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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Paranoid?? Me??

Some have asked that this blog attempt to explain what's going on to those who are "not in the know." I don't know how to break this to everyone, but I'm generally the last person to know much about anything. However, as you all know, lack of the knowledge has never stopped me. So, here is the take of someone who admits to being looped, sorry out of the loop, about the goings on. I have been here for 23 years and been in higher education for 31 years. I have watched shenanigans from McComas to Jacobs and dare to say this is the most spin I have ever experienced. That scares me. Allow me please to explain. When an organization spends as much time and effort (round tables, transformative force, etc.) as this one has and it results in as little as this represents so far, I keep waiting for what's really going on. When an organization blames a faculty union for wanting its rightful role in reorganization and refers to the faculty as standing in the way of progress I keep waiting for what's really going on. Anyone who believes that this modest reorganization is in any way transformative or sets new trends in higher education is nuttier than a fruitcake. So again, there must be more. The question is what constitutes more. There are several possibilities some of which have already been listed by readers of the blog. The first of those is divide and conquer. There is some plausibility to this argument because more layers of bureaucracy have been created between upper administration and the rest of us. Shared governance then becomes more difficult because you have a variety of voices rather than one council. It also makes threats more real because you are part of a much smaller entity. Along these same lines, there is supposed to be another committee that will analyze all of the departments and programs that were a part of the old college. The goal is to see who best fits with whom. Actually the goal will probably entail decisions on downsizing. Remember, you already have a smaller college so you have less power to prevent whatever they think should be done to you. Also please examine next year's projected budget problems and this piece of paranoia actually makes some sense.

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.


Anonymous said...

The following interesting item appeared in our "Google News for 'Higher Education Ohio'" sidebar this morning, but is no longer there:

"ASU online education partner chaired by former system president"

This news item deserves close scrutiny by readers of this blog for discussion purposes because it focuses on some remarkable ongoing machinations at ASU involving that corporation formerly known as "Higer Education Holdings" (and now renamed "Academic Partnerships").

For us, I think, any shenanigans now occurring at Arizona State University between their administration and Academic Partnerships may foreshadow events soon to occur at University of Toledo. ASU events can serve as a canary in the coal mine for us here at UT.

Anonymous said...

You know this is really the perfect subject for a "Downfall" rant video! Can someone put it on Youtube?

Anonymous said...

ANON 5:40

Ausgezeichnet! Es ist ein Befehl!

Thank you for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

So did any notice that 1.5% across the board cut won't be reinstated if the state comes through with the delayed payement, but rather re-directed to "strategic iniatives"?

They will do anything and use anything as an excuse to cut funding for education and re-direct it towards cororate welfare in the name of economic development.

Also, did anyone notice the coverage the Blade gave to the AAUP legal action? It was buried on the obit page. Then again, UT and Blocks have a shared hatred for organized labor.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I really think that is the issue. This administration and board have no faith in public higher education. I would not be surprised to learn that a consortium of outside business interests engineered this whole thing and continue to pull the strings.

Anonymous said...

Will try this again, you can download the faculty rant video here:

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Anonymous said...

Let's see. . .

The Transformative Change mumbo jumbo.
The Relevant University blurt
The spasm of Market Smart/Mission Centeredness
Then the need for civility
And of course the roundtable's interminable meetings
And the rituals of Stategery Oganization Committee
and now the Reorganization by Fiat

Am I leaving anything out? What next week? A dance number perhaps? But then we've been doing the Hokey-Pokey all along!

Anonymous said...

Please delete my link to mediafire that I posted. I don't think it will help matters.

Anonymous said...

Some University Presidents are actually supporting the humanities. What a novel idea. This is what top tier universities do I guess. What do we do?

Anonymous said...

Well, with the Kasich win, all bets are off. How will he affect higher education in Ohio? Draconian cuts? Radical privatization? Sharp rises in tuition? One thing I read, he seems to hate overpaid administrators. Anyway, I feel a "re-calibration of the re-calibration" coming on!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:53 and 7:33,

Other than violating Godwin's Law and making me permanently colorblind, I thought it was pretty funny.

After all, it compares Jake to a world-historical leader. What's not to like?

Yr humble & obt

John Dickinson.