Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And the thoughtless reorganizing continues...

So I will chalk this one up in the “I can’t believe what I just heard” column. Chicago State University is a doctoral degree granting institution that has now seen fit to not have a graduate college. I know, for all of us faculty who went to graduate school, it is incomprehensible how a university that awards masters and doctoral degrees will function without the administrative and quality control functions provided by the graduate college.
So as I understand this situation, 1) the current Dean of the Graduate College was removed as dean without cause, 2) the Graduate College is to be eliminated effective October 1st, 2011, 3) none of the faculty on the Graduate Council were officially notified that this decision was under consideration, 4) the Graduate Council will recommend to the administration how to maintain the as of yet un-articulated functions of the Graduate College, and 5) those recommendations will be considered and whatever decisions are made by the administration, with or without consultation or consent of the faculty, will be implemented in January 2012, ten months prior to the HLC accreditation visit.
A quick survey of the public institutions in this state reveals that only CSU and Governors State University do not have a Graduate School, Graduate College or Graduate Studies office. The Graduate College at UIC for example, has a plethora of activities and functions beyond simple admissions. The importance of quality control, especially in the area of thesis and dissertation submissions, cannot be understated. Having no focal point for this activity severely compromises the academic reputation of the institution and can significantly impact our graduate students who could have the quality of their degrees questioned because of the university’s administrative incompetence.
Re-organizing for the sake of re-organizing is useless and futile. It might be compared to teaching a pig how to dance, it just makes the pig upset. Management by ADD which appears to confuse and obfuscate real intentions has become the predominant management model. Unfortunately for the institution, this model could very well lead to its undoing.
And speaking of undoing, the university’s Board of Governor’s program has been restructured. Two curious facts about that are no faculty or staff from Continuing Education were consulted about the restructuring and the faculty contribution ex post facto is making another administratively inept decision worse. Getting the airplane pilots together after you have decided to use a hot air balloon doesn’t seem like the best way to reach the desired destination. Another Management by ADD (MADD) decision. Poorly conceived, ineptly communicated and incompetently implemented. The most disturbing thing about the absence of faculty involvement is the curricular restructuring that transformed the BOG into the General Studies Program. There are to be four concentrations; “Social and Environmental Justice (Struggles for Suffrage, Race/Gender/ethnic studies, Modern and Historical slavery worldwide, Effect of environmental policy on social justice, health care disparities, sustainability); Art (music, literature, dance, theater, art) and Culture(Role of Arts in defining culture, Historical influence of literature/art/music/dance/theater on (US or other) Culture, Art and politics (protest art, propaganda art, etc.), Marketing dynamics in the arts, Influence of Pop culture; Global Society (“Flat Earth” implications, Global Education, Globalization/nationalism, Population implications, Global Health, Global disparities); and Global Economy (Entrepreneurship, Global Manufacturing, Resource Markets, Global Competition, Global Health (i.e. HIV/AIDS or Maternal Mortality, funding formulas for research and treatment, etc.)” 
I have quoted you the four concentrations and the additional information, clearly stream of consciousness ideas about these concentrations. And to reiterate no faculty was involved in the creation of “Flat Earth” implications, Struggles for Suffrage or any of the other constructs. After several readings I have no idea what academic value there is in this change especially in examining something like Population implications. I can only ask population implications of what? Since faculty weren't involved in the initial discussions (assuming there was dialog and not dictum) faculty is likely to never know from what place any of this emerged from. And isn't it ironic there would be a concentration in Global Economy when this administration has eliminated the Economics degree and minor?
The newly formed General Studies committee is expected to take what can only be described as unintelligible drivel and transform it into a viable academically rigorous program. Good luck to them in that endeavor. As a computer programmer told me long ago, Garbage In, Garbage Out.

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