Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Lessons to be learned
Hi folks. I realize it's been quite a few days since last we talked but life has a way of getting in the way.
Since last we spoke I've learned a couple of valuable lessons that I would like to pass on to those who visit our little corner of the internet. The first is that Ideology and Vindictiveness will trump almost everything, particularly at a university.
Last January our department became a part of the College of LLSS. Our erstwhile chair became an associate dean and an interim chair was named. The interim chair did an excellent job but did not want the job on a permanent basis having held the position for ten years in the past. I applied and the department voted 10-0 to let me do the job. We were told the vote was not legal because a member of the dean's office had to be present. We reheld the vote and again I won, 10-0. No one else was interested. The department then waited and waited and waited. Finally in June, the Dean called me in for a chat and said the Provost's Office had found me "too negative" for the position. I have written the Provost for a further explanation and after many weeks have not received an answer. Surprise, Surprise. (Another faculty member did step forward and is doing a marvelous job.)
As many of you know I have been a vocal critic of the administration. I do not agree with many of the things that have happened here. Ideologically, we are in different worlds. I do not see the connections between STEMM and economic growth. I believe it to be similar to the building of a huge stadium for a professional sports team and claiming huge economic benefits. I was a member of the Roundtable, the extended roundtable and various and sundry meetings that discussed the Arts and Sciences report that eventually found its way to the A & S Council. I voted against accepting the report. I believed that too much emphasis was being placed on technology and not enough on the hiring of high quality faculty. I believe students in the humanities, social sciences and liberal arts in general are getting the short end of the stick.
The goal seems to be to teach less expensively and claim it's better for them. If all that's being "too negative" then I plead guilty as charged. After all the effort that went into the A & S report and our 100 year celebration the administration broke us up anyway. Those of you who remember the vote of no confidence will now understand the vindictiveness part of the story. If you spend your money on technology and not on high quality faculty no organizational style will save you or your students.