Thursday, October 1, 2009

Post-poll Faculty Governance Leadership Forum, Oct. 1

In the meeting this afternoon, new issues were discussed, along with important new facets of old issues, clarifications were offered, initiatives were proposed, all of which would be impossible to summarize here, although we will post whatever recapitulations of important points, followup comments, and new initiatives our readers wish to send in. Recognizing at the conclusion of the meeting the need to "keep the momentum," Faculty Senate chair Wanda Howell flanked by Michael Cusanovich and Lynn Nadel acknowledged that they are indeed in the process of creating a mechanism of their own, in the Senate, for online discussion to facilitate communication between FGLF meetings going forward. In the meantime, we will serve temporarily as a bridge, for those wishing to continue the discussion here, until the FGLF has their own online discussion space.
Readers new to the blog are invited to get their bearings by clicking on the previous post by Marv Waterstone below, and on the "September" archive in the right navigation sidebar for discussion of the issues that led up to the poll.


  1. I attended the faculty forum today and heard many interesting ideas. I also heard Lynn Nadel talk way too much. I don't believe we voted to make him the spokesperson for the faculty or the gatekeeper of our ideas. I thought we elected Wanda Howell as our leader. Perhaps more faculty would attend these forums if our "leaders" would just listen for a change instead of smacking down any ideas that they don't agree with. The chalk incidents and ensuing arrests were and are important issues, and the fact that the President waited for days to intervene about this and the domestic partner benefits issue speaks volumes about how the administration interprets and practices our institutional values. Many faculty in the room this afternnon felt that doing another faculty poll, this time without all the emeritus faculty included and without all the snafus that occured with the first poll, was a plausible idea, but it was quickly dismissed by Lynn as a bad idea. It wasn't until we challenged his authority that he let Wanda have the floor to speak to the issues. Lynn Nadel does not speak for all of us, nor is he the "official" voice for anyone. Is he even an elected leader? I don't know. Please let our ideas be heard and respected and stop telling us what will and will not work. I know you will probably respond to this as you do to every single post. I don't care what you say at this point. I've heard enough from you, Mr. Nadel. It's now time for others to have their say. I hope this blog does continue, in spite of the fact that Lynn thinks it's a bad idea.

  2. Yes, Lynn Nadel's passionate excess may be irritating at times; it is the other side of the coin of his incredible energy and commitment. We appreciate and admire that energy and commitment. He is quick to jump in but just as quick to back off if you show him why he should - that's his style, and instances of it have occurred more than once in these very columns, which is why we continue to have faith in the process. At least he listens, and hears, and is willing to change course when you get your point across; if only we could say as much for the president and provost...

  3. I consider myself chastised. Anon 8:03 is right - no one voted me as the spokesperson. I'll try to shut up more.

    But I still think another poll is a bad idea -- as did Wanda and the others up front.

    And, I still will defend the administration's handling of the chalk incident and the domestic partner benefits issue. I had an inside view of how the latter issue was handled and I thought folks would be interested in hearing what really happened. I actually imagined that the calls for transparency were serious -- I guess that only applies for some people if they agree with what gets said.

    If Anon 8:03's post is representative than it's time for me to keep my thoughts to myself for a while. At least in public.

    Lynn Nadel

  4. I fear that Lynn is working as hard to support the President and Provost as he is to address our concerns. He says in an interview with Renee Horton on her blog today that he thinks it is a bad idea to get rid of either of them now...during the budget crisis. One opinion of course, but it bothers me. it bothers me that this poll was suggested, it bothers me that it was not a real vote of confidence, it bothers me that it gets written off as not scientific after some feel the results aren't to their liking.

    I almost think that all it tells us is what we already knew. Widespread lack of confidence of the Provost and growing lack of confidence in the President. I worried immediately when the poll was suggested that there might be nothing really that comes of this but for what many had been trying to do all along...reign in the Provost. Well now how are we going to do that now, without replacing her? Really? Someone answer me that.

    Here is the fact. There are going to be more difficult difficult decision to come. More cuts. And maybe programs will be cut.

    Just how on earth do they think the faculty are going to react when these decisions come later...when there is no trust...and no confidence.

    She could be Mother Teresa or Honest Abe Lincoln, but without trust, both would ineffective leaders.

    Last, no one ever polled our staff. You can bet that if they had a voice, it would make our answers look silly.

  5. Of course the blog is a bad idea...if you support the President and Provost.

    Of course another poll is a bad idea...if you support the President and Provost.

    Of course forgetting about the campus speech/chalking issue is a good idea...if you support the President and Provost.

    Of course forgetting the countless abuses of power this past year and moving on is a good idea...if you support the President and Provost.

    Of course, a change of leadership is a bad idea, if you support the President and Provost.

    Problem is, the poll tells us that few support the President and Provost.

  6. here, here Evelyn... but come to think of it I am not sure if Lynn is an elected rep or a "selected" member of spbac (since this body includes both types of members)... yes he talks too much but at least he talks, unlike the provost who now seems to have become mute but in any event, I tend to agree with wanda when she said that it is too soon to have another poll, and perhaps more important, it will not provide a lot more info... that is, the faculty spoke loud and clear (regardless of how "scientific" the poll was or wasn't) and it is up to the the dynamic duo bob and mer to re-engage with the campus community as a whole (in particular hay) but not only to interact but also to respect with their decision making processes the integrity of the faculty of this university... I also think that we need to be more creative in "pushing back" --as J Sharkey and others mentioned, the latest arbitrary cuts will create irreversible damage in many units of this institution... to the question can we still try to undo these cuts? I believe that the answer should be: we have to try despite the odds... so inasmuch as the leadership has done a good job to try to get the dynamic duo to react, we as faculty must come together at the dept and college level to reject this abusive decision making... perhaps rather than having another poll we should have an all campus REFERENDUM dealing solely with the issue of the fairness of differential cuts, that is the recent 7,5, and 2% cuts... and include here not only faculty input, but also feedback from students and staff, folks who will suffer directly the impact of these cuts...
    we could do this via the faculty center or even the Wildcat...

    what do you all think?

