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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Organizational Communication at UT

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Irony

Anonymous said...

Not irony. Commentary.

Anonymous said...

call me a xenophobe...but those aren't North American briefs. Are we now employing pricey European consults? Not a good idea given the exchange rate.

Concerned Alum

St Joan said...

They certainly won't need ironing after this.

Anonymous said...

Are those Jakes undies?....Ewwwwwww!

Smokin' said...

I get it!

"Liar! Liar! ***** ** ****!"

Anonymous said...

That underpants on fire makes me laugh! It reminds me. Now the administration has no clothes! Everyone can see into their hearts. Is this “transparency” finally? By the way. Did you read “The Naked King?” What a story! The king and ministers were full of hypocrisy and arrogance. Like at UT a bit. “Give me a plan to get rid of A&S College!” says the king. “Here’s the plan!” say the ministers. They are scared to death because their plan is full of made up words and nothing makes sense. The king reads the plan. He doesn’t understand it but he doesn’t want his ministers or anyone else to think he is ignorant. “It’s a great plan!” says the king. He signs his name and prints ten thousand copies. Everyone at UT reads the plan. “What a great plan!” they all say. They are scared to death, is why. The king decides to put the plan on the Internet. But nobody is afraid on the Internet. “This plan is full of made up words and doesn’t make sense!” everyone in the world says. They all laugh. The king and his ministers are in trouble with the BOT. They have to flee in small boats in the middle of the night. A storm comes up and sinks all their boats. The next king is wiser.

Anonymous said...

Rush to change! Isn't that how we got into this mess to begin with? Didn't we rush through a merger that has cost us plenty since?

Now we are rushing to change A&S. We are rushing to change the university.

Don't we ever learn?

Anonymous said...

I would wait before proclaiming victory... indeed I think that on the 24th Big Jake will tell us that the College of A&S is kaput, finished, muerto and that we have to welcome those "new transformative sustainable forces that are shaping up our world".
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Anonymous said...

And then afterwards Jake will retire to his farm for a burger and fries, to gaze awestruck at a chicken or two. The coolest of God's creatures.

And then he'll play a round of Grand Theft Gallbladder, thinking about how removing one is about as hard as an A&Sectomy.

Yr humble & obt

John Dickinson.

Anonymous said...

If one were to believe the street literature, our educational system is broken. The Economist, the US News and World Report, The New York Times, etc., supported by the conservative think tanks, American Enterprise Institute and the Goldwater Institute and several books including those by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus and by Taylor, all claim that we had the finest educational system in the world but have lost it.


If that is so, then I would think would identify what changes we have made to our educational system in the past twenty years BEFORE recommending how to fix the system.


The first change that I see is the funding model. The cost of higher education moved from the state coffers to the individual student receiving the education. However, this has been offset by a greater availability of scholarships than ever existed before. The question of how higher education is funded is far more complex now than ever before. But most analysts seem to feel that there is more burden on the individual student.


One can not ignore the growth in administration. Whereas Dean’s offices in past years were the Dean, one Associate Dean, and perhaps two clerical staff, now, Dean’s offices are often larger than the departments served by the Dean. Associate Deans are often assigned to Graduate Programs, Undergraduate Studies, Research Programs, Assessment, Finances, Facilities and a myriad of other tasks. And each Associate Dean has their staff of clerical workers. The staffs of the Provost, the Vice Presidents and the President grew in similar ways. The end results of this are increased salaries and increased bureaucracy.


The Dole-Bayh Act, where universities could now own and sell their research, is yet another change. Universities actively try to protect their “Intellectual Property.” Universities look at research products for the potential to return profits. Some universities have gone an additional step of requiring research projects and publications to be reviewed before publication for the potential of the results to be protected and marketed. The university has essentially become a research institute focused on providing research products from its faculty.


Another factor has been the growth of boutique programs that has little lasting scholarship value but satisfy a perceived political or social need. Many of these are pedagogically unsound, having little for a foundation other than the emotional fervor of the supporting group and waste the educational time of the students who enroll in these courses.

