NEWSLETTER OF THE UMKC CHAPTER OF THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS
Vol. 4, Nos. 3-4
AAUP Slate Wins 4 of 5 in Senate Election
Results of AAUP Survey on Faculty Concerns, by Ed Gogol
Unmitigated Spending on
Consultants Continues While Their Influence Intensifies,
by Alfred Esser
Follow the Money: Violations of
AAUP Guidelines and the Fate of the Math Department,
by Bruce Wenner
AAUP Missouri State
Conference Meeting: Defending the Public Interest and Education,
by Stuart McAninch
The Institute for Urban Education--Part 2, by Susan Adler
Chicken-and-Egg or Rotten Egg? Law School Move is Contemplated, by Patricia Brodsky
News of the Chapter
In Memory of Ron Carver, by Ann Pace and Stuart McAninch
Food For Thought, by Pat Brodsky
Education for Democracy Network News
The War on Public Education in Europe, by David Brodsky
AAUP Chapter Hosts Successful Conference
Our Children are Illiterate about Labor and the Workplace, by Judy Ancel
Accountability in Higher Education, by Pat Brodsky
Academic Freedom at William Jewell College, a Southern Baptist Institution, by Ian Munro
AAUP Slate Wins 4 of 5 in Senate Election
In the election for officers of the Faculty Senate, for the first time, the AAUP chapter actively endorsed a full slate of candidates. These experienced representatives of the faculty are all chapter members committed to AAUP principles. The slate included Gary Ebersole for Chair, Dick Murphy for Vice Chair, Kathy Loncar for Secretary, and Joan Dean and Stu McAninch for IFC representatives. It was announced April 27 that AAUP candidates captured all but the chair's position. This victory will go far towards our goal of strengthening a constructive AAUP presence on the Senate.
Top faculty concerns, according to Ed Gogol's report on the results of the AAUP survey (p. 1), are the audits and the imposition of outside consultants, with the gap between faculty and administration compensation a close third. They are addressed by several articles in this issue, which continue to warn faculty to look behind the smile-button assurances that everything is OK at UMKC, and to take appropriate action in defense of faculty rights and the best interests of students and the public.
Alfred Esser's report on consultants shows convincingly that they are a gross waste of money, which instead should have been spent on the genuine core values of the university, instruction and research, students and faculty. Much more disturbing in his article, however, is the political role played by these mercenaries, who are illegally making major policy decisions that belong to the faculty. Besides UM system guidelines, they also violate AAUP guidelines on faculty governance, academic freedom, and major changes to programs. These consultants have no right to make institutional policy.
After the mauling of SBS and the School of Education, the Math Department, as Bruce Wenner reports, has become the third unit the administration has targeted for downsizing, piecemeal dismantling, and eventual destruction. The "audit" of the Physics Department turns out to have been a flimsy pretext to justify what was possibly planned from the start, the merging of Physics with the vulnerable Math Department, weakened by mass retirements and premeditatedly inadequate support. While School of Education faculty apparently have reasserted control over planning the Institute for Urban Education, as Susan Adler reports, the administration has given no guarantees that violation of the School's integrity will not go forward as planned.
The fates of these units should be sufficient warning to others facing "audits" in the near future. Targeting for an audit signifies the administration's will to damage and destroy, based on criteria known only to the administration.
Thus the audits in their present form must cease. Faculty must insist on their right to governance and should refuse to cooperate with the "audits" as they are currently being conducted. Evaluation of units, if at all, should be carried out by faculty committees, led by Deans as at the other UM campuses, not by predominantly administrative committees led by an outside consultant. Audits should have as their goal the identification of strategies for strengthening departments and programs--not undermining and destroying them.
As I wrote in the December 2003 issue, "Only a determined and widespread opposition movement among faculty in all units can halt this current wave of purges and assaults on academic freedom and faculty governance, and the dangerous precedent they set for the future of UMKC." If the administration is permitted to knock off each unit one at a time, then the remainder can expect the same fate. Because the audits and the consultants hired to oversee them violate university regulations at all levels, they are utterly illegitimate operations. Finally, your editor, Harris Mirkin (Faculty Advocate [December 2003]), and other chapter members have expressed wholehearted concurrence with Esser's proposal that the faculty must demand, or itself conduct, an audit of this administration as soon as possible.
Results of AAUP Survey on Faculty Concerns
by Ed Gogol
Though limited in scope and number of responses (12), the chapter survey sent out last semester provided some feedback on the importance of various issues to the faculty who chose to respond. Of the topics offered for ranking, the changes imposed on academic units without real faculty input (using the example of last fall's fiasco foisted upon the School of Education) was most prominent, receiving a rating of 4.8 (out of 5). Next in ranking were the issues of reliance on outside consultants for academic operations (4.6) and the growing gap in compensation (and culture) between faculty and administration (4.3). Not surprisingly, all three were topics in UMKC news last fall. The specific issues of establishing extra-academic institutes on campus and lack of faculty access to campus budget information and decisions narrowly trailed the above topics.
Several of the respondents identified specific topics that the AAUP might address. The viability audit process was mentioned repeatedly, specifically complaints about the lack of administrative accountability for the incorrect data on which the units were to be judged. Faculty were outraged at having the responsibility for the administration's work of correcting the faulty data shift to already-busy faculty.
Other topics raised by individuals included unit-specific problems with the tenure process, lack of faculty supervision of independent centers on campus (Center for the City), and inequalities in pay levels due to gender discrimination and the plight of contingent faculty. One respondent raised the issue of infringement of academic freedom through the denial of access to a funding source, the Kauffman Foundation. The faculty member felt his research had been shut out so as not to conflict with the administration's current pet project.
Though other issues may intervene, the topics brought out by these responses may form the points of campus-wide discussion for the next academic year. One of the most important functions that the UMKC AAUP chapter can perform for its members, and the entire campus, is to provide a forum to discuss those issues of importance to the faculty. Perhaps future chapter meetings and gatherings can serve this purpose more directly.
