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.