Sunday, September 18, 2011

That sound was the timeclock punching your time card

So my colleagues have articulated the time sheet issue well. I will go a bit beyond that to ask about reasonable solutions. The genesis of this policy was with the now discredited Blagoevich Administration. This was the same administration that created the annual ethics test for state employees and formed the Office of the Executive Inspector General. The irony can't be lost on anyone seeing as federal prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence  of as much as 30 years for the convicted former governor. 
So what might a reasonable solution to this problem be? Clearly it isn't the policy of the current administration. I find it interesting that an administration that tripled the number of audit findings would put so much emphasis on addressing this finding. For an administration that took more than a year to negotiate a faculty contract that provided no demonstrable improvement in faculty working conditions, I sense that the current policy is actually about a continued attack on faculty. Recall loyal readers, this was the same president who told members of the Chicago Tribune editorial board that he was going to have to teach the CSU faculty how to teach. His disdain for faculty was evidenced even before his contractual start date. I understand that creativity is not the strong suit of this administration. Yet it doesn't take much creativity, even from a career long political appointee, to know that there is a political solution to this situation. 
So let's play the "If I Were President" game. I would first consult with all of the other university presidents in the state and propose a massive lobbying campaign on behalf of the faculty. I would stress how much the faculty does off campus, after hours, or during the summer and in effect teach often uninformed legislators about the role of faculty at universities. I, of course, could do that because I know what faculty do firsthand. I would encourage all of the university lobbyists to pressure the legislature for some relief for faculty. Providing the reasonable explanations articulated by my colleagues could convince the legislature to provide some relief for the faculty who are often scapegoated by those who don't understand the role of university faculty. I would also encourage all of the state universities to lobby the governor and seek relief in the form of an executive order exempting faculty from the provisions of the act requiring time keeping. This would save the state money in trying to implement inane policies. How much is lost in terms of productivity as public bodies play these games without trying to help themselves by getting the rules changed? 
Even the most intellectually limited must appreciate doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity. That appears to be what is happening here so let's do something different. Since nothing different is being done, it really begs the question about university leadership and/or ulterior motives.

1 comment:

  1. Truly, it makes no sense to undermine faculty, the group that enacts the primary mission of any university; to teach. Instead of supporting faculty which could only lead to improvements in the primary mission of our university, our administration undermines us as at every turn. This lack of respect for faculty illustrates the lack of knowledge of what a university is. It is not a business. Shall I repeat? It is not a business. Say it with me, "It is not a business." A university must be led by an academic not an business person nor a politician.