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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Official Policy


Anonymous said...

The chair of the board of trustees, Bill Koester, advised Faculty Senate last week to "praise publicly and criticize privately." How convenient.

Anonymous said...

This is the same advice that allowed the Catholic priests and Jerry Sandusky to escape justice for so many years.

Anonymous said...

This is that old tension between the corporate way of doing things and the academic way of doing things. In the corporate world, you sweep everything under the rug to make your b.s. as shiny, pleasing to the nose, and profitable as possible. In the academic world, you operate with a higher moral standard. Veritas and all that.

Anonymous said...

Well he does not have to worry about UT faculty - who cannot be found criticizing anywhere other than this blog. Try reading Faculty Senate minutes and see if you detect a lasting, recurrent concern?

Anonymous said...

Where is Walt Olson when you need him?

Anonymous said...

a different responder than just before, but a valid question. why does walt olsen, 4 years ago, have the only gonads to raise objections in name? he had no more security than anyone else. why? should we start naming names? AAUP Chair; Senate President? Dean? Previous AAUP reps?, Harvey?. When will the faculty step up? Or will you play an epistemoligical game with your distractors? Disgust and hope are barely fathomable. play your games about 200 years of political history or deal with the present. Your call.

Anonymous said...

Need to write a thesis/journal article?

Lack fresh and relevant research ideas?

Can't nail down a topic for the life of you?

Well, here's a free and "automatic" thesis generator based on common liberal arts terms, people, and/or pretensions.

Anonymous said...

Faculty Senate in fact raised concerns about COIL and other of VP Pryor's initiatives that by-pass faculty at every opportunity. The competency-based core curriculum was passed by Senate, but that body also made it clear that it was only voting only for the core to be organized around competencies, and not for the upper level courses, yet. From my experience, faculty who read the material from Learning Ventures on the ICE program are concerned and are asking questions. There is no need for us to set our hair on fire to call attention to the feeble plans that VP Pryor issues. His proposals demonstrate lack of thought and depth.

Anonymous said...

The Random Postmodern Universe

Re Anon 6:33 –

Good one.

I’ll see your and raise you one postmodern random jargon generator:

This is the grand-daddy of all PoMo gobbledygook generators.

It spits out entire PoMo academic papers at the click of a button that are indistinguishable from the “real” thing.

At the end of each essay is the disclaimer:

“The essay you have just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator. To generate another essay, follow this link. If you liked this particular essay and would like to return to it, follow this link for a bookmarkable page.”

Knit a couple of these essays together and you’ve got yourself a bona fide PoMo PhD, or journal article or even a book.

If you want to see versions of the “real” thing produced by some of your illustrious PoMo colleagues in the humanities and social sciences – just go look up the PhD thesis or journal articles (if there are any journal articles…) of some of your favorite PoMo Profs – like Dr. Previous, for instance.

Some recommended academic departments and pseudo “disciplines” to search where this sort of meaningless, pretentious pseudo-academic PoMo fairy dust is particularly prevalent include (but are not limited to): English, Linguistics, Writing, Art, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, History, Political Science, Education, Journalism, Law and Social Thought and also, strangely enough, French, Law, Economics and even some Biology-related pseudo-life sciences.

Truth be told, these days you can find this sort of BS almost anywhere in academe – even business and the hard sciences and certainly throughout academic administration – from Student Services to the Provost’s Office.

Also check out pretty much anything with the word “studies” in the discipline or course name, i.e. Women’s and Gender Studies, Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, Africana Studies, American Studies, Disability Studies, Urban Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, etc.

Also pretty much anything beginning with or containing the words “theory,” “theory of,” “philosophy of,” “women,” or “postmodern,” i.e. Art Theory, Film Theory, Education Theory, Writing Theory, Queer Theory, Gender Theory, Feminist Theory, Feminist Philosophy, Women in Education, Women in Philosophy, Women in Art, Marxist Theory, Postmodern Literary Theory, Postmodern Art Theory, Theory of History, “Philosophy of Seinfeld,” Continental Philosophy,” etc.

Also see Popular Culture and related courses and any course titles that sound either just plain ludicrous (“Newton’s Principia Mathematica: Math, Science and the Patriarchal Rape of the Divine Feminine”), or like they might be a children’s TV show (“Why Boys Are Bad and Girls Are Good”), or anything vaguely (or not so vaguely) weird and kinky (“Philosophy of S & M: Whips, Chains and Socrates…Oh My!”).

It's like playing Where's Waldo, except "Waldo" is everywhere.