One also has to question the changes to the mission of higher education. Twenty years ago, the mission of higher educational institutions were almost solely directed at delivering an educational product to students. Indeed, the mission was so well understood and accepted that many universities did not publish its mission. Today, we find extensive committee written mission statements that are try to please everybody and underscore the loss of education as the sole mission of the university. Universities then attempt to pursue these non-educational missions in their strategic plans. The result is less time and resources for teaching the student.


Thus the higher educational model today is seen as failing. Students receive a substandard education that does not provide a foundation for future endeavors and what they do receive costs too much. By changing the focus of the university from education to other social/political needs, by increasing the size of the administrations, by creating a research profit center, by reducing state funding for the university, by reducing professor’s time teaching, and by creating boutique programs, the student is being short changed.


Based on my perceptions of what has changed in the Higher Educational System of the United States, I would suggest that none of the so-called fixes will succeed. In fact some of the fixes such as redefining colleges and turning to contingent faculty will make the situation worse.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughtful, well-written and informative post. You have identified many of the changes but neglected some others. For example, you don't mention the impact on PHE of the increased competition for students from for-profit higher education. Also, you don't mention that PHE administrators today are not experienced academics themselves, and why this has come about, and its impacts and implications for preserving the breadth and depth of a traditional liberal arts undergraduate college student experience. Most importantly you do not address the strength and impact of a long-term and concerted attack by neoliberal ideologues on traditional state PHE structures and institutions.

Anonymous said...

Most importantly you do not address the strength and impact of a long-term and concerted attack by neoliberal ideologues on traditional state PHE structures and institutions.

Do you think it possible that the vast neoliberal conspiracy is itself a reaction to the public's lack of interest in funding postmodern bullshit with their tax dollars? I'd say there is a very strong connection.

If we think the public owes us their hard earned dollars so we can teach their kids that America is racist, TV is as good as Shakespeare, and victims deserve their own Studies, we wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yr humble & obt

John Dickinson.

Anonymous said...

Your comments on for profit higher education are welcome. This is also a change in the last twenty years to higher education in the United States.

There were a number of changes that I could not mention as the limit for posting is 4096 characters. However, I mentioned the ones that I thought had the most impact.

I also hope that others contribute as well. Understanding the forces which have lead to the shape that we are in is critical to identifying strategies to improve academia.

It is clear that we do not have control over many of the changes imposed on us. However, we can address those that we do have control over.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me another case of lies:

I was wondering why UT wasn't bragging about its enrollment figures like that have in past years.

The Blade says that UT's enrollment is down 416 students or 9.5%. Furthermore it claims this was planned!

I don't remember anyone saying at the end of Spring Semester that they were planning for a loss in enrollment! I don't have the assumptions that were used for the budget, (maybe someone else does,) but I seem to remember that enrollments were expected to be up!

If someone said our enrollments would be down 9+%, I think that we would have remembered that.

Anonymous said...

Freshman enrollment is down 9.5 percent. Overall enrollment is flat. Please, let's not start using phrases like "enrollment is down 9.5 percent" when the admin can easily point out that isn't true.

Please see: http://toledoblade.com/article/20100908/NEWS04/9070357

There is so much the administration is doing wrong and by advancing incorrect information it makes it that much easier for the admin to dismiss faculty concerns.

Anonymous said...

I love comment No. 15. You all are such idiots! Did you even read the Blade story? You all have such hard-ons to yell at the administration you gladly embrace false or incomplete information to sell your chosen narrative.

You look ignorant and moronic when you argue enrollment is down 9.5 percent. How can you possibly educate anyone when you are so completely uninformed on basic facts that are easily and widely accessible to anyone who can read!?

Maybe this is why A & S needs broken up... you clearly house idiots!

Anonymous said...

Hey, what's enrollment at? Is it down 9.5 percent?

Anonymous said...

Is it the official position of A & S that enrollment dropped 9.5 percent? Please say it is. It's like playing baseball with a beach ball with you people.

