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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In a Family Way

Schematic of Possible Educational Relationships Between Harvard, Yale and University of Toledo 

“It is my belief that higher education across the country at the national level is inbred."

UT President Lloyd Jacobs 

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed 


Anonymous said...

And what do we learn from this article about Jacobs? He recommended Scarborough because Scarborough was the only one to use the jargon ("student-centric")which Jacobs believes will change the model of higher education. However, Scarborough has been at UT and worked with Jacobs since 2007 and so of course he knows what jargon is current in Rocket Hall. Jacobs believes he is at the forefront (leader?) of a national crusade to change the way universities in the US operate. In other words, he fashions himself as a revolutionary visionary. After so many years in so many countries, Jacobs has stumbled across an essential "truth" that no one had hitherto discovered: students are "customers." Bottom line: a Provost like McMillen would resist Jacobs most dramatic cuts and proclamations (remember Jacobs edict on hirings and then McMillen's qualification of that edict and opinion that there was wiggle room?). Scarborough will not resist or attempt to work around Jacobs most drastic ideas. Scarborough has been brought on board in anticipation of an extreme UT makeover: programs cut, faculty in those programs cut loose.

Anonymous said...

Lou Craddock (played by Lloyd Jacobs) lectures his choice of Provost, Vic (played by Scott Scarborough) on why he was chosen:

'The fruit of your loins will enable the productive citizenry of UT to overcome metabolic changes resulting from academic inbreeding, allow it to keep its leadership in the drive to remake this sinful academy in a student-centric image. Every once in a while the academy needs new blood. We need a new man. A special kind of man. Your the man.'

(Come to think of it, Scarborough does look like Don Johnson!)

Anonymous said...

The Jacobs administration over the past six years is notoriously inbred and profligate, but I don't think this is what he is talking about.

Prolonged hiring from within and and the promotion of lackluster loyalists is incomprehensible and indefensible and are the main reasons why UT is in an unprecedented parlous state at the moment.

Blame six years of shameless mismanagement at the highest levels for the present predicaments. Wake up BOT! Where is your responsible oversight?

Anonymous said...

From the guy who only hires his own employees, and former employees from other locations?

Anonymous said...

So, are we are finally getting some idea of what he was talking about in his book, "The Relative University?"

Anonymous said...

Did you see that he sent a press release? One of his quotes it says is from a press release. That means he is pushing the story. He wants it. And I've got to say the comments on this blog only serve to delight him.

I'm not saying don't comment or even that the comments are wrong. I'm just saying that just like the two political campaigns, at UT the two sides are talking past each other and frankly, I think both sides prefer their righteous indignation to solving anything. And I agree that if faculty stood down they would get run over even faster (if that were possible).

Just sad that adults cannot discuss things anymore.

Anonymous said...

Read his attitude in what he's said: Jacobs v The Academy, Visionary v Traditionalists. He's President Jacob-Diocleatian, out to micro manage and change the Academy, starting with little ole open enrollment UT. From syllabi to tenure to job descriptions to minimum qualifications, he knows best. He supported SB5 because it would have given him powers to pursue his lofty goals: Eliminate all degrees and staffing of cost ineffective departments, relocate humanities degrees to Bowling Green and use UT humanities faculty to teach large multiple sections of core courses for the STEM majors. His comments reveal all the worst faculty fears are justified: the guy is out to get many of them and his ego is telling him he's doing it to change the world.

Anonymous said...

sound like a previous president (Kapoor) who was dumped but is still on university payroll? what did the faculty do then that they are not doing now?

Anonymous said...

"Did you see that he sent a press release? One of his quotes it says is from a press release. That means he is pushing the story. He wants it. And I've got to say the comments on this blog only serve to delight him."

Press release? It's his propaganda outlet. Not everything is propaganda though but these newspapers will eventually lose their autonomy if it keeps going like this. All they need is a doormat as chief editor, and UT media will start resembling mass media in Orwell's 1984. What's next: and LCD in every office.

Anonymous said...

