Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Imperial Presidency Strikes Back
Lots of stuff going on the past few weeks on campus and if the faculty and the union don't come together on this then we truly get what we deserve.
Currently a two-day Deans and Chairs DAC workshop is going on yesterday and today which is underscoring our demotion from university to community college to high school.
As we know all DACs were due this spring. President Watson has rejected all the DACs that were submitted this spring - across the university. The workshop is a working meeting to get the DACs in shape to meet Watson's expectations. The Administration feels that faculty merely submitted the first draft (which represents shared governance in their world view) and the administration (in this case Provost, Deans, Chairs) is working on the second draft.
Supposedly there may be a chance for faculty comment but don't expect much to be changed--at other times when faculty have been "consulted" as "advisory" we all know how those comments are brushed aside (demise of the Grad School being a recent case in point).
There are no faculty, no DPC Chairs, no Coordinators, nor the primary authors of the DACs at this meeting. The administration is claiming a management decision to have just Deans and Chairs at the table and they are standing firm on this. So faculty had better hope their deans and chairs are working in their favor.
This is no longer a university this a high school, a Chicago Public High School. Small surprise considering the influence of educationalists and politicians rather than scholars in the presidential "kitchen cabinet."
Here's what is going to be imposed on the Faculty:
1. Increase standards in Research Productivity
2. Include language in the Teaching/Primary Duties section of the DAC mandating effective communication with students, availability to students, use of available technologies in the classroom, keeping office hours, employing multiple pedagogical tools in the classroom (lectures, discussion, debates, multi-media displays, small groups, worksheets, etc.).
3. Standardize DAC formats across the university.
4. Drop the point system
5. Include graphic tables in DACs for clarity
6. Standardize acceptable Service components.
7. Increase expectations of student involvement in research activities.
How to explain Dr Watson's demand that he be the Decider on all things faculty? Exactly who is he to rule over us in such a way? Isn't a university president supposed to be a fund-raiser first and foremost and the Provost the Chief Academic Officer?
Apparently Dr Watson also now claims the right to interview all candidates from departmental searches. And all in-coming faculty must submit to an in-class writing test because that article they submitted in their application is just not good enough proof as a writing sample. What a high school mentality.
And wait a minute, wasn't Dr Watson the only one of the job candidates for the CSU presidency in 2008 who did not even submit a letter of intention with his "application" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)? What exactly were his intellectual qualifications? I wonder how many Illinois State university presidents have publication records, we know for sure that ours DOES NOT. So he is now the Decider on all things academic by virtue of Emil Jones putting the mantle of Great and Powerful Wizard on him?
Yes Dr Watson is the Decider. Another decision in the past month was to deny retention to 4th & 5th year faculty by sending them essentially a form letter--how contractural is that?
HLC is going to love all this.
Well, maybe all of this overreach is simply Dr Watson's megalomaniacal swan-song in the midst of rumors of his possible departure from the university.
And where does the Union stand on this? How is the Union going to stand up for us on this and that other ridiculous imposition of the time card punch policy? Why are we following Eastern Illinois University on this and not U of I?
Does Corday hear the drumbeat of Bastille Day?