Did You Know?
By David Waldstreicher, Editor
This issue of the Herald features several reflec-tions on the themes of university leadership and resources. This is neither new nor surprising, though I think what our contributors have to say on these topics is surprisingly fresh and timely.
What is new, or recurring again, is that decisions that will greatly affect the faculty are soon to be made by leaders who will not be here to see the results:
• A faculty workload committee, chaired by Dean Stroker, is looking into the question of whether course loads will need to be raised. The committee has not yet received its charge as of our press date, but members include Presidential Faculty Fellows Thomas Marino and Susan Varnum.
• There is a strong possibility that some colleges or parts of colleges will be restructured, for a variety of reasons including potential savings, the opportunity presented by deanship vacancies, and perhaps the recommendations of the Huron Group, the outside consulting firm brought in last year. We are expecting a “white paper” on the subject from the Provost.
• State budget cuts are likely to result in an effective 60-100 million dollar budget short fall, as stopgap measures run their course. Can the university afford to continue its ambitious building programs? Its expensive sports programs? What will be deemed expendable?
• We are entering a TAUP contract negotiating season this spring.
All this suggests a pressing need to stay tuned, and make faculty voices heard. The turnover in leadership may actually present an opportunity for positive change and for a demonstration that faculty can, indeed, see the big picture. I for one would like to see a conversation about what sacrifices the administration might be willing to make if I took on an extra course every year.
I’m impressed that the administration changed course on, for example, the hiring of a Vice Presi-dent for branding in 2010 (a very impressive individ-ual who was not retained this year). One might conclude that the criticisms of the implications of such a hire that were voiced by faculty at the time were actually heard. Let’s hope – no, let’s push – for a more extended deliberative process about the changes afoot in 2011-12.