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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Has Anyone Noticed a Trend?





26 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you have seen the fiat that Provost Scott Scarborough has sent around regarding workload for AY13/14 then you now know why he was hired.

He's quite fond of the phrases "this is not a value judgement" and "economic reality" as he orders departments to increase workloads for all tenured and tenure tracks to 4/4 with a minimum of 30 students in each class.

Anonymous said...

Imagine what would have happened if Ohio SB 5 had not been repealed. Even so, the increased work load and class sizes were part of that end game. Jacobs is testing the union, despite the defeat of SB 5. How the union responds and whether or not the union is successful in countering what seems to be clearly a violation of the collective bargaining agreement will go a long way in determining whether or not the UTAAUP remains relevant or is hamstrung by the administration.

The Provost's letter cites the decreased enrollment as one of the justifications for the increases. This is the same decreased enrollment which the admins previously lauded as not only being a sign of their raising the student academic bar but also something they in effect caused by raising standards (all part of their plan for improving UT academically).

Talk about wanting to have it both ways!

And talk about how the mighty have fallen! "Professor" used to be a status title. In the Jacobs universe it's a title replaced by another: technocrat (flipped classes...machine graded exams... watered down standards so students pass the class and UT gets its state money). At least Jacobs has finally revealed in no uncertain terms (via his flunky Provost) what he envisions UT's future to be.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you post the letter so we can draw our own conclusions?

Bloggie said...

To commenter Anonymous 3:42

Bloggie thinks it would be a good idea to post the letter, but beware. Some administrations will often distribute several slightly different version of a document, differing by perhaps commas or semicolons, so to test for leaks. (The Obama administration is known for this.) This way they can identify the leaker. The UT administration seems to be getting more and more secretive; and let's not overlook the existence of malice. They are looking for people to blame other than themselves.

Anonymous said...

"Due to declines in state appropriations over many years and the expiration of federal "
"stimulus funds, our university, like most public universities in the United States, is continuing to adjust to what is called the “new normal” national economy. University central administration has always attempted to shield and protect core academic functions from budget cuts. For example, based on information the university’s CFO recently shared with Faculty Senate, since 2009, our university has reduced administrative and academic support costs by over $20 million. Over that same period, academic budgets have been reduced by only $200,000 even though enrollments have declined by 6.8%. This is what administrators should do—they should always try to protect the core academic functions"
"whenever possible. "

"Unfortunately, however, our “new normal” economy requires further budget adjustments, "
"which have been exacerbated by recent enrollment declines, and for the first time, it will more significantly impact academic areas. Why? Because the amount of the adjustment is too large to make in the nonacademic areas alone. Our current financial challenge is in the range of $30 million to $36 million. Therefore, budget efficiencies must be found in the academic units by doing two things that are more fundamental to our core missions: "
" "
"1. We must increase the number of students taught by each full-­‐time faculty member "
"so that part-­‐time and visiting faculty members do not need to be hired and retiring "
"faculty members do not need to be replaced en masse, and "
"2. We must streamline degree programs and course offerings so there will be fewer small enrollment courses taught each semester, which again affects the numbers of faculty that must be hired and supported each year. "

Anonymous said...