Anonymous said...

You'll just ignore it, right? Assume no one will read your comments section and that the fact you approved a comment with a moronic factual error will be forgotten? It won't. I'm pretty sure people will be aware A & S Council's position is enrollment is down 9.5 percent.

Anonymous said...

From the Blade: "Its incoming class this year of first-time adult students and freshmen fell to 3,955 from 4,371 last year, or 9.5 percent."

Is it the A & S Council position that UT has only 3955 students? And that we only had about 4,400 last year? Cause I thought we had more than 20,000. Hell, doesn't A & S have nearly 3955 students all by itself?

Anonymous said...

I found a link to quote from Rush Limbaugh saying higher education is bloated. Thought you might wanna post that to match the other right-wing sources you've been highlighting. Whom should I send it to to get posted in red on the side?

Anonymous said...

That's it? No snappy comeback from Brian, er, Bloggie about how I'm spinning and shilling for the administration and my numbers are a lie and your 9.5 percent number is real?

Anonymous said...

"Freshman enrollment is down 9.5 percent. Overall enrollment is flat. Please, let's not start using phrases like "enrollment is down 9.5 percent" when the admin can easily point out that isn't true.

Please see: http://toledoblade.com/article/20100908/NEWS04/9070357

There is so much the administration is doing wrong and by advancing incorrect information it makes it that much easier for the admin to dismiss faculty concerns."


Which I see they have been happy to do. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Re John Dickinson

John, you are absolutely correct in saying:

"Do you think it possible that the vast neoliberal conspiracy is itself a reaction to the public's lack of interest in funding postmodern bullshit with their tax dollars? I'd say there is a very strong connection.

If we think the public owes us their hard earned dollars so we can teach their kids that America is racist, TV is as good as Shakespeare, and victims deserve their own Studies, we wrong, wrong, wrong."

Right-on, John.

Just as the UAW and other unions try to blame the demise of the Big 3 automakers entirely on management (who are indeed largely, but by no means entirely to blame for the collapse of the American auto industry) the AAUP and college professors refuse to accept responsibility for their own central role in the demise of higher ed and liberal arts education -- through the self-serving abuses of faculty tenure, the dumbing-down of the curriculum and academic standards, refusal to be accountable for faculty incompetence and misconduct and dismal student academic outcomes, propagation of corrosive campus and academic political correctness, "postmodern bullshit" etc. etc.

The professoriate has smugly thumbed their noses at the public and the countless serious warnings of critics for decades and now that they have finally killed the goose that has laid so many beautiful golden academic eggs for them for so long and reality has finally come to the academy and the game is over – the professoriate reacts with shock, indignation and outrage and points accusing fingers at the “right wing” and “neo-liberals.”

How very, very sad it had to come to this.

Anonymous said...

OK, The Blade article did say enrollment is down 9.5% … “incoming class this year of first-time adult students and freshmen”. Commenter #15 is incorrect in that whoever it was left out an important set of modifiers.

No one said that commenter was speaking for the A&S Council! The A&S Council has people that are more than willing to speak out for it and sign their names if needed.

I find it very interesting that there are a number of people that immediately jump on #15 without stating the true error made, willing to call that person names, and willing to try to impose that person’s error on the whole of A&S Council. Because of the nature of this blog, there is no guarantee that that person is even a member of the A&S Council. For all I know, it could be some highly paid administrator intentional trying to stir up trouble with first posting an error and then acting like they are so righteous in correcting it!

I think that the error should be corrected but this can be done in a manner that is factual (Anon 7:56 did that by quoting the Blade article) but I also think that name calling and trying to assert positions of groups in this matter is abhorrent and bespeaks volumes more about the character of the of those giving the critiques.

Anonymous said...

I am "Anon #15" that wrote the incorrect statememt.

I apologize for the error. I had read the article earlier in the day but did not have access to the article when I wrote the post from my home. I clearly am in error and I regret the storm that I created. I am not a member of the A&S Council and my comment should not be considered as a statement from the A&S Council.


