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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Highlights from the Second LLSS College Council Meeting

The Stoning of St. Davidus

A & S Coun oops, sorry LLSS Council

There was an intriguing discussion at yesterday afternoon’s council meeting. It involved a resolution from an individual member of council about the leadership of a university committee. It essentially voiced a concern that the administrator in charge of this committee was a relative of the president’s and did not have the qualifications, in this case a college degree, to be in charge of a committee that will be slashing budgets for what is now being called the academic enterprise (which apparently excludes the hospital). Most of the council leapt to the defense of this administrator doing their best to act indignant, outraged, sad, and righteous pretty much all at the same time. For the record, I opposed the resolution in the executive committee meeting. Had it come to a vote yesterday I would have opposed it again. Having said this, there are several issues that still need to be addressed.

I am concerned that there is very little academic representation on the committee. As I understand the purpose of this committee the members are recommending major budget cuts. At the very least there should be some CPAs from the College of Business.
One of my outraged council colleagues said we should be discussing more important issues—I believe the makeup of major university committees to be important. However I do believe he is correct that there are other important issues facing us. (See next entry)

The Chair noted that the BOT voted pay increases (bonuses?) to 19 administrators at its December meeting. I assume that has happened because now these fine folks can take furloughs and not be out any real money. It is sort of a paid vacation in advance. The rest of us will be portrayed as ugly union members eating at the public trough during negotiations.

We teach and work at a public institution. Transparency should be in the mission statement. Alas it is not. The whole brouhaha yesterday could have been avoided with a simple response. The taxpayers of this state have a right to know our qualifications for doing what we do and whether the rumor of nepotism is true or not. An individual has been asked repeatedly whether he is related to the President and what are his academic qualifications. Again, for the record, let me state that I really do not care if he is related to the President. And, I only care about his academic qualifications because he is in charge of a committee that will be examining things that will have a direct impact on how I do my job. And, even then I would not care were there more academic representation on the committee. But this is a public university and we need to be forthcoming with information. This could have been solved with a single simple response.

Since I am asking folks about their relations let me state: I am not related to the Tuckers of Tucker Hall, the Tucker automobile, Tucker Carlson or even Forest Tucker. My Ph.D. is from BGSU, August, 1977. Now, wasn't that simple?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The UT Administrative Paradigm

Bonus Babies in the Time of the $100 Million Budget Cut to the Academic Enterprise. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rumors and Questions

I heard on the street that bonuses for the bigshots have once again happened. "All the animals are equal. It is just that some are more equal than others."

What money went into the solar plant in China?

Heard that Provost Gold's brother is working here.

Why has someone with little or no academic background been placed in charge of cutting programs?

Given the unemployment rate in Lucas county, how well is our business incubator working? How much in the way of tax money has gone into this project?

Why do we have to pay consultants to do job searches?

When over 100 people apply for a job, what constitutes "market value?"

The same question applies, only in reverse: when only 10 people apply, why do we pay minimum wage?

I hope all of you are enjoying our solar panel weather here. I understand the sun comes out around April 15th.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lest we forget ...

... in our madcap race to become 'relevant' ...

"History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining... -Martin Luther King, Jr. (speaking on right-to-work laws in 1961).

Please support your AAUP throughout the tough contract negotiations ahead of us. Help us preserve the sacred heart the soul of this public university. Help protect us from a strategic plan that aims without remorse to deliver us into the greedy hands of privatization and corporate thugs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I tried keeping my ear to the ground but it's a little cool for that. However, after putting a glass to the wall we here at the blog have heard a couple of things. Chuck Leonard has been placed in charge of the budget cuts. This is hardly news but the fact there is only one academic on the committee is more than a bit disheartening. If we are an educational institution, then shouldn't the faculty have more real say in how all this comes down? Rumor has it the budget cuts may run as high as 100 million. Along those same lines, the College (?) advising office has lost two advisers in the last year and has not been authorized to replace them. That may tell you all you want to know about how extremely student centered we really are. The President wants Schools but folks have no idea how to put them together. Who runs them? Who's responsible for the curriculum for such schools? Who's responsible for advising students interested in such programs? Will they get to advertise as much as the hospital does? You know, some days it's just not worth gnawing through the restraints.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Ad for the LLSS College

Welcome back!

