Comments & Discussions on the Proposals
Information on this site are the emails and posting regarding the proposal from the Implementation Committee on Strategic Organization and all alternate proposals received. This information will also be posted on the Facebook and Epsilen sites to allow for real-time discussion.Received Sep. 6, 2010
Here are some of my thoughts of a general nature.
1) reorganization needs one or more reasons, not just "to shake things up".
these reasons must be centered on our primary mission, the care and education of our students. secondary reasons include the economic and cultural development of NW ohio. serious research needs to be done to achieve the best possible outcome.
2) despite the C12 push to do it all at once (at least in A&S), with our low faculty and staff numbers we cannot spare the time out of our classrooms to re-organize committees, reporting structures, and duties that are now in place with our departmental structure. so, we need to do things one piece at a time if changes are to be made. small steps also will allow us to evaluate changes before committing the whole. small steps do not mean not having a big goal in place; they just allow a more deliberate path to that goal.
3) any reorganization of faculty relationships must be self-selected. of course, encouragement and incentives may be in place to help direct those relationships.
4) while the C12 and the "committee of the whole" seem to suggest that the reorganization is really only at the top level of administration, we need a clear plan for what happens in the trenches where faculty and students carry out the mission. exactly how should we arrange to carry out the activities now conducted by chairs, administrative secretaries, and the like? i am not saying the present is sacrosanct- just that faculty (and students) must have a voice in and/or must see a clear reason for any changes.
physics and astronomy
master of liberal studies
president-elect, faculty senate
Received Sep. 21, 2010
A Call for Comments was made to Faculty Senators on Tuesday September 7. Individual comments were received from Senators from the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, Health Science and Human Service, Pharmacy, and Arts & Sciences.
A summary of the comments follows:
We cannot evaluate these proposals when we don't know what is wrong with the current organization. The CSO document has a number of guiding principles, but it is not clear how the proposed reorganization will improve performance with respect to these principles. When compared to the current organization, how does the proposed structure prepare students for the 21st century? Provide students with "transportable" skills? Result is UT graduates being more desired by employers? Adapt more rapidly to change? Enable UT to obtain a higher level of status?
The CSO proposal is creating a very large and expensive administrative structure. We don't need more administration. We need more people in teaching, research and service to carry out the core mission of this university.
The CSO proposal shows a number of collaborative and creative cohorts that reorganization would create. Who says this isn't happening now? Is there any proof to show reorganization will promote the formation of such cohorts? I think our faculty are pretty good at identifying partnerships to pursue research projects. In my dept, the many of our collaborations are outside of our dept and outside of our college. If my perception is incorrect, I would like to see some hard evidence to disprove my perception and some data showing how the proposed reorganization would improve collaboration.
I would provide similar comments about the A&S response, it doesn't really demonstrate how its proposed structure improves anything relative to the current structure. All I see is additional administrative structure.
The timeline of this process is extremely accelerated, and it really appears we are undergoing reorganization for the sake of reorganization. The CSO reorganization may ultimately prove to deliver substantial improvement to faculty interactions and student skills. But we need to deliberately and thoughtfully consider the outcomes, potential pitfalls, and to mitigate cost/effort that this reorganization will require. It seems we are jumping headlong into a process that, for all we know at this point, has just as much potential to produce negative outcomes with regards to the guiding principles or desired goals.
Support interest in supporting the interests of the students.
Support interest in amplifying voice of health professions on the Health Science Campus to not be overshadowed by the College of Medicine
Interest in promoting UT's contribution to a diverse, culturally competent, patient centered healthcare workforce in our state and region.
Both the CSO plan and the plan from the Chairs in Arts and Sciences add administrative positions.
Observation that reorganization is unnecessary. We could rewrite job descriptions of the administrative positions we have now, reshuffle staff responsibilities, and do all kinds of creative things with how we cross-list classes, organize collaborative work among faculty, etc. without adding a single administrator.
Resistance to any plan that adds to the current administrative bloat. If the University were willing to do away with some Vice-Presidential positions—if THAT layer of the University were looked as well in this ―eorganization‖I might have more faith in their intentions.
Adding additional administrators (inside or outside the Colleges) at this point is simply not going to ―olve‖whatever problems the current administrators think should be solved with these proposals.
If the administration were listening to faculty, they would know how much collaborative, integrative work is already going on with no administrative prodding, reorganization or even added incentives. What we need is more resources in the form of money for travel, collaborative planning, less confusing ways of team-teaching or cross-listing courses, faculty hires for interdisciplinary areas of teaching and research, etc. We do not need more associate deans, more deans or a super-dean to help us figure this out.