Unmitigated Spending on Consultants Continues While Their Influence Intensifies
by Alfred Esser
When Chancellor Gilliland arrived at UMKC four years ago on April 1st, she brought along an old friend, Gordon Starr, to help her reform the university. Starr had learned the trade of "large group awareness training" as a disciple of EST founder Werner Erhard, but was out of work at the time. With an initial six-month contract for $97,950 he created a "Blueprint for the Future" and started transforming UMKC's faculty and staff. An expanded 14-month contract for $750,000 soon followed, and transformation was in full swing at UMKC. An additional consulting company, Corporate Communications Group, was hired, to the tune of $100,000, to inform the public about the successes happening at UMKC. When Mr. Starr proposed at the end of 2001 to triple his fees for the next contract, serious questions were raised about such largesse, and Gilliland gave her word that she would not renew the contract. She would continue to use his service only occasionally, and without depleting state funds.
Her change of mind, however, did not decrease the financial drain. She had found another group willing to bend her ear for dollars, the Washington Advisory Group (WAG), a high-level, high-power consulting company, whose principals include former university deans and presidents and government officials. During several visits to UMKC these gentlemen gave sage advice, yet delivered no official report. Although their take at UMKC exceeded $230,000, the impact of the dispensed wisdom on the progress of UMKC or the Blueprint was negligible.
Furthermore, strong pockets of resistance within faculty and staff remained, providing sufficient irritation to demand more than just consultation. Along came Frank Horton whose reputation as a hard-nosed administrator and successful extractor of expensive contracts seemed to fit the bill. He was brought in as interim dean to align the faculty and staff in the School of Biological Sciences with the vision of the provost and the chancellor. And successful he was. A contract worth $350,000 per year, plus fringe benefits, travel costs and other incidentals, was his reward for quieting the faculty and dispersing its loyal staff. After some rest and recreation he is now back on campus directing the "program viability" studies, and while his fees may be a little less exorbitant, as of late he is still raking in about $20,000 per month.
While all of this was going on, well covered by the local press, the continued involvement of Gordon Starr in university affairs remained hidden. Contrary to her statement, Gilliland still uses him and his company, Starr Consulting Group, to run the affairs of UMKC. Although his visits to the campus may be less frequent, his fees during the past two years nevertheless exceed $110,000. Perhaps he shows up less because newly employed, high-level administrators are now flying to California to receive proper guidance from him, or because his associate Greg LeGassick is currently in charge of local affairs.
LeGassick's presence at extended cabinet meetings and deans' retreats is well known and it appears that he directs the continuing Blueprint training sessions. But it came as a surprise when the Chancellor in a letter to faculty senators and deans informed them of an email that she had sent "to Provost Ballard, with copies to other members of our executive cabinet". The short copy list included LeGassick. Of course, being a member of the chancellor's executive (!) cabinet requires adequate remuneration. His personal consulting fees for the past year have now topped $129,000.
Another fine consultant on the UMKC payroll was Steve M. Cohen, President of Labor Management Advisory Group. According to his web site, he offers his services to "act as the human resources officer for organizations that do not have designated full time HR staff". UMKC always had a full-time HR staff, and the only rational for his consulting services may have been to fill a temporary void created by the retirement of Vice Provost A. Mendoza. Although consultants are not supposed to fulfill essentially the same or similar duties performed by university employees, nor bypass employees to fill a vacant position, it did not take him long to land on the payroll. After all, his company specializes in wage/salary survey and job description/clas-sification. He simply created a "new" position by changing the job title of the position vacated by Mendoza. As he explained in a University News article (Feb. 2003): "UMKC has grown its affirmative action function by changing the senior position's title from director/vice provost of affirmative action to executive director of diversity in action, reporting directly to the chancellor" (emphasis AE). Such "direct reporting" assured him an income in excess of $150,000 from June 2002 through July 2003.
This is by no means a complete list of well-paid consultants. Their number continues to grow, and several new ones were added just during the past three months. All together a non-exhaustive examination of UMKC's records reveals that more than $500,000 was spent on consultants just in the past two years!
The argument can be made that, with a total budget of $200 million, spending a half-million dollars on consultants is not out of line. The difference here, however, is the fact that these consultants performed work that is either non-essential to the academic mission of the university or could have been performed equally well by existing personnel. The most perturbing aspect of their presence on campus is the fact that some of them, particularly Cohen, Horton and LeGassick, perform supervisory functions and set policies that are of direct consequence to regular faculty and staff.
UM System guidelines are absolutely clear in stating that consultants "cannot act as agents of the university nor shall they be deemed employees of the University". Giving Horton and Cohen short-term employment contracts may have satisfied the letter of the law but it surely violated its spirit. These men always were and continue to be consultants running their own companies. When Horton was interim dean he had the authority to hire and fire employees and requested internal and external employee performance evaluations that remain permanently in the records. Back again as a consultant, he is now chair of a committee with the euphemistic title "Resources for our Vision Committee" and, therefore, has a major say in the potential decision to close academic departments such as Physics or Sociology/Criminal Justice. Cohen, as Interim Director, adjudicated grievance cases, despite the fact that, since he was not a permanent university employee, the affected employees were completely unable to challenge his decisions. This fact is even more egregious when one considers that, although during the same time period several units on campus had to endure external employee audits, his status was never questioned! Equally worrisome is the role of Greg LeGassick and the power that he exerts over the administrative structure. He has no allegiance to the university, and as a non-employee he is not required to adhere to its rules of conduct.
Can the chancellor really claim that no knowledgeable faculty or administrator existed to perform the duties of these consultants? Of course not. Apparently what she wants in these positions are mercenaries who will keep critical faculty and staff at bay--or as Cohen wrote, will deal "with violators and people who 'don't get it'." They were given contracts to execute what has been ordered, no matter what it costs. The time has arrived for the faculty to demand--at the highest level of the University system or the State government--a stringent external audit of these illegitimate management procedures at UMKC and the chancellor's flouting of fiduciary responsibility.
Follow the Money: Violations of AAUP Guidelines and the Fate of the Math Department
by Bruce Wenner
Many faculty have heard about our recent troubles in the Mathematics and Statistics Department. I'll try to give you a short history, right up to new developments.
Four years ago the department had eleven tenure-track faculty and three full-time nonregular faculty. The tenure-track faculty included four full professors, five associate professors, and two assistant professors working toward tenure. All but two of our courses at the 200-level and above were covered by full-timers. Overall, 27% of our student credit hours were generated by part-time lecturers. We had six GTA's who covered all of the college algebra sections with capable, well-supervised instruction. Although our staffing levels were much lower than those of many math departments (including the other three campuses of the University of Missouri), the department had a sufficient base to provide solid professional-quality instruction in its many service obligations and in its own degree programs.