Here is something a friend of mine put me onto--maybe it will help brighten your return to classes! I thought these were all pretty good, but 2, 5, 8, 11, 13, and 14 seem particularly appropriate for our situation at UT. Hope you enjoy this!

New Words and Definitions from the Mensa Contest

October 21, 2009 @ 4:37 pm › O.
↓ Leave a comment

A correspondent has alerted us to some of the results of the Washington Post‘s Mensa word-challenge:

“The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1.   Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2.   Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an [ a-----e].
3.   Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you  realize it was your money to start with.

4.   Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a  hillbilly.

5.   Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6.   Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about  yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7.   Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
8.   Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
9.   Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these  really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido : All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.”

then click on

New Words and Definitions from the Mensa Contest

New Acronym/Items Found in Hallway

Proper Pronunciation of New College Acronym Overheard in Hallway: "College of Less."  

Three dense spherical metalloid objects found in University Hall third floor hallway. Can anyone identify these?  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Blade Article of Interest (Excerpt)

Article published January 02, 2011
Ties between The Blade, UT should be disclosed

Andrew Jorgensen, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Toledo, is unhappy with the newspaper's Dec. 20 story about ongoing clashes between the faculty and UT President Lloyd Jacobs, primarily over reorganization efforts at the school.

Essentially, President Jacobs is reforming the College of Arts and Sciences into three new, smaller colleges. Many of the faculty aren't happy about that, and are less happy with what they feel is the high-handed way in which he went about it.

"The article did not present a fair, balanced, and appropriately-researched story," said Mr. Jorgensen, a former president of the academic senate. He then lists a number of problems he had with the story. He thought the story wasn't tough enough on President Jacobs, and didn't devote enough space to concerns from groups such as the faculty senate and the arts and sciences council.

The professor had other concerns too, some of them clearly niggling, some not. He would have liked more space given to items such as a resolution passed by the faculty senate, for example.

So, was he right?

Your ombudsman has been a faculty member at Wayne State University for many years, and knows that faculty members and university presidents rarely are completely happy with each other.

As a longtime journalist, I also knows it is somewhere between hard and impossible to write a story about conflicts at a university that would satisfy everyone. I also know that if the newspaper included every detail about internal bureaucratic infighting over what are, essentially, organizational changes, it would put readers to sleep.

But was this story fair?

Having studied it in detail, my conclusion is that writer Christopher Kirkpatrick actually did a fairly balanced job -- though I have a few niggles of my own.

I don't agree with Mr. Jorgenson's apparent perception that the story wasn't tough enough on President Jacobs.

The fourth paragraph had one longtime professor calling the university's leader "a petty tyrant." Other academic voices indicated dismay at which the changes were rammed though in an arrogant, high-handed way that really didn't make them feel part of them.

The story wasn't perfect, however.

The front-page headline "Judge's ruling rekindles fight over reorganization at UT," was misleading. Three days later, the newspaper did publish a correction, noting that the lawsuit, which the faculty union filed to try and block the reorganization, did not "rekindle a fight." The suit had in fact been filed months ago, and a judge had ruled in favor of the university, meaning President Jacobs' reorganization efforts, before the story went to press. The headline on the online edition, "UT president and faculty at odds over academics," is much more accurate.

Professor Jorgenson did raise one concern involving an apparent conflict of interest involving The Blade. "Blade President (and General Manager) Joseph H. Zerbey IV sits on the UT Board of Trustees and is, in fact, chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee … this fact should have been disclosed in the article."

The ombudsman agrees with the professor. When asked, Mr. Kirkpatrick, the staff writer who wrote the story, said his reporting indicated "Mr. Zerbey did not factor into it and did not come up with the changes, [President] Jacobs did."

In any event the story ought to have mentioned the relationship, and the reporter, in my view, should have asked Mr. Zerbey for a comment and included it in this story.

The controversy over the academic reorganization is unlikely to end any time soon.

Dave Murray, Blade managing editor, says the newspaper will continue to cover the story, and that he has asked Mr. Kirkpatrick to seek additional comment from faculty members.