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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Keeping Up With Old Friends

Update 6 Feb:  The vote went 50/2 for no confidence.  Interesting is that the Akron trustees are blaming the faculty and contract talks for rampant mal-administration.  Doesn't this sound like a familiar voice from the administrative past at UT?  "Misbehaving faculty," was one of the slogans of the Jacob's era.   


Anonymous said...

Vote taken: 50 vote no confidence, 2 vote against no confidence.

Anonymous said...

The "no confidence" farce played out at UT of course. All it does now is foreground how little the public cares about what faculty think of their administrators and how impotent faculty are not only with the general public but with their own administrators, trustees, and Columbus. The only time "no confidence" votes ever mattered was when it brought to the public's attention mismanagement and then increased scrutiny by the press and outrage by the public and attention from the trustees. Those days are long gone.

Anonymous said...

Inside Higher Ed announces the results of the unprecedented "no-confidence" vote at the University of Akron announced here:

The public has to know the grounds for the no-confidence vote before it demonstrates how much it cares. And now it knows. A 50 to 2 vote of no-confidence seems overwhelmingly significant. Students we go elsewhere until the mal-administration identified ceases under new leadership. Donors will hold onto their dollars, too. As you say (4:43) no-confidence votes are a powerful tool to focus attention on the locus of mismanagement, which leads to increased scrutiny by the press (as exemplified by the IHE coverage of this vote). The outraged public will act as you predict to finally call in the rat-catchers. Open the floodgates: The University of Akron mal-administrators and faculty-bashing members of the BOT are going to clog the exits as a result of this vote and in anticipation of the obvious end game for them that it will generate.

Anonymous said...

with tenure faculty can voice a view about the direction of a college that is often shared by non-tenured faculty, administrators, staff, students, parents and alumni that do not have that same job protection - and the faculty along with the staff will have more history and likely much more long term serve to the institution than the President will, and they are the ones having to deal with the decisions and picking up the pieces years after he/she leaves a mess behind.

Anonymous said...

News reports from Summit County about the Toledo Mafia are a little like the White House tapes of Richard Nixon. They are gifts that keep on giving.

Scott Scarborough’s off-the-charts hubris, his massive failure to communicate the reasons for all the changes he wanted to introduce at UA, his contempt for the city of Akron and its residents that resulted in the disastrous rebranding efforts, the presidential house renovation fiasco, and the callous layoffs of more than 200 staff employees—no unionized faculty members were axed as is always the case—and the resultant economic and spiritual hardship the layoffs imposed on Summit County have been breathtaking to watch. The sad thing about the layoffs is that those who suffer the greatest penalty are most often not those who were responsible for the mess in the first place.

And hurling anonymous, long-distance barbs is great sport and in keeping with today’s venomous social media culture.

But let’s focus on issues closer to 2800 West Bancroft St., shall we?

Here are a few tasty morsels.

--An $11 million budget shortfall, the result of a chronic student enrollment and retention headache. Will a new provost make any difference?

--A Main Campus student library that lacks student study and meeting spaces. Make sure the provost candidates tour Carlson. Who knows? One may have a soft spot in his heart for student academics and correct the problem.

--A resource-draining Scott Park Campus that is home to--count ‘em--99 employees that is becoming increasing superfluous and that needs to be sold either to the city of Toledo, Toledo Board of Education, Toledo Metro Parks or Norfolk Southern Railroad to expand its intermodal operation. Relocate baseball, softball, and soccer playing fields to Main Campus by tearing down Carter East and Carter West residence halls, the day care center, and the building that houses human resources and construction planning. Heck, there’s plenty of land available on Health Science Campus.

--A cash-strapped medical school that must exercise toughness, decisiveness and vigilance in its clinical affiliation negotiations with what some view as the community’s biggest corporate bully, ProMedica, a health care system that historically has been a wildly inconsistent educational partner and that has used medical education as a pawn in its strategy to win Toledo’s medical turf wars. Frankly, this has all the earmarks of a Faustian bargain, with the medical college receiving big bucks for a diminished teaching and health-care provider role for the UT Medical Center and its clinics as Toledo Hospital gets the designation of being the medical school’s primary teaching hospital for fellowship programs, residency rotations, and medical school clerkships and more College of Medicine and Life Sciences faculty members end up over on North Cove Blvd. The Federal Trade Commission will not allow ProMedica to buy any more hospitals in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. But a medical school? That may be a different story.

