At the end of a semester, I’m always of the opinion that I’d like to end it on some kind of up note. I haven’t collected the data to see how often that is the case. I suspect it is rare. But that could just be a reflection of how I feel at this moment in time.
We had two meetings of import to the Faculty this week. On Tuesday we met with the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty to “clear the air.” One of the major issues was shared governance. On Thursday we had a union meeting (AAUP). I suspected that at least one of those was going to result in pissing me off. I was correct in that assumption.
We have a relatively new dean. Since she has been here she has talked about the importance of faculty taking the responsibility for initiatives to improve the plight of the college. Since she has been here, there have been faculty members complaining about how everything is decided at the top and heard about the faculty later.
The disconnect is overwhelming at times.
Originally posted in Teacher’s Lounge at Daily Kos
On Tuesday, I spoke my piece talking about the importance for the faculty to say, “No” to those initiatives it disagrees with and come up with better plans.
On Thursday much of the first part of the meeting was a bitch session, an enumeration of the ways in which people had been done wrong. Eventually I got a chance to speak. I spoke about the fact that the faculty had collectively failed in its part of faculty governance by not addressing substantive issues, by not doing the work necessary to push back against the administration, by not assuming our share of the governance.
I am annoyed that at least one of my colleagues missed the point of the usage of collective nouns and responded with a list of ways she had acted as an individual. More than annoyed. And if others perceived what I said with the same interpretation, I’m sure I am not highly popular today.
As the discussion progressed I was joined by several of the nursing faculty, though they probably spoke more diplomatically than I did, and by some senior faculty from art and philosophy.
Mostly I’m stuck with a few remaining thoughts. How can a group systematically give up its power and then complain about some other entity filling the void left by that abandonment? And how can people look at something which is barely functioning and say, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”