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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Not about my students this time

I had some nice moments in class: this T/Th 101 is terrific, and I'm loving working with them, for all sorts of reasons. That part of the day was good.

However, the political situation on campus is going from bad to worse to catastrophically, unbelievably awful. The latest is a document, mandated by the state university system, that was prepared by someone in the Administration, with zero input from the Academic Senate--this despite a very clear statement from the state that the document be produced through the procedures of shared governance. (This is just the latest in a long and increasingly blatant number of times the administration and/or board of trustees have flagrantly ignored--even disdained--the principles and workings of shared governance.)

There is no way I can do justice to the document in paraphrase. I've cut and pasted statements taken directly from the document--our "SUNY Excels Performance Improvement Plan." Bear in mind that the report that contains the following statements has already been officially submitted to the state board and is on the SUNY web site.

 "Faculty positions have long been attractive to females at NCC. Low-cost, high quality childcare is available on campus – although there is currently a wait-list. Vacations are generous as are benefits. The standard commitment of 15-hours of instruction over 30 weeks yields a teaching load of 450 hours per academic year. Working hours are relatively flexible with teaching schedules assigned on the basis of seniority for both full-time and part-time faculty. And the burdens associated with the development of a competitive scholarly publications record are for the most part absent. Perhaps in consequence, females continue to outnumber males throughout the College community. This is not expected to change in the near- to mid-term."

"In short, there are no readily available untapped revenue sources. This is made no easier by the deeply held and profoundly entrenched view among faculty leaders that the College was, is and must remain a 'liberal arts' institution providing but an introduction to a 'world of ideas' sufficient to serve as a foundation for continued study. This was once referred to as the 'junior college' model. Its measure of success would appear to be the rate at which students transfer to 4-year institutions before or after successfully graduating from NCC although in practice little attention has been paid to this this outcome measure."

“However, recent trends give some reason for optimism. Firstly, a significant number of faculty retirements are anticipated - 106 full-time employees have retired this year. While the College’s fiscal situation will not permit all these positions to be replaced with new full-time faculty, some new full-time hiring will occur. Perhaps more importantly, there is likely to be a substantial increase in the availability of new adjunct positions. The College therefore plans to seek increased diversity hiring in its adjunct pool and has developed ways by which its 'interview exchange' database can better support this goal and the academic area deans can assist academic departments to realize the College’s commitment to greater racial and ethnic diversity.”
"Increasing program diversity (or mix) to better meet local and regional needs and possibly attract non-traditional and international students will require the support of faculty and union leadership which has proved somewhat elusive to date. In this connection, and regrettably, the College envisions reducing the number of full-time faculty and non-faculty positions in the coming years in order to balance its operating budgets."
I don't think I need to parse that language for you, my readers, to see the affront to faculty generally and to women in particular--as well as to the ideals of a liberal arts education. I simply feel sick. All I can think is, "How soon will I be able to retire?" I'm not kidding. I intend to set up an appointment with my financial planner to see when I can get out. I wasn't planning to retire until I saw the early retirement benefits that might come with the next contract--if then--but I'm reminded of the line my father used at his retirement party, when he was catching some flak for retiring early: "I always thought it was a good idea for rats to leave a sinking ship."

This ship is going down fast, and this particular rat is starting to look pretty frantically for the exits.

No matter what good news each individual day may bring, there is absolutely no way to reframe that so I can feel OK. None.

I'm going home.

1 comment:

  1. I want to shun life in the cliche lane so I will simply add that this rot came -- as it AlWAYS DOES, from the top. Clearly some are more eager than others for their 30 pieces of silver. I'd leave were it not for the IRS snd its insatiable demands.