Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deck Chairs on the Titanic

To augment this very productive discussion by moving it in a slightly different direction, I am posting here an updated and modified set of remarks I made to the Faculty Senate at their 3 February 2003 meeting. It is depressing, though not at all surprising, that so little had to be changed to make these observations relevant to the situation we face some six years later.

To try to minimize any misunderstanding, I just want to make a couple of prefatory points. First, my fundamental critique is of the corporatist governance model quite generally, and not only of the Shelton/Hay incarnation of it. The problems we in higher education face are structural and systemic, not simply matters of personality of particular “leaders.” I do not believe that our current administration is much worse than others, but on the dimensions I lay out below, they are certainly no better. Second, I advocate more faculty control over UA policy (and not simply through advising administrators). The retort to such a position is always that real faculty governance would be chaos. My response is twofold: 1) that faculty, if given the chance, are much more keenly sensitive to the needs of the university and its place in society than present administrators; and 2) we could hardly do worse than we are doing now. In arguing for more faculty control over policy, I am not suggesting that faculty involve themselves in the day-to-day running of the UA (except if they take on such duties), but rather in articulating the broad visions of what the UA ought to be, and formulating the strategic and tactical mechanisms for achieving those visions. I also recognize that by advocating more faculty involvement with policy, any time spent on such issues is on top of our regular jobs (unlike our professional managers, for whom these activities currently constitute their jobs). This means that we must develop mechanisms that restructure reward systems and time schedules (i.e., eliminate the constantly expanding speed-up to which we are all subjected) to allow faculty the thoughtful participation these matters require. Finally, I would just call your attention to the disclaimer with which I begin my remarks below, and point out that what we now take for granted about university administration need not continue to be the “common sense.” The common sense changes over time, and we can change the present model of UA governance. Here are the (recalibrated) remarks:

My name is Marv Waterstone, and I’m a faculty member in the School of Geography and Development.

I have a few remarks, and a couple of pointed questions.

Before I begin, I want to offer one disclaimer:

My remarks are going to sound like non-sense at the outset. I mean this in a very precise way. What I want to say today is going to be a deliberate challenge to the taken-for-granted “common sense” of how universities must be managed. By definition, then, any challenge to accepted common sense has to seem non-sensical. As I hope to convince you, it is not!

The current “transformation” is a deliberate distraction from massive administrative failure, and a major extension of the assault on faculty governance.

Let me talk about the managerial failure first.

The budgetary mess we are in is the result of repeated and consistent management failure; it is not, as the administration now claims, an opportunity to reorient our way of doing “business.” It is the result of failing to make a persuasive and distinctive case for the importance of higher education in this state. Our “managers” are incapable of articulating this kind of mission, because they speak only with the truncated, corporatist vocabulary and vision of bureaucrats and bean counters. Because they are now a permanent class of managers, they rarely (if ever) step back into the activities that form the heart of a university. Their imaginations limit the university roles to the market-tied goals of economic development and job training, and therefore position us as just another agency of the state or private sector. Their failure to articulate our unique contributions (as opposed to the mundanities for which they do tout us), forces universities to compete in arenas in which we do not, and often should not excel, and prohibit our being seen for the real values we (and only we) bring to society.

The result (i.e., the track record of this management model) has been at least two decades of declining budgets, faculty disaffection and defection, stagnant salaries, increased workloads, imposition of post-tenure review, and on and on. We’re told that all of this is not the fault of our “managers.” It’s the economic downturn in Arizona. But in fact, this and previous administrations have done their jobs so poorly that even during the relatively better economic years of the mid- late-1990s, university budgets were not even restored, let alone increased! Or alternatively (and simultaneously), it’s the fault of an uneducable legislature. What can our poor leaders do; they’re trying their best. And yet… How does all of this add up to a record of achievement that legitimizes the current form of management? Given this record of abject failure, why should we now trust this model of corporatist, autocratic university governance (and the values it represents) to diagnose our present woes and to prescribe the massive reorganization that we are now being told is not only necessary, but opportune? If ever there was a moment when market fundamentalism and corporate-style management should be held up for opprobrium and dismissal, this is certainly that moment. Even for those who have argued in the past that universities (and everything else!) should be run like a business, the current domestic and international failures of this model should now be beyond question and tossed out on their ear.