Four years later the picture is very different. We have only five tenure-track faculty--two tenured associate professors and three assistant professors--and two nonregular full-time faculty. We're down to three GTA's, so some of the college algebra sections have to be taught by part-time lecturers. Departmental instruction is dominated by part-time lecturers. 65% of our student credit hours are now generated by part-time lecturers, including most of the 200-numbered courses. Some of these people are quite good, but we have to hire so many that we are putting less-qualified part-time lecturers into our classes. This year the department has not been permitted to enroll new graduate students, so the graduate programs are being strangled.
How did this happen? It began with mass retirements in the two VERIP (Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program) rounds in 2000 and 2002. We lost all four professors, three associate professors, and two full-time nonregular faculty. That result had been predicted by the last two COPE committees to study the department, the latest in fall 2002. The campus administration did not need to decimate the department. It had ample opportunity to replace the departing faculty before and after the retirements. However, it chose to grab the money out of the salary lines, and to this date it has hired only two assistant professors to replace the retired faculty.
The 2002 COPE Site Evaluation Team recommended rebuilding the department to at least its previous size. The money was available to do the job, by utilizing the VERIP retirees' salary lines. But because the administration coveted that money, it set about justifying the grab. Provost Ballard led the charge, with the cooperation of A&S Dean LeBeau and Graduate Dean MacQuarrie. It stopped faculty hiring and froze admissions to our graduate programs, pending one more "study" of the department by a hand-picked Math Committee chaired by one Frank Horton. You remember Horton. He was brought in, over the unanimous objections of the faculty, to replace a popular and effective dean of the School of Biological Sciences. Since then, he has stayed on as a highly-paid consultant. His pay has been reported to be $20,000-$25,000 PER MONTH. Just think of the number of replacement faculty that would pay for! He is also chairing the viability study committees.
Horton delivered for his employers. He recommended numerous hurdles that the department should overcome before being able to hire faculty or reopen graduate admissions. The provost took those hurdles and added more. We continue to turn away graduate applicants, and by now we have lost half of our GTA's, without permission to replace them. An assistant professor left this winter, so the hiring freeze means the department will enter next year with even fewer full-time faculty than this year. A member of another department was appointed interim chair, without any prior involvement or consultation with our faculty, an action in flagrant violation of AAUP principles. And now another of consultant Horton's committees has recommended that the physics department be merged with what's left of the math department. Our leaders seem to moving toward a community college model--they might go that far. And don't expect them to inform us in advance.
That's where we are now. The department has taken some serious blows, but there is still something to build on. The math and statistics faculty are very good--there just aren't nearly enough of them. We still have some good graduate students, but some of the best have left, and we have no new ones. Good applicants are waiting, for now, but graduate admissions need to be reopened at once. Moreover, the plundered VERIP funds need to be returned to the department to bring the faculty strength back to a reasonable level--this includes recruiting an experienced mathematical scientist to chair the department. Of course this would require a major redirection on the part of an administration that has been quick to divert funding from academics to administrators and their consultants. (See Alfred Esser's article above.--Ed.)
AAUP Missouri State Conference Meeting: Defending the Public Interest and Education
by Stuart McAninch
The 2004 meeting of the Missouri Conference of the AAUP, held on March 6 in Columbia, focused on strategies for protecting the public sphere in higher education and in the state. John Harms, Missouri Conference President, presented an analysis of the budget crisis in Missouri. Based in part on the research of James Moody, former Missouri State Budget Director, John argued that current budget problems are structural in nature. They are the result of: 1) a series of federal and state tax cuts; 2) the limits imposed by the "Hancock Amendment" and the "Carnahan/Farm Bureau Amendment" on state revenue; and 3) increases in state spending in recent years necessitated by the foundation formula for funding schools created by SB 380 in 1993, by the growth of the number of Missourians covered by Medicaid, and by the growth experienced by the Department of Corrections.
John made it very clear that the professoriate must lobby for legislation to increase state revenue, and for a reversal of the cuts in appropriations experienced by public higher education in recent years. We must press for repeal of the "Hancock Amendment". In order to effectively pursue these objectives, we must cultivate alliances with students' organizations, teachers unions, and university administrations and governing boards. John (and others at the meeting) emphasized the importance of the Missouri Association of Faculty Senates as a body capable of developing coordinated strategies for faculties at the various public institutions in the state to address the needs of public higher education.
However, the professoriate must also, according to John, address the ideological and political assault on the public sector, which underlies the constriction of public funding and programs in the state's institutions of higher education. We need to effectively articulate and promote a conception of the "commonwealth" and "public interest" served by strong state universities and colleges financially accessible to non-affluent as well as affluent Missourians.
The address by Kathleen Osburn, an historian who teaches at Tennessee Technological University, complemented John's analysis. Speaking on professors networking with other groups to protect the public sphere, Kathleen emphasized the need for the professoriate to work to develop coalitions with potential allies in community groups, social organizations, labor unions, and businesses, in order to combat the further dismantling of the public sector, to avoid fighting among ourselves for the remaining crumbs in public budgets, and to help strengthen the quality of public programs and services.
Members at the meeting discussed and passed a resolution opposing "this year's Missouri General Assembly Bill 911 (and any similar legislation) which would mandate in great detail the equal teaching of intelligent design along with evolutionary theory.
For AAUP members wishing to access analyses of the state budget, we publish the following useful websites.
1. Otto Fajen, Missouri National Education Association Legislative Director, "Missouri Budget Crisis: The Impact of the Structural Budget Deficit on Public Education," on the web site for the Missouri National Education Association: http://www.mnea.org/capitol/budgetcrisis.htm
2. James R. Moody & Associates, 2003 Presentation on "Missouri Budget Problem Causes and Possible Solutions" http://www.missouri.edu/webcom/budget/moody-report.pdf
The Institute for Urban Education--Part 2
by Susan Adler
Last fall, the School of Education was in a state of turmoil. An Institute for Urban Education, focused on teacher and administrator preparation, was being planned with little involvement of faculty (or "real" teachers and administrators, for that matter). The proposals that were developed, to be submitted to the Kauffman Foundation for funding, called for the Institute to exist apart from the School of Education. In short, it appeared as though the administration was building a new academic unit--taking an "end run" around the School. In the midst of this upset, the dean "resigned" two weeks before our state and national accreditation visit. The accreditation teams, in fact, noted that the standard on governance was "not met" by the School, precisely because of the Institute efforts.
