Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mental meanderings...

So aside from the fact that faculty is now in its sixth month without a collectively bargained agreement, commonly known as a contract, not much is happening at the workers' paradise, save for the remodeling of the Administration Building. Thankfully, those old wooden doors have been replaced with new wooden doors. We couldn't possibly function without aesthetic enhancements in our Administration Building. I imagine that was done to cover the rumors of program elimination in the colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences. The regime has been very vocal about its desire for entrepreneurship yet wants to eliminate the undergraduate degree in Economics which is counter-intuitive but must be based on some superior administrative knowledge about the academy and pedagogy. Another rumor has more than three academic programs in the College of Education being targeted for termination. This is a strange turn of events given that there is a contractual obligation for such programs to go to the Program Elimination Review Committee for faculty input and no such request has been made. Of course this is all just speculation since the regime, like past regimes over the last twenty years, has profound difficulty in clear, transparent communication. Rumors would be squashed quickly if administrators communicated effectively. The use of oral missives that avoid creating a paper trail is at best bad practice and at worst emblematic of a level of incompetence that threatens the academic integrity of the university.
And it is refreshing to see ongoing construction at the university. The glaziers are busy at work in the Education building and the elevator installers are toiling away in Harold Washington Hall. The sounds of heavy equipment, drilling, and pounding are only slightly disconcerting during a class period. What is more disconcerting is trying to teach in classrooms that have no clocks, chalk boards or white boards. It appears as if form (new doors) is privileged over substance (teaching materials). I would hope that more attention could be paid to core functions, like instruction, and maybe schedule the important support functions when the fewest people are impacted.
Finally, word has not trickled down to my level about whether the missing I-Pad has been recovered. I thought such sophisticated technology would have the computer equivalent of a L0-Jack installed to ease recovery in case of loss or theft. Wouldn't the Chief Information Officer or their designee have routinely installed such a recovery tool to support loss prevention activities?
Next time, I will ask more pressing questions about the West Side Campus, (the gift that keeps on giving) and the future of the Robinson University Center. Questions have arisen about each and I will search for answers.

1 comment:

  1. Robin Benny writes:
    Information on the program review process and schedule can be found at these two links:

    The information on these links should put to rest rumors of programs being eliminated without due process—unless the state imposes threatened new legislation that would allow the state to close low-enrolled programs.

    The “new” wooden doors in the Administration building are the same old doors that have been stripped and refinished, something that a tiny bit of research would have revealed. Since each elevator takes several months to fix, waiting until there were no classes in session would mean cancelling an entire term. How would cancelling classes for an entire term serve students? Again, this is information that is easily available to anyone who puts forth a minimum of effort to find it.

    Ms. Tracy Nesbitt, of Facilities Management, is currently heading a committee that is vetting the bids submitted for the renovation of the RUC. This is a CDB project that has had to wait until approved funds were actually released, information that is easily available to those who trouble themselves to actually do any genuine searching for it.

    Robin Benny
    Assistant to the Provost
    Chicago State University