We’re told that this is the kind of management that modern universities need in order to respond to the external (and internal) situations that face us. But a big part of our problem is captured in this formulation. The current approach is always reactive. And don’t be misled by the rhetoric claiming “transformation” is pro-active and entrepreneurial. It is first, foremost and primarily a reaction to declining budgets, and represents doing less with less, no matter how our managers try to characterize it. These bureaucrats (our “leaders”) never seem to recognize the enormous power we have to shape the environments in which we operate. We, as faculty, have a unique opportunity through our scholarship and teaching, to shape the minds and critical abilities of our students and to contribute new knowledge to society at many levels. We (the faculty in the trenches and in touch with the day-to-day achievements of the university), and not our out of touch and visionally-impaired administrators should be the ones conveying this message to our various publics. We have the experience, the belief, and the passion to make this case. If, given the opportunity, we cannot make this case persuasively to legislators and others, then we should relinquish our claims to being educators. We should also be more proactive in mobilizing the constituencies we have that should be allied with us: our students and their parents. Instead of hiding the effects of devastating budget cuts (e.g., the ludicrous idea that furlough days, if necessary, should only be taken on non-teaching days), we should be doing everything in our power to make these effects tangible, visible and damaging. We should make clear to our students and their parents that the educational system on which they rely, and on which many base their future hopes and aspirations, is being systematically dismantled. These constituencies, and others allied with them, should be making their displeasure known in Phoenix. But this cannot happen if they don’t realize what’s being done. When it comes time to making budgetary decisions in Phoenix, we must, through our own voices, and through those of our constituencies, make higher education as much of a priority as policing and prisons.

Why speak out right now? This brings me to the second major, and related, concern: the extension of the assault on faculty governance. One reason to speak out is that the changes being proposed currently have enormous consequence (real people are being thrown out of work, programmatic changes that may not be reversible are being set in motion), and are being carried out in a largely unaccountable manner by those who have repeatedly failed us in the past. As I’ve indicated, the failure is not just with this particular administration, but with the whole corporatist model that now governs most universities. It is clear, however, that this administration (and its immediate predecessor) especially relishes the CEO role and the autocratic power that accompanies that “leadership” form. Though invariably cloaked in the language of consultation, Robert Shelton’s clearer sentiments are expressed in his and Provost Hay’s autocratic actions
On what basis is this kind of unilateral authority claimed? Where is the record of achievement that would justify this bald assertion of autocracy? Robert Shelton, like Peter Likins before him, was hired as a CEO, and was hired to run the university like a business. He has. He has run it on the same Likins trajectory, right into the ground. The kind of real leaders we need are ones who not only know that the corporation is not the only organizational model available in society, but who also know and believe that it is an inappropriate model for a university. We need leaders who are collegial, collaborative, consultative, and who rotate back into the faculty on a regular basis in order to stay in touch with what a university is really all about. Only then, will they be able to convey the passion that will convince others of our value, relevance and merit.

Whether your unit has been designated as “core” and essential (only 2% cuts), is not nearly as important as the issue of who gets to decide such matters, based on what criteria, and with what kind of accountability. It is clear, however, that the current designations not only matter (especially if your unit is slated to be eliminated, merged, reorganized or downsized by 7% or more), but that the process that has produced these proposals fits beautifully with a “divide and conquer” strategy. Those units that have been “spared” in the current round of cuts are clearly encouraged to keep their heads down, lest they be next. But a focus on the details distracts us from the enormous, and illegitimate, extension of power by the central administration. Having “been spared” and told that your unit is currently “core,” does not insure continued survival in the future, nor does it insure compatibility with the “bottom-line” set of values that now governs this and other policy processes, whether they are appropriate or not.

We, as faculty, must assert and attain a real, and in fact, dominant say in this process (and in other policy-making as well), and not simply one of advising. As I’ve argued, I do not think the track record justifies the current autocratic, top-down arrangement, no matter what ABOR policies indicate (don’t forget that the large majority of non-student, non-ex officio ABOR members are themselves corporate CEOs). We need to turn the current relationship between faculty and administration on its head. Faculty should be making policy (not simply consulting and advising on agendas set almost wholly by managers with a proven track record of failure). Administrators (who rotate in and out of the faculty) should then be charged with carrying those policies out. I am sure we’ve gone far enough down the corporatist path that this will sound absurd and unrealistic to most of you, but this taken-for-granted, current “common sense” can be changed. Faculty have the power to effect this change. The university can run without permanent, professional managers, it can’t run without faculty and students! If you don’t believe me, try this in your next class: conduct a disaggregated, decentralized general strike by declaring two minutes of your own silence. See what happens in the classroom.

