An SIUC faculty blog, brought back to life by the Illinois funding crisis.
There is 1 word to describe this....BULLS#!T
For once, a cartoon that I think is funny. The FA is concerned about the students! Good one!
Given that two of the outstanding issues are directly related to the quality of students' education: 1) resisting DL when its pedagogically inappropriate and 2) protecting tenure and therefore the feasibility of graduate programs . . . I'd say that's in students' best interests. Certainly more than 'substitute' teachers pulled from the AP non-teaching ranks, non-current emeritus folk or local community people--or the "I'm qualified to teach all my colleagues' classes" posters. Stand against the FA if you see fit, but do not blithely dismiss or ridicule our commitment to the educational mission of a comprehensive university and the students to whom we've dedicated our careers.
Those things are in your interest. The students primary interest is getting the education that they have paid for. A strike takes that away from them. If enrollment drops by 2000 students next fall due to this strike, the definition of financial exigency won't matter. Faculty and staff will lose their jobs and pointing fingers won't make a difference.
"Getting the education that they paid for" . . . precisely. My point stands.
Everyone needs to take great care with their posts now. Passions and tensions are at fever pitch. A strike is a virtual inevitability at this point (I pray I am wrong about that but a last minute settlement seems to me to be long odds) and everyone, regardless of their rhetoric, is worried about that and the effect it will have on themselves, on students, the faculty as a whole (if it can ever be whole again) and the future of the university. Please think thrice before posting anything that others might perceive as inflammatory. This is a complex three-sided struggle and no one has a corner of the market when it comes to holding the moral high ground. The fact that we are at this point is a sign of our collective failure. Let's not exacerbate that by allowing ourselves to devolve into wasted public bickering over trivialities.
You won't convince me that you are acting in the students best interest by leaving them high and dry. You may be able to provide some arguments that a good contract would improve their experience here. Refusing to deliver what they have already paid for cannot be considered in their best interest.
Fair enough Socrates. This is anonymous 7:56 and 8:27. I'm banning myself from this blog until this debacle is over. My stomach is in knots over this.
7:56 PM: Other universities have had strikes and enrollent did not plummet. 8:21 PM: Students haven't been getting the education they paid for for a long time now.
FA is made-up of faculty members who are outstanding teachers and outstanding scholars. Don’t give me BS that the FA members do not care about students. On the other hand, those who are blaming unions are the one looking for personal gains by openly praising Cheng. These fools are not going to get anything from her. If enrollment goes down, blame the administration not unions. Cheng knows very well that a strike will negatively impact enrollment but she still is willing to let the strike happen to gain power. BOT members are quietly watching end of SIUC. Administrations’ puppet will never be able to see what Cheng is doing and will always blame unions. I am prepared to face these puppets.
"I am prepared to face these puppets. ", Anonymously, of course...
10:23 pm, Do you honestly believe that those faculty opposing the FAs positions and actions are all inept teachers and scholars and/or that the FA is composed entirely of outstanding scholars and teachers? Have you considered that there may be talented and intelligent people on both sides of this dispute who simply happen to disagree?
Everybody is convinced they are acting in the best interests of the students.
Food for FA thought: Many of us have a hard time believing extrapolated and abstract worries stated by the FA due to having read the wild and irresponsible supposals put for by the FA over the past year. If the FA had put forth workable and fair proposals (that consider the actual world we are living in right now) even 6 months ago, we either wouldn't be discussing this or the FA would have a huge swell of support, even from most of the FSN. From the outside it looks like the FA's approach is akin to threatening to punch someone to convince them to give you at least a hand shake, when what you really want is a hug. God help us all if the sky actual does fall.
There are great teachers and scholars on both sides. That is why no one should come and tell that FA members don’t care about students. Our administration does not care about students. How many times in a year have they talked to students? Who knows students need more. Poshard’s article in the DE today is total BS. This plagiarist does not have any idea about higher education.
Hello, first-time (and probably only time) poster here. I am a Senior graduating in December. I have been trying to get this question asked at the university, but I have been unable to get anything better than a vague response.Anyway, my classes are rather specialized (ex: ENGL 451- 18th century English literature), and I don't see a feasible scenario in which subs/replacements can come in immediately and run things smoothly. Is it more realistic to expect classes to be cancelled for the junior/senior/grad-level classes, and replacements to be brought in for lower-level classes?
Student @ 10:42. It is your responsibility as a student to show up for class. It is the faculty members responsibility to choose whether or not they honor a called strike (should it occur). It is the administrations responsibility to do their best to provide a mechanism for the educational opportunity for which you have dutifully paid. How it will pan out in your particular case I can not say but I recommend you go to your classes.Also, please do not take the heated rhetoric of this blog/comments as an indicator of what any particular faculty member or administrator may think or do, or apply it to the whole group. I think all here will agree that the concerns and cries appear amplified when documented in this way.
Anon 8:37. I would say the Administration's supposals have been similarly (if not more so) "wild and irresponsible." Both sides are engaged in a kind of negotiation where they ask for the moon in hopes that the eventual compromise will be more in their favor. The FA has demonstrated far more flexibility in its supposals than the Administration has. They only started showing significant movement on their supposals relatively recently. (Remember why?)This is what Interest Based Bargaining was supposed to help us avoid, but the Administration refused to engage in that kind of bargaining. I believe we would have resolved this thing long ago if they had. One NTTFA negotiator reported at an information rally recently that the Administration is remarkably wedded to yes/no "negotiation" with no interest in creative problem-solving or compromise.So in the end, who really is being unreasonable?
