Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Heard on the Mall

So you wonder where all the money's gone? After extensive investigation, a little bribery and several shots of bathtub gin we don't have a clue either. However, with our ear to the muddy ground we did pick up this rumor. The University does not pay property tax, but each year must apply for a waiver to avoid doing so. This year the waiver was not applied for, and then to top it off, someone actually sent payment in to the city totalling around two million dollars. The University is now trying to get its money back. I personally hope this rumor is wrong. Two million is a lot of bucks for those of us not receiving bonuses.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Union Rally

Congratulations to all those who showed up for the union rally. It is too bad that only one BOT member actually showed up and spoke. The rest avoided coming out and explaining to their employees what on God's green earth is going on here. This great economic engine of northwest Ohio seems intent on outsourcing decent paying jobs while giving themselves bonuses. They seem intent on outsourcing the faculty as well. They'll just put it all on the computer and then they won't need all those nasty union faculty. If they work this right all they'll need will be 2500 vice presidents and a bunch of computer stations in the library where they used to have books. I am willing to bet lunch on two things: first, the budget will have increased over what it is today and, two, the education won't be worth a dime.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Save UT" / "Shame on U" Rally!

"We are being buried
beneath the avalanche of your inadequacies!"
Time and Location:
Centennial Mall, Steps of the Student Union
Monday, March 21, "Noon till One"
(and then some?)
Feel free to "cut out and wear" this funky
"'V' for Vendetta" mask if you are shy --
or just to enliven and enhance
your surreal rally experience!
Bring your Facebook friends!
Bring drums to bang!
Cymbals to clang!
& Horns to
blaze away!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Senate Bill 5

Senate Bill 5 has now passed the Ohio Senate and moves on the House. Basing its language on the Yeshiva Decision it states:

"any faculty who, individually or through a faculty senate, or like organization, participate in the governance of the institution, are involved in personnel decisions, selection or review of administrators, planning and use of physical resources, budget preparation, and determination of educational policies related to admissions, curriculum, subject matter, and methods of instruction and research, are managment level employees."

We have all just been promoted to management. There is a requirement that we do service here at the university. Our participation in personnel decisions even at the department level makes us managment. Our involvement in curriculum makes us management. What the legislature has done is give us a Hobson's choice. We can remain in the union and do nothing toward service, have no control over our curriculum, and not serve on any committees at all or leave the union, watch it get decertified and have no bargaining power whatsoever. Needless to say we have a university president who thinks the bill is just dandy. For those of us who remember the years in which we received no raises, this represents an awful choice. We did not create the problems of this institution. We have little to no control over how the money is spent either here or at the state level. We have been become the fall guys and gals for the failures of our university president, the state legislature and the governor.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Core Competencies?

As I stare over the new UT Core Experience that Dr. Pryor has placed before the BOT, I am reminded of the traveler in Ireland who asked directions of a local. The response was, “If I wanted to go there, I would not start out from here.” The “here” in this case is what appears to be the unalterable belief in the goodness of technology for the education of our students. Let me add another cliché to the mix: “You can lead a student to an education, but you can’t make them think.” No matter how you package whatever it is you are putting together, it is still incumbent on the student to work at it. We seem to treat all our educational problems as if technology will solve them by, as one administrator is supposed to have said, “Putting teaching back in the classroom.” Please allow me several comments:

1.) I have no idea where teaching supposedly went or how exactly technology is going to bring it back
2.) While the audience may assume I am Luddite by nature, this does not mean that I fail to use the available technology. I teach on-line and have used computers and the Internet in classrooms for some time now. It makes for a certain convenience but not necessarily for a smarter student or a better educational environment. I will note here that some major law schools have banned laptops in the classroom because students have ceased to pay attention to the professor.
3.) If we have narrowed the core competencies as was stated in the press release, what got left out? I would like to see the original list.
4.) Again there is this great belief in the ability to measure the learning of humans. The Higher Learning Commission wants this, the Governor wants this, Deans, Provosts and College Presidents want this. Given that we have been at assessment for over thirty years, one might assume that it is necessary. It is not. There has been no great leap forward in higher education. Administrators keep promising some form of measured achievement and we, the faculty, will be the fall guys in this process. The measurement of human activity/learning is incredibly difficult under the best circumstances. This is particularly true in the Humanities and to some degree in the Social Sciences. How does one measure ethical decision making? And, how does one measure the difference between a 90 percent and an 80 percent on such measurement. Is such a differentiation even meaningful?
5.) How much have we spent on assessment and technology over the last thirty years? Where has it gotten us?