FA News (10/23/2017): A9 and restructuring

Dear colleagues,

Chancellor Montemagno has released the details of his reorganizational scheme, and posted slides and video of his speech of 10/19. The Southern and the DE have accounts not only of the speech but of the question period, which grew heated at times.

The chancellor’s plans touch on all aspects of campus life, including graduate education, the core curriculum, and the role of diversity on campus. We invite all interested in further discussion of his plans and the future of SIUC to take part in the following:

SIUC Community Meeting on Restructuring

Wednesday, 10/25, 5:00-6:30 p.m.

Parkinson 124 (Browne Auditorium)

This meeting is co-sponsored by the GPSC and FA. A flyer and document outlining principles for positive change are attached; the principles document will be available at this meeting for any who wish to sign it. Here we focus on the role of faculty in the process for program changes.

The FA contract (Article 9) guarantees faculty the right to vote on all program and unit changes. Faculty are not limited to input and feedback on the chancellor’s plan. It is true that our votes are not the last word, but neither does the chancellor have the last word: that belongs to the board of trustees. Faculty votes, unlike individual, private feedback on an online form, will be public, joint declarations of faculty views. Votes will be cast by departments, the Faculty Senate, and the Graduate Council. And they will matter.

The FA contract (Article 9) guarantees faculty the right to propose program changes of their own. Faculty can propose alternative courses of action. These alternatives need not accept the chancellor’s premises that all departments must be eliminated, that certain academic programs must be eliminated, that we must have the five colleges the chancellor has suggested, or the eighteen schools he has proposed. Faculty can vote on alternative proposals, and those votes will matter.

The FA contract (Article 9) guarantees faculty the right to review proposed new programs, and to propose new programs of their own. The chancellor has proposed ten new programs. Eight are in his proposed College of Engineering, Physical Science, and Applied Technology. These proposals reflect the chancellor’s background and his interests, and while they may be worthy additions to our current offerings, the chancellor has yet to demonstrate that his new programs, most of which would be very expensive to introduce, are the ones that SIUC needs. He is open to alternative proposals within the schools he has targeted for growth, but appears to have decided on his own which schools will get new programs. Faculty need not accept it as given that they must merge their departments to subsidize new programs in the chancellor’s chosen areas. Faculty can propose new programs elsewhere, and will vote on all new programs. Those votes will matter.

While Article 9 provides the framework for faculty partnership in program changes, faculty, staff, and students should all be encouraged to develop ideas for positive change at SIUC, whether or not they fall within the precise contours of the FA contract. We all recognize the shared challenges SIUC faces, first among them the need to meet the enrollment crisis by providing more students with a quality education. Our problems cannot be solved by any one individual on campus. They have been building for a long time, and as there will be no quick fix, so also there is no justification to rush changes through. Nor should anyone seek to limit debate or insist on a predetermined outcome.

It is indeed time to take heart, to think ambitiously and creatively, and to point to solutions that will allow us to achieve our common goals.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson

President, SIUC Faculty Association

OCT 25 Meeting & Principles for Supporting Change

About Dave Johnson
I'm an Associate Professor in Classics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Among other things.

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