"Recently, the university’s board of trustees passed a resolution that affirmed the need for "
"the university to increase teaching workloads in order to rebalance the university’s economic model. The board understands, as does most everyone else, that increasing instructional productivity is necessary to achieve a financially sustainable economic model, but it also makes it difficult to sustain the same levels of unfunded research and service that we have pursued in the past—levels beyond the minimum 20% of faculty time that is reserved for unfunded research and the 10% of faculty time that is reserved for unfunded service for each faculty member; those minimum levels will continue to be reserved going forward. Increasing teaching workloads, however, is an economic reality we must accept— it is an economic reality that almost all of public higher education is now facing. "
" "
"The decision to increase instructional workloads is not a value judgment about the relative contribution of any type of unfunded research or service. In fact, that research and service is critically important to any university. The decision is simply an economic reality that no " "university can afford to ignore. If these financial realities are ignored, they will put the "
"whole university at risk, and we cannot let that happen. For several weeks, administrators and faculty have been discussing the need to rebalance our tripartite mission to fit our new economic realities—how we must continue to adjust our place on the continuum of U.S. colleges and universities who pursue various levels of unfunded research and service based on their different economic realities. For every university, this is continual adjustment over time, but one thing never changes—the underlying commitment to the missions of teaching, research and service. "
" "
"With this understanding, we ask that as you develop your faculty workload recommendations for the academic year Fall 2013 and Spring 2014, please follow the new guidelines below: "
" "
"1. For the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 regular semesters, every tenured and tenure-­‐"
"tract faculty member in your department must be assigned to teach 12 semester credit hours of classes each semester that are highly likely to meet new minimum enrollment requirements of 30 undergraduate students and 15 graduate students (exception: minimum of 8 students in Ph.D. only courses). Enrollment limits for each course may not be set lower than the largest classroom size available in which to teach each class. Classes taught during a regular semester that do not satisfy minimum enrollment requirements will not satisfy teaching workload requirements. This does not mean that small class sizes may not be taught—it does mean that teaching small class sizes is not financially sustainable and, therefore, "
"may not be counted to satisfy a faculty members instructional workload. "

"2. Every lecturer and visiting professor must be assigned to teach 15 semester credit "
"hours of classes subject to the same guidelines as outlined above. "

Anonymous said...

"3. Release time for other faculty work as detailed in University policy, prior agreements, and/or the AAUP collective bargaining agreement is limited to no more than 3 semester credit hours each regular semester for every faculty member; this other faculty work, however, must be significant and produce meaningful outcomes in order to qualify for this reduction in teaching workload. Again, this is not a value judgment about the importance of this work; it is merely an economic reality that we can afford only certain amounts of this work. "
"4. An exception to 1. through 3. above applies to faculty members with externally funded research. If a faculty member has externally funded research and a portion of that faculty member’s 9-­‐ or 12-­‐month base salary and benefits during a regular term is paid by the external grant(s), then the faculty member’s teaching load may be reduced by a proportional amount. This is not to say that funded research is more important than unfunded research. Again, it is simply an economic reality that we can afford greater amounts of funded research as compared to unfunded research. "

Anonymous said...

"5. An exception to 1. through 3. above also applies to faculty members who are significant contributors to institutionally designated and centrally funded interdisciplinary schools. With Chancellor and/or Provost approval, these faculty members may receive additional release time up to 3 semester credit hours per regular semester. "
"6. The only other exception that applies is when a faculty member teaches a course that is delivered entirely online. For purely DL courses, they must satisfy a 40-­‐ student minimum enrollment requirement, and a faculty member may count each pure DL course as a 3-­‐hour reduction to their teaching workload per semester for " "every 40 students who enroll in the course. For example, if 90 students enroll and "
"complete a pure DL course, then a faculty member may reduce his or her teaching "
"load by 6 semester credit hours. "

"7. Faculty members who teach large class sizes (60 or more students) may be assigned "
"teaching assistants to assist them with the class administration. "

Anonymous said...

"8. Full-­‐time academic administrators with terminal degrees must teach at least one 3-­‐ hour course each regular semester, preferably at the undergraduate level. This helps our economic model and keeps administrators connected to what matters most at our university. "
"9. Clinical faculty in the College of Medicine who receive part-­‐time academic salaries to teach residents, fellows, and rotating medical students are not subject to these criteria. Instead, these clinical faculty members in the University of Toledo Faculty Practice Plan (UTPCF) are subject to separate clinical workload criteria. "
" "
"Your faculty workload recommendations are due by February 6, 2013. Please do not recommend any faculty workload agreements that do not satisfy these new criteria. Furthermore, please wait for approval before finalizing any faculty member’s workload agreement. "
" "

Anonymous said...