The School of Education Faculty Executive Committee and faculty sent a letter to the Chancellor and the Provost, and to the leadership of the Faculty Senate, citing the university administration's non-compliance with AAUP principles of faculty and shared governance and the breakdown of communication between the Chancellor and the faculty regarding the Institute. Since that time, planning for the development of programs for the preparation of "exemplary teachers and administrators for urban schools" has taken a different direction, although questions still remain. The following description of the current state of affairs is largely excerpted from School of Education response to the accreditation reports.
The Institute for Urban Education (IUE) initiative still exists. However, beginning January 5, 2004 this initiative has taken a different approach toward achieving the original goal: Preparing Exemplary Educators for Urban Settings. The activities for planning the Institute for Urban Education are now being carried out within the School of Education, and articulate with two other oversight and input bodies, an Executive Committee, and a Community Steering Committee. School of Education faculty are engaged in writing the proposal for the IUE. A core writing team consisting of seven teacher education faculty and three superintendent-nominated school district personnel has been appointed. This team is currently in the midst of intensive work, with a target date of June, 2004 for an initial draft of the teacher preparation part of the proposal.
The core writing team is being assisted by a group of ten Arts and Sciences faculty, representing content expertise, and called the extended writing team, as well as by several community representatives. A second phase, scheduled to begin shortly, will use the same design process in the area of leadership preparation.
Also involved in the oversight of construction of the proposal is an Executive Committee, composed of two deans, three faculty members, several community advocates and potential funders. This group meets weekly and considers and gives input to a weekly report from the core writing team. A larger Steering Committee headed by the Chancellor, and composed of a wide variety of community constituents, three superintendents of urban districts, (KC MO, KC KS, and Hickman Mills School Districts), as well as the Executive Committee meets monthly and also receives updates and gives feedback to the core writing team. The SOE Interim Dean serves on both groups and is an ex officio member of the core writing team.
At this time, governance of programs remains located in the School of Education. Faculty and leadership within the School are committed to constructing the most exemplary programs possible for preparing urban educators, are working intensively to make such programs a reality, and remain hopeful that the structure will be realized as a part of the SOE. While still being determined, the relationship of the proposed IUE to the existing School of Education at UMKC is currently a much closer one. The School is actively engaged in the planning process and fiscal and hiring barriers have been or are being removed.
The situation is greatly improved, but uncertainty remains. The final structure and location of the institute initiative have yet to be determined. There is some indication that local funders would prefer to move the initiative out of the School and the role of School faculty in the final project remains uncertain. In the meantime, the number of faculty continues to decline, while our responsibilities remain unchanged. The School still maintains a broad range of programs at all levels leading both to degrees and to teacher and administrator certification. At this time, we are proceeding with optimism and enthusiasm, tempered somewhat by a touch of skepticism engendered by uncertainty.
Chicken-and-Egg or Rotten Egg? Law School Move is Contemplated
by Patricia Brodsky
As reported in the KC Star in a front-page article on April 3 ("Law school mulls move downtown"), removal of the UMKC Law School off campus is currently under consideration. The new site would be 811 Grand, in the old federal courthouse which has stood vacant for several years. The announcement took many members of the university community--those not connected with the school or the legal community--by surprise. Law school faculty, students, alumni, and local members of the legal profession knew that a move was being contemplated, since they have been kept informed by a UMKC task force, headed by law professor Ellen Suni and charged with examining the merits of the proposal and its likely impact on the University.
A number of questions immediately arise, foremost among them: why should the law school move? how would the new facility look? who would benefit? and who would pay for it? I spoke with Professor Suni about the proposal. My first question had to do with its source. In 2001 an independent report on downtown development strategies--the so-called Sasaki Report--was presented to the Civic Council of Greater KC. A competition was held for who would renovate the historic building, and the contract was awarded to Hugh Zimmer. Thus the answer to "who benefits" is the downtown redevelopment lobby.
The report suggested that the downtown needs an major "educational presence." It was thought that having university programs in the downtown would bring people to the area not just to study, but to live, eat, and shop, thus providing an impetus to development. It was logical that UMKC as the principal local university should be invited to participate. The idea that the law school should be the one to move was based on the fact that the building is a former courthouse, and on the premise that students would benefit from proximity to the numerous law firms in center city--although as Professor Suni points out, many law firms are moving out of downtown. Chancellor Gilliland agreed to give the proposal consideration, and formed two task forces, one based in the law school, to study it.
Some of the most urgent questions concern the details of occupancy. The developer, Hugh Zimmer, would sign an 80-year lease, and the University would pay rent to his company (the length of UMKC's lease hasn't been determined). The law school would occupy between 50% and 60% of the space, sharing it mainly with nonprofits (a nonprofit training center and conference space have been proposed). The city is committed to building a parking structure that would be shared by the law school and federal offices. Current monthly rates for a parking spot in the area are about $75 for non-reserved and $90 for reserved parking. The developer is reportedly working on a deal to provide parking at $25 and $40/month, respectively--the same as current rates on campus. But the difference would probably be absorbed into the overall rent. In addition to landlord costs to get the building ready for occupancy--mechanical repairs, asbestos abatement, and so on, estimated at $16-23 million--there would be a minimum of $8.5 million in tenant repairs. Professor Suni says the taskforce feels the $8.5 million estimate is far too low. The repairs could be paid up front, or amortized into the rent. In a chicken-and-egg scenario, the university could save on repairs and parking, but end up paying higher rent overall. In any case, the figure currently estimated that UMKC would be paying for rent, parking and repairs is $3 million a year.
The next question is obviously: who is going to pay for this, at a time of budget cuts, risible raises, and threats to the integrity or the very existence of academic programs? Since UMKC is prevented by law from using public funds to renovate or pay rent on a building that is not owned by the state, private funds would have to be obtained. We have to ask what the source of these funds will be, given the difficulty President Floyd has had in raising money to pay for the Chancellor's raise. Some money might be saved by using the vacated law school for classes for other units, instead of constructing a new building on campus. Chancellor Gilliland has declared that any project involving a move must be budget neutral, but it is hard to see how a project of this magnitude would not be accompanied by major commitments of funds.
