Monday, February 13, 2012

Channeling Yogi???

So as Yogi Berra once said, this feels like deja vu all over again. As long as faculty have repeating the same message about shared governance, the administration has been intentionally ignoring the message or casting it as some intrusion into the special realm of administration. To wit, a recent email to some faculty, states “After discussions with upper administration, there is a desire to move to a universal freshman seminar curriculum.” As the opening sentence lays the context for the email, I concluded that “upper administration” had made a curricular decision without asking the faculty if that was appropriate. Yes, I did say without asking. The short story is that curricular matters are the exclusive domain of the faculty and any conversation about them starts with the instruments of shared governance, not some narrowly circulated email sent by a middle level administrative functionary. Further, who is this “upper administration?” What is the obsession with anonymity when in collegial environments, we strive for transparency? Why are administrators, who constantly remind faculty of their decision making responsibilities, so reluctant to put their names on ideas that are ill conceived or misdirected?
So at the risk of being characterized as being mean or spiteful by those whose performance is often questioned by my faculty colleagues and me, I will say this to the apparatchiks of this regime. Ignore the instruments of shared governance at your peril. Continue to believe that you have the requisite expertise to make decisions about academic matters and you will be disabused of that belief promptly and publicly. Continue to act as though the faculty of this university have no place but to be dictated to by those without requisite knowledge on academic matters and know the faculty administration relationship will continue to deteriorate. 
And this news flash just in. The low attendance at the most recent faculty forum could be an indicator of the lack of support for the current regime and could say something about the relationship between faculty and administration. I would characterize the low attendance as ambivalence. My friends in psychology tell me that ambivalence is about anger and if that’s the case, it could be prima facie evidence for the aforementioned deteriorating relationship between faculty and non-academic administration. Simply put many faculty are angry and that anger shows up as ambivalence. That leads me to ask how it might show up in November.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! I think you may have hurt someone's feelings or at least cast someone in a negative light. Is this a violation of the Computer Usage Policy? I can't tell since the policy is so vague and the policymakers didn't have the foresight to ask the real experts about how to craft a good policy.

    I think also that it is worth mentioning that the mid-level admin functionaries are likely to simply be taking orders from the "upper admin". It might behoove faculty to assist the mid-level functionaries in understanding better how a university works and why a policy is or is not workable at this university. We might also suggest that they too can resist the fear and intimidation tactics and misguided policies of "upper admin." To the mid-level functionary: you do not have to do everything that "upper admin" tells you to do. If it is not in the best interests of our university, especially our students, and our society, then you have a moral obligation to challenge it.