Monday, September 28, 2009

Faculty Poll Results

We wanted to get to get the results of the faculty poll and Robert Shelton's comments up immediately. Feel free to comment.

The raw numbers are below. Here is our first overall view of the poll results. The tally figures are here.

On the questions assessing "confidence" or "no confidence" where 1 = "no support" and 5 = "full support," the range 1-3 defines the range going from "no support to neutral." Everything shy of 3.0, the midpoint, is negative to neutral. Votes of approval or support are those higher than neutral 3.

Here is our tally of percentages in the "not supportive (neutral to negative) range":

#1 ... the way the President has carried out the Transformation process: 77% not supportive (neutral to negative)
#2 ... the way the President has handled the recent budget cuts: 69% not supportive
#3 ...the way the Provost has carried out the Transformation Process: 86% not supportive
#4 ... the way the provost has handled the recent budget cuts: 82% not supportive
#5 ... the principle of differential cuts: 43% not supportive
#10 How much confidence do you have in the ability of central administration to lead us through the tough challenges we face now and in the forseeable future? 80% in the neutral to negative range.

To: General Faculty

From: Wanda H Howell, Chair of the Faculty

Lynn Nadal, Chair of the Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee
Robert P Mitchell, Vice Chair of the Faculty and Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate
J C Mutchler, Secretary of the Faculty
Michael A Cusanovich, Chair, Committee of Eleven

Javier Duran, Vice Chair, Committee of Eleven

Re: Faculty Poll

We report below the results of the faculty poll held last week. Given the nine-day timeline, we ran into some technical issues carrying out the poll. We gratefully acknowledge the outstanding efforts of the Faculty Center staff and UITS, who rose to the challenge at a time when they were already dealing with a major transition. Although a small number of faculty experienced difficulties voting, the majority of these problems were resolved within the voting period.

Eligibility to vote is described in Article II of the Constitution of the General Faculty at

and includes

a. Faculty members who hold half-time or more tenured or tenure-eligible appointments,

b. Academic professionals who hold half-time or more continuing or continuing-eligible appointments,

c. Lecturers (including Senior and Principal Lecturers) holding half-time or more multi-year appointments,

d. Clinical professors, research professors and professors of practice holding half-time or more multi-year appointments.

In the spirit of shared governance, we have communicated the results of this poll to the President and the Provost. We are in the process of reviewing the hundreds of comments and will release an executive summary as soon as possible, no later than the end of the week. The full text of the comments will be posted on the Faculty Governance website at by the end of the week as well.

We would like to thank our colleagues for their engagement in this process and their active participation in shared governance. We would also like to encourage even more faculty to participate in the days to come. In that regard, we remind everyone of the next Faculty Forum to be held on Thursday, October 1st, at 4:00 p.m. in Family and Consumer Sciences 202 (campus map

September 18-25, 2009 UA Faculty Poll Participation:

Eligible Voters: 2754 (includes approximately 750 emeriti faculty)

Ballots cast: 858 Percentage of eligible voters: 31.1%

Participation by

College -- Eligible Voters -- Votes Cast -- Voter Rate

CALS: 377 -- 106 --28.1%

CALA: 32 -- 1 -- 3.1%

EDUCATION: 104 -- 15 -- 14.4%

ENGINEERING: 179 -- 38 -- 21.2%

COFA: 156 -- 55 -- 35.3%

COH: 185 -- 104 -- 56.2%

LAW: 53 -- 16 -- 30.2%

COM: 380 -- 60 -- 15.8%

NUR: 72 -- 5 -- 6.9%

OPT SCI: 41 -- 5 -- 12.2%

PHARM: 46 --13 -- 28.3%

MEZCOPH: 39 -- 6 -- 15.4%

COS: -- 473 -- 144 -- 30.4%

SBS.: -- 335 -- 176 -- 52.2%

ELLER : 123 -- 58 -- 47.2%

NON-COLLEGE: 158 -- 56 -- 35.4%

September 18-25, 2009 UA Faculty Poll Results:

Question 1. Do you support the way the President has carried out the Transformation Process? On a scale of 1-5, 1=No Support, 5=Full support


2... 206

3... 198

4... 128

5... 64

Question 2. Do you support the way the President has handled the recent budget cuts? On a scale of 1-5, 1=No Support, 5=Full support

1... 212

2... 199

3... 178

4... 167

5.... 95

Question 3. Do you support the way the Provost has carried out the Transformation Process? On a scale of 1-5, 1=No Support, 5=Full support

1... 483

2... 142

3... 106

4.... 73

5.... 42

Question 4. Do you support the way the Provost has handled the recent budget cuts? On a scale of 1-5, 1=No Support, 5=Full support

1.... 444

2.... 130

3.... 114

4...... 93

5...... 61

Question 5. Do you support the principle of differential cuts? On a scale of 1-5, 1=No Support, 5=Full support

1.... 152

2.... 75

3... .135

4 ....168

5.... 317

Question 6. Do you believe that the central administration has communicated adequately concerning recent changes at the UA? On a scale of 1-5, 1=Do not agree, 5=Agree

1.... 338

2 ....196

3.... 142

4.... 112

5.... 63

Question 7. Do you believe Open Forums would be important in improving communication between the central administration and the campus community? On a scale of 1-5, 1=Do not agree, 5=Agree

1.... 91

2 .... 155

3 .... 264

4 .... 172

5 .... 165

Question 8. Do you believe More Email and Other Digital Messages would be important in improving communication between the central administration and the campus community? On a scale of 1-5, 1=Do not agree, 5=Agree

1.... 164

2 .... 141

3 .... 243

4 .... 175

5 .... 124

Question 9. Do you think central administrator should be more visible on the University Campus? On a scale of 1-5, 1=Do not agree, 5=Agree

1.... 67

2.... 75

3.... 218

4.... 200

5.... 287

Question 10. How much confidence do you have in the ability of central administration to lead us through the tough challenges we face now and in the foreseeable future? On a scale of 1-5, 1=No confidence, 5=Full confidence

1.... 311

2.... 204

3.... 168

4.... 98

5.... 75

TO: Campus Community
FROM: Robert N. Shelton, President

Many people on campus are frustrated. Many feel that they have not been heard. Others feel that the Provost and I should have provided more detail on how we planned to approach the differential cuts that most (though not all) believe are the best way to tackle the enormous challenge before us. For some, personality and personal communication style are the issues.