Another problematic element is the suggestion that law students move downtown to be near the school. There is currently a grave lack of affordable housing in the area; spaces are either too expensive, or consist of subsidized housing, for which students are ineligible. Here again we have a chicken-and-egg dilemma: if the students come, developers might be inspired to build suitable housing. But if there is no suitable housing, students won't come.
Both the proposal itself and the timing of the Star article have upset law school faculty. The law school is currently in the final phases of a fund drive, aimed, among other things, at the development of an advocacy education center and improving disability access to the present school. While no donors have as yet withdrawn their support after the announcement of a possible move, it has thrown a pall over the campaign, a fact which angers many in the legal community.
The bottom line, however, is whether there is a sound academic reason for a move. The Chancellor has declared that a move would have to fit into our educational mission. As far as the law faculty is concerned, no such case has been made. They can see no educational basis for isolating the law school from the rest of the university. Professor Suni noted that one very good argument against a move is the increasing involvement of the law school, along with other campus units, in interdisciplinary teaching and other projects. This would be made very difficult should the law school find itself relocated down town. The argument that universities in other cities have separate law campuses is irrelevant, she says, since the situation in downtown Chicago and Washington, DC is in no way analogous to that in Kansas City. In addition, all of these schools are private institutions--and all of them own the buildings in which the law schools are housed. Thus they are largely irrelevant models for plans being considered here.
The law school task force has presented a negative report to the Chancellor and Provost. It also seems unlikely that the larger task force will recommend the move. But we need to keep an eye on this discussion, to make sure that the final decision is made in the interests of law school faculty and students, and is not driven by an outside agenda that seeks to use the university as a pawn in its own commercial game.
NOTE: I am indebted to Law Foundation Board member Gene Voigts for some of the questions asked in this article, and to law school Professor Ellen Suni for the answers.
News of the chapter
Chapter members are not only committed to defending AAUP principles. They are also active members in their fields, and since our last issue, they have continued to make impressive contributions to the profession. Louis Odom, Education, received a $148,611 grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education for research on life science instruction. Fred Lee, Economics, published "Post Keynsian Economics since 1936: A History of a Promise that Bounced?", and presented five papers at meetings in Kansas City, San Diego and Manchester, England. Kathy Ballou, Nursing, was co-presenter in St. Louis of "A Chorus of Voices: The Socio-Political Empowerment of Nurses Through the Use of Liberatory Pedagogy in an Online Policy Course."
Kathy Krause, Foreign Languages, presented papers in San Diego and Pittsburgh. Pat Brodsky, Foreign Languages, presented in San Diego "Teaching Tolerance: Notes on a Successful Community Effort," about the series of seven AAUP sponsored teach-ins at UMKC in 2001-2002.
Bill Everett, Conservatory, published "Viennese Operetta in the 1860's: the World of Offenbach, Suppÿea, Strauss and Zajc, and its Legacy," and presented "Opera and National Identity in Nineteenth Century Croatian and Czech Lands" in Toronto. Joan Dean, English, published the monograph Dancing at Lughnasa with the Irish Institute of Film and Cork University Press.
Chapter members David and Patricia Brodsky, Fred Lee, Louis Imperiale, Judy Ancel, Stuart McAninch, Stephen Dilks, Dan Mahala, Amy Zeh, Loyce Carothers, and Kelly Pinkham all participated on panels at the MPA/AAUP conference in Kansas City.
As always we urge you to send in your achievements so we can share them.
Chapter Events and Plans: We Need your Feedback!
Our most recent gathering was a pleasant, well-attended "Happy hour" at Ed Gogol's home in early April. Beginning in FS 2004 the Chapter plans to have frequent, perhaps monthly, social get-togethers at members' homes. Rather than a lengthy agenda, we will choose one issue for discussion--as much or as little as the members find useful. The focus of the gatherings will be on getting to know one another and sharing interests and issues.
In the interest of making the gatherings accessible to as many as possible, we're asking you for your time preferences: Friday afternoon "happy hour?" Friday or Saturday evening parties? A mixture? Please write to Pat Brodsky with your suggestions: email@example.com
In Memory of Ron Carver
by Ann Pace and Stuart McAninch
Ron Carver, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of education and a member of the UMKC faculty since 1974, passed away very suddenly on January 19th. A valued colleague, Ron was a recipient of the University of Missouri President's Award for Research and Creativity in 1996. He was nationally prominent in the field of scientific reading research, publishing three books and more than 100 journal articles in this field. In addition, he founded a new international organization, the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.
His long-time membership in the AAUP was part of a broader social commitment, which included membership in such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Humanist Association, Greenpeace, and the National Organization for Women. He did not hesitate to take action or express his views, as in numerous letters to the Kansas City Star, if he felt that basic ethical principles had been violated. He combined his commitment to social issues with his professional expertise in developing the Carver Reading Tutor, a computerized reading program at the University Academy, a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri. Through this highly successful program he was helping to improve reading achievement among urban students.
Ron is survived by his widow, Mary Louise Carver; two daughters, Melanie Carver Holliday and Mary Heather Carver; his mother, Byrl Carver; three grandchildren; and two sisters. Ron will be sorely missed and long remembered by all who knew him and worked with him.
Food For Thought
by Pat Brodsky
1. It's election time again: AAUP candidates win 4 of 5 positions
As this issue of the Advocate goes to press, one important election is in progress, while the results of another are just in. The first is for the executive committee of the chapter--the planning and coordinating body that solicits faculty concerns and strives to create a forum for discussion and action. The candidates include Pat Brodsky (A&S) for President, Alfred Esser (SBS) for VP/Treasurer, Karen Bame (SBS) for Secretary, Fred Lee (A&S) for Membership Chair, and Stu McAninch (School of Education) for At-large Representative. Write-ins are welcome, as are self-nominations. Results will be anounced to the members by e-mail before the end of the semester.
The other election was for officers of the Faculty Senate, in which the AAUP slate won 4 of 5 positions (see p. 1)
However, once again a Senate election took place under the shadow of interference from the Chancellor's office. This time it took the form of an unveiled threat to the integrity of the election process itself. In a November 18, 2003 e-mail to her advisors, in which she rants about the "embarrassing" behavior of faculty senators, and which has since been reprinted in the University News and discussed in the KC Star, the Chancellor plainly, if ungrammatically, states her intention to meddle in faculty elections: "Our challenge now is -- exposing this to the Deans as their accountability to shift enrolling quality people to run for the Senate and get elected."
