So loyal readers, I was recently informed that your humble narrator supported the Board of Trustees hiring of the university president by no less a figure than the President himself. Imagine my shock in being told this. I would appreciate that if someone is going to lie about something I said or did, they would extend me the courtesy of lying about me behind my back.
So for the record that can't be erased, let me state unequivocally I have opposed the hiring, installation and continued appointment of the current president. I trust, you my loyal readers recall numerous blog posts outlining the frequent and continuing missteps of this President and his CCREP sycophants. I also trust that those present in April 2009 will remember a blistering inquiry of then applicant Watson including questions about his experience at doctoral degree granting institutions, experience as a faculty member, publication record and fund raising experience. So for your humble narrator to be so blatantly misrepresented was to say in a word, curious.
I have the sense there is a degree of consternation within the regime about the impending HLC visit. Fears of faculty “going rogue”, “dirty laundry” being aired (instead of cleaned) and words presented to the team that don't present the institution in the best light, yet are true, seem to be troubling the regime as the “Listening Tour” visits academic departments to scare, intimidate or otherwise influence faculty to maintain the party line. I am unconvinced that the regime's propaganda will carry the day. Rather, what is true about this institution will be conveyed. The first truth is that our faculty does remarkable work in an environment that is often hostile to academic productivity. The second truth is that our students work through many obstacles created by this administration to reach matriculation. The third truth is that students and faculty succeed in spite of this administration, not because of it. I believe that when the HLC team visits they will see who does a good job here and who doesn't. I also believe that our accreditation is safe if the critical factor is academic performance. Our accreditation is clearly at risk if the critical factor is administrative performance.
And for the record, my continuing critique of this administration does not mean I am attempting to harm the university. Rather, I believe as a long serving tenured faculty member, I am trying my very best to protect the university from the vagaries of the transients known as administrators. I, like my long serving/suffering colleagues, are trying to protect the reputation of an institution that continues to have its management shoot itself in the foot and then wonder why the university is limping along.
The jobs we have at a university are hard. Of that there is no doubt. There is no dishonor in the admission of being over-matched. There is dishonor in being over-matched and denying that when there is evidence to the contrary. And that first piece of evidence may be the working conditions that faculty and staff find themselves in when the HLC team arrives. After years of "right-sizing", layoffs, ill-conceived reorganizations, threats, complaints, lawsuits and numerous memos threatening termination if there is no compliance, the Visitation Team may just see what most of us have experienced since July 2009. The Team might draw the same conclusions most of us have already, that the university is in a dive and its future is in jeopardy if we continue with this regime. I would hope they would see who is over-matched and demand they be gone in that genteel, academic way we say things.
And so our inexorable journey continues....