While we have attempted to be as transparent in this process as possible, it is apparent that we need to do more, both in sharing details of the monumental budget dilemma that we face, and in engaging our faculty in the search for solutions.

To that end, we are planning two immediate steps. First, I have asked our faculty leadership to schedule a Presidential Forum with the faculty of each college. This will provide an opportunity for me to hear from and engage the faculty in each area of our University. I expect those to be frank conversations with no topic off the table. It will also afford the opportunity to discuss how we, as a University community, can confront the very real political obstacles that all of us in education face in this State.

Second, Provost Hay has already begun planning to meet with smaller groups of faculty leaders to discuss the continuing actions that are being taken to deal with the cuts that we have already received from the state (approximately $100 million). Even more critical will be talking through the possible options for dealing with what will undoubtedly be more devastating cuts in the coming years. How we go about decentralizing unit budgets and implementing a tuition funds flow model will be critical components of those conversations.

Issues that we face in this state are not only about money, but about our values. Partisan state politics intrude on both of those areas on a constant basis. In virtually every corner of the country there has been a shift away from state support for public universities. This trend is probably most evident in Arizona, where over the past two decades the portion of the state budget dedicated to higher education has decreased by half. By all accounts that trend will continue, and how we as a University replace those revenues is critical to the future viability of our institution. I cannot emphasize enough that the status quo will not hold.

Let me conclude by saying that I take the comments that were shared in the poll to heart. This has been a frustrating time for the administration as well as the faculty. We want to do everything possible to sustain the greatness of the University of Arizona. Finding the right path in a time of historic revenue reductions is not easy, and not everyone is going to agree on whatever path is chosen.

As I have said many times, in the face of these state budget cuts we cannot continue with business as usual nor do everything that we have done in the past. That is a sad reality, but it is the reality nonetheless. How we arrive at a model that will preserve the University as the type of
institution we all want it to be will take time and enormous effort. I very much welcome the best thinking of everyone on campus to help inform the approach we take. I will work hard in the months ahead to seek out those ideas, and I pledge to greater engagement of faculty leadership at the stage of taking quantitative decisions.


  1. UA has issued statement on chalking. Twisted some facts about where the chalking occurred.

  2. Excerpts from President Shelton's 9/28 memo:

    "I have said from the very beginning of the budget crisis that I wanted to hear from as many people on campus as possible..."

    >>> Then release Jacob Miller and Evan Lisull!

    "I expect those to be frank conversations with no topic off the table..."

    >>> First release Jacob Miller and Evan Lisull. Then we can talk about "frank conversations."

    "Issues that we face in this state are not only about money, but about our values.

    >>> Release Jacob Miller and Evan Lisull, and drop all charges. Then we can be in the same room with maybe some of the same values.

    "Let me conclude by saying that I take the comments that were shared in the poll to heart. ... We want to do everything possible to sustain the greatness of the University of Arizona."

    >>> Release Jacob Miller and Evan Lisull, and drop all charges.

  3. How can the President or anyone think that we can move forward with more talk after these types of results? Especially with the Provost that we have. The trust is gone.

  4. Yes the trust is gone. Maybe the president and provost will need a day or two to digest those numbers - 86% not supportive of Hay, and 80% not supportive of Shelton. And 69% not happy with their high-handed handling of the budget cuts. And 43% saying, wait a minute, stop saying "ALL the faculty support differential cuts" - 43% shy of 100 is pretty far from ALL.

    Since the senate had the numbers this morning, I'm guessing they informed him first, as a courtesy, and he probably said, "give me a some time to formulate a response," because the Senate email came at 1:23 and Shelton's response at 1:35.
    It's clear from his response, though, that he hasn't really taken the full measure of what those numbers mean. He did - finally - drop the charges against Jacob Miller and Evan Lisull, but NOT UNTIL AFTER he had the poll results, and saw the ground being cut out from under him. He could have made that same decision, for Jacob, last Thursday, not 4 days later, AFTER the poll has him at 80% not supportive.

  5. The numbers speak for themselves, but it is almost dishonest to misrepresent the numbers. Since 3 is neutral on a 5-point scale, then only 1 or 2 can be taken as "unhappy". When one does that, the percentages of "unhappy" are NOT what you state. And, as you can see, readers of this blog quickly pick up your incorrect numbers and repeat them.

    I am really disappointed that you have chosen to slant your coverage of the poll numbers. I thought we were trying to have an honest, fact-based, discussion.

    Lynn Nadel

  6. Regarding Lynn Nadel's 7:04 comment. We stand by our interpretation. If 3 is neutral, then everything from 3 down is "not supportive, because "supportive" is 4, and "strongly supportive" is 5. You do agree that 3 is neutral. As we said, "everything shy of 3.0, the midpoint, is negative. You may prefer that we say 1-3 reflects "not happy to neutral," but there is nothing dishonest, at all, about saying that 1-3 reflects "not supportive" since neutral is also not supportive. Not happy is, for us, synonymous with not supportive. If you want to represent it otherwise, we are only too happy to have you take over the discussion, in an FGLF blog, and you can represent the data the way you want. The Defender at that point can play bad cop. That offer has been out there for days.

  7. Quick and dirty calculations here: If we add up the voters from CALS, Engineering, and Eller, we get 202 faculty. Then add up the numbers of people who give the president and provost their support (e.g., items 1, 2 for the president, item 10 for overall confidence). Even on the (flawed) assumption that some colleges will naturally be happier with the administration because they have been relatively spared, this poll delivers a tough message. How I hope Sh-ay will learn from this and steer the ship elsewise.