The Senate is a body elected by the faculty, to represent faculty interests and express faculty concerns. Neither Deans, nor any other administrators, have any business recruiting, campaigning for, or "enrolling" (whatever that means) candidates for Senate posts. Administrators should strictly stay out of elections for faculty bodies. As in the Senate election two years ago, the Chancellor is high-handedly violating faculty governance rights. Furthermore, the belated "apology" that the Chancellor sent to members of the Senate was dated March 30, and was written after the Star received a copy of the November 18 e-mail. Only the threat of bad publicity appears to have motivated the second message, which came after a delay of over 4 months. More important, the Chancellor's apology is no apology at all. She regrets not her words or her contempt for the faculty but "any disrespect you may feel as a consequence of my statements" (emphasis PB). That is, it's the faculty's problem, not hers.
The only statement of substance in her March 30 message is the following: "Of course, I have not and will not interfere with faculty elections." But the claim that "I have not ... interfere[d]" is belied by her blatant interference in the spring 2002 Senate elections (see Patricia Brodsky, "Muddying the Waters: the Senate Election and Reasserting Independent Faculty Self-Governance," Faculty Advocate 2.4 [April 2002]). Likewise, by her interference with faculty elective bodies when she was Provost at Tulane (see David Brodsky, "Tulane University, Testing Ground for the UMKC Blueprint, Faculty Advocate 3.2 [December 2002]). And, most recently, by the fact that between November 18, 2003 (her e-mail) and March 30, 2004 (her apology) there has been at least one reported attempt by the Chancellor to recruit deans into influencing faculty elections.
Some faculty seem to have mistakenly accepted the apology at face value. But the Chancellor's track record on faculty elections at two universities and open contempt for the UMKC faculty give us every reason to suppose that she has not changed her intentions, promises notwithstanding ("I ... will not interfere"). Thus the Senate and the faculty must remain vigilant to the possibility and likelihood of administrative interference in democratic faculty elections and governance.
2. On Search Committees, Faculty Governance, and Democracy
It is no longer news that Provost Steve Ballard will be leaving UMKC for a chancellor's position at East Carolina University. Chancellor Gilliland has appointed William P. Osborne, Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Computing and Engineering, as interim Provost. In considering the process for selecting a new Provost, I am inevitably reminded of past searches for administrators. UMKC is part of the trend among colleges and universities to rely heavily on search firms ("head hunters") to do the screening and provide the lists of candidates. The touted advantage is that they are supposedly more efficient. The disadvantages are crucial: search firms and faculty members are rarely looking for the same thing in a potential administrator. Such firms have a stable of "suitable" names from which they provide candidates of the type likely to fit into the administrative (corporate) culture of their clients. Strong faculty advocates don't make it onto their list, and if by chance they slip under the radar of schools wishing to hire, they are with a few exceptions eliminated at the campus administrative level.
A search process which takes seriously the faculty's professional experience, accumulated wisdom, and commitment to the institution should rely on the faculty grapevine of professional contacts and resources, rather than an intermediary organization with an essentially corporate conception of its job. In addition, instead of having applications for the Provost's position sent to and processed by a search firm, a campus search committee should receive and vet all applications. Faculty should constitute the majority on the search committee, and its decision should be binding, not merely advisory. Such a process would honor the basic AAUP principle of major faculty responsibility for the hiring of administrators. Faculty undoubtedly would be more than willing to serve on this kind of search committee, since it acknowledges faculty responsibility to shape the future of their own institution.
3. Library plans
This past year saw a number of open meetings between faculty and representatives from the architecture firm charged with producing plans for the Miller Nichols Library expansion. Most faculty who attended these meetings generally express satisfaction with the architects' openness and their desire to work with faculty to create a truly useful space. Included in the plans are a number of areas which can be used as classrooms or seminar rooms. So long as the major focus is on books and other resources and their acquisition and access, an additional emphasis on teaching spaces is quite welcome.
One troubling question has been raised, however. A faculty member reported that at one meeting a discussion centered around a vision of the library as an "information center." And indeed the library taskforce website lists a desired outcome as "a prototypical fused-use learning environment" and an "information commons". It was suggested that because of the expected increase in enrollment and the resulting lack of classroom space on campus, UMKC should move toward online courses, and that the library should provide space for students who "take" these courses to meet with the instructors as needed. The practices of a specific faculty member in the College were held up as a model of this kind of instruction, with the implication that this was the way the administration wanted the designers to move.
Whether the architects have in fact been given instructions or suggestions to this effect, or whether it was a matter of infelicitous phrasing, the very possibility that there is the intention to move the University in the direction of wide-spread on-line instruction requires our attention. What is the administration's position on this subject? Are negotiations or plans being made without an open discussion with the entire faculty? Such surmises have become second nature, given our experience with SBS, the School of Education, the Math Department, transformations, and so on. This is a question that needs to be asked openly, by the AAUP chapter, the Senate, and the departments and individual faculty, whose interests in the matter are paramount.
4. Raise the local media embargo on the AAUP
The KC Star and the U News quoted several AAUP officers, some at length, in their reports on the Chancellor's e-mail and apology. Nevertheless, none were identified as members or officers of the AAUP. There seems to be a tacit local media policy, in effect now for four years, of suppressing all references to the AAUP. The Star knows very well about the existence, activities, and policies of the national AAUP and the UMKC chapter, since several reporters there have been receiving every issue of the Faculty Advocate since its inception. And anyone can access the current issue and all back issues online (free of charge). The U News likewise is well informed. The revival of the local chapter may be relatively recent (four years ago), but the national organization goes back to 1915. Most US institutions of higher education, including all four UM campuses, and nearly 200 academic organizations have signed on to AAUP principles.
So when, ladies and gentlemen of the press, are you planning to raise the embargo on identifying officers and members of the AAUP when you quote them in your stories? For that matter, when are you going to raise your embargo on the AAUP as an organization, with a legitimate point of view and vision for the future of higher education? And when are you going to devote a story to the AAUP chapter, where it can present itself and its policies in its own voice?