"The end result of the application of the above criteria is that almost every faculty member will teach more students beginning in Fall 2013; this is our necessary contribution to adjust the university’s budget to the “new normal” U.S. economy. We understand this may have an impact on the university’s unfunded research and service missions-­‐-­‐unless we employ new academic strategies and technologies that help us become more productive teacher/scholars. New teaching models like the “flipped classroom” and new academic technologies like pre-­‐recorded video instruction are being used now in most disciplines to allow greater numbers of students to be taught more cost-­‐effectively. A new University Teaching Center is being developed to help faculty members learn how to employ these new models and technologies to increase teaching productivity and to minimize the impact of higher teaching workloads on unfunded research and service activities. This may be the key to teaching more students more effectively without adversely affecting our research and service missions. "
" "
"Finally, the second part of what we must do is to begin reviewing all of our degree "
"programs: "
" "
"1. Review degree program course requirements and make sure that each course "
"requirement is truly necessary to achieve learning objectives and outcomes, and "
"2. Review the number of course electives and ensure that course offerings are at the "
"requisite number to achieve degree program learning objectives and outcomes. "
"This work is also necessary to comply with the State of Ohio’s new “Complete College Ohio” "
"recommendations; a copy of that report is attached. We will begin to review your analysis "
"of degree programs and course offerings with you before March 1, 2013. "

"In summary, these changes are a financial necessity and will require your personal "
"leadership to adequately explain and implement these changes with all your faculty and staff. Thank you, in advance, for the leadership you will provide. These are difficult financial times across the country, and your personal leadership is what is needed to make this transition as positive as possible. If we make these adjustments skillfully, we will "
"4"
"continue to accomplish our tripartite mission of teaching, research, and service in a"
"financially sustainable manner. That is our goal."
"As with any change of this nature, there will be definitional and other issues such as lab size"
"and clinical requirements that will need to be addressed as exceptions on a case by case basis due to current space limitations and state requirements. Our offices will work with you to resolve these issues as they emerge."
"Again, thank you for the leadership you will provide as we adjust to the “new normal.”

Anonymous said...

The horrible document prepared by Scary & Co. is not secret; indeed it has been sent to all deans, deanlets, deanlings, and to all chairs, with the request to share it with faculty either via e-mail or during department meetings.In case you have not received the dreadful piece of paper, you can ask your chair for an electronic copy.

In that document it is written that the university will face a budget shortfall of 30-36 million $ in 2013-2014... don't you find surprising that the cost of the new simulation center is exactly 36 million and that it was supposed to be run jointly with Promedica, to share expenses, while at the end it is entirely on UT shoulders?

Also they ask us to increase the teaching load and the class size, also for junior and senior classes. This will mean that to get a BS in any STEM discipline (not to mention humanities) it will take our students many more years, simply because the required classes will not be offered every year in order to meet the 30 students threshold. This will encourage many more students to leave UT for good, further decreasing enrollment.

The funny thing is that Kasich asks us to graduate students in 3 years, while with this "new normal" it will take at least 6 years to get a BS in a STEM field.

I am looking for a job elsewhere and I strongly suggest for your own good to do the same, unless you are close to retirement.

Anonymous said...

To demonstrate our enthusiasm for this Darwinian "new normal" we should all be prepared to begin grading student performance on rigorous and unforgiving curves if we are not already doing so.

Anonymous said...

Can any faculty member really say that he/she did not see this coming?

Anonymous said...

In my four years as a UT student, I took maybe four classes with more than 30 students. That was a major selling point for the honors program and for the sciences in general. I don't know how anyone would ever get a BS in physics if 4000-level courses were offered infrequently enough to ensure an enrollment over 30 in each one.

Also from the alumnus perspective, it irritates me that the university attempts a total reinvention every time a new administrator comes on board.

Anonymous said...

You can bet that departments with STEM majors will be given exemptions to this edict. Jacobs wants UT to be the NW Ohio STEM factory. He does not care how long it takes other majors to graduate and, in fact, wants to move non STEM majors to BGSU so that, at UT, these other departments can become true service departments. That's the end game that is being played out here and it was announced a few years ago when Jacobs made a big deal about Mark Taylor's book and then invited him to UT to give a talk http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/opinion/27taylor.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

Anonymous said...

This "new normal" is the beginning of the passage of the Death Star through our little galaxy. Jacobs Inc. has about a year to implement his scorched earth policy before the economy recovers and his thimbleriggers can no longer with any credibility crow "financial necessity" any more. It's high time to remove our sabats and toss them in the gearbox.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! This is wrong-headed and dangerous thinking. If Scott “Johnny Appleseed" Scarborough had his thinking cap on straight he would realize how bizarre this statement sounds in the context of his implementing a strategic plan.