Given the state of affairs our present management model has produced, it’s long past time to admit that this management model is bankrupt and should be scrapped. We can do better. How? We need to invigorate the Faculty Senate to take up a much more activist stance. If the Senate can’t meet the challenge, we need a new, autonomous organization (i.e., a UNION) to mobilize and actualize our power. Our biggest obstacle is ourselves. We (faculty) are mostly acculturated in environments that are largely antithetical to collective action. Most of our reward structures, from graduate school and on through the ranks, are structured around individual achievement. We are also encouraged to think of ourselves as professionals and not as workers. I suggest that the challenges we in higher education are facing require a concerted, unified, and collective action, no matter how much we are inclined otherwise. The entire enterprise is either disintegrating or is being changed so radically that most of us will soon find it unrecognizable as the place that inspired our passion in the first place. Just doing good work, and hoping to be left in peace, when the organization as a whole is being gutted out from under us.

Participation in such matters, as has been noted on this blog, is a chicken/egg question. Why don’t more faculty get involved in “shared” governance? Because most of us believe that under the current “advisory” model, it’s a waste of time and energy. We need faculty to get involved to CHANGE THE MODEL..


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Part of the above posting is made under a faulty premise.

    The author writes (my emphasis in italics): "The budgetary mess we are in is the result of repeated and consistent management failure... It is the result of failing to make a persuasive and distinctive case for the importance of higher education in this state... Their imaginations limit the university roles to the market-tied goals of economic development and job training, and therefore position us as just another agency of the state or private sector."

    The faulty premise is that the university administrators have failed to make a case that the UA is worthy of being funded well and of continuing to advance as a great public research university.

    The State does not fund ANY education very well. And it keeps decreasing. This administration has worked hard to make the case to the state that we deserve to be well-funded. But the state does not care.

    Some Data: in FY 08, the state provided roughly $400 Million in funding for the UA. In FY 10, the state provided roughly $340 Million for the UA.

    What is the UA supposed to do? We are growing, expenses are increasing, and yet the state keeps cutting the funding.

    It's not that the administration is failing to make the case. It's, at least in large part, due to the fact that the state does not want to raise taxes and fund public education of any kind. That's why we're roughly 50th for K-12 funding, and have been for years.

    YES, in some ways, the administration could be more open and truly discursive with its decision-making. And YES, the administration could do better in a number of other fronts.

    BUT, they are not the main reason programs have to be cut so drastically in order to meet the huge budgetary shortfalls. The state, and its lack of desire to fund the university, is.

    We can't just blame (or even mostly blame) the administration for the UA's problems. That's unfair, and pretty obviously unjustified when the larger context of how the state runs and operates is taken into account.

    Choosing a couple of people and saying that they are the ones who have made this whole mess that we're in seems to be quite childish to me.

    Again, some communication and management-style faults can be acknowledged and discussed. But, it needs to be done with integrity, and fairness to the larger issues at hand as well. What I continue to read on this blog seems to rarely use either of these traits (integrity or fairness).

    And lastly, we ARE a state agency. Maybe it'd be nice if we could operate under the whims of the desires of the faculty. But that's not how we are to operate, based on both federal laws and funding (as a public land-grant), and under the state. We have to be operated as a state agency, which means that we have to comply with state and federal laws, and we have to allow the state to ultimately govern our tuition rates, actions, and so on. If they want to change our mission, they can.

    Advocating for the faculty governing model to be changed misses the point. The state does not want to fund a top public research university. It wants us to be run like a business. I don't agree with this philosophy, but that is how the state has chosen to treat us, both in word and in deed. Constantly blaming Shelton and Hay, and then advocating for a change in the faculty advisory model, do not seem to be really helpful or honorable ways to deal with the situation at hand.