  8. The faculty leadership decided to put a five-point scale on the poll, but the faculty leadership cannot make us "happy." If as L. Nadel says "only [scores of] 1 or 2 can be taken as 'unhappy'," then does it not follow that only scores of 4 or 5 can be taken as happy? Evelyn was giving the percentage of respondents who were not happy. Do you have a problem with that interpretation (given that only scores of 1 and 5 were anchored with verbal labels in the poll fielded by the faculty leadership)?
    In the Daily Star ( Becky Pallack writes, "About 60 percent of voters said no confidence while about 40 percent said some or full confidence." She thereby makes the error that L. Nadel exposes, in that she has included scores of "3" in her "some or full confidence" category. I think it is less misleading to make the following summary of the same data [from the concluding question in the poll]: about 60 percent of the voters said little or no conifidence [scores of 1 or 2], while about 20 percent said some or full confidence [scores of 4 or 5].

  9. Robert Shelton told you in response to the poll numbers that now he sees the light and he really, really, really wants faculty in put as the university moves forward. He wants to offer faculty forums that "will provide an opportunity for me to hear from and engage the faculty in each area of our University." If I may say so; blah, blah, blah. It is like Lucy convincing Charlie Brown to once again kick the football as she holds it for him. "Surely not this time" he thinks as he runs toward the ball. "Surely this time she's not going to pull it away". In the next frame, poor Charlie Brown is flying through the air. The faculty will be Charlie Brown kicking the football if they accept the same old Shelton/Hay game plan. (And, as an aside; where in the world is Meredith Hay? There has been not a word from the Provost recently. I've been tempted to put a game online, perhaps a "seek and find', but my more staid colleagues would not be amused.) The point is Shelton's statement is more of the same. My proof; Jacob and Evan have had the criminal charges against them dropped, but they have been referred to the Dean of Students. This referral takes the matter out of the public eye and takes it back into the shadows, where S/H's tactics of intimidation and threats work best. Shelton says he wants to listen. He has said that many, many times before. Remember it and think and act accordingly.

  10. I think Evelyn is right. If you call 1-3 "negative to neutral," it comes out the same: it's not happy.
    If Lynn wants to interpret "neutral" as "expressing confidence," that's his problem.
    No, but seriously now, Lynn, are you really saying that "neutral," in a no-confidence vote, is expressing approval?? Surely not, so let's stop the quibbling and squabbling. This is a vote of no-confidence, any way you slice it. All the 1-3 votes, expressed as a percentage of the total, are not positive votes. You can't get around that. Not positive. Not supportive. Not in favor.

  11. You are playing with words.

    3 = neutral. Not happy, not unhappy. Neutral.

    One could just as easily add up the 3-5 numbers and say this percentage of respondents were "not unhappy" - hence supportive. Looking at the numbers that way, a majority of the faculty were "not unhappy" with Shelton on one of his questions. I presume you would find such an attempt laughable, and I would agree.

    Why mess around with the actual numbers, which are strong enough as they are? Putting a spin on them devalues the blog, in my opinion.

    As for FGLF -- that was meant to be a Forum enterprise, not a blog. Or at least that is what I suggested at the outset.

  12. As we could have predicted, the poll results are complicated. Each side (for Shelton and/or Hay or against) will read them as confirmation of their own point of view.

    To begin with, not enough people voted. You can make all kinds of arguments about rates of voter turn out in America, etc., but 31% for FACULTY turn out on an issue that DIRECTLY affects them says more than any other statistic in the poll. 750 of the voters were emeritus and may not have voted because they are no longer in the community. But of the 2004 non-emeritus members eligible to vote, 1146 chose NOT to vote and 858 chose to vote.

    How will the various sides read this fact? In different ways.

    I think the administration will say that most of those who did not vote (in law, business, science and the professional schools) are giving their implicit support to Shelton/Hay. I think they will likely look at the votes and see that the highest percentage turn outs were coming from COH and SBS where many of the cuts are headed. So they could dismiss the results as complaints coming from those getting hit hardest by the differential cuts.

    However, I would say that SBS, COH, COA, and EDUC account for only 350 out of the 856 votes cast. Less than half. Even if all 350 votes, say, voted little confidence in Hay's handling of the transformation process, that is still a far cry from her 86% disapproval rating. That means a lot of people from different colleges in places not as directly affected by the differential cuts highly disapprove of her performance. That is very bad news for Shelton/Hay, in my view. A clear mandate for a change of plans.

    But, we need to focus on another issue: roughly 56% of COH voted, 52% of SBS, 35% of COFA and 14% (!) of EDUC. I am dismayed by these facts. I know the poll was not perfect--that the whole idea of a poll like this might be flawed--but it is the voice and the leverage we have now. You are professors, educators, thinkers and writers and artists. For those of you who did not vote, shame on you. That's the end of my rant for now.

    I think the people on campus whose job it is to think and write and teach (in science and the soft side) and make art were the people who voted the most. I am less surprised but no less dismayed by the aloofness of the Voc/Tech side of campus.

    However, quite a few people did vote! And the vote sums it up pretty well. Now what?

    It has already started. A colleague of mine recently sat through a meeting of several people in which he presented a case for something to Meredith Hay. Apparently, she smiled, she was polite--she appeared, my colleague said, to be listening. Well, yes--someone told her to start having a lot of meetings at which she at least seemed to be listening. So we are about to endure a lot of "shared governance" during which our leaders will have learned how to furrow their brows and nod in earnest. And then...the Transformation continues on schedule.

  13. Sandra cont'd:

    Okay, that's what we can expect. We are back to needing leverage. I believe we do have leverage in some ways, but it will require that we reject apathy and be willing to exert pressure- sometimes through active protest. But also through argument, by pointing out the obvious, and not just to the administration. The public, the voters, and the students need to understand the consequences of destroying a liberal arts education.

    One challenge we face at the heart of the situation is this: this university (among others) has become increasingly corporate over the last 20 years, and nothing is more inimical to the corporate structure than the liberal arts. Encouraging independent thought, encouraging students to question the status quo, encouraging them to question the dominant values of the culture and the university itself, to express their ideas, to dissent, to break down the walls of prejudice and greed, to embrace empathy--to be, in short, liberal--is not in the interest of the corporation this university and many universities like it have become. In short, we are joining educators around the country in trying to defend the liberal arts. What else do we have to do except watch our 401ks shrink?