Jacobs choice of a banker as a provost is outrageous and, frankly, has made UT a laughingstock. Unfortunately, faculty are hamstrung at UT. With so many immediate and pressing problems: paying bills and not being able to make copies; being replaced or eliminated; having your department merged or eliminated; teaching loads increased, travel funds eliminated, merit funds withheld, cost of living increases frozen, who cares which flunky Jacobs chooses? Faculty are in survival mode and in such a mode the higher ups have free reign. There are no longer any checks and balances on Jacobs. He will move forward with whatever agenda he has until something catastrophic occurs (like another few years of double digit enrollment drops) and the board takes action. It's a repeat of what happened with the last "thinking outside the box" President the Board chose. Jacobs is the answer to our VK inspired: "It can't get any worse, can it?"

Anonymous said...

I think the episode of the failed kidney transplant at MUO is very symbolic of what has happened here at UT.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the tragedy the donor/recipient family is going through, which I can only imagine is a horrific experience, I'm concerned that the 2 nurses who were suspended were scapegoats. What about the surgeon? He's ultimately responsible and so far, he's gotten a pass. If you earn the big bucks, you should have to shoulder the big responsibility. (Remember what Dr. Jacobs once said about UT's highly paid administrators? He said that they deserve big salaries because they take big risks!) Meanwhile, this story has gone national and the 2 nurses have had their names tarnished BEFORE any investigation renders its report.

Anonymous said...

Jacobs meaning was that administrators take big risks with taxpayer money and UT's academic reputation not that the administrators themselves risk anything when one of their whacky ideas falls flat.

Anonymous said...

And now a 3rd person at UTMC has been suspended with pay: an administrator of surgical services, according to the Blade. The surgeon apparently had no responsibility in this?

Anonymous said...

C'mon: "Faculty are in survival mode and in such a mode the higher ups have free reign."
Tenured faculty have no voice? And to think people are dying for freedom in the Middle-East, people with none of the perks of tenure. What wimps.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what faculty, tenured or otherwise do. The board, the administration, and outside contractors of goods and services are clearly in a mutual hand washing, backscratching club. They can do whatever they want, as indeed they do, and no one cares. They can have their way with students, faculty and staff and no one hears the screams. The deafening is silenced.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I know what "faculty" means anymore at UT. UT has large numbers of lecturers (who are unionized) and Visiting Professors (who are largely transient). Given the work loads of the lecturers and Visiting Profs, they are just trying to stay afloat. Moreover, they are the ones who are most "real" in a sense: their positions and salaries and workloads are byproducts of the soft job market in academics and,for the most part, they are just happy to have a job with health benefits. Moreover, there has been mutual suspicion and even animosity between the lecturers and tenure-tracks which was historically justified by the fact that lecturers mostly used to have M.A degrees (the contract stipulates that, in an economic crisis, the lecturers get laid off first, for example), but now many lecturers have PhDs. And then you have the fact that the lecturers largely teach core classes and their population is much higher in the humanities and certain colleges. As far as tenure track goes, some of them are former admins who have ridiculously high salaries (and disproportionately eat up the budgets of their departments) because of the cushy deals they negotiated when they returned to "faculty." Who knows where their loyalties are. I think a previous poster was correct: the "new" Provost was a kind of litmus test for UT faculty. In another time, his appointment would have raised considerable alarm and debate, because his choice was unprecedented in academics. But with the current UT "faculty" it raised hardly a whimper.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I graduated when I did. Thanks LJ for ruining UT.

Anonymous said...

With the new non-Provost Provost Jacobs has filled his inner circle with sycophants and here are my crystal balls predictions. He'll go after the union next. The lecturers will agitate to negotiate their contract separately and UT will quickly sign a contract with them, keeping their pay and benefits the same, but raising the cap on their classes and ordering that they be allowed to teach upper division classes. At this point the union will be fractured. What's left will be split between the "haves" (profs in STEM departments who are encouraged and supported, former admins sprinkled around the other depts who have big salaries, are ex admins, and whose sympathies lie mostly with Jacobs) and the have nots (the rest who will acutely feel the loss of 100-200$ each paycheck when UT demands tenure tracks absorb more of the health care and retirement costs). Tenure tracks will be like football was a few years ago- those faculty in STEM and making big bucks won't support any action when UT refuses to back down from its health care and retirement demands and if the UT "star" professors don't support the union the union will die. End of union, end of traditional tenure, etc.

