I feel obligated to respond to President Shelton’s 3-D memo of Tuesday, August 25, 2009.
Shelton says that ‘[i]t is important to note the value that has been placed on undergraduate education and teaching function.” Yet, many steps have been taken to damage undergraduate education at the UA.
1. The Financial Aid Office’s staff has been decimated of experienced staff and is in chaos. At the beginning of the semester, they are 6 weeks behind and still processing summer applications.
2. University College with its excellent advising program, which has served the great majority of under-represented groups on campus, has been closed.
3. There is no longer a V.P. for Instruction, which Shelton supposedly created a year ago to demonstrate the importance of instruction at the UA. The position never had an operating budget and the duties of the position have been doled out to underlings of Gail Burd’s. None of these people, including Burd, have any background in effective instruction.
4. The Colleges that in fact do the most undergraduate instruction, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities are, along with Fine Arts, scheduled to be the victims of the “differential cuts”.
5. The person most responsible for budget redesign, Juan Garcia, has been fired.
6. The Cultural Centers, which provided a welcoming presence and support for many undergraduates have not been closed after much protest, but true to the Shelton/Hay methods of doing business, they have not been funded.
Shelton makes reference to “the collegial input that is vital to shared governance…”, and talks about “improved opportunities for academic collaboration”. Don’t be fooled by his rhetoric. There is no shared governance on this campus and there are no improved opportunities for academic collaboration. Shelton throws these words out to try to calm the waters, but in fact, decisions are made by an increasingly small group of Shelton/Hay cronies. There will be no shared governance until we demand it. Therefore, I wonder here, where is Chairman of the Faculty, Wanda Howell in all this? She has been strangely quiet and certainly has not represented the faculty well through this last academic year. I suggest a movement to recruit someone who will be truly effective standing up to the administration, and truly representing the Faculty!
Eveyln B. Hall
[originally posted 8/25/09]