    I don't believe in much, but I'll tell you what--I believe in the value of a liberal arts education.

  14. NONETHELESS, if we can bring peace and harmony back to this discussion at the very small price of a simple change of wording (but not meaning), so be it: we have replaced the word "unhappy" in our tally-report above, with the phrase "neutral to negative" or "not supportive," according to the question. Objective. True.
    We thank Ellen for her comment, and Lynn for his. And our other Evelyns for theirs.

  15. Lynn 7:57. Right, a forum, not a blog, is what you had in mind. But why not a forum AND a blog, so that you can keep up with the complicated business of addressing these issues in a way that keeps everyone in the discussion - at least everyone who wants to be in the discussion and who wants now to sign up for (part of) the hard work of providing facts and documentation to go along with the proposals that should issue from those FGLF meetings. As we said in our transition post, the initial goals we set ourselves, at the Defender, have been met. At least to the extent they can be met here and now. The Defender's role is important, but it's now time ALSO for a blog that's not in the shadows of anonymity. And Lynn, we know you've been away, but if you had any idea of the fever pitch of outrage that descended on this campus - we know you couldn't have read all of what's been in the media - against the handling of the chalking incident, you'd agree that having a "safe-space" Defender-type blog is a good and necessary thing, but it's not the best place to have the other discussions, the non-polemical ones. The ones that will move us forward. So please take another look at the "transition" post, so that we don't have to repeat all of what we said there here. ("After the Poll. Where we go from here.")
    But wait, we're not asking you to do it yourself; why not ask for volunteers at Thursday's meeting?

  16. Sandra at 8:01. You're right, of course, about picking too hard at the numbers, and wondering about those who didn't vote. But consider this: if the numbers were, overall, bad for the president and the provost BEFORE the Jacob Miller and Evan Lisull arrests, what would they be if (God forbid) we were to go through this whole thing over again now?

  17. Yes Evelyn. I am with you. When you exclude the emeritus people, the numbers were roughly half--about as much as you can expect from any community. And if the J Miller thing had happened sooner people would have seen the tower's true colors on display. A nasty claw swooped out of the tower and smacked a poor grad student with a thousand dollar fine. And please, they tell us, let us hear your voices! They seen not to understand that it is our job on the "soft side" to critique, analyze and dissect. That's what we do, yet they seem surprised when we don't buy into the corporate discourse.

  18. Look, no one can spin this any other way than that there is a LOT of dissatisfaction on this campus. The numbers for both Hay and Shelton...any way you cook it...are REALLY bad. Hay's are TERRIBLE.

    To Lynn's credit, he is not suggesting otherwise in his least I don't think so. Although, I must say that the bit about Defender spinning is a little much.

    Again, no matter how you cook it, these numbers back up what we were saying before. The sheer amount of anger and distrust is serious enough...I believe...that there is no way that they can repair this.

    Shelton, I thought, was a good leader. The bit about the chalking and the 4 days it took to remedy this situation pushed me over the edge with him...and that they would still push these too into campus discipline is a thumb in the eye after the tackle.

    I have said that Hay is the problem and that she is dragging him down. I believe that...but now I am not sure that it is anything but too late for him as well.

  19. Maybe Lynn has more important things to do with his time than constantly have to check blogs, I certainly do. Forums face to face are the way forward not anonymous blogs. The poll is done, it was not what Evelyn expected, even your own colleagues in SBS/COH couldn't be bothered to vote.
    Good night, maybe we can all get back to work now. Which is probably what the Provost has been doing the whole time.

  20. Sandra - you say that "a nasty claw swooped out of the tower" -- exactly whose claw was that, and what evidence do you have to that effect? I am trying hard to figure out what happened and yet don't seem to have access to specific information. If you do I'd love to know it. I've been assuming this was a minor bureaucratic screw-up, not a major autocratic action -- but if there is clear evidence in support of the latter I want to know it, so please help me out here.

    Lynn Nadel

  21. Yes, Good Night (Anon. 9:14), time for this Evelyn to pack it in. It's been a long day. And a long month. And we, too (you might not believe it), have other things to do than constantly to check this blog. (You guys do realize, we hope, that it's not always the same Evelyn responding to you. Hope that's not confusing. Some of us actually can't wait to get out of the blogging business. You've probably picked that up...)

  22. Dear Lynn, I have nothing but a triangulation of second hand information about where the order came from. A UAPD officer was heard saying that the "order had come from high up." I have a friend who works under M Vito who claims it also comes from on high. No facts here. However, I don't think many people believe this was a minor screw-up. A minor screw-up, for instance, would have been corrected quickly instead of devolving into an inflamed situation. A minor screw-up (the word screw-up implying a mistake has been made) would have been followed up with an apology. There was no apology; the situation has been relegated to in-house discipline. In other words, no mistake was admitted. In spite of the fact that the UA Bookstore sells sidewalk chalk, a new policy has been formed to reify the J Miller's arrest. All of this suggests that this was not an isolated incident but part of a pattern.

    I do not believe that Shelton ordered anything, but he is responsible for the people under him, he is responsible for the policies and for the attitude of the administration toward free speech and peaceful protest. If this attitude was not clear before, it is now.

    I work here and spend my time here; I would like to believe otherwise.

  23. Sandra,

    I continue to think the grad student affair was a minor incident, but I agree that even in that case it could have been handled better. Enough said.

    More important to me are the comments about the poll. In hindsight we should have been aware of, and dealt with, the emeriti issue, since it is now hard to know for certain how many active faculty voted. Your logic is correct - even if none voted the turnout was lower than it should have been. So what now?

    Well, there will be this week's Forum. Let's see what the turnout is there. And, as you suggest, there will be changes in the visibility of our leadership - no question about that. Will that result in real changes in behavior and process, etc., -- that is the big question. I believe they deserve a chance to change -- that a message has been sent clearly that change is essential. We may differ on how we judge the odds that meaningful change is possible, but the cost of actions that would make their continuation at the helm impossible would be very high, and I am not in favor of such actions now.

