Friday, February 17, 2012

Differential teaching loads

At least two college deans on campus are pushing chairs to assign extra teaching to faculty who haven't produced any research over some period of time. This raises all sorts of issues re the FA contract, tenure and promotion, and merit procedures (even if we have no merit for the next few years, more teaching now will mean less research production later). But I wanted to start a thread for faculty to comment on this push on its merits. Would you like to empower your chair to assign additional teaching to faculty she or he determines are non-productive in research? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Faculty Senate 2/14/12

A report on this month's Faculty Senate Meeting.  (Agenda here.)

Upcoming events
  • On Friday, February 24, at 3:00 G. W. Reid, the executive director of the IBHE (Illinois Board of Higher Education) will speak on performance based funding, and take questions. Faculty were encouraged to attend; he's not going to every campus, and this will be a good opportunity for SIUC faculty to give him our input and show our interest in this process. 
  • On February 29 President Poshard will speak on campus about employee pensions, from 1:30-3:00 in the student center auditorium.   
Program review. For me the highpoint of yesterdays' Faculty Senate meeting was what didn't happen: there was no significant discussion of the draft document on program review, despite a lengthy and somewhat critical review of the draft document circulating about that process. This was in large part due to the unspoken rule that after a meeting has gone for over an hour, everyone starts to clam up, together by Senate President Bill Recktenwald's urging us to submit comments in writing rather than engage in an extended discussion. The Chair of the Undergraduate Education Policy Committee, Stephen Ebbs, had to buck Recktenwald a bit to say anything at all.  He was answered, cordially, by Alan Karnes, co-chair of the committee that produced the Program Review Report; Karnes said that this was just the sort of feedback his committee wanted. Karnes also made the smart observation that the Public Act's requirement that universities report underperforming programs directly to the legislature, rather than merely to the IBHE, was particularly scary. It was unfortunate, though, that there was no more discussion. I don't entirely blame Recktenwald for this--he is also responsible for organizing the faculty panel on program review earlier this month, and so is hardly suppressing debate on this. It is rather probably part of the m.o. of the organization to have meetings consist far more of reports (mainly by the Chancellor and Provost) rather than discussion, much less debate—especially debate, which is scary.  But reports, unlike discussion and debate, would perhaps be better left to written form, perhaps with quick oral summaries; we don't need to hear which streets are going to be repaved this summer, etc., when we could be discussing more pressing matters. More on program review, perhaps, in another post. In what follows I'll try to cover other highlights of the meeting.*