However, I do not remember anyone stating in the Spring that Freshman enrollments would be down by 400+ students. Therefore, I do not believe that it was planned and that people are rewriting history.

Anonymous said...

Do you work for Stupid Inc.? I bet we do:
http://www.bnet.com/blog/tribal/do-you-work-for-stupid-inc/168?promo=713&tag=nl.e713

Anonymous said...

substantive posts on the main page have been lacking...are the site gate-keepers busy teaching or something?

Anonymous said...

Most organizations are so incompetent that they’re best described as flat-out stupid. Does this label apply to the place where you work? Take the Logan Organizational Stupidity Exam (LOSE) and find out. Every time you say “Yep, that’s where I work,” give your company a point.

1. In the last five years, at least one senior manager has sent out many copies of a small business book with big type and a catchy title that is painfully devoid of thought. Now, some business books are of value. I visited a company recently where the CEO sent all employees a copy of The Essential Bennis — the antithesis of the bad business book I ranted about a couple of posts ago. He asked people to read it carefully and with personal reflection. Not surprisingly, that company is doing well. Replace Bennis’s great book with any text about cheese, and you’re at Stupid Inc.

Bonus: In a related move, if people boast about having attention deficit disorder, give your company a bonus point. Stupid thrives when people brag about not being able to have complex conversations.

2. When someone at the top royally screws up, it’s never discussed, but when someone lower down makes a mistake, it’s fodder for endless root cause analysis. Stupid is most incapacitating at the top.

3. Every executive speech follows this format: things were bad when I took over, I’ve worked hard to turn it around, and now the future is rosy. This statement is stupid for two reasons: (1) it repels any lessons from the prior regime other than it was incompetent, and (2) focuses on the action of the leader rather than the group. “I,” “me,” and “my” talk is a sure sign of organizational stupidity, and an inability to think past the tenure of the current leaders is a sign that the stupidity is here it stay.

Bonus: If the executives routinely use “we” instead of “I” but clearly mean themselves, give your company two stupid points instead of just one.

4. Organizational learning is seen as nirvana. With deep respect for the pioneers of organizational learning, my two year old learns a new word every day and recently figured out how to work my iPod. Learning is simply a prerequisite to thinking, and organizational thought (mass innovation) is the real key to growth. If your company aspires only to do what a two year old does naturally, it’s high on the stupid scale.

5. Managers follow standard HR advice and get in trouble if they don’t. This advice includes:

Hire for skills, not for values. Standardize interview questions to drive out any chance you might actually get to know the person.
Give out salary increases to people according to a bell-shaped curve, telling people that an extra 1% is proof that they are deeply, deeply valued.
Measure employees against pre-determined criteria rather than other results they produced. We don’t want our employees distracted by opportunities we didn’t plan for.
Bonus: The need to hew blindly to HR advice makes for a nifty-looking employee handbook that will be blessed by corporate counsel. And that will make stupid spread like misquotes in summer. If you have this handbook on your bookshelf or accessible over your intranet, give your company an extra point.

Scoring:

Organizational stupidity is more than fodder for Dilbert cartoons. It’s the reason our country is lagging behind in competitiveness and why American wages are declining. If your company scored 4+, the place you work is part of the problem.

Do you work for Stupid Inc.? If so, please tell us about it (no names, please) in the comments below.

Anonymous said...

Most organizations are so incompetent that they’re best described as flat-out stupid. Does this label apply to the place where you work? Take the Logan Organizational Stupidity Exam (LOSE) and find out. Every time you say “Yep, that’s where I work,” give your company a point.

1. In the last five years, at least one senior manager has sent out many copies of a small business book with big type and a catchy title that is painfully devoid of thought. Now, some business books are of value. I visited a company recently where the CEO sent all employees a copy of The Essential Bennis — the antithesis of the bad business book I ranted about a couple of posts ago. He asked people to read it carefully and with personal reflection. Not surprisingly, that company is doing well. Replace Bennis’s great book with any text about cheese, and you’re at Stupid Inc.