Why did President Poshard choose to release his op-ed in DE on 10/31 with such a headline?
This is anon 8:37. You will notice I said nothing about the BOT's approach. I still contend that the FA's approach alienates many that might have supported a more sensible approach. Many of us represented by the FA (and many dues paying members) actually realize the need for administrative control during a true financial exigency. Debate over transparency and accountability may be valid, but what I have seen in earlier supposals really looked like the faculty would be protected till the last brick crumbled. Current language seems to be closer to reasonable, but that has only been in the last week or two. If the administration is unreasonable, why not present a reasonable plan and stand firm. Maybe labor law and collective bargaining doesn't allow it. Could that be part of the problem?
The FSN proposal calls for pay raises to be across the board and merit based. Merit based would be determined solely by the dean, removing the current merit based structure that is determined by dept. operating papers. It seems to me that the FA can be accused of sometimes pushing too hard to limit merit increases in favor of across the board but giving the power to deans at their sole discretion runs the risk of favoritism, cronyism, decisions made by people unfamiliar with what is meritorious, etc. Off topic but thought I'd post anyway. Sorry.
In response to student 10:42, there would have to be trouble staffing classes, at least in the early stages (e.g., Thurs and Fri). Nobody is quite sure how many people will honor the strike so unless a reserve army is ready and walking the halls looking for empty classrooms at each and every designated class start time, these days are likely to be used to see who is and is not honoring the strike. If it should last, then plans can be made accordingly.
It has become increasingly clear that the FA is not interested in a contract that provides decent pay and reasonable job security. Its goal is to protect and enhance the status of faculty as a privileged elite immune from the the conditions that ordinary citizens face each day. A strike in which strikers experience a few days or weeks without pay will provide a lesson in some of the stresses ordinary folks face each day.
why should faculty not have priority over higher administration who have caused this crisis? CUT FROM THE TOP! Begin with Poshard and Cheng.
Lets just say, for arguments sake, that the President and Chancellor chose, or were forced to leave. What would that gain? Immediately interim appointees would have to be put in place - at salaries commensurate with those positions. National searches would then have to be conducted, which come at significant effort and expense, then new appointees would eventually fill those positions. You would have new people in those positions to despise, but you would have saved nothing and probably incurred significant new costs. Since we are short of $ anyway, those $ would come out of $ dollars that could have been spent on other priorities.If your goal is satisfaction of some personal vendetta against Poshard or Cheng, OK, but say so. Don't make it sound as if you are justifying your goal on the basis of all the $ it would save - it wont.
Other alternatives exist. One is reducing the bloated salaries these people receive in view of the state's fiscal crisis. NO administrator should receive a six-figure salary in future. That will ensure we have people who are dedicated to the job and not there to fill their pockets and add to the state pension crisis we are already facing. Also axing athletics and selling off the sports stadium are other measures that could save money. Poshard's guest column in the DE section normally reserved for sports (perhaps the ideal place of it? made me really sick. He just reiterates what he did in THE SOUTHERN some months back and takes no responsibility for the mess he has caused.
to the english senior: don't go to class. bring some coffee and donuts for the picket line.it's too late to transfer, but if this semester goes down the drain, we will at least have some very interesting explanations to send to grad schools.
Quiet one says....To any student on this blog worried about classes and degree completion. I know many programs are currently working very hard to ensure that your classes continue and that you get the good education you came here to get. Please go to your classes. I, for one, and many of my colleagues will be there for you.
Students, if your professor isn't striking, know that skipping class (even in solidarity with the strikers) will likely come with the same penalties as when there isn't a strike. Please take this into account. The same is potentially true if your professor is striking. If you are worried about reprisals from your "business as usual" substitute, please attend that class as well. But if you find the expertise of your new instructors in question and feel that their requirements of you are wanting, please follow your right as a student to file grievance with the department chair or program director. You may not want to do this if your substitute offers you a good grade for doing no real work; then again, if you care about your education, you might. As for what happens when (if?) your original instructor returns to class, that is unknown and depends on many variables. Please know that if your original instructor upon returning does not act appropriately, you may file a grievance or specific grade appeal for this as well.It is not my intent to clutter up the system with frivolous appeals by making this recommendation. It is, however, important for students to know their rights -- and you certainly have them, even in a strike.
Students, I advise you to go to classes. But more than that, I suggest you prepare for class even more so than usual (for instance, do all the readings ahead of time). Then, prepare some questions to ask your "qualified substitute teacher." If he or she cannot answer them in an intelligent manner, ask them what they are doing wasting your time. Be sure to do so respectfully, but also be firm; demand your right to an education. And if you don't get satisfactory answers, be sure to write, call, email, or text administration and let them know you are dissatisfied.
I can't believe whacked out posters (God help us, faculty!) are urging English senior to a) not attend. Period. b) transfer somewhere else. If that is the FA attitude, it deserves to rot. After Kent State, STUDENTS shut down campuses and got "Pass" grades. Perhaps the same here? That would boink the FA strikers. LOL
Anon 10:37: with the exception of one post, all others here have advised students to attend class as usual, in keeping with the attendance policies in their respective classes. This is both responsible and sensitive to the situation students will be placed in at this point in the semester. They are also free to assess the quality of the 'substitute' instructors.
Anon 10:37 PM: Are you some outstanding scholar from the FSN side? I admire your truly remarkable comprehension of Montana's post (5:46 PM). How could you be sooo smart to figure out that she is a faculty member and from the FA? Are you going to send some interesting explanations to "grad schools" as well? Maybe you should try pre-schools first?I, however, would ask Jonny not to delete this filthy post.
I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.