious sites.
d. This leaves UT in the dark--which the administration likes very much, but which the faculty rightly see as profoundly dangerous, and call the leader on it. The leader sheds crocodile tears about being grieved that it has come this far--not because his actions endanger UT and threaten to leave it in a shambles, but because the faculty had the audacity to call him on his 'misbehavior.' And, amazingly, he manages to convince a court judge that what he did was right--as people at UT stumble around in the darkness he left them in.
e. Actually, just skip all that stuff above--why bother changing the light bulb at all? The more UT is kept in the dark, the better the administration likes it.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Please allow me to use the above as a metaphor regarding our present position. The injunction has been denied. While this does not mean the law suit will fail, it is important that we understand where we as faculty are, and what is important to us now versus what may be important to collective bargaining in the future. Please don't read this as diminishing the importance of legal action when the CBA seems to have been challenged. However, as readers of this blog know, I have long been of the opinion that organization means relatively little in terms of outcomes. If you have the right people, the organization works. If you have the wrong people, it doesn't. Treating reorganization as either a silver bullet or a deadly one is wrong and pretty much a waste of time and resources. While I believe this administration has made a hash out of the process, it has really amounted to a smokescreen that has blinded us to more important issues.
There is a financial reckoning (here comes the train) about to occur January 1st when our new Governor takes office. It is unlikely that he will agree with the present system of financing higher education in Ohio. We need to insist on a transparent University budget. We are all taxpayers and should have access to public information. Also, we need to insist on real input in terms of who gets resources and who does not. Make no mistake, there will be cuts. It is our job to see that these take place with our students first and foremost in everyone's mind.
Speaking of our students, that brings me to a second and even more important issue. What constitutes a quality university level education? This has not been addressed. STEMM departments have gotten resources while the rest of us are told to do more with less. With the number of graduates produced each year by the great unwashed departments, I would suggest that we are every bit as much a part of that great economic engine so often referred to in PR releases as anyone else. In addition, here at the University of Extreme Student Centeredness, we continue to increase class size, as well as the number of visiting assistant professors and part-time instructors. This is not meant to slam those groups, but they are here for three years and sometimes fewer than that. While some part-times have been here forever (without a raise) most come and go. At a University that has been discussing an undergraduate research requirement, how do these two match. Research means tenure and tenure track faculty--and not just in STEMM departments.
The final item for today is assessment. This almost invariably has to do with me deriving a number for the sake of outside evaluators (read as Higher Learning Commission). First I tell the student what outcomes he/she should gain from the class. These must appear on my syllabus. Then, I have to show whether or not the students actually achieved said outcomes. For years I thought these were called grades, but no I'm wrong. I have to specifically show which questions and assignments dealt with which outcome and how well everyone did or did not do and hence show whether my class was successful. Implied here is whether I was good at my job. More and more legislatures, administrators and bureaucracies in general want a number, a metric if you will. Former Bush Secretary of Education Spellings thought you should be able to place a number next to every college and university in the country so that parents would "know" where the best value was for their child. I won't begin to explain the absurdity of it all. The problem is we must address this in some formal way. I was in a meeting where it was stated that the Higher Learning Commission eventually wants us to follow our graduates so that we can assess whether our curriculum has been successful or not. So let me make this as simple as possible. The department curriculum and I have a student for 43 hours of classes over a period that usually ranges from four to six years. The world has him/her the rest of the time. Then, five years down the road my curriculum and I are going to be held hostage to the responses (probably non random) from these former students. To believe that such results will have any validity is nonsense. There has been little statewide or national movement to tell the Higher Learning Commission, legislatures and others what a grand wast of time and effort this is. There has been little movement to tell others that learning is a two-way street and that despite my best efforts some students refuse to come to class, do the reading or even consider the subject matter. And yet, I am going to be held responsible. Excuse me, but I think I hear a train.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Our professional colleague, Lauri Essig, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Middlebury, reminds of the importance of blogging for democracy.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This leads into the second issue--the budget. Remember the good old days when one could actually see the budget in the library? Now you have to know exactly what you want and then request that. Perhaps the Gods will then condescend to send you some of it. As a taxpaying citizen of the great state of Ohio (I also vote--early and often) I believe I should have access to how the money is being dispersed by our administration. The budget issue is a bit like reading the Bible back in the middle ages. If you could not read you had to trust those, the priests, who could about the content of what was in the Bible. That practice helped lead to the Reformation. Today, we are supposed to trust those who have access and therefore can read the budget as to what is in the budget. I have no idea where that will lead.
The third explanation we received is that the reorganization is going to make programs more visible and hence help our students. We as faculty need to understand what a wonderful thing this is and merely shut up and accept it. I guess the administration doesn't think much of programs in HHS because, following this logic, they are about to become less visible because they are being merged. What's good in one case must not work in the other. It has been my experience that what benefits students is access to good faculty and good facilities. The actual organization rarely affects them.
Downsizing, the budget, and shared governance are my initial three. There are undoubtedly other reasons behind the reorganization but this is enough paranoia for one entry.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Perhaps someone can explain this. I heard the BOT passed a resolution that allows them to toss cash into an employee's tax free account without really having to call it a raise or tell many of us that they're doing this. Sounds like a great way for someone to claim that they too are taking the financial hit the rest of us will be asked to take while the BOT tosses them some extra cash. I'm just asking for a little guidance here. Afterall, I am a taxpayer and would like to know how my money is being spent. Along those same lines, it would sure be nice if the budget were back in the library. Again, as a taxpayer, why do I not have the right to see the entire budget for a state institution? All I ask is a little guidance.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Newspeak move over! You can't make this stuff up:
. . . President Lloyd Jacobs said the proposed plan will build synergy and creativity and is a student-centered plan for a student-centered university.