Folks, I am not making this stuff up.

Don’t take my word for it – choose a couple of your favorite PoMo pseudo-disciplines (or pseudo-administrative departments or programs) and a couple of your favorite PoMo Profs or PoMo Administrators (hint – in addition to Dr. Previous there are several among the Gang of 12) and then go find some of the things they have written – or (given that most of them don’t publish squat) some of their PowerPoint presentations or reading lists on their syllabi.

Then… prepare for shock and awe.

In closing, presented for your approval – An After-Hours Rendezvous with The Continental “Philosopher”:


Anonymous said...

Deconstruct This!

An obvious quick shortcut to the above recommended review of the "literature," as it were, would be to obtain the desired CV's - which can serve as a handy Cliffs Notes executive summary to the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization.

Caution: Do not approach any of these PoMo materials while eating, drinking, handling sharp objects or operating heavy machinery.

Sudden outbursts of uncontrollable laughter caused by exposure to any postmodern "text" may necessitate the Heimlich Maneuver, or even lead to serious injury of one's normative cognitive functioning - e.g. the "Previous" scene involving Chief Inspector Clouseau, et al.

Excessive gaseous pretensions, verbal incontinence, speaking in tongues, ego bloating, fake foreign accent disorder (FFAD), smug curled lip syndrome (SCLC) and wearing turtlenecks and ludicrous trendy eyeglasses are also all common PoMo side effects.

Consult your doctor before viewing ANY postmodern "art" or reading ANY postmodern "text".

This Means You!


Anonymous said...

Here's a link to a column written by Michael S. Roth, president of Wesley University.

Roth contrasts the instrumentalist view of college (only what I need to get a job) with John Dewey's philosophy of education as a path to fulfillment and self-actualization.

The current mentality of educational reductionism which seeks to mold students to fit industrial needs risks intensifying the deep abyss between the haves and the have-nots. The state seeks to abdicate its responsibilities to its taxpayers while industry wants the student to pay the bill for an education that in the end will benefit the employer alone, even as industry is being subsidized by the state AND universities who pour more of their budgets into commercial ventures. What's wrong with this picture?

Anonymous said...

Rising University?????

Now, is it rising like a phoenix rising, sinking like a brick, or barely floating like water buffalo (latin: bubulus bubulus)? Perhaps UT is the new competitor of the University of Phoenix. Perhaps ICE with the razorsharp vision or Ben Pryor will take on this giant.

The truth is: UT has been sinking under this administration, and Pryor's arrogant Machiavellian (albeit ineptly emulated) management style is only keeping it submerged. It's not ISE, Arts Axis, iPads, etc that signify progress -- you can throw all those acronyms and gadgets at naive people until they awaken -- it's that informed vision that Pryor is too incompetent to develop.

He embodies narcissism, hubris, and all the anti- intellectualism that money can buy -- the kind of money that Jacobs gives him (and all his other cronies) for failure. Now, he is surrounding himself with cronies in the fallen COIL (College of Incompetent Leadership) empire. Likewise, ICE may mean something like Intellectually Crippled Enterprise.

Better yet: let's crowdsource it -- reach for that ipad and start to innovate and create new acronyms, buzzwords, and lead the ignorami into a future where their ideas will only worth the profit they bring in.

Anonymous said...

You continue to amamze me after three decades. Individually you are brilliant, collectively not so much. ICE is a simple plan to outsource the majority of humanities and social sciences classes in an effort reduce or eliminate the need for tenure track faculty in those fields. Get out of this sandbox and fight for yourselves before it is too late.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the interpretation of ICE made by Anonymous September 7, 2012 5:40 AM holds. ICE would have to lasso a lot of students for it to have any meaningful impact on faculty loads, and the more impact it has on the numbers of students in classrooms the more impact it has on lost UT revenue. And the group of faculty it would impact most, initially, would be lecturers and visiting professors, who teach the bulk of these classes. For ICE to justify the elimination of tenure track positions in the humanities and social sciences, the departments in those areas would also have to be eliminated. I think this is just one more initiative attempting to make a UT prince-ling relevant. However, one thing the many UT prince-ling administrators seem adept at is creating some new program or college or initiative as a way to hide a recent failure or live up to their PR blitzes.

Anonymous said...

"ICE would have to lasso a lot of students for it to have any meaningful impact on faculty loads, and the more impact it has on the numbers of students in classrooms the more impact it has on lost UT revenue."