Anonymous said...

Who will follow Scott Scarborough as Chief of UTMC? I am looking at LJ's inner circle of yes men and I have to think that after an exhaustive international search it will be Brian Pyles. (chuck lenart was a close second).

Anonymous said...

sounds like the faculty are giving up. Time for them to move on elsewhere, maybe give up tenure and take a risk. Too bad for the university.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard about Pryor's latest? something called "ICE" involving letting students take distance learning courses offered by other universities and receiving UT credit for them?

Anonymous said...


"Well-a well-a well-a huh
Tell me more, tell me more
But you don't gotta brag
Tell me more, tell me more
'Cause it sounds like a drag"

("Summer Nights" ~ Grease)

Anonymous said...


You are naive if you think this faculty will give up. In your dreams...

Anonymous said...

Re: Anon. August 31, 2012 11:40 AM “Has anyone heard about Pryor’s latest?”

Yes indeed.

Monsieur le Docteur Hulot-Previous certainly does bring his own unique madcap, continental… je ne sais quoi management style to university upper administration, doesn’t he?:

…Developing innovative, synergistic academic service protocols, while building consensus:

Anonymous said...

what is the obsession with pryor or gaboury? are you intentionally overlooking jacobs or just plain stupid? (To paraphrase Forrest Gump's adversaries)

Anonymous said...

Pragmatically-speaking, doormats outside the door leading into the dark den of 'The Beast' can have but a single purpose. If P&G don't mind being expensive doormats in order to feed their faces, soviet.

Anonymous said...

"I think the episode of the failed kidney transplant at MUO is very symbolic of what has happened here at UT."

You're right. They have found three scapegoats because UT's Chief Chicken Marine -- Jacobs -- has no balls to face the truth: it's his failure as well. His sidekick -- Rees -- will probably get bonus soon.

As for ROTC, I would simply close shop and move to another institution with honor among its leadership. Jacobs Inc. no longer stands for honor, valor, and justice that our soldiers (including a good few on this forum) serve to die for!

Jacobs is a dictator, so down with him and his cronies in the UT council, BOT, and others like Scarborough, Pryor, Gold, and other spineless administrators!

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone heard about Pryor's latest? something called "ICE" involving letting students take distance learning courses offered by other universities and receiving UT credit for them?"

I think Pryor wants to be Education Secretary if Romney wins...both like to outsource!

Anonymous said...

It is not for us to ask why, but since you ask…

There are those who are both for and against Jacobs and STEM etc. and those issues have been well addressed here and elsewhere.

But the ubiquitous and shamelessly self-promoting Dr. Previous in particular represents the quintessential local embodiment of much that has gone generally wrong, intellectually and morally, with the MoFo-PoMo humanities and social sciences professoriate specifically and with academia in general in recent decades.

He is likewise emblematic of the sort of hypocritical, opportunistic, careerist, mercenary, schmoozing, obsequious, hyperactive, chameleon-like academic ideologue turned administrator, who is an affront to what dignity and higher ideals may still be remaining in higher education.

Not to mention that his relentlessly amusing and annoying buffoonery simply begs for endless satire.

Ask and you shall receive...

Anonymous said...

...and on that note, let us stipulate that it does indeed take two to tango and so - here's another short video clip for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of Zelig Productions...

...wherein President Jacobs lives to rue the day he ever met Dr. "Chief Inspector" Clouseau-Previous:

Anonymous said...

so i am naive if i think faculty will give up? Answer: show me one thing, just one, faculty have done to push back.....perhaps you are correct, faculty cannot give up what they never started.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try and not add any opinion, and just report on what I remember. To the best of my understanding, the new idea Pryor is floating (and I don't remember what it is called but I do remember one of the handouts he has passed around has a big brain on it) is indeed to allow students to take online classes at other places and then award them credit for those classes at UT. Not just free online "EDX" classes (offered by Harvard, Berkeley & MIT), but others, even online courses that they pay for (and from which UT would receive no revenue). The example I recall he used was of a STEM student who would be able to take classes in the major at UT and simultaneously be working on core classes via non UT distance learning options. There's also something about someone at UT working with the student to ensure the academic integrity of the whole thing and to shape the distance learning course around the students major. I believe this only applies to core, general ed, classes and a student could not substitute a online course for a upper division course. Oh, and now I remember another example: say a Engineering major is taking a class in her major and then enrolls in a Freshman comp class in a free distance learning venue. She would work with someone at UT so as to merge the two classes. Her online class would parallel, merge with, I forget the metaphor, the Engineering class and, at the end of the semester, she would essentially receive 6 credits after paying for only 3 and satisfy a core requirement while taking a class in her major. In other words, the work she does in the class for her major would also be used in the writing class. Student pays less tuition. Graduates faster.