Bonus: In a related move, if people boast about having attention deficit disorder, give your company a bonus point. Stupid thrives when people brag about not being able to have complex conversations.

2. When someone at the top royally screws up, it’s never discussed, but when someone lower down makes a mistake, it’s fodder for endless root cause analysis. Stupid is most incapacitating at the top.

Anonymous said...

3. Every executive speech follows this format: things were bad when I took over, I’ve worked hard to turn it around, and now the future is rosy. This statement is stupid for two reasons: (1) it repels any lessons from the prior regime other than it was incompetent, and (2) focuses on the action of the leader rather than the group. “I,” “me,” and “my” talk is a sure sign of organizational stupidity, and an inability to think past the tenure of the current leaders is a sign that the stupidity is here it stay.

Bonus: If the executives routinely use “we” instead of “I” but clearly mean themselves, give your company two stupid points instead of just one.

4. Organizational learning is seen as nirvana. With deep respect for the pioneers of organizational learning, my two year old learns a new word every day and recently figured out how to work my iPod. Learning is simply a prerequisite to thinking, and organizational thought (mass innovation) is the real key to growth. If your company aspires only to do what a two year old does naturally, it’s high on the stupid scale.

5. Managers follow standard HR advice and get in trouble if they don’t. This advice includes:

Hire for skills, not for values. Standardize interview questions to drive out any chance you might actually get to know the person.
Give out salary increases to people according to a bell-shaped curve, telling people that an extra 1% is proof that they are deeply, deeply valued.
Measure employees against pre-determined criteria rather than other results they produced. We don’t want our employees distracted by opportunities we didn’t plan for.
Bonus: The need to hew blindly to HR advice makes for a nifty-looking employee handbook that will be blessed by corporate counsel. And that will make stupid spread like misquotes in summer. If you have this handbook on your bookshelf or accessible over your intranet, give your company an extra point.

Scoring:

Organizational stupidity is more than fodder for Dilbert cartoons. It’s the reason our country is lagging behind in competitiveness and why American wages are declining. If your company scored 4+, the place you work is part of the problem.

Do you work for Stupid Inc.? If so, please tell us about it (no names, please) in the comments below.

Anonymous said...

3. Every executive speech follows this format: things were bad when I took over, I’ve worked hard to turn it around, and now the future is rosy. This statement is stupid for two reasons: (1) it repels any lessons from the prior regime other than it was incompetent, and (2) focuses on the action of the leader rather than the group. “I,” “me,” and “my” talk is a sure sign of organizational stupidity, and an inability to think past the tenure of the current leaders is a sign that the stupidity is here it stay.

Bonus: If the executives routinely use “we” instead of “I” but clearly mean themselves, give your company two stupid points instead of just one.

4. Organizational learning is seen as nirvana. With deep respect for the pioneers of organizational learning, my two year old learns a new word every day and recently figured out how to work my iPod. Learning is simply a prerequisite to thinking, and organizational thought (mass innovation) is the real key to growth. If your company aspires only to do what a two year old does naturally, it’s high on the stupid scale.

Anonymous said...

5. Managers follow standard HR advice and get in trouble if they don’t. This advice includes:

Hire for skills, not for values. Standardize interview questions to drive out any chance you might actually get to know the person.
Give out salary increases to people according to a bell-shaped curve, telling people that an extra 1% is proof that they are deeply, deeply valued.
Measure employees against pre-determined criteria rather than other results they produced. We don’t want our employees distracted by opportunities we didn’t plan for.
Bonus: The need to hew blindly to HR advice makes for a nifty-looking employee handbook that will be blessed by corporate counsel. And that will make stupid spread like misquotes in summer. If you have this handbook on your bookshelf or accessible over your intranet, give your company an extra point.

Scoring:

Organizational stupidity is more than fodder for Dilbert cartoons. It’s the reason our country is lagging behind in competitiveness and why American wages are declining. If your company scored 4+, the place you work is part of the problem.