ICE - Intelli-Collapse Enterprises

You'll love the irony when you hear Pryor preaching to his disciples about generating revenue from library and other instructional services yet outsourcing an essential part of UT academic programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Pryor - So right for Ronmney, So wrong for the Rest!

Yet another laughable part of UT's business model. Benny, are you ready for another round of bonuses while you are denying your staff and faculty the recognition they deserve. You are smothering them! Even Scarborough will laugh at you...

I wonder how these faux businessmen and BOT proteges spend their time on the golf courses, and perhaps what they are doing to each other that so overrides their semi-intellectual capacities...

Anonymous said...

ICE - Intellect-Corrupting Enterprises will be either the parent organization or subsidiary of UT Press with Pryor as Chief Censor (and intellectual father of the university) further degrading the unwanted disciplines at UT.

Next book: Leadership Secrets of the UT Quintette: How the Jacobs-Gold- Scarborough-Gaboury-Pryor Clique Transformed Academia

Future UT Press books: How to Discard Kidneys - A Pictorial Guide to Disposing Organs and Kicking Personnel.

Anonymous said...

SShh! You did not hear this in the library...

"Faculty Senate in fact raised concerns about COIL and other of VP Pryor's initiatives that by-pass faculty at every opportunity. The competency-based core curriculum was passed by Senate, but that body also made it clear that it was only voting only for the core to be organized around competencies, and not for the upper level courses, yet."

You should know that the competency-based program in the COIL (college of incompetent leadership...a paradox right here) also envisioned graduate programs -- maybe PhD, hence was his visit to Harvard.

COIL PhD would have been "Harvard on the cheap" I can imagine the laughter echoing through the halls of that institution...

The truth: Benster would have by-passed the Faculty Senate just as he did the library for many of his delusional initiatives.

Anonymous said...


Your commentary on this blog is both refreshing and thought-provoking, and is highly appreciated by many of the enlightened readers of the A&S blog. You are truly a breath of fresh air coming from the stagnant swamps of Toledo and higher education.

As a University of Toledo alumnus with degrees in both the natural sciences and social sciences who is currently considering graduate education, I was wondering if you might be able to provide some guidance in regards to selecting a university that fosters a healthy and stimulating academic environment for graduate education.

Essentially, my question is this.

Where do I find a university environment both intellectually rigorous and low on academic/administrative shenanigans?

I am looking at various universities across the country and keep encountering the same pattern of pretentious pseudo-academic drivel being produced in both the natural sciences and social sciences. Egregious acts of administrative excess are par for the course. Graduate education is a highly individualized endeavor, of course, and some departments and areas of study will have much lower rates of academic drivel than others … there is much less fluff in the natural sciences as compared to the social sciences, of course, but it is still there. My observations indicate that individual departments tend to be heavily influenced by the university community they reside in, and if the university environment is toxic towards true academic achievement, the department environment will also be toxic.

In all seriousness, I beginning to think the best use of my time may just be going to my local public library and spending the next 4-5 years reading the great works of literature, law, science, and the arts.

Anonymous said...

I have been a staff member and faculty for many years. Since the present administration took over I feel very much devalued and insulted financially, academically and even personally through all the hoops I have been commanded to jump through. I pay more for insurances, am expected to do more but my pay never increases but only decreases in real terms because it does not keep up with inflation. Don't expect any more from me. I am going to work to the rule, do the minimum to get by, and if you want a smile or some type of positive expression.....well you are going to just have to pay extra. Until this administration leaves, it is no longer my university, but "their university." I am an outsider.

Anonymous said...

JdS replies to Anon 2:56 – Re where to find quality higher education

Thank you for your kind words of support and your thoughtful comments.

I honestly don't know where someone might go for a truly high quality, effective, efficient and affordable non-BS non-PoMo/PC advanced education these days.

Even the Ivies have been subverted by the Commissars of PC.

Based on my own fairly extensive investigation into contemporary Higher Ed, it appears the problems are systematic, pervasive and more or less inexorable and unavoidable.

In this regard I must concur with Pres. Jacobs when he says higher ed is “inbred.”

Former President of Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, Arthur Levine, said as much a number of years ago in his extensive report on American Education Colleges – see

You might inquire initially at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale Michigan. I do not have much direct knowledge about them except insofar as knowing they are unashamedly conservative in terms of politics and education – so you will at least not be burned at the stake for daring to inquire about the possibility of finding ways to educate yourself outside the PoMo/PC Church of Higher Ed.

Hillsdale may actually be the answer you are looking for – though I imagine out-of-state tuition for a quality college like Hillsdale has to be prohibitive these days. If you are independently wealthy that won’t be a problem. Or maybe you can audit courses or access online courses.