  7. [Comment received 10/1/09; reposted from a different thread. - EBH]

    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?

  8. Why aren't faculty showing up to forums in droves? Fear? Hopelessness? Fatigue? The faculty poll provided some impetus for faculty to get involved. If nothing happens as a result of it, crying wolf will become more and more meaningless in the future. Some kind of dramatic action is needed to give the faculty hope, to induce a sense of empowerment, to give teeth to voice. A suggestion: since the provost is the lightening rod par excellence, lobby the president to sacrifice the provost. In the end, it may be the only way to save himself. I can't imagine that there isn't a respected faculty on this campus who couldn't LEAD us better than this provost! Who believes that she can recover trust, will develop competence, will change her values to any significant degree? Even the most optimistic among us would have to think that these changes in her would be unlikely in the time frame that is needed to reverse this death spiral this university we love is in. That action would truly show that this president finally gets it and is acting at the behest of the faculty. If he refuses, it also provides telling insight.

  9. I agree with the poster above about Provost Hay. It is the crux of the leadership problems on this campus and she has tainted President Shelton. His protection of her...and frankly our faculty leadership's protection of them the problem.

    I agree that our Provost must go. But I also believe that there needs to be more diverse representation of colleges in our faculty governance.

    A majority of our faculty leadership has been in favor of differential cuts for a very long time...and most have thought programs need to be cut as well. They have a strong bias toward protecthing the sciences as well. They have had the ear of this President and Provost all along. Do not be fooled. This isn't about faculty leadership not having a voice, they have had it over and over with this duo, it is about the rest of us.

    If you want to change the direction of this ship, we need to dump the Provost...but you need to find people to run for faculty senate, committee of 11, and SPBAC. All are CRITICAL.

  10. "Why aren't faculty showing up to forums in droves? Fear? Hopelessness? Fatigue?"

    For me it was hopelessness and fatigue. I didn't go. I thought about, but I am so damned tired working on so many things that I should not be. Most of it is related to transformation and differential cuts. I have no time for my research...and it is impacting my family.

    Another colleague expressed, "why should I waste my time going to hear the faculty governance talk again and do nothing."

    So, yes, I know I know what many of you are thinking. Man you have to stand up. But I have stood up...stood up...and stood up...I am exhausted. I just want to be with my wife, my kids, and get the hell out of here.

  11. There seem to two groups among the faculty: those who think that only the most highly ranked among us deserve to be here, and those that feel that a university is a space, the only space perhaps, where every field of study merits inclusion. These are ideological positions that preexist any budget crisis, and they cannot be argued away. Half of my colleagues, for instance, would argue that my research is not, and that so long as I remain, I am sapping resources better put to other projects. So let us not assume that the faculty are some unified entity; as I said, half of them would slit my throat for my nevertheless measly salary. And they wouldn't flinch at the fact a student would have one less option to study at a UNIVERS-ity.

    Meanwhile, our faculty leadership has been busy making decisions and working on future actions, based on an implicit understanding of what a university means for them, not necessarily for all of us. This is not an indictment, merely a statement of representability. I need to know if their views on the university reflect mine, if our leadership is speaking for me. I would like to know therefore, before any more decisions are made, how each of our ELECTED faculty leadership envisions a university; are you working to defend the idea of a University as inclusive of ALL thought, or only the most highly-ranked among them?

    This is the first question, a question of foundation, upon which all other issues will be based.

  12. Anon 4:19 says the faculty leadership is "protecting" the president and provost. That's ludicrous. I mean really, it's just mindless carping, and not likely to convince anybody, after all that the leadership people have done to put before the public in great detail that massively serious indictment of the president and provost. How can you call that "protecting" them??? Jeeeezz! And Evelyn, how can you post comments like that, that are just nonsense?

  13. Response to Eileen 6:08. Yes we hear you. The comment you object to would probably not have been made on the online forum the FGLF has promised to create. But here, anonymity serves a number of purposes, and as long as we have a blog like this one, we will honor our commitment to anonymity, as long as the comments are not abusive or otherwise unprintable. As we've said a number of times, we will continue to allow people to speak their mind here, until the FGLF has its own online discussion space, which they have said is in the works. We would suggest that they not allow unsigned comments, and that they direct to the Defender those who prefer to make their comments anonymously. That should allow for a useful separation of platforms.
    That said, we admit that we are not without bias at the Defender. We have a bias toward the faculty. And a STRONG bias toward those 700-plus who went to the trouble to vote and offer comments in the poll - yes, and even constructive comments. There is a time for everything under the sun. A time for anger and vitriol, and a time for hope and faith in reasoned discussion. We feel that unless strong criticism is well argued and not just "gut reactions," it only drags down the criticisms that really are valid.

  14. The silence is deafening. What does it signify?

  15. As we have said many times before; our purpose was to get a faculty vote of no confidence, which we believe we achieved. We have said that the FGLF needs to move forward on creating an online forum. People can speak their own minds here until that space is available and Evelyn may post here in the next little while. However, Evelyn has achieved her goals for the time being. It is time for someone else to step up to lead phase 2 of reinvigorating faculty leadership. That said, Evelyn is still among us; just working in new ways.

  16. Blogocide? already? the end? what about following up on "guilt trips" and the like...?