  3. There is much in Marv's post and much that merits attention. Given my schedule, I thought I would just pull out one very critical piece to react to:

    "Whether your unit has been designated as “core” and essential (only 2% cuts), is not nearly as important as the issue of who gets to decide such matters, based on what criteria, and with what kind of accountability. It is clear, however, that the current designations not only matter (especially if your unit is slated to be eliminated, merged, reorganized or downsized by 7% or more), but that the process that has produced these proposals fits beautifully with a “divide and conquer” strategy."

    The lack of process by which the cuts were made is obvious. Lynn points that out over and over in his posts. But doesn't that matter and doesn't that matter the most? That is the point. It is poor planning, poor leadership, and this is only one example. He has done a better job justifying the cuts than our administration has done...period.

    Let me praise faculty leadership a bit here because there is a lot that they have done privately to put out massive fires. But I must also suggest that this approach (coaching, demands, and pushing back privately) has run its course.

    Our faculty leadership should be credited for pushing back and advising the administration when they could. It was usually after the fact, after they heard about injustices, and they helped correct major errors. They should also be credited with building a process in numerous places where one was never intended (I go say more about this)...especially with respect to transformation. They have worked publicly, but more often, behind the scenes to stop messes when messes were piling up. I have numerous examples, but fear giving myself away by giving them.

    However, my conclusion is "look at the mess". Does working on the inside over and over again really help when lessons aren't learned and the same mistakes and attitudes continue to exist? I worry that our faculty leaders, at some point, are going to lose legitimacy, because it starts to look like they had a chance to really stop things and stand up, but didn't.

    Look at the number of wasted "person-hours" in this transformation. Any business manager could see that this has been an expensive exercise. The amount of time devoted to so little pay-off in savings and even in newly transformed units is evident. The cost in time aren't worth the benefit. If you wanted to create a new environmental unit or Mind, Brain, and Behavior, then work with the units directly and create it!!!

    Are the costs and the hard work our faculty leaders have put in, behind the scenes, truly worth the benefits in cost savings or in truly revolutionized education? Look at the amout of stress in time and reaction. This brand of Shock Culture Change has had its costs. On costs at least, I think Lynn has and would answer no...not worth it.

    Our campus leaders wasted so much time and effort correcting, coaching, pushing, and stopping much worse from happening. I believe that and I praise them for it. But I am also angry about it. A well planned process, one that is inclusive, one based on measures, and one that assesses merit and failure would have taken a bit more time on the front end, but it would have paid great dividends in terms of wasted time, in building trust with our campus, and in building institutions and political capital to make better decisions, with trust, in the future.

  4. A brief response to the person who said, one or 2 comments above, that "advocating for the faculty governing model to be changed misses the point."
    With all due respect, it does not miss the point.
    It carefully and deliberately asks that we consider "the point" from a different angle. Marv Waterstone specifically states, at least twice, that he knows he will be accused of "missing the point" unless we take the time to hear him out. A little time and a little imagination.
    He knows very well that (as you put it), "The state does not want to fund a top public research university. It wants us to be run like a business."
    So you and Marv agree on that, as you acknowledge: "I don't agree with this philosophy [for running a University], but that is how the state has chosen to treat us, both in word and in deed. Constantly blaming Shelton and Hay [which some of us have done here, but Marv has not] and then advocating for a change in the faculty advisory model, do not seem to be really helpful or honorable ways to deal with the situation at hand."
    So on the essential issues you and Marv Waterstone agree. The only disagreement here - and it is basic - is that Marv Waterstone has chosen to urge us to think outside the box rather than reminding us what the box looks like and telling us that we can never get out.
    His way is harder, but the general tendency of our readership will agree, I think, that this approach really is honorable, and really is, particularly at this vital juncture, helpful.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with the previous poster -- the time and money wasted in transformation vs. the benefits realized, even in the long term, simply doesn't compute. The flagship of the whole plan (CLAS) was a closed door decision made with zero cost-benefit analysis, and ends up adding a layer of bureaucracy rather than streamlining anything. The individual administrative units impacted by that decision are STILL (9 months later) trying to work out how to actually function within the new structure. And when budget cuts come down to SBS/CoS/HUM/CFA, we have no idea whether they were decided on by the Provost or our Uber-Dean. If the former then it makes a mockery of the idea of CLAS. If the latter, then the conflict of interest in being both Uber-dean and CoS dean gains a certain resonance.

  6. "If the latter, then the conflict of interest in being both Uber-dean and CoS dean gains a certain resonance."