--A faculty senate that moves with the swiftness of a terrapin in the Sahara. Check out the last time that august body posted the agendas and minutes of its meetings.

Pass the bacon-artichoke cheese dip, please. The big game is about to start.

Anonymous said...

Will a new Provost make a difference in enrollment? I think so. Looking over the CVs of the four candidates I find something very positive in each. Remember, enrollment and retention is something we are all responsible for.

I'm not sure the library is an issue or a red herring. It seems to me that there are construction delays. I'm not convinced that is a nefarious plot against anyone.

I agree with you about Scott Park.

The partnership with ProMedica will be a tremendous boost to everyone involved, including the community. The economics of health care is changing. Small, indpendent hospitals cannot survive alone.

Personally, I have very little respect for Faculty Senate. They sat on their hands through the entire Jacobs era without really fighting back.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I looked forward to longtime Rocket football play-by-play announcer Mark Beier calling a game between the Rockets and the Ohio Tech Zips.

Anonymous said...

In the latest LLSS reorganization proposal, the foreign language requirement is seemingly kicked down the road for a year. The latest new proposal simply states current "divergent requirements" will remain in place with "appropriate faculty governing units" determining college wide requirements in time for the start of Fall, 2017. Seems to me, given that LLSS faculty will likely have the majority in the "appropriate faculty governing units," the return of the foreign language requirement is a fait accompli if art and communications accept this proposal, unless they are given some kind of veto power over curriculum changes.

Anonymous said...

If you are in a college, college requirements are same for all programs and approved by duly elected representatives from the college departments? Why would anyone expect different or special treatment? Does UT have any existing colleges where academic programs in the college can choose not to follow college requirements?

Anonymous said...

I suspect that if the fine arts programs are merged, they might find some allies in the social sciences to lessen the language requirement.

Anonymous said...

And we're off to the race to the bottom!

Anonymous said...

Standards do not depend on foreign languages but can be demonstrated in a number of ways.

Anonymous said...

Again I ask the question: Do our peer competitors require FL for social science and humanities majors?

Anonymous said...

Looking at the enrollment figures for Coca from spring 2015 to spring 2016, I see that their enrollment has not increased even with their relaxed FL requirement.

Anonymous said...

The votes have been tallied and it’s now official.

The inaugural Hands Across Centennial Mall Award has been given to faculty members in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and the College of Arts and Communication for their extraordinary efforts in setting aside mean-spirited professional rivalries to form a soon-to-be-announced new arts and sciences college.

“What comes at the end of a big achievement?” said Piffle, a UT spokesman. “Awards, of course.”

“With the impending organizational reboot of CAS, I know the president is getting tingly thinking about the intellectual synergy, the interdisciplinarity from combining diverse departments under one umbrella,” the spokeman jested. “Think of the potential of combining under one administrative unit courses like Econometrics and Introduction to Capoeira, that challenging Brazilian art form that combines self-defense, music and dance.”

All faculty members in both colleges will receive free iPods loaded with the Beatles greatest hits, including Help! and I Should Have Known Better.

“Of course we are waiting for a name and a mission,” he chirped. “And the suggestion box is open. Name the new college. Just think—the arts and the sciences back together, gettin’ the old band reunited replaying the same old tunes.”

Piffle revealed that consideration was given to calling it the Neville Chamberlain Peace In Our Time Award, but “we figured that would not work since the only prizes we could come up with were baskets of apples and grapes and umbrellas.”

Piffle said the amalgamation is in keeping with UT’s commitment to conservation.

“After all whether it’s plastic Coke bottles, pizza boxes, toner cartridges, or arts & sciences colleges, we all have a strong commitment to recycling at UT,” he bantered.