“If we do this, the synergy I believe is great,” he said. “The energy will make it worth it. The creativity will make it worth it. The ability to hear voices in the organization will make it worth it.”
Friday, October 8, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
She also discovered that the athletics program's share of the fee money was greater than the program's level of importance to the students.
Her findings are part of a growing body of academic research and writing about higher-education finances, including the use of student fees for athletics and other purposes. She says she believes that in today's tough economic environment, people throughout academia are seeking greater accountability from schools.
"Students are more interested in knowing where their money is going because costs are on the rise," she says. "It's difficult to find the money to go to college."
While she found that a little more than 90% of the 760 full-time undergraduate, graduate or professional students who agreed to participate in her survey were aware that they paid a "general fee" over and above their tuition payment, most were clueless that their fee money went toward the athletics department and cheerleading.
Through three separate fee allocations — athletics and cheerleading; the Glass Bowl stadium, and the football program's Larimer Athletic Complex — Toledo athletics received nearly half of the $19.9 million in general fee money the school distributed in 2007-08, Ott found.
Only one in four students in Ott's survey knew athletics and cheerleading received funding vs. nearly half who knew the recreation center and student union did. Fewer than one in three knew a portion of the fee money went toward the Glass Bowl, where Toledo plays home football games, and a little more than 1 in 10 knew it went toward the Larimer facility.
"Students didn't think their money went towards athletics and cheerleading — when actually that's where the majority of the general fee dollars went. So that was a really big surprise for me," said Ott, now associate director of the loan program at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. The students "rated the rec center as the No. 1 (beneficiary) when actually it was athletics."
When asked to indicate the importance of 22 fee-funded organizations and activities, students put the recreation center at the top of the list and athletics near the bottom. Respondents rated each organization and activity as not important, neutral or important. The recreation center had the greatest percentage rating it as important (70%).
None of the three athletics-related fee recipients was rated as important by more than 21% of respondents; 16 other organizations or activities were rated as important by a greater percentage.
It is difficult to know whether Ott's findings can be extrapolated nationally. Her thesis adviser David Meabon, director of Toledo's Russel Center for Educational Leadership, has launched a four-part national survey that will include a study of the "collection, allocation and expenditure of student activity fees," he says. He says he has surveyed about 800 schools and hopes to publish his initial findings by November.
"We're in a major financial crisis in higher education. I call it the backdoor tuition increase," Meabon says. "For many people, this is a hidden tuition fee or cost — and a backdoor way to fund institutional activities."
The hidden cost of athletics in college education also was explored in a study published in April 2010 by Matthew Denhart and Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, a Washington, D.C.-based research group. Among the findings: NCAA Bowl Subdivision schools with less-affluent student populations, as measured by the percentage of students receiving need-based federal money called Pell Grants, are providing athletics programs relatively large subsidies. That money comes through forms of institutional or government support — which Denhart and Vedder describe as a diversion of financial resources from "traditional academic purposes" — and/or student fees.
Denhart and Vetter found that of the 11 FBS conferences, the four with the highest percentages of students receiving Pell Grants were Conference USA, the Western Athletic, the Sun Belt and the Mid-American. Those four conferences also have the second- through fifth-highest athletics subsidy rates (the Mountain West has the highest subsidy rate and the No. 7 Pell Grant recipient rate).
"Those who can most afford to pay a subsidy tax actually pay the smallest amount," Denhart says. "Those who can least afford it pay the most."
Monday, September 20, 2010
Note that Dean McClelland is said to have presented this plan to President Jacobs this morning. Further note that Year One calls for the abolition of Arts and Sciences Council (the Vengance of Jake?); Year Two calls for the absorption of the Education College (where will poor Tom Brady lay his head?); and Year Three adds certain Engineering Departments.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
As to the Strategic Plan I get the feeling that this university does not value what I do. I teach communication. That does not generally result in patents or new drug therapies. Since we do not raise money but merely "teach" the view seems to be that anyone can do this. When I finally retire, I imagine they will search the zoo for my replacement (see trained seals). Universities are more than just the search for patents and money. They can lead students in many exciting directions. (My pediatrician while growing up was a Harvard graduate in English Lit.) This administration seems to think it can picture the future; and, it's a picture without most of us in it.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
- Analyses of administrative rhetoric, themes, equivocations, techniques, either by methods of textual analysis or quantitative content analysis or by other means.
- Econometric studies
- Political Economy
- Comparative analyses
- Case studies
- Ethnomethodological or participant-observer studies
- Literature reviews
- Effects research
- Nomothetic or historical analyses
- Ritual, religious studies or anthropological-based approaches
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education
Read Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education here
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
1. What will A & S look like at this time next year? (This is an annual question.)
2. Will I be located in the College of Post Apocalyptic Annihilation?
3. Will I be in the School of Flim Flam?
4. Will they just come and carry me away?
5. Will this year's buzzwords be "retention" or "undergraduate research"?
6. Will negotiations go the way they always go? (This means we will work next year without a contract.)
7. Will the Committee of 12 make public appearances?
8. Will the University continue to add administrators?
9. Will the State of Ohio pay faculty in IOUs while paying administrators in cash?
These are just a few of the happy thoughts accumulated over the summer. Have a great Fall.