Anonymous said...

And this is easier for the student how? If the student doesn't have the discipline to sit in the classroom and do the work, how will that student have the discipline to do all this on his/her own? In addition, first-year students need the face-to-face contact with their teachers, especially in composition. If this is about getting gen ed courses to fit into the student's schedule, perhaps we need to rethink how we schedule gen ed versus major classes. (Since Dr. Jacobs believes this is the responsibility of the Provost, perhaps this should be Dr. Scarborough's first project.) If Dr. Pryor thinks that UT will get more SSI for these course "completions", I would suspect that the state will exempt these courses from the funding formula. The only organization that is stingier than UT on the issue of education is the state of Ohio.

Anonymous said...

Pryor and ICE

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” – Laurence J. Peter

Yes, Dr. Benjamin Pryor, PhD, has always prided himself on being the area’s leading original thinker and innovative visionary…

…so it should come as no surprise that we find him leading the way towards the future of higher education…

…venturing to go where fainter hearts fear to tread…

…daring to explore strange new worlds…

…to seek out new life and new civilizations…

…to boldly go where no man has gone before…

But wait.

Come to think of it, this stuff actually sounds fairly old-hat – so “Ben there done that” end of last millennium sort of thinking.

In fact, something along these same lines actually appeared in a local newspaper column entitled “Free Harvard classes for everyone online” way back in 2005.

But if these ideas were already appearing in print in an everyday local rag in the long gone olden days, that would mean Bugsy Ben is hardly the cutting edge visionary he fancies himself to be, but is instead merely a hack, a third-rate Johnny-come-lately cut and paste man, who has parlayed other people’s ideas into a high-paying job as an academic poser and schmoozing administrative bat boy.

Perish the thought!

An online search failed to turn up the opinion column in question because the newspaper’s archives are incomplete, but hard copies are still available at local libraries.

So, our dauntless and self-sacrificing in-house staff of elite scholars and fact checkers (who are all incidentally entirely self-funded – no tainted George Soros “research” grants for us, mind you) went ahead and scanned the smoking gun piece for the benefit of loyal ASC Blog readers, who will find it pasted below.

Anonymous said...

Toledo Free Press, Nov. 16, 2005, Pg. 4

Consider This

Free Harvard classes for everyone online

By Reid Ahlbeck

Imagine if everyone could attend an elite university absolutely free. A national public online university system can make the dream of free, universally accessible world-class college education a reality.

The exceptional value and inevitability of computer assisted distance education is already widely recognized. Most universities have been rapidly expanding their distance education capabilities in virtually all academic and professional disciplines.

Distance education offers many advantages for students and teachers – including superior quality, accessibility, satisfaction, outcomes, flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness – all with significantly lower costs and no appreciable disadvantages when compared to traditional classroom education (see

Distance education will soon dominate higher (and K-12) education. But the logical outcome of the move to distance education will be large scale consolidation at the state and national levels. Many universities already belong to national and even international distance education consortia such as Sloan-C.

Because of massively increased efficiencies and huge economies of scale (no sprawling ultra-high-maintenance college campuses, redundant academic programs, unwieldy armies of students and daily commuters, etc.) a consolidated American consortium of elite national distance education universities could literally deliver a free “Ivy League” education to the entire nation, at a fraction of the cost of the present increasingly non-viable tuition-based system.

Such a free distance education system would also eliminate all current negative campus-related social issues (real or imagined) including discrimination, harassment, limited access, student debt, substance abuse and various other mental and physical health and safety issues, etc.