This "shotgun" approach as a plan is going to result in a lot of collateral damage and ultimately unacceptable losses among faculty, staff and students. It could kill this campus.

I thought Scott was an intelligent man and a straight shootin’ Texan, trustworthy and maybe His Own Man. Wrong!

My buds and I were willing to initially give him a chance to prove his mettle as a wise leader for our campus during difficult times. But his statement here demonstrates that he is otherwise.

Our new provost with his "new normal" is another Jacobs Inc. satrap -- and the slickest one yet!

None of Scott’s (“Johnny’s”) seeds will grow in scorched earth. His strategic plan amounts to grasping for straws. He is in over his head. The honeymoon is over.

Anonymous said...

This administration has been decimating the ranks of CWA and PSA for five years. They have been mismanaging the University (OUR University) for years. We are on the verge of becoming a community technical college. What has the TENURED and UNIONIZED faculty done? You publish sophomoric cartoons. You’ve collectively sat on you asses for five years while others have had their lives ruined by this administration. You’ve gone from fellow victims to collaborators by your inactions. Now your masters have turned on you and are about to implement draconian workloads. You know what. You deserve it. My heart goes out to the students, remember the students?

Anonymous said...

There are two separate issues in Scarborough's letter: workload & class size. Recently, faculty have accepted workload increases in the spirit of helping UT during the economic recession & recovery. 4/4, however, is a different kettle of fish entirely. And the "carrot" Scarborough tosses faculty is that sometime soon a new Teaching Enhancement center will be showing us all how to video our lectures and put them on youtube.

But what I really want to discuss is the 30 student minimum. As other posters in this forum have suggested, this minimum is destructive and counter productive. Many departments will have to completely rewrite their schedules and majors to accommodate such a requirement. Required classes will have to be taught perhaps once a year or even once every two years. Students will not only be in bigger classes, they will have to extend their time at UT. And I think we can all think of some departments where getting 30/15 in upper level classes will be all but impossible.

What this reveals to me is exactly what concerned most at UT when Scarborough was picked to be Provost: he has no academic background, no idea what effect his cost cutting ideas will have on students and programs and departments. And, as someone already from the Jacobs team, he won't stand up to Jacobs when it's obvious a change will have disastrous consequences.

This letter is the most egregious in a long line of half baked ideas have come from on high which impose changes with no thought whatsoever to their effects on departments, faculty, programs and, most importantly, students.

Anonymous said...

So who was the last person in the provost's office who did understand those linkages?

Anonymous said...

Henry Moon?

Anonymous 11:28 said...

"You can bet that departments with STEM majors will be given exemptions to this edict." // I'm not sure. Let's not treat STEM too monolithically. The professors in STEM departments who actually carry the teaching load are not the ones in sexy subfields that the Jacobs gang likes to coddle.

Anonymous said...

UTAAUP Bulletin 113 gives what is the first (but not last, I hope) union response to the Provost's letter.

Interestingly, the newsletter states, "The Dean in each college was required to sign the letter along with Chancellor Gold and Provost Scarborough," suggesting that the letter and its contents came from on high.

The Bulletin does not address whether the Provost's directives, if implemented, will violate the contract or whether the union will take legal action if the directives in the letter are carried out. What the bulletin does is compare UT's class sizes to other Ohio colleges and universities and attempt to predict the impact of increased class size on programs and initiatives (including the strategic plan). For example, "According to OBOR statistics for 2009, the latest available, the median class size of an undergraduate lecture class at UT was 27 students, the highest in Ohio," "Among the MIME graduate-level courses offered this semester, only four classes have enrolled more than 15, and two of those courses are in India."

UTAAUP newsletters may be found at: http://www.utaaup.com/test/content/newsletter

Anonymous said...

Was anyone at the faculty senate meeting today?

Anonymous said...

Yes. The administration is in a panic mode to implement controversial and irreversible structural and curricular changes campus-wide by early February fiscal plan deadlines with only the vaguest notions of their impacts. The plan is, according to an interview with a top administrator published in the most recent Independent Collegian, to cast out many seeds and "see what grows." This experimental garden, as most senators articulated in many different ways, seems a costly recipe for disaster. Utter madness. Stay tuned.

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