    A few conflicts of interest indeed. Why did one big college (CLAS) get differential cuts by the colleges that make them up and not just one cut for the whole college? Dean Ruiz and Co. could have then looked at units within and apportioned differentially. Instead, colleges with Interim Deans were targeted...and all units within (strong or not) were equally hit hard.

    Another thing about data here that bothers me and about decision making. I do not say this to pick on Lynn, but just how did Mind Brain and Behavior get created and then taken from SBS without any compensation to SBS. They unilaterally took one of the largest SCH and ICR from SBS and put it in science. Not doubt, if they had stayed in SBS the numbers of SCH and ICRs would have looked even LARGER than the do now...and COS would have looked weaker than it does now.

    Not to mention this...conveniently, Mind Brain and Behavior moves to another college within CLAS...and JUST IN TIME TOO...they get called CORE...and get a 2% cut...and everyone left in SBS gets 7%.

    Just how was this done? Where was the transparency? Also, if I were a Dean, I would think that I should get some compensation for the faculty lines and programs that were essentially taken from SBS without any real process.

    Conclusion is that it wouldn't be a big deal for Mind Brain and Behavior (or Psych) to move within one big college. But the college was treated as multiple colleges for the purpose of budget cuts. They escaped the knife...and SBS lost. The numbers people are quoting now have MBB padding Sciences numbers (not that they weren't big) but more importantly, those numbers are subracted from SBS and makes them look weaker, when they were never truly weak at all.

  7. I want to second what Evelyn just said about the first comment by Anonymous. Marv does not specifically blame Shelton and Hay; he does blame the corporate model we have been living under. We are a state agency, but that does not mean we cannot act on some of Marv's suggestions.

    Some people have attacked Hay and Shelton on this blog, and sometimes they have attacked them unfairly. But mostly people have expressed their frustration with the leadership style and with the decisions made by our leaders. And it is hard for anyone to defend Hay as a leader.

    A lot of state universities have unions, and over time I think we should think about heading in that direction (if we can do away with the right wing right to work thing). At the same time, I think Marv is right that we can do a much better job of promoting ourselves than we have done. I happen to think Shelton has done a good job in many ways dealing with the legislature, given who those people are. But I think Marv is right that we need to educate the people of the state about our value, and that the people of the state need to put pressure on state leaders. We spend money creating posters to attract more state students who we don't have classes for, but we don't spend time and money trying to reach the people of the state and let them know what we do.

    It is all connected. We live in a time of widespread divesting in the public sphere. We see an increase in the corporate/private model. At the UA, we see scores of private entities within the university walling themselves off from the "public" part of the campus. Sports, research science, Eller, Law, Medicine, and etc. have walled themselves off from the public (ghetto) part of the campus where all the teaching happens. It is like having private country clubs inside a public park. And, as is true of all things public in this country, the public park is getting robbed, neglected and tarshed. It is truly the "Tragedy of the Commons."

    How is it, people who read the paper in Tucson want to know, that the UA announces the building of a new 130 Mil football stadium when we can't teach our kids? The UA will say that the sources of money are different--the money for the stadium is "private." Yes, BUT those people donating millions to build a new stadium when they know the university is going down the tubes are the same republicans who will not allow the state to raise taxes by one cent to save our children's minds and futures. So it is connected--it is part of a wider culture war that we need to keep fighting.

    Should we not say to the republicans: if you want your football, you have to also have classes. We will take one dollar from every ten that you donate to sports to put toward educating our children. That would be pushing back. And we need to push back both with a smile and with a stick.

    Why aren't more faculty involved right now? As someone said above, they don't see the point. I speak to professors who have been here 25 years, and they all say the same thing: don't bother getting involved on committees advising the administration. It's all for show, a waste of your time. They do what the want to do and toss your ideas out with the trash. So yes, we need to change things so there is REAL faculty involvement, or we need a damn UNION.

    I hope we can get beyond this Hay problem before too long (preferably by getting rid of her), because, as Marv said, it is a distraction from our real systemic problems.