Do you work for Stupid Inc.? If so, please tell us about it (no names, please) in the comments below.

Anonymous said...

Hi, you blog is intriquing. We'd love to hear more from you and your readers on our website and blog. www.highereducationquestionmark.com

Best, Claudia Dreifus
co-author with Andrew Hacker of
"Higher Education?"

Reed Mybook said...

Great. Now Calvin and Hobbes chime in. I have read their book. They argue that universities serious about practicing good stewardship in support of their academic missions should divest themselves of their medical schools. Suggest that at the next Jacobs Town Hall meeting if you care to hear a pin drop.

Anonymous said...

"The travesty of high tuition is that most of the extra charges aren't going for education. Administrators, athletics and amenities get funded, while history departments are denied new assistant professors. A whole generation of young Americans is being shortchanged, largely by adults who have carved out good careers in places we call colleges."
This is the last paragraph from the interesting op-ed piece written on the LA Times by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus.
Read it here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-dreifushacker-college-cost-20100912,0,6821452.story

And by the way, if Andrew and Claudia will write another book on the subject or plan to update the one they have written I invite her to include the disaster at UT as further evidence that medical school should stay separated from a university.

Anonymous said...

the hospital subsidizes the the university

Anonymous said...

What the previous post meant to say was that the hospital subsidizes the College of Medicine.

Anonymous said...

Correct. Would you rather that money come out of the money that otherwise goes to other colleges?

Anonymous said...

Last commenter raises all sorts of red flags!

1) What is the transfer of the hospital to the Medical School?
2) What are the limits on the expenditures from these funds?
3) Is the hospital in transferring fund unable to be a better hospital?
( If you go to

http://ohiohospitalcompare.ohio.gov/HospitalMeasuresQualityComparison.aspx

and look at patient satisfaction, UTMC has the worst in Lucas County!)

4) Are the funds being controlled and budgeted like the funds budgeted to other colleges on campus?

I do not have answers to any of these questions. Because of the lack of transparency of this administration, I can not trust the answers that they give because I can not independently check their answers.

And so now we have yet another cause of mistrust!

Anonymous said...

doctoral-level reasoning number forty-one

St Joan said...

This is exactly what happened to me! People sat around discussing the finer points of visitations, and nobody thought to go get a bucket of water! 42 comments! Must be a record.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine was not feeling well. Kept going to the emergency room there. They kept telling him there was nothing wrong with him. He went to Toledo and they discoverd he had a rather serious blood clot. They treated him and he is fine.

Anonymous said...

Shortly after the merger, I did go to UTMC for a condition. I was having a severe shortage of breath and I had a fever. I couln't get past the emergency room: I signed in and sat there for two hours. Then I left and went to Flower Hospital. Within ten minutes of arrriving I was seeing a doctor and within thirty minutes, he had me on an IV with antibiotics and a mask with oxygen. I think I could have died at UTMC before I would have seen a doctor. Never again!

Anonymous said...

I had an aunt, who's husband's sister's friend knew a couple who's stepdaughter's father's brother heard from the man who cleaned his pool that his mother-in-law went to UTMC once and it was bad.

Anonymous said...

I'm uncomfortable with efforts to knock our colleagues over at UTMC especially when their in contract negotiations. They need our support not attacks. You may think you're just attacking administrator but you're attacking the people who provide the real care, the nurses and technicians.

Anonymous said...

I don't think complaints about conditions at UTMC is a knock to our colleagues but rather a criticism of the same administration that is getting rich on the backs of the people that they lay off. Consider this: when UTMC published there great results with the JACO (I hope this is the right acronym) inspection, they almost immediately laid off quite a few of the staff that helped them achieve that outcome. I believe that the hospital probably has suffered worse than the academic side with this administration. However, they do not have nearly the freedom of speech to say so as we do as they do not hold tenure and they are in a very autocratic form of management. Our colleagues at UTMC clearly work hard and are dedicated to their callings. But they are understaffed and micro-managed to the point where they may have difficulties being as effective as they want to be.