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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Slow Summer?

I attended the provost candidate's presentation Tuesday at 10:30. I believe the spelling of his name is Montamagna but I'm sure someone in the administration will correct me if I'm wrong.  What I'm going to relate are truly first impressions.  I have been out of town and Tuesday has been my only contact with the man.  I have not even read the resume.  My first impression is that he seems to have actually thought about issues not merely memorized the correct verbage and talking points.  Second he has actually tried some things at his present post.  Third he seems to have actually been a faculty member and not just a career admistrator.  On the downside he used terms like economic engine and referred to the wonderful job the Jacobs' Administration has done here at UT.  Of course, to expect someone to criticize the person who is responsible for hiring the new provost is a little over the top on my part.  One item did bother me.  He was asked what role he sees for the Humanities in the new university.  His response was the humanities should help to create an environment (Toledo and surrounding areas) so that the really important folks (doctors, engineers etc.) who are creating real jobs will want to remain here.  It was one of those yea you're in the plan but only from a superficial and roundabout perspective answers.  Again, I liked that he has spent a great deal of time thinking about how you keep students enrolled, but he was working with engineers.  I do not know, and neither does anyone else, how this translates into an open enrollment university.  I have noted on this blog that to enroll a student who has no real contact with a university through the experience of friends or family and then expect that marginal student to succeed is just wrong on our part.  It is a problem that will be confounded when we are not allowed to teach remedial classes.  It becomes a throw them in the deep end and see who can swim and who can't issue.  With the state looking at retention rates for funding models the challenges become quite large for the next provost and for the faculty.  It is probably the kiss of death for his application, but I actually liked the guy.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I was unable to attend but am likely to attend the session on Thursday. Two questions I think worth asking are 1. do you see students getting degrees in English, History, Philosophy etc from the University of Toledo in 10 years or do you see these programs as merely there to serve the general education requirements of STEM programs? We have heard for many years that they are important but we don't really know if they are important for their own sake or only to serve the sciences. 2. Do you see the role of the Provost's Office and the Offices of the Deans as helping the faculty to achieve their goals in educating students, or do you see a more activist approach to the role of administration?

These are not meant to be gotcha questions. They are trying to help understand roles and vision.

Other questions that are worth asking?

Anonymous said...

Dave Tucker for Kingmaker!

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that your blog posting that you liked this guy will have a negative effect on his hiring chances. After all, administrators and others who have a real say in that would have to actually read the blog to find that out, and of course none of them read the blog! (By their own admission.)

Anonymous said...

No need to worry that your blog comments might have a negative effect on his chances: the administrators et al would actually have to read them, and, as we all know, by their own admission, they don't read the blog.