  8. This is a "housekeeping" announcement and follow-up on my preceding comment.
    The large majority of people who have written to this forum since its inception ("our readers") agree with Marv that the UA should not be run on the corporate model, the business model of institutions like the University of Phoenix. They believe that instead of taking that model as "the only option" available or imaginable, it is preferable to look for ways to defend this University, and to resist being reduced to a University of Tucson whose business plan is indistinguishable from that of the University of Phoenix.
    The question is how to do that, and Marv has offered suggestions.
    At this point, the role of forum-moderator requires that Evelyn (your site administrators) try our best to keep this basic issue clearly in focus. We will do that by giving preference to comments that contribute to advancing the discussion that Marv has put before us, while urging those who would derail or belittle that discussion to take their pessimism elsewhere.
    We are indeed lucky on this campus, blessed if you prefer, to have people like Marv, like Lynn, like Juan, who refer with modesty to their tenacious devotion to the highest idea of a University as "optimism." We know it's not that simple.

  9. I want to get to the substance of this thread, as Evelyn as implored us all to do, but I feel I must address the comments about the School of Mind, Brain and Behavior. I am no longer Head of Psychology, haven't been for 7 years or so. That job is now being done, excellently I might add, by Al Kaszniak. I was only minimally involved in the early discussions about MBB, and then not at all lately. I had no role in the final decisions about where the School would be located. As a faculty member I supported it's being placed in Science, something I have long thought would make sense.

    Indeed the shift of Psychology to Science has altered the numbers in a significant way, since Psychology generates lots of SCH and a fair amount of ICR too. That should be taken into account in looking at the numbers.

    But, lest you think that has protected us, think again. Psychology has lost 4.75 FTE in 2 years and has little or no hope of recovering them according to our new Dean. We currently have 1800+ majors, plus 100+ graduate students, generate 30,000+ SCH, and about $5M in external grants/year with about 30 FTE faculty. According to any measure of efficiency that includes both teaching and research Psychology is either the 1st or 2nd most efficient department at the UA. This did not protect us against the loss of nearly 1/7th of our faculty. You might say we already took the other 5% of our cut up-front.

    And, finally, in terms of resources -- of the FTE we still have, because of the budget situation in SBS a number of our permanent tenure-track faculty were being paid with temporary funds. At this point, after the shift to COS, we now have to cover a sizable chunk of those salaries with our own summer session and ICR funds, at least for a few years.

    Bottom line is that it makes intellectual sense to create something like MBB, it always did. In many universities Psychology is in a College of Science, in others in a College like SBS. Can go either way.

    Lynn Nadel

  10. There is no question that psychology has been hit, like other units have, with respect to losing faculty (and not getting them back). I agree also that the School will be great and that the shift to science is not out of character.

    That said, the points remain:

    -numbers showing COS now include psych making COS larger.

    -Numbers showing SBS don't include psych making their number much lower.

    -This move is pretty serious and has a major effect on two colleges, yet, no public discussion of it and we still don't know how it happened.

    -Last, MBB indeed put itself in a better position (great! and not a problem) but at the expense of others. It made COS look even more core and SBS look less...and certainly put SBS in a position to get 7% versus what it might have had with Psych.

    Fair points? And again, I meant no implication that you, Lynn, did anything to make this happen or that it was a fortituous venture of any sort. In other words, not an attack on your credibility, which is honorable.

    But the points made above remain and are indeed troublesome and serious given the lack of transparency...and the impact of that decision on an entire college.

  11. A word of thanks to the Faculty Senate (see below). And a clarification regarding Evelyn B. Hall's motto:
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
    The reason the founders of this forum adopted that motto was to emphasize our defense of a basic and necessary principle: the right to disagree without reprisals. A.k.a freedom of speech. It's in the U.S. Constitution. It's in the UHAP manual.
    But it has not been in the day-to-day experience of many of our co-workers in high places - Vice President of Instruction, college deans - an untenable state of affairs that so many of you have so resoundingly rejected in these columns in response to our initial posts.

    This week the Faculty Senate took an important step in reaffirming this principle which had been so egregiously flouted by the provost and president. Reporting on the Senate's approval of a definition of "academic freedom," the 9/16 LQP writes, "Under the concept of academic freedom, faculty members have the right to express their personal views and opinions, including those that might be critical of campus institutions and leadership, without fear of reprisal."
    The newly revised wording of the principle of academic freedom includes this: "Academic freedom extends to expressing opinions concerning matters of shared governance or the functioning of the University and the units within. An essential component of academic freedom is the right of faculty members to be free from any adverse action resulting in whole or in part from the exercise of freedom of speech, belief, or conscience in any venue, to the maximum extent consistent with the fulfillment of clearly defined teaching, research, service or clinical obligations."