    Right now I'm in favor of letting this message sink in, and then seeing how the next round of critical decisions gets made -- the tuition funds flow project, and others.

    If our leaders believe that this poll, flawed that it was, can be safely ignored except for lip-service gestures, then they are making a serious mistake. I have told them that in person. Faculty governance leadership is determined to hold their feet to the fire. And I'm sure we will continue to get a lot of help from folks like you.

    On the major issue of the value of a liberal arts education, and how that is being threatened by the current atmosphere in higher education in the country ---- THAT IS THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.

    The Forums I will try to organize once I get a spare minute will be targeted exactly there. If we lose the heart and soul of what a university has meant for 700+ years because of "bottom-line" thinking then I and many others are no longer interested in being academics. That's a different kind of bottom line -- a statement of our values that we simply cannot abandon whatever the pressure. To say that, however, does not absolve us of having to recreate the liberal arts agenda and the modern university in a new form. The old form is clearly broken, and everything is going to have to be on the table --including such previous untouchables as the tenure system, big-time athletics, etc. Barring a major miracle, public support for what we have been in the past 60+ years is largely over. We can debate endlessly as to why that happened (an excellent topic for many phd dissertations in the future I'm sure), but for now we have to do the hard work of coming up with real solutions to the money-crunch we are faced with. Simply rejecting cuts, or transformations won't work. Coming up with better solutions that maintain our values is our only choice.

    Lynn Nadel

  24. A minor bureaucratic screw-up gets corrected and apologized for and the correct principle is reaffirmed publicly at the same time. The screwer-up is dealt with (and often enough identified).

    This administration fired Juan Garcia for being impolite, and put a graduate student in jail for exercising his constitutional rights.

    Sounds like the definition of autocratic to me.

  25. Im am depressed. I really dont think that this poll is going to bring any change at all. More "waiting and seeing" (ala Cider House Rules). Rember what Homer said. It was something like "If we wait and see long enough, maybe we wont have to DO anything."

    Seriously, how can any of us imagine this going now. The poll was specificially never a real vote of no confidence. Now its being chalked up to "not scientific" or "just a little guage of the mood". It gives them yet another chance...and how many of these have been given privately? Our faculty leadership know...and our heads know.

    So what is this faculty forum going to look like on Thursday? Am I going to just show up again and are we going to talk until we are blue in the face about what how our Provost has almost single handedly destroyed confidence and trust on this campus? I mean really...just what are these forums and listening sessions going to do?

  26. Lynn has assured us that faculty leaders will hold the "administration's feet to the fire". That they have been warned that this poll must be taken seriously. He seems to be saying (and perhaps we need to believe he speaks for the rest of the faculty leaders?) that it is best to allow S/H to process what has happened and what the numbers mean. Then we can allow them time to redeem themselves. Lynn seems to believe that, for now, it would be worse to remove our administrative leaders then to give them time to change. We hope that if this is the strategy that will be taken by faculty governance that they are correct; that the forums do create a valid opportunity for faculty to speak and that S/H are truly ready to listen. The Defender, in many senses, achieved its goal of a vote of no confidence and in creating a safe place to air real concerns. It is now time to pass the baton to those people who have the ear of the current administration for as long as they are President and Provost at the UA. We don't know what Ernie Calderon and ABOR are saying privately about the vote to S/H. That knowledge will come later. For now, however, we have to trust that our faculty leadership will truly hold S/H's feet to the fire and that redemption is possible.

  27. In today's reporting by the Wildcat on the Faculty Poll, much is made of President Shelton's immediate if somewhat less than reassuring response. Promises of more and better communication. As for the Provost, there was only this: "Hay's office declined comment and referred all questions to the Office of External Relations, who did not return phone calls on Monday afternoon."
    External relations? The Daily Wildcat is external? On the outside. She couldn't come up with something to say to the student newspaper? Not a single line?
    Now how's that for improving communication. And transparency. Things will get better.
    And those "issues" that President Shelton delicately referred to as "personality and personal communication style"? Send your questions to the Office of External Relations.

  28. Sandy,
    get real, if the Provost released any statement you would not be happy with it, and it would be used against her. Best to stay quiet and let the President show that they are a team, after all she was making his cuts, carrying out his decisions.
    Anybody who thinks otherwise is living in an ivory tower.

  29. Dear Lynn, I do agree we need to move on from the chalk incident. It was no Kent State.

    I think we need to focus on the spirit of what you are saying, which is that we should not focus on Shelton and Hay without also taking into account the larger context of the state economy, the politics of the state, and the larger trends in higher education. That doesn't mean we let Shelton and Hay off the hook, so to speak, but I do think we need to move forward and give them the space to make adjustments. Like many people on this blog, I feel a bit depressed and less than hopeful, BUT I think it is pragmatic at this point to move forward and see if there is genuine change on their part. Not because they "deserve it" or have "earned our trust" but because it is the most practical thing for us to do at this point. And it is in our own interest.

    I too see a future in which everything is on the table. I personally think we can't really have a university without something like tenure, which protects academic freedom, research and free speech. It is one of the few things that seperates us from becoming a large corporation, but it will certainly be on the table. There is some question in my mind of what the "public supports." I think that the discussion of what it does mean may lead to ways in which we can galvanize public support. For instance, polls suggest that the citizens of Arizona would pay extra taxes to support education, yet our elected leaders would never hear of it. Because of the way the political system functions, there is more support for education in the general public than there is in the legislature.

  30. Sandra cont'd from 2.47:

    I would like Lynn to clarify, if possible (for the sake of avoiding an avalanche of emails on the subject) that he does not support getting rid of tenure at the University of Arizona.

  31. I do not support getting rid of tenure, from the UA or other universities. What I do support is addressing some of the downsides associated with tenure that are leading others to talk about getting rid of it. If we don't face up to those issues ourselves we risk losing it.

    Tenure is absolutely essential to academic freedom, which in turn is absolutely essential to preserve what it means to be a university.