Given the severe challenges presently facing traditional American higher education, the real question is why such a free, open access, national online “charter” university does not already exist.

Many countries have implemented top-flight national distance education programs. Britain’s Open University distance learning program has consistently ranked alongside Oxford and Cambridge in overall educational quality and effectiveness.

More than enough outstanding distance education course content is already available (much of it in the public domain). MIT’s Open Courseware program now provides “free, searchable, [online] access to MIT’s course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.”

In the private sector, the Apollo Group’s online University of Phoenix is among several highly efficient and competitively priced for-profit institutions of higher learning that have proven to be models of academic excellence and tremendous profitability.

An effective national online university system would combine private sector organizational efficiency and cost effectiveness with top-quality traditional academic content, standards and teaching methodologies. Factoring profit and tuition out of the successful University of Phoenix model would provide a ready made template for a free non-profit distance education system.

Seamless interfacing with a similarly consolidated national K-12 and community college distance education system would smooth student transition to college – providing a superior integrated K-16 core curriculum and unlimited individualized attention and/or remediation at all levels (computers can be fun and entertaining and have limitless time, resources and patience). Gifted students meanwhile could be continuously challenged as they soared swiftly through the education system at their own accelerated pace.

American higher education currently consumes hundreds of billions of dollars annually. But this massive, archaic and inherently flawed system continues to produce only mediocre overall results.


Anonymous said...

Free Harvard classes cont.

Traditional university functions of education, certification and even pure research are consequently being increasingly taken over by a dissatisfied private sector – see “Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much” (2004) by Ohio University distinguished professor of economics, Richard Vedder).

Redirecting a small fraction of America’s staggering education budget toward creating a superior free national online university (and K-12) system would return many times the investment in terms of vastly improved educational quality, opportunity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

There's a flier for "ICE" (Innovative, Customized, Education) making the rounds. And, it has already started (I have no idea how many, if any, students signed on):

Open House Thursday, August 23, 4-6 p.m.
Learning Commons, second floor of Carlson Library
Free food and giveaways!

Here's the curriculum description:

"The curriculum for this project will be drawn from Massive Open Online Courses, from free University courses (MIT,
Stanford, ITunes U, etc.), from courses available for a small subscription fee (Straighterline), from courses taken for credit
from a for-profit university, or from courses made available by UT professors at no charge (via Blackboard “guest”
enrollment). Students will be able to choose the curriculum most suited to their needs. Students will work with project
managers to construct a “learning contract” that will serve as a guide and guarantee for the student as well as for the
institution. The contract will ask participants to draw connections between prior learning, current degree plans, and freely
available curriculum (or curriculum devised by a student in partnership with a faculty member). Students will be placed in
groups when group support would benefit learning outcomes. To the degree possible or desirable, students in the Project will
be considered members of a learning community.
Projects will be planned and executed using technologies available in the Learning Space and the Center for Innovative
Design and Technology on the second floor of Carlson Library. Curriculum will align “general education” outcomes with
advanced degrees across the university. For example, engineering students who need a course in “Composition” and “Social
Science” will work with the Writing Studio and a freely available course from MIT in Public Planning and will earn credit
for both. But the student will have done it in the context of a guided project that combines knowledge of public planning and
political process, demonstrable competencies in communication and social responsibility, all in the context of the student’s
goal of becoming an engineer. The student has paid for three academic credits but has earned six, advancing completion,
customizing the student experience, and advancing the goal of student learning."

Anonymous said...

checking the current course listings for fall 2012 there are a total of 2 students registered in the five ICE course sections

Anonymous said...

Why are we reinventing the wheel again? We have had CLEP in place for years. The tests cost students $80 each and another UT administrative fee of $25. Then we charge students who pass
( UT has set the pass levels) the tests half of the credit hour instate tuition as a "transcription fee" to put the courses on the transcript. There are (or were since most of this affected CAS) college specific and program specific limitations but 30 hours was the general maximum number of hours you could do this for and most are in the Gen Ed core. This was all passed through Faculty Senate and the curriculum procedures. The whole system is now in place and does not require any coaches or administrators or additional staff or IDS courses that do not seem to belong to any college or department?