Education for Democracy Network News
The Education for Democracy Network (E4D Net) has intensified its activism in the past six months. In October 2003 E4D Net founder David Brodsky presented a talk to the annual meeting of the Kansas State AAUP Conference, held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Entitled "The Broad Perspective of Academic Freedom," it reviewed the historical evolution of the concept, its current status, its post-9/11 political and economic erosion, and some recent cases. The talk also summarized neo-liberal education doctrine, which determines policies in all countries, and analyzed its consequences in the US and Europe. The bottom line of this doctrine is the rollback of public education at all levels throughout the world.
Brodsky also participated on a panel at the meeting devoted to regional academic freedom issues. His presentation compared right-wing legislative attacks on Harris Mirkin at UMKC and Dennis Dailey at KU, reviewed the Gilliland administration's dismal track record on academic freedom, and summarized recent academic freedom violations at Kansas City Kansas Community College, KU Medical Center, and UM Columbia.
A triply expanded version of the talk, which serves as a report on the state of academic freedom since 9/11 and includes the local cases discussed on the panel, is posted on the chapter website: http://cas.umkc.edu/aaup/perspective.htm
At the beginning of March E4D Net sent its members an urgent appeal to contact the Senate HELP committee, which is drafting legislation reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). HEA provides most of the federal funding for post-secondary education. In October the House passed a bill establishing an International Advisory Board for international education programs funded by Title VI of HEA. The Board, as all evidence shows, is really a political policing mechanism, intended to impose a right-wing ideological agenda on curriculum and research. E4D Net's basic message to the Senate committee is simple: reauthorize HEA with full funding but eliminate the Board. Extensive background is available online: http://cas.umkc.edu/aaup/facadv13.htm#HR3077. With some encouragement from E4D Net, the national AAUP office e-mailed its own activism kit to its 45,000 members about three weeks later.
In April Brodsky presented a talk in the forum series of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church entitled "The War on Public Higher Education." Attended by about 60 people, the talk offered a lightning tour of assaults on the rights of students and faculty, neo-liberal doctrine and its global campaign for doctrinal control, the war on education in the US and Europe, global fightbacks, and proposals for local activism. The right of all people to an education is codified in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the rights of students), and AAUP documents delineate the rights of faculty. In addition, five years ago academic freedom won recognition by the UN as a universal human right.
In the past six months the Education for Democracy Network has grown over 30% to about 225 members, due, no doubt, to heightened public concern over the global war on public education. UMKC faculty and others who read The Faculty Adocate are invited and urged to join E4D Net, to spread the word and recruit new members, and to participate in its activist campaigns. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The War on Public Education in Europe
by David Brodsky
In certain respects neo-liberal education policy in Europe is much more radically regressive than in the US, if only because free public education at all levels has long been an established tradition there. Nevertheless, it reveals what is in store for the US, since neo-liberal goals are uniform globally. European neo-liberal documents propose the following kinds of "reforms."
Compulsory, full-time, formal schooling provided by professionally trained teachers is to be replaced for most students by so-called non-formal and informal education provided by untrained persons. Non-formal refers to knowledge picked up in the workplace, and to schools run by businesses and churches. Since it does not confer diplomas, degrees, or certificates, a student is left with nothing to show for his efforts. Informal education turns out to mean no education at all. In the euphemistic language of one report, informal education is what "one acquires at home, at the workplace, in the bosom of the community, in the society in its entirety," i.e. in "daily life."
The absence of formal schooling prevents the transmission of a common body of knowledge to new generations, starting with basic literacy. The uneducated and undereducated will be ready prey for official propaganda and for right-wing religious schools, like the madrassas in Pakistan that produced recruits for the Taliban.
Education is closely associated with jobs, and neo-liberal policy aims to deeducate, deskill, and degrade the workforce, including teachers. Inferior education prepares students for inferior employment. Formal qualifications are to be replaced by so-called "competencies," or "'qualities, skills, savoir-faire, attitudes toward work' that the employee has to prove daily and that can be called into question at any moment." Thus degraded education channels students into a life of low skilled, short-term, high exploitation jobs. Informal, that is, zero education corresponds to the informal, that is, black market economy, guaranteeing a life of permanent unemployment, poverty and immiseration.
Because qualifications are linked to good jobs, diplomas and titles are being destroyed in order to end the expectation of stable employment and a decent salary. Instead workers will face frequent unemployment and job change, with the burden of survival placed on individuals. In addition, many will be forced to join a permanent migrant labor force, easily intimidated, vastly underpaid, disposable, and deprived of the most basic legal protections.
Extreme localization and individualization of study and the deprofessionalization of teaching destroys the possibility of maintaining national or disciplinary standards. When standards are eliminated, so are professional qualifications, professionals, and professional organizations, such as teachers unions, or the AAUP, for that matter. Likewise, the entire argument for academic freedom and tenure grounded in professional qualifications evaporates. In place of public accreditation agencies and professional oversight by the faculty, the responsibility for quality control of education is placed, absurdly enough, on each student.
The slogan of "lifelong education" signifies a lifetime of impermanent jobs and retraining, and an end to normal life patterns of schooling, work, and retirement. At best lifelong education will give most people some immediate knowledge useful for their current job. And because workers are no longer entitled to retirement, they are expected to work until they drop.
"Lifelong apprenticeship" implies workers can never advance to journeyman or master, they are at the mercy of an endless certification process. A permanent testing regime instills constant insecurity in employees, while making big profits for the testing industry. And since non-formal certification is free of enforceable standards, it opens the door to massive arbitrariness and corruption, a regime of favoritism and bribes.
Excerpted from "The War on Public Higher Education," a talk for the Forum series of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church.
AAUP Chapter Hosts Successful Conference
by Pat Brodsky
The 29th Missouri Philological Association (MPA) Conference, held in Kansas City February 26-28, 2004, was a product of the collaborative efforts of MPA and the UMKC chapter of AAUP. Co-organized by MPA Executive Secretary Bill Vaughn of Central Missouri State University and Pat Brodsky of the UMKC chapter, the conference was the first such joint undertaking of an AAUP chapter with a disciplinary organization in AAUP history, according to Cary Nelson, second vice-president of the national AAUP.
The theme of the meeting was "The State of Academic Labor: Defunding/Defending Education in Missouri." The unprecedented collaboration between AAUP and MPA worked well, with the AAUP providing a venue for the regional language and literature organization, while the framework of the annual meeting gave the AAUP a chance to address labor issues before a broader audience. Participants came from thirty institutions and eight states. The conference was co-sponsored by the UMKC departments of Foreign Languages and Literatures and of English; the AAUP Association of State Conferences; the Missouri State Conference, AAUP; the Writers Place; and the Fellowship of Missouri Education Workers.