    Lynn Nadel

  32. To Anon 1:49 "Sandy get real, if the Provost released any statement, you would not be happy with it..."
    That's not true. She could release a statement that would make me (and the rest of us in the vast majority) very happy. Say, something like this: "I have given very careful and serious thought to the results of the faculty poll - which, if you exclude the emeriti who probably didn't vote, represents about half the faculty - and I have come to the conclusion that in light of the 86% neutral to negative vote regarding my position, I have no viable option other than to step down as Provost. I look forward to continuing to serve the University of Arizona as best I can in the capacity of etc. etc."
    You may say I'm a dreamer -- but I'm not the only one. Perhaps some day you can join us.

  33. Thanks Lynn on the tenure clarification. I think these may be good discussions for the future. I would be interested in hearing about the "downside" to tenure. I am sure others would, too, and who (aside from administrators and people in the public who don't frankly know any better ) think that we should alter (weaken) it. I don't frankly think we have any downside to our tenure agreement right now. I think the last twenty years has seen power increasingly centralized among a smaller and smaller number of central administrators--the corporate model. Power flowing from the faculty to the center--both here and elsewhere. The tenure issue is about academic freedom and free speech, but it is also about the distribution of power within the university. Without tenure as we know it, the power gets sucked right to the center and we are all working for In and Out Burger.

    The major downsides people keep talking about when it comes to tenure (and this goes back to the issue of differential teaching loads covered earlier in this blog), come to two things: the unproductive professor and the need for flexibility in hard economic times.

    I reference what happened at the University of Minnesota back in 1997. The republican governor at the time working through his selected trustees (rather than regents, I think), tried to insert two major changes into the tenure system: 1) a clause stating that professors had to remain productive and I think the word was "congenial" and 2) tenured professors could be subject to lay offs in hard economic times without the institution claiming financial exigency.

    The whole thing blew up in their faces, many of the top professors just left, the others were ready to sign onto a union and force collective bargaining, etc. It was abandoned. The trustees claimed that professors were over reacting because academic freedom and free speech were still part of tenure! The faculty said, Yes, but we do not TRUST you to make appropriate use of the lay-off clause. In other words, if the stock market had a bad year, central administration could fire a politically mettlesome professor without legal repercussions.

  34. Sandra cont'd from above:

    We are back to the issue of TRUST. An issue that goes beyond the personality issue (shelton/hay) to the way our university and other universities are structured, pitting (in some cases) the interests of faculty against the interests of the administration.

    For what it is worth, my old father, an aging litigation/discrimination lawyer who has worked on a number of academic cases, thinks that our ABOR agreement around tenure cannot sustain further weakening without compromising the intent of tenure: to protect us from the administration.

    After all, the issue of tenure is not really about money as some people would have us think. That is a screen for the real issue, which is about the power struggle between faculty and central administrators and the state reps they work for.

    I raise the issue (the specter) here because Lynn brought it up and because it strikes at the heart of the TRUST issue. I don't know how he feels about it exactly, or how he feels we can change the "downside" to tenure without weakening what it is supposed to do.

    I suggested above that we give the Shelton/Hay team the space to make changes after this poll and that we of course participate and hope for the best. But, I do not think we should TRUST them. We should not hand over any leverage we have as faculty--even if it means we accommodate a few lazy profs not pulling their weight. Even if it means the admin is forced for financial reasons to eliminate whole units (a very public act--much easier to pick off people if there is no tenure. Even if we all go to a 3-3 teaching load (another very public act). Yes, a lot of people out there do not understand tenure and they would love to have us get rid of it, but a lot of people think Darwin was satin. The reason we have tenure is so that the university is not turned upside down with the passing whims of governors, legislators, regents, and president/provosts.

    Tenure is one of the few forms of leverage we have. Weaken our tenure agreement (which is already weaker than at many places) by trying to remove the "downside" to tenure and I am on a bus to another job asap. A lot of people will be with me.

    I have no idea what Lynn meant by the downside to tenure, and I do not mean this as a challenge to him. I do, however, think that our faculty government needs to represent the needs of the faculty, and I think it is clear that the poll was also a barometer of our faculty governors.

  35. Provost Hay's next job is not as a regular member of anyone's faculty. It probably isn't as President or Provost of an institution like or better than the U of A. Of course, as we slide backwards, the set of possible institutions grows.

  36. Suddenly we are talking about tenure? Are we transforming it out of our university? I've noticed a pattern over the last couple of years: we are vaguely or specifically threatened with horrible things (faculty firings, to speak only of my part of the picture), we get worked up, then the thing that actually happens seems less dire by comparison. The "downsides" of tenure, Lynn: what are they, exactly, and how did this come up in the context of "budget woes we can't do anything about"?

  37. Whoa....I off-handedly mentioned tenure because I had just read a series of letters in Science in response to an article published there some months ago in defense of tenure. I've been in and out of tenure discussions for many years. I believe in it. The downsides are exactly what Sandra said -- how to deal with "unproductive" faculty members, and how to generate some flexibility in very tough times. Post-tenure review is supposed to be our local answer.

    The reason I even mentioned it is that I think the best start point for any discussion of what a university should be, what the UA should be, would include everything. The point I was trying to raise is that if we refuse to even discuss some approach to the downsides of tenure we risk forcing the hiring of far fewer people into the tenure track -- this is already happening anyway. We can certainly insist on keeping tenure, and we can insist on keeping it without even discussing the problem, but we might then find we are defending a dying breed. If we want to not only protect the institution of tenure, but also the existence of a significant number of tenured faculty, we had better be willing to talk about it.

    But, it was really just an example of the many things we need to talk about as we go about defining the heart and soul of a university.

    Lynn Nadel

  38. I think getting rid of tenure is not yet an issue here, but is one worth repeating and repeating as Sandra elequently says.

    The BIGGER issue pressing right now is the potential of firing tenured professors using exigency power and if programs are fazed out.