    An important step in the right direction.
    In his post here, Marv is talking about others, yet to be taken. So to those whose voices of hope resurgent we have heard in recent days on this blog, we say, "Keep the faith, don't give up, your faculty leaders are listening. And hearing."
    And to those whose voices of weary defeatism we have also heard, and only too often, we say, "Maybe you really should give up, but spare us your lessons. Comments intended to exert a downward drag are of no help to us here."
    More simply put: Don't send us comments that say "No you can't." Comments that say "You can't do that because this is Arizona."
    You're talking to people who believe, on the contrary, that we MUST do this BECAUSE it's Arizona.
    Correction: You can send those negative comments; just don't be upset if we don't post them.
    Call us cranky, call us illiberal, or liberal, or any nasty thing you want. Our motto does not mean, and never did mean, that we will defend equally anyone's right to say anything at all. Selectivity is not censorship. We will not defend comments that are defamatory or mean-spirited. We will not post comments that are totally beside the point. Staying focused, staying on track, is more than a discursive nicety; it is a political necessity. Required in a discussion that is becoming more openly conscious of the fact that the word "politics" simply refers to conflicts born from the unequal distribution of power in a given community.
    Related tags: defense; protection; respect for rights guaranteed by our laws.
    And by the proceedings of our Faculty Senate. Thank you, CAFT. More to come.

  12. Many of the responses to Marv's post have already said things I would have said - if I had had the time. So I can be brief:

    1. I completely agree that the corporatist model of universities is a serious threat to everything I thought I was signing up for when I became an academic.

    2. I also agree that our leadership in the past 10 years has bought into that model, possibly because no other approach occurred to them, or was proposed to them (this is of course a simplification).

    3. I don't think that forming a union would make much difference, and the energy that would go into that effort would take away from other efforts. It's OK by me, I support unions in general, but I just don't think it would change our situation.

    4. I feel that one avenue lies in changing the political culture of the state. It is all well and good to say we should do a better job of making the right case with ABOR and the legislature, but if you've spent much time with that side of the equation you wouldn't bet much money on that strategy.

    5. Bearing in mind that this is, as Marv and others have said, a national issue, I also think we need to seek a national consensus amongst academics about what universities are really for. Our chances of doing such a thing are much better with the current US President and Secy of Education than they were before or than they might be in the future.

    6. I propose, and am willing to put some effort into initiating, that process right here at the UA -- a dialogue amongst faculty to answer some fundamental questions:

    * what is a University for?
    * what is the UA for?
    * how should universities be governed and administered

    I suggest that we hold biweekly or monthly Forums, at which representatives of all parts of the UA present their answers to these questions. Held in the evening at some carefully chosen venue, these Forums would challenge us to define the intellectual heart of why we exist as an institution, what our values must be, and where lines must be drawn to prevent a transformation none of us wish to see.

    These are tough times and there really are substantial challenges to universities as we have known them for most of our academic lives. The reasons for this are many, but for too long we have refused to face up to the challenge. Our administration, like that at many universities, has assumed that the most important thing it can do is make decisions that keep the funds flowing. There is certainly some truth to the assertion that you cannot run a major enterprise on fumes, but we do not and must not sacrifice the soul of this or any other university in the process.

    Let us look past the leadership problems we currently have - they will be sorted out sooner or later. Let us look to what we can collectively do now to chart the right course for this institution in the future. Let us together discuss, debate, and decide on a vision that will take the UA into the 21st century as the leader it can be. Let us, in other words, be academics -- asking, asserting, answering, and finally determining our own fate.

    I truly believe that in the end the best ideas will lead the way. Let's put our heads together and generate those best ideas. Depending on the reaction I get to this post I will start the process of helping to organize the Faculty Forum Series on the Future of the UA.

    Who wants to help? Who wants to be engaged?

    Lynn Nadel

  13. Kudos to the faculty Senate! One question would this work in practice? In other words, if I wanted to go on record on campus with information about say, backrooms deals that have immeasurably harmed a unit, what kind of protection should I expect? A policy is simply a theory. It means that If RULE, then a theoretical outcome. Here that outcome would be protection of some sort, a process linked to personnel that would result in a greivance action if a person were fired, demoted, or if they had allegations that their unit was attacked.