I co-direct a program in the College of Arts and Sciences and the co-director is from another department. As directors, we talk to Associate Deans and sometimes the Dean of A&S, about budgeting, assessment, scheduling, curricula, etc. We talk to Chairs and individual faculty about x-listing courses and we have faculty working groups that meet regularly to develop the program. We do this now without a budget. We report to the College Office and occasionally go to the Provost’s office for resources. [note: As a program we have no budget so must continually go begging to the College office. I am told that with reorganization the kind of work our program does will be more visible—and more resources might be available. We do not need to be reorganized to be more visible. We need resources. Why does this type of program need this kind of reorganization, when as a program we are already fulfilling the proposed purposes of the reorganization? Why not just recognize and support the work already happening?] If the CSO reorganization went into effect our program co-director I would be working under a ―irector‖of the faculty, who talks to the Dean of the School, who talks to the Exec Dean of Arts and Sciences who talks to the Super-Dean, who finally has a line to the Provost. How is this streamlining? How does this create autonomy or any sense of authority at any of the levels named in the above? How will budgeting decisions be made? If they continue the present state of affairs, there will be no fewer than six layers between Directors of Faculties and the office of the CFO who currently controls departmental decision making through sweeping budgets year to year. Will the lines of budgetary authority and decision-making change?
Just give us the resources being poured into all this planning and we will show you collaborative, integrative, 21st century education and research.
What of promotion and tenure decisions? These are not details to be hammered out after the fact. There is a serious issue if we are adding these layers of administrative review (in addition to sustaining the faculty committees of CCAP/UCAP and the presidential interview). It might take two years to do our annual reviews—really messing up the tenure/promotion process!
I agree with those skeptical of the naming of these entities in the CSO. The School for the Human Condition will get plenty of raised eyebrows, but most employers really are not going to want to sit through the explanation that the school was named using the favorite phrase of the President of UT.
I agree with many of the principles of the reorganization, including the emphasis on integrative and trans-disciplinary collaboration. I already do that kind of work across departments and Colleges.
Administratively this plan creates a nightmare scenario. It would increase the basic number of administrators working on the academic mission of the University from 10 to 17. In other words, we currently have a Dean for each College and two Provosts (soon to be a Provost and a Chancellor, but same difference). Each College may have an assortment of Associate Deans, but even if we take that into account, this plan increases the layers of bureaucracy in academic affairs unnecessarily.
We can accomplish the same goals of collaboration and interdisciplinary engagement without adding complicated administrative layers or taking apart departments. There is no evidence that we cannot accomplish the goals laid out by this plan with a few administrative changes—not in terms of offices, but in terms of how we schedule courses, incentives to faculty and students, and relatively minor staffing adjustments (all of which were covered in the Roundtable Report that explored ways of rendering the College of Arts and Sciences more flexible and collaborative in its activities and pursuits).
Any reorganization should focus on increasing faculty numbers and resources for learning and research. Not on increasing administrative layers. The idea that anything significant could be decided in 30 days given this model is naïve (see slide 28).
I think the reorganization plan that is proposed will result in more than just "confusion and uncertainty." The proposed plan creates more administrative overhead and, therefore, spending that will have to be passed along to students in the form of higher tuition and fees. The laws of supply and demand would predict that students will then choose other, less expensive options over attending UT. Let's do something really "transformative" and look at ways to cut spending and reduce costs so that students are paying a lower share of their instruction, are more likely to come to UT, and are more likely to stay at UT to finish their degrees. This means reducing administration, not increasing administrative overhead.
Regarding the President-appointed Group Proposal, it is irrational in the extreme. It breaks up a viable unit (A & S is doing very well in enrollment and research, has a strong historical presence & respect) to create units with uncertain viability and weak currency. It proposes administrative bloat – 19 deans/executive deans/senior executive dean. Together with their associated staff this would represent a major increase in upper and middle level administrators, which is quite unnecessary. The work gets done by faculty and staff – we need less leaders, not more.
Regarding the A & S Proposal, this or something along these lines represents the best ideas from the faculty who labor in these fields – in the classroom, research lab and the community. It should be viewed very seriously – but still discussed.
It is not appropriate for the president charging an ad hoc group that he solely appointed to develop a plan. Everyone on the committee was at the time of appointment either an administrator or an untenured faculty member. Therefore all individuals have been and/or will be dependent on the president for their continued employment in their present position. This is the wrong way to get unbiased input. Yes, some administrators should be on the committee, but it also should have respected tenured faculty members as well. More importantly, for any project at this level, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee must be asked for suggested names for those who would serve. Of course it is the role of the president to appoint members of a presidential committee, but to have credibility, there must be tenured faculty members as part of the committee – and the faculty governance must be part of it.
Faculty can help with change – we did with the merger, with semester conversion, with untold numbers of reviews of the core curriculum – but we must be in the room, ie, part of the process, as we were in each of these cases. After the Senate voted to support the merger, several committees of administrators and non-administrative faculty members scoped out the process and were critical in bringing the institutions together. Future changes must follow that path or they are doomed – either to having a poor plan, which is the case of the first plan, or due to not having faculty on board, which leads to non-ideal outcomes. Let us be key partners, not spectators – or just commentors after the fact – and quickly before changes are made! We respond better to invitations rather than edicts. We accept invitations, we abhor edicts, and this is particularly important as we aim for our North Central review.
Shared overnance is a central component of a healthy institution so it comprises a significant part of the review. Our shared governance is presently very ill and attention must be paid or the decay will only advance with dire consequences. This is not a healthy institution, no matter what is said in the press releases.