    Of course, this begs the question of getting rid of tenure, but given the magnitude of our cuts and the "cliff" we hear about coming in a few years, THIS is the issue of tenure that we must be prepared for and that we must rally behind...and be vigilant about up front.

  39. TO BOLDLY GO (my favorite split infinitve)

    Dear (mostly invisible) colleagues,

    I’ve refrained from rejoining the ongoing discussions for a few days to let some events (the poll, the chalking “incidents”) run their course. Now that they have, with all of their ambiguous outcomes, it is time for us to really get to work to make some changes in the short-, medium-, and longer-term. Tomorrow’s faculty forum, hopefully, will be one productive step.

    Last Friday (25 Sept), I met with the Committee of 11 (or at least a significant subset) to propose some concrete actions that might be taken under their auspices in each of the appropriate timeframes. Given the wide variety of existing faculty governance mechanisms available, the C11 seemed to me the most appropriate, given their charge. At the meeting, those present were receptive to the ideas, and I believe these issues will be taken up again at their next meeting on 9 October.

    Here are some steps that I suggested merit our collective reflection and action. I have posted most of them on this blog in one form or another, but I’m hoping that they can now generate further action. They are all inter-related, but they can be prioritized:

    Short-term: in order to stop the budgetary hemorrhaging we need to mobilize our most critical constituencies—our students and their parents—by alerting them, in the most specific ways possible, to the actual effects of the cuts so far and the likely impacts of any further budgetary excisions. In order to accomplish this, we need several kinds of data. First we need concrete data on increased class sizes, decreased course offerings, changes in time-to-degree, documentation of increased tuition and fees, and losses or decreases in ancillary services. I suggested this as a task that the C11 might take up. Second, and consistent with a recommendation made by an earlier commenter on the list (which also demonstrated our capability in this area), we need a district-by-district analysis of our allies and enemies in the legislature, and their political vulnerability. Once mobilized, our constituencies need to be able to engage in effective actions to change the complexion of the legislature by supporting those who support us, and by opposing those who do not. In the short-term, legislators need to be compelled to understand that cuts to higher education will carry a political price.

  40. GOING BOLDY (cont’d)

    Medium- to longer-term: it is time, as many on this blog have noted, to face up to certain facts. Nearly ubiquitously, the support for higher education within the general public is generally low (just look at some of the comments that accompany campus stories at the Arizona Daily Star). We must make the attempt to change those views, or we will continue our ineluctable slide into penury and irrelevance. Again, some data may be helpful here. It would be worth our finding out if other, comparable public universities have been/are faring better than the UA. If so, we should endeavor to understand the reasons they develop and maintain more favorable relations with their constituencies than we do. I proposed to the C11 that some comparative information would be useful in this regard.

    These data will take us only so far, however, and at best may suggest some tactical and strategic lessons that we can learn. In addition, we must now be much more proactive and effective in making a persuasive case for our existence and healthy viability. To make that case we need to accomplish two difficult (though by no means impossible) tasks. First, we must think deeply and carefully about the DISTINCTIVE AND UNIQUE contributions that a university (as differentiated from any other element of the educational enterprise) can and should make to society. What are the things that we, and only we, can do, and why should anyone care if they are accomplished? If we cannot make this case (and a member of the C11 raised this exact question), then we probably should drift into becoming an ITT tech with a middling football team, or a loosely connected set of corporate-funded (and owned) patent-seeking enterprises, and be done with it. But I think, if given the chance, we can such a case. Many of us have already thought long and hard about these matters, and strive to put our ideas into practice as best we can in our own pedagogy, scholarship and creative work. It is time to try to make those individuated efforts the heart and sole of our collective endeavors, and to transmit our passion and commitment to our various “outsides.”

    Which brings me to the second task. We must change the relationship between faculty and administrators so that those of us at the “core” of the enterprise, rather than those who make the UA one of several transitory stops in their professional managerial resume construction (and who, necessarily reflect the corporatist, privatizing, bottom-line enhancing mentality that has failed us demonstrably and repeatedly all across academia), are responsible for articulating the appropriate vision, and for transmitting this message.

    I have some additional specific ideas about some future actions, but since I’ve taken up enough of your reading time here, I’ll save them for tomorrow’s forum.

  41. Thanks as always for responding, Lynn.

    I do agree that we need to discuss everything as you say, but the two points about tenure that I wanted to make are that the discussion as you framed it sets up a false dichotomy: either we reframe tenure OR we depend more heavily on lecturers.

    It is a false way of framing the argument because giving the administration the power to weed out professors, usually older ones, that they don't want anymore, will not release the buckets of money necessary to Increase the number of tenured faculty on campus.

    The other falacy is the myth of the lazy professor. There just are not that many of those people. Many of the professors in the sciences have expressed over the years that the research that happens in the humanities is not real research. That is one of the reasons why we need tenure-- to protect the relatively empowered professors in the professional programs and the harcd sciences from getting rid of professors in the humanities, arts and social sciences who are not doing "real research." If we are all protected by tenure, then we are protected from each other.

    So, it is pretty clear that weakening tenure does not actually create significant financial advantages.

    Weakening tenure does centralize power and that is why we have the myths of the "lazy professor" and the "need for flexibility."

    I would expect my faculty leaders to see this as self evident.

    That doesn't mean we can't talk about tenure. But from a legal point of view, remember, there is no way we can make concessions on our tenure agreement without compromising what it is intended to do. So what is there to talk about?

    If we end up with a institution of lecturers it will not be because of tenure.

    I think teaching loads should be on the table. If you have a lazy professor, make them teach more--why weaken the whole tenure system to deal with a fwe bad apples unless you have alterior motives. That is why I was surprised that this even came up in Lynn's comment. There are options that do save money without weakening the essence of faculty power.

    To the issue of the BIGGER PROBLEM brought up by Anon above. It would certainly be bold of the administration to declare exigency a year after they spend 12 million plus on their pet projects and while they build a new stadium and a rail line through campus! Hah. It would not be unheard of. Years ago a president of Temple University declared exigency at the same time that he advanced a capital building campaign with union labor. The next year the unio got him elected governor. A lot of humanities professors were on the street.