Personally, I concluded a long time ago that the only way I was going to get the sort of real education I wanted for myself was to go it alone. I went through the motions of college and got what I could on the formal track. Yes there were some good courses and good professors, but the entire process could have been FAR more streamlined, focused, coherent and expedited. All in all, almost everything I learned that I now consider truly valuable, I learned on my own.

Given that you have already run the gauntlet of higher ed and have years of experience and life wisdom to rely on, I think your idea of creating your own curriculum and educating yourself at the library with Great Books etc. is an admirable, viable and in many respects preferable option.

But doing it yourself assumes you have the luxury to take the time for yourself and don't need to offer anyone any formal proof of certification…a.k.a. proof of purchase.

The elitist and largely PoMo/PC higher ed machine is a rigidly controlled monopoly and Members Only Club – the PhD (or MFA etc.) sheepskin being the only acceptable junior membership card – and academic tenure being the only acceptable vetting of senior members.

If you are able to circumvent all the time, expense, logistics, politics, bureaucracy, busy work etc. involved in formal higher ed by simply focusing on your own quality education on your own terms – then you should be able to accomplish this in a fairly straightforward manner.

As far as a reading list or “curriculum” – there is Mortimer J. Adler’s classic Great Books list as well as Harold Bloom’s Western Canon – but I would personally re-edit and streamline these lists to focus more heavily on truly great readings and weed out extraneous readings, particularly the obligatory starry-eyed liberal idealist, degenerate and politically correct propaganda masquerading as scholarship, philosophy or “literature”.

I would also highly recommend at least some general survey coursework in the history of ideas, history of science and in the current state of affairs in present day science and technology. There are plenty of good popular science books.

If you’re feeling really motivated – break out your old high school algebra, trigonometry and calculus books. Math perhaps more than anything else really gets the proverbial cerebral juices flowing. I will post an outline of some further specific recommendations for you regarding readings etc. shortly.



Anonymous said...

Mike Dowd, Pres of Faculty Senate, had a report he wanted to present to the BOT Academic and Student Affairs committee, expressing faculty concerns about the appointment of Dr. Scarborough as Provost and the process of choosing him. His report was not made to the BOT because the chair of the BOT committee rejected it as gossip or some such nonsense.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the realistic and slightly depressing outlook on the current state of advanced education. It is nice to know that my somewhat incredulous attitude towards the current feckless antics of academia is not completely unwarranted. I sometimes feel like I am a voice crying in the wilderness in regards to the excesses I see on a daily basis at UT and other universities... gender neutral bathrooms anyone?

I moved away from the University of Toledo community a few years ago and work in the tech industry(I taught myself programming and tech so that I am employable in spite of my degrees!), so graduate school for me is more a change of pace and way to expand my academic muscles rather than a way towards a new career. Like yourself, almost everything useful I've learned has been of my own volition.

I am really not quite sure what I will do in regards to graduate school. Perhaps I will look into what universities in the UK are offering, although I have a sneaking suspicion it could be even worse there in terms of academic BS, PoMo/PC, etc.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous September 13, 2012 11:42 AM,
if you want to go to graduate school without all this BS, just go to some of the continental European countries (Germany, France, etc.) or to places like Brazil. No PoMo
BS there.

Anonymous said...

bloggie, can you cut this esoteric crap and let the remaining folks deal with the revolution? For all I know you are LLJ, but in the event that you are not, cannot you stop the philosophical bullshit? Imagine a FOI on all responses. How will we argue with a straight face that the POMo and ICE folks represent our faculty. "We must be united, not distracted." I challenge you to publish that as a statement of the day, week or year. Are yo LLJ?

Anonymous said...

Bloggie is LLJ? An intriguing possibihillbilly that could really undermine our nearly successful efforts to overthrow Jacobs Inc.

Meanwhile, I agree that Bloggie should seriously consider directing any and all future babble and rants by "JdS" (J.D. Salinger?) to the spitoon -- at least until (s)he cries out "Uncle Obama!"

Anonymous said...

"Mike Dowd, Pres of Faculty Senate, had a report he wanted to present to the BOT Academic...[but] His report was not made to the BOT because the chair of the BOT committee rejected it as gossip or some such nonsense."

Here is a theory: Mike's report was not worded eloquently, and because he represents those 47% freeloaders that the BOT despises. Keep on fighting, Mike and we...freeloaders...must be behind you! This regime must go!