Meanwhile, faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics continue to resist calls to join other two units.

Relying on the oft-used dating and marriage metaphors to describe mergers, Piffle quipped, “The colleges have been wooing each other for several years now , trying to figure out a way to get to the altar. It certainly has been an on-again, off-again courtship, a long, chaotic and star-crossed relationship. But we all want a marriage made to last. If NSM joins the merger, the new curriculum will be attractive and very well endowed.”

Asked for a comment, an NSM assistant professor who wished to remain anonymous, quoting Paul Henreid to Humphrey Bogart at the end of Casablanca, sniffed, “Welcome to the fight.”

In a related matter, the Provost Office has established a permanent Division of LLSS-COCA Merger Oversight.

“We could be at this a while,” said a third-floor University Hall official who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “Sending documents back and forth takes time.”

Anonymous said...

Leave your bloody hands of my NSM college.

How great was the leadership of Arts and Sciences back in the day? Let us review.

A nice elderly lady recycled from the Victorian Era with no acadamic experience.

A puppet who would have drowned in his own water methaphor had he not been thrown under by the bus by virtually everyone who knew him.

A trained actress if you are charitable, a trained liar if you are not.

A mean-spirit, petty philosopher who was almost universally hated.

A Foregin Language Prof who didn't have enough vision to lead herself out of a paperbag.

Sorry, no one in their right mind in NSM wants to return that.

Bloggie said...

Bloggie hears reports that the conversations the other day between LSSS and COCA folks had an" otherworldly air."

Anonymous said...

It's remarkable how the supposedly scientific and social scientific sorts all too frequently abandon their own rhetoric and resort to "creativity" to express themselves. The psychological subtext, I suppose, is that if it weren't for their "higher" calling (i.e. sciences), they could have been successful as satirists and creative writers. I suppose it must be a nasty wake up call to be told their attempts at satiric humor are jejune. On the Bloggie note, my take from LSSS is they they, at least in their committees, seem to think the merger is a done deal, and they are negotiating from a position of strength. Initially, I had heard that the President had given COCA a veto, and would not force a merger if COCA didn't agree to the terms. Has that changed? Or is LSSS trying to pull a fast one in it's proposal and will pull the rug out from any discussion of the foreign language requirement once the two officially join?

Anonymous said...

I understand the reps from COMM made a lasting impression (and not a good one!)

Anonymous said...

Small minds at work. Cavil. Drama. Absolutist. Uncivil. Inward foci.

Anonymous said...

As presently structured, it is a bad deal for COCA. I'd punt on any deal that lacked curriculum reform.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the reps from COMM did not make enough of an impression. COMM represents 400 majors. We understand the needs of our students much better than do the snide reps of a couple of humanities departments. We have curricular reform in mind and are moving in that direction. But others wish to override our decisions and give us platitudes, shocked indignation and catty remarks in an attempt to brush us aside. This is not collegial behavior but rather arrogance. If the foreign languages were all that important to our students, why are students not rushing to fill all those classes? Foreign Languages Dept. possibly needs to clean up its curricular act. They aren't, so we get the castor-oil approach, where all the students are required to line up and take your dose like the old school nurse administers to everyone with the same spoon in the old Our Gang features. We in COMM extoll and recognize the languages, but NOT FOR EVERYBODY! We want flexibility that will assure more depth in out students. Beside many students dodge the language requirement by taking sign language, and the ones that undergo it don't seem all that fluent. In any case, departments should have considerable sway over their curricula, platitudes be damned, and a college wherein liberality is a value should recognize this. Maybe, however, the new college will be named College of Arbitrary and Careerist Academicians (CACA) in which case "arbitrary and hidebound" will be the motto, rendered in international and global French or maybe in Latin, as you will.

Anonymous said...

Comm's position has support by some in LLSS.

Dave Tucker said...