    But for any administrator who cares about a career in academics (or a legacy), exigency is career suicide, the most public admission of failure. It also opens the institution's books to outside scrutiny and an avalanche of lawsuits. It also chases away the possibility of outside research money. Any administrator would have to be out of their mind to attempt such a thing if there were any other option. Also, exigency is usually caused in part by a governor whose own career would get a black eye, even in this state, by throwing the UA into bankruptcy. Program elimination is also an option, but here when you talk about eliminating programs they are usually small programs--at least in the humanities and SBS. Programs with just a few professors. You don't actually save much money by firing the existing professors in those programs--it is quiter and more convenient to merge them and let the elements waste away over time. Firing professors through elimating small programs saves little money while creating A LOT of negative publicity and backlash. And ill will. It usually isn't worth it.

    The "Cliff" may mean furloughs, hiring freezes, huge classes sizes and other measures.

  42. Thank you, Marv! Your voice gives me some hope. While I extremely disappointed at this moment with our faculty governance leadership for their lack of vision, I find in your voice a reason to want to stay here. You put it so well--the upper leadership is passing through, but we are the ones who live here. I think some polls have suggested, as I said somewhere above, that people in the state generally support education. In fact, one poll showed that people in Az would be willing to pay higher taxes in order to save education. I think that includes K-12. Some of their ambivalent attitudes about the university have to do with misconceptions about what we do and about things like tenure. People frequently like to sound off about that. The university spends little time trying to educate the public, though they do spend a lot of money hanging bill boards around town saying things like Pima Cotton Invented Here. We need faculty leadership. I mean real leadership--not apologists for the approaches of the status quo.

  43. Bravo Marv and Sandra. These are just the kinds of discussions we need. And Marv spells out the sorts of data we will need to bring to the discussion. He is absolutely right to stress that unless we can make the case for what a university, and only a university, adds to society, then we are lost. Let's get on that task immediately. I believe a shift in power between faculty and administrators would follow -- if and only if we accomplish the first task.

    I also agree with Sandra's analysis of the tenure and exigency issues. I've just been too busy this week to think straight and expressed myself in oversimplified ways in recent posts.

    Hope to see as many of you as possible at the Forum this afternoon.

    Lynn Nadel

  44. While I understand the sentiment that the University could not exist without faculty, as a staff member, I feel I need to make a few points. While EDUCATION could exist without staff members, the UNIVERSITY could not exist without staff members. Those of us who order your supplies, type your memos, create payroll, set up the technology for your classes, advise and process the graduation of the students in your major - the "little" people who help make the processes of the University work on a day-to-day basis - are also the ones who have been terminated in droves. The argument for the creation of CLAS was, besides the "logic" of it, the savings over $2 million dollars by centralizing services and eliminating University College (which was entirely staff members). As is apparent to anyone who has actually looked at University College's budget, the elimination of "little" people, and the salary increase Dr. Ruiz received (along with the costs of new signage, new letterhead, and the other ancillary costs of new schools), the net savings of all the changes is minimal. However, terminating all those "little" people has engendered fear and anger across campus among all the other "little people".

    Is there anyone on campus who has examined the non-cuts to positions in the Admin building. Besides Dr. Garcia, has anyone making over $100,000 been "transformed"? Also, while we are discussing cuts to academics constantly, what has happened in student affairs? Besides the debacle of merging the cultural centers, renaming units and eliminating "little" people in the units (which has impacted the availability of programming for students), there seems to be one primary difference from a year ago. There are now new positions that have been created there - associate/assistant vice presidents, and associate/assistant deans seem to have sprung up overnight.

    ALL efforts of the University must be examined, student affairs and academics. And they should be examined in totality - not separately. While I'm sure that the administration will argue that has happened, from the outside, it would not appear so. I do not believe there can be any sacred cows. Do there really need to be 4 biological science majors (with 2 separate departments) in the College of Science? Should the Outreach College and its administration really need to be a college? Is the existence of UA South and all its accompanying administration justified by the few hundred students in its 3 majors? How many Associate/Assistant Deans of Students and Associate/Assistant Vice Presidents of Students Affairs does the UA really need? Politically, these issues may be "off limits" - but if the entire University and its mission are being questioned, these should be discussed as well.

    While cutting education is a much easier path for the state, cutting staff is the same easy path for the University. I am not proposing wholesale cuts to student affairs (as it is an invaluable unit in the University's effort to keep and retain students) or the elimination of more colleges at the UA. However, all that has been discussed on this blog is faculty - and there is much more to the cost of running the University than that.

  45. I think many of us have been trying to determine how bad the results of the poll are. They look really bad, but how bad? As luck (or design) would have it, the poll was organized on the same scale used to judge faculty teaching (a 5 point scale with 1 being bad and 5 being good).

    So...I quickly crunched the numbers for question 10.

    Question 10. How much confidence do you have in the ability of central administration to lead us through the tough challenges we face now and in the foreseeable future? On a scale of 1-5, 1=No confidence, 5=Full confidence

    On this question the administration averaged 2.32.

    Question 10 mirrors, in most respects, question 1 on the faculty teaching surveys.

    Question 1: Overall rating rating of teaching effectiveness [almost always effective (5)-almost never effective (1)].

    I ask, what would the tenure decision be for a faculty member if his/her teaching effectiveness was a 2.32? As faculty, we are not only expected to score above 3, we are expected to score well above neutral on this question--we are supposed to excellent. Why would we treat the administration any differently?

  46. Anon @ 9:37 am: Will you marry me?

    Er, what I mean is: yes, yes, and yes! You make excellent points. I'll just add: the consolidation (insert scare quotes) that made CLAS our newest Transformer Unit ADDED a "super-Dean." What do you think the salary and support services and other such adds up to for a Super Dean? the cape alone.......

  47. To the two preceding comments on "Staff Issues" - in quotes because Anon 9:37 makes an excellent case -truly excellent case- for why ALL our issues are interrelated, we want to add our support and our thanks. Faculty and Staff, Faculty, Staff and Students, we need to keep those formulas in mind.