    So, how is this policy implemented? For your readers who do not know.

  14. Lynn said "To prevent a transformation none of us wish to see ... Who wants to help? Who wants to be engaged?"

    Count me in.

    Jonathan Beck
    Prof. of French

  15. Count us in too. By that, we mean that we are offering Lynn continued use of this site, for publicizing, for reporting, for continuing to do what he's been doing, for as long as he needs it or wants it.
    Once the faculty forum he proposes gets off the ground, it will probably want its own blog but until then, we're happy to oblige.

    PS. To those who have written in (and are writing in at this very moment) to say "Lynn is going too easy on Hay and Shelton" or the opposite: "Lynn is not supporting Hay (or Shelton) enough," we ask that you bring those concerns - from both sides - to the faculty forum he is proposing. Our position here, on the Hay/Shelton question, is in favor of "clearing the decks" as soon as possible (the Committee of Eleven is still discussing the poll). Lynn's position, and Marv's, is that that is only one item in a much larger set of issues. Those two positions are not mutually exclusive but complementary. None of us has a monopoly on truth or on wisdom. All of us have something to gain from seeking common ground.

  16. Faculty absolutely need to address the questions about what a university is and what needs to be done. Lynn, how can such an events and/or events be organized? I agree with Lynn, we can be a model right here and right now for academics on the national level to answer those same questions!

  17. I thank Lynn for his energy and for keeping us on a productive path. One key point I want to make about any future forums: as many people have pointed out, we need to convince the faculty that such activities are worth their while. In other words, they cannot just be thought exercises. That is why faculty do not participate in governance--they do not see the point when the corporation does what it wants to do regardless of what they think or say. So I think priority number ONE of any forum is to convince people that they have a voice in the institution.

    Also, a note: at universities with unions people tend to get regular raises. If I have to go eight years without a raise, I am going to another university.

  18. A question directed to me a couple of comments up - I'm redirecting it to anyone who wishes to answer:
    "One question would this work in practice? In other words, if I wanted to go on record on campus with information about say, backrooms deals that have immeasurably harmed a unit, what kind of protection should I expect? A policy is simply a theory. It means that If RULE, then a theoretical outcome. Here that outcome would be protection of some sort, a process linked to personnel that would result in a grievance action if a person were fired, demoted, or if they had allegations that their unit was attacked. So, how is this policy implemented?"
    Is Faculty Senate policy only "theory"? This question also engages Daren's comment: Will faculty be interested in shared governance if they have only "theoretical" protection when they need it?

  19. On the Forum idea -- guaranteeing that they would have a specific effect is going to be difficult. I'd like to think that if the ideas are good enough they will.

    I should have said that people who are interested in helping organize the Forums but who don't want to advertise that fact on the Blog can just email me directly:

    I'm out of own for 8 days but obviously still on email. Once I return I will try to get things started, assuming sufficient interest.

    Lynn Nadel

  20. Count me in as well.

  21. This is from today's Wildcat (I know, I know, but...):

    "Regent’s president Ernest Calderon said the university system will have to pursue outside funding to provide for an adequate operating budget.

    Gov. Jan Brewer introduced the idea of a temporary sales tax; however, the state legislature has been unresponsive to the idea so far. Other possible sources of outside funding will be discussed at the meeting.

    “Our goal is to make sure the universities are adequately funded,” said Calderon.

    In addition to approving the 2010 budget, the board will discuss a preemptive budget for 2011. In this preemptive budget, the UA will present “critical areas” that are in need of funding in order for the university to remain competitive. The preemptive budget will be sent to the governor’s office on Oct. 1.

    Following state budget discussions, the board of regents will address Capital Improvement Plans for the three state universities. The UA Capital Improvement Plans will amount to $124.9 million over the next three years and include the stadium renovation and modern streetcar projects, which the university hopes to start next fiscal year.

    Joel Valdez, senior vice president of business affairs, said if the plans are approved then the UA could start design work for the future projects this year."

    ok, can someone explain what a "preemptive budget" is? is anyone on this blog involved in such a discussion? are depts being asked to provide input on this matter? there is talk of "critical areas" of ... investment? divestment?
    all of these buzzwords worry the heck out of me...
    any comments????