Friday, July 15, 2011

BOT Meeting Coverage, 7/14

You should get your BOT coverage from someone more in the loop than I, Kristi Brownfield of at Unions United, who read a statement on GA health coverage (or the lack thereof) at the meeting, and now has a post summarizing the statements by Poshard and Cheng to the board.  My guess is that this is an event where pictures say more than words--Cheng and Poshard seemingly had little new to say, and the letter from the Union presidents didn't offer much new (though it did nicely combine the phrase "strike watch" with an appeal for returning to a more collaborative attitude).

The major official event during the meeting I can mark at this distance was the two no votes for a package of pay raises for various administrative types (details on those raises here: the largest by far was for Nicklow's promotion to provost). The Southern notes that this move was roundly supported by the union members in attendance.  This *could* be an important sign that two BOT members, Don Lowery and Donna Manering, aren't in lock-step with the administration's hard line toward unions.  Manering taught elementary school, was a school principal, and was active in the IEA.  Lowery, who seems to have led the opposition to this move, is a retired circuit judge, so is used to making up his own mind.  (Bios of the BOT are available here.)

The 40 people who appeared in black with their signs must have made a big impact on the board and administrators.  Here's a neat photo I've stolen from the Southern.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How did the Bastille Day BOT meeting go?

[Oops. I was confused about the dates when I posted this query this morning about a meeting that hadn't happened yet.  Cheng's report was at a preliminary meeting on the 13th.  As the comments already indicate, reports from the meeting today--the 14th--are coming in, as on Kristi's post over at SIUC Unions United.  Dave.]

Here's a new twist, where you tell me what happened, rather than me attempting to tell you (or at least point you to those who will tell you). The Southern ran a brief story on the BOT meeting on the 14th, but was silent on any union statement made there. The story notes that Cheng compared us to peers selected by the IBHE; our costs are similar, but we serve a more diverse and financially strapped student body, and have more trouble with attrition. Obviously the financial stress our students is one reason our retention rates are lower than those of our peers, as I hope Cheng and the BOT noted (though the story did not).  I would guess that the financial stress effecting our prospective student pool also explains a great deal of our enrollment troubles. Surely someone has studied college attendance rates for such students.  Inside Higher Ed just ran a story on the recession and enrollment, but it didn't help me much.

Oops, there I go playing the source of all knowledge.  What did the union statement say?  I'll bet some of you reading this were there and can fill the rest of us in.

"Fall of the Faculty"

The Fall of the Faculty looks like a must-read for heads in the sand crowd (i.e., sympatico readers of this here blog).  In the meantime, Inside Higher Ed has a good summary and interview with the author.  Be sure to check the IHE comments, which are often informed and insightful.