Dear Friends: Since the quality of my presentation before the joint session of congress, sorry councils, has been brought into question, please allow me to restate my position. I do not believe that a merger of CoCA and LLSS has any educational purpose whatsoever. While there may be some monetary savings, that has yet to be shown or explained and, the merger has no educational benefit for our students. In fact the constant reorganization of colleges and departments makes us look more like the Cleveland Browns administration than that of a university. In addition, it opens old wounds (primarily curricular)that from our perspective had resolved themselves. And finally, our name, Communication, is in the college title. This is good for the department. As a department, we are moving forward with new curricular options and a joint venture with ESPN. Many of us like the view from right where we are.

Anonymous said...

And once again a topic is overwhelmed by narcissism. The issue here is: Has the president TOLD the two colleges they will merge? If yes, then work out the best deal possible and masturbate at home and not in joint meetings or on this blog. If no, then take the pros and cons to your own college and deal with the results of whatever college vote determines the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Is it called Spanish III because it take students three tries to pass?

Anonymous said...

Once again it’s time for the Professional Staff Council to suit up its armor.

The “Night of Long Knives” at University Hall is just around the corner and PSC’s heart is about to get torn out.

The Gaber administration has specified its spending cut goals for the remainder of the academic year and for 2016-2017 academic year and now must implement them.

Freshly minted pink slips are on the way, and if history is any guide, the pain will fall unevenly, with most funereal scenes involving staff members.

How many more times are we going to have to watch the drama of budget cuts wielded by senior administrator/hatchmen with six-figure incomes and cheered on by selfish faculty members with safe, union-protected sinecures who could care less about non-academic support staff members who are about to be slaughtered.

One can never have too much AAUP protection.

Remember 2009, 2010, and 2011.

When are PSC members going to wake up and realize that the only way to protect their jobs is through collective bargaining? How many more “Nachts der langen” are PSC members going to suffer?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:42

Well said! 100% right on.

Anonymous said...

So join one of the unions or make your own.

Unknown said...

I agree with Anon. 3:42 and would go even further.

The UT Board of Trustees should grow a pair of watermelon-sized cojones and unanimously pass a motion to declare the school in “a universitywide state of financial exigency,” the term used in academia that equates to a financial emergency.

Declaring financial exigency makes it easier for universities to lay off employees, including tenured and tenure-track professors who have the greatest employment protections at UT.

The AAUP defines financial exigency as an “imminent financial crisis which threatens the survival of the institution as a whole,” and one that “cannot be alleviated by less drastic means” than firing faculty.

That would give the administration the flexibility to distribute the pain more equitably if it is so inclined.

How about it Sharon?

Anonymous said...

I believe that state law requires that employees who have one-year “at will” employment contracts are entitled to a 90-days notice when their jobs are axed. That means pink slips will be going out at the end of March in order for UT to start the 2016-2017 academic year with a balanced budget.

That’s why it's called “March Madness.”

Anonymous said...

Of all of the justifications given by Dan Johnson and Lloyd Jacobs for the 2006 UT-MCO merger, none was more foolish, more ludicrous—with the advantage of hindsight, of course—than the idea that merger would improve the value of a UT degree.

UT’s chronic enrollment headache screams volumes about the studied indifference students in Ohio and southeastern Michigan have toward UT and its academic programs.

Now, with still another here-we-go-again budget crisis and with the College of Medicine and Life crawling into bed with the biggest corporate bully in the region, UT more resembles the Penn-Central Railroad—a university highballing down the track to educational oblivion.

Anonymous said...

The comments took a turn but this article reconnects to the OP

Anonymous said...

Really? No one has commented on the Provost search? We have four rather different candidates for what amounts to the second most important position at UT, and no one has seemed fit to comment?

OK, I'll start it of.

McCord A- Well rounded, experienced, realistic vision
Hsu B Not much visionn/experience outside of STEM, limited time in academia
Robinson C Seems better suited for VP of Student Affairs than Provost
Siegel F Seems unready for role, vague, feeling might be a weak leader

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it no agreement among LLSS, COCA, and COMM faculty as to structure of a new college, in fact it has degraded to childlike sniping via emails, insults and catcalls at meetings (boy real surprise there...), and with March deadline looming, looking more like Gaber will just impose it. Just as some of us predicted here back in November that these faculty would never come to any agreement on anything.