The conference format included workshops on graduate employee organizing, as well as papers and panel discussions, three plenary sessions, and two keynote addresses. Of twenty-four sessions, sixteen focused on traditional topics in language and literature, while eight discussed labor issues, sometimes overlapping with literary subjects. The eight AAUP-sponsored panels included a reading of poems and stories about labor sponsored by New Letters magazine; a session on working-class culture; and a graduate student panel entitled "Work, Education and Culture." Others panels on various practical aspects of academic labor included a roundtable on the status of French and German in Missouri; Policing and Defending the Academy; Academic Freedom, Organizing, and Labor; Labor in the Curriculum; and Professionalism Revisited: Urban Literacy, the Public Intellectual, and New Roles for Professors.
Saturday afternoon sessions were organized as plenaries, so that all attendees could hear the presentations and take part in the discussions. The first plenary included speakers from the American Federation of Teachers, the UMKC School of Education, and public school districts in the Kansas City area, discussing the disastrous effects of the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" act. The second plenary focused on the politics of accountability in higher education, which affects both faculty and students. Examples of accountability are such mechanisms as post-tenure review, viability audits, and the spiraling emphasis on testing at the expense of teaching. The final plenary session dealt with the political-economic context in which we are expected to do our work, that is, the multiplying threats to public higher education.
Presentations by the two keynote speakers, Cary Nelson, Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and poet Martín Espada, Professor of English at University of Massachusetts Amherst, marked the high points of the conference. Nelson, author of numerous books in his discipline (Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945) as well as on the politics of higher education (Will Teach for Food: Academic Labor in Crisis, Manifesto of a Tenured Radical), roused the audience with his wise and pertinent remarks on "Academic Freedom after 9/11." Espada, author of many books of poetry and essays, including City of Coughing and Dead Radiators and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover's Hands, has been called "the Latino poet of his generation." He captivated a large Bernardin-Haskell audience with his vivid, often funny, always deeply engaged poetry, reading from his latest book, Alabanza: New and Selected Poems 1982-2002.
The AAUP chapter hosted a reception for Nelson in conjunction with the conference. A&S Dean Bryan LeBeau interviewed Nelson for UMKC's cable TV program, "The College Hour." Espada also gave a reading on February 29 at the Writers Place, which co-sponsored his visit. Organizers and attendees agreed that the cooperative effort between MPA and AAUP was a great success. Among its most important achievements was the expansion of the education activists' network founded in March 2001 at the UMKC chapter's conference, "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover." We must keep up the dialogue with our colleagues in education at every level, and exchange experiences and strategies for survival. The AAUP/MPA conference was a major step in this direction.
The three articles that follow were first presented at the MPA/AAUP conference.
Our Children are Illiterate about Labor and the Workplace
by Judy Ancel
I haven't done a survey, but high school grads today are more likely to know the average SAT score than the average number of workplace deaths in the U.S. in a year. What's ironic is that more of those kids will be in the workplace and not in college within a couple of years of graduating from high school. Yet they are almost completely workplace and labor illiterate.
Why do high schools put most students through some kind of college prep curriculum (some of them pretty watered down)? According to one study, about half of high school students who go through a college prep curriculum do not have the competency to succeed in college. In 2001, 62% of high school grads went to college, which also indicates that 38% did not. Of entering freshman, at most 56% will graduate within six years. In other words, 73% of high school grads don't finish college. Add to that the 20% of the workforce who are high school dropouts, and we have probably a large majority of the workforce whose high school education prepared them for college, but who are in the workforce within one to two years of leaving high school. On top of that, many kids in high school and college work while they study. So although they're given a college prep curriculum, the majority of students do not go to or finish college, and thus end up in the workforce with mainly their high school education as preparation. Some do go to vocational schools after high school, but most do not.
What do they learn in high school? Employers grumble that these young people are not trained for jobs. They're not competitive with youth in other countries. One wonders about employers complaining, since they've had open access to the schools for several decades now. From kindergarten on our kids are being indoctrinated with consumerism, entrepreneurialism, and business values which are often absolutely contrary to their own self interest. They're bombarded with individualism, the virtues of competition, materialism, acquisitiveness, and authoritarian models. They learn little about cooperation, humanism, how to analyze their own interests as members of the working class, or democracy.
Scott Conklin, a high school teacher from Sumner Academy in Kansas City Kansas says, "[T]eachers have limited time and resources to design curriculum on their own ... [and] are willing to accept and use a pre-designed curriculum. Often this type of curriculum is sponsored, paid for, and pushed into schools by corporate America, which seeks influence and consumer loyalty through their involvement in schools. McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Exxon-Mobil, Wal-Mart, and any number of corporations offer curriculum to schools and teachers."
"In my classroom, I depend on Junior Achievement curriculum. JA was founded and funded and is supported by corporations and business interests. JA consultants from local companies like Sprint, GM, and the Kansas City Star visit and teach lessons and interact with students. The Ford Motor Company finances class copies of the Wall Street Journal and curriculum activities. Every day my students watch Channel One, news funded and sponsored by Primedia Corporation ..."
Already employers have succeeded in getting the taxpayers to foot the bill for job training and retraining. That's what our community colleges and voc tech schools do. Employers used to pay for it themselves. But of greater concern than whether students are educated to meet the needs of business is whether they're educated to meet their own needs as human beings and workers. Conklin says, "The goal of education is not to develop good workers for American business. The goal of education is to provide students with skills and abilities to be effective and responsible members of families, communities, and societies. Teaching students to think critically, become problem solvers, and decision-makers is a long and complex process, but it is the primary goal of education."
Do kids get this kind of education in high school? For the most part, the answer is "No." We do almost nothing to prepare kids to enter the world of work. And that costs lives. We send kids out to jobs knowing nothing about their rights. The better to exploit or abuse them.
Do they know where the good jobs are, and who is hiring? What training they will need? What is a good job in the first place? Why a career at McDonalds may not be the best thing for them, or even why they might want to choose occupational therapy over radiology, because radiology jobs have a much higher chance of being off-shored? Do they know what the relationship is between shopping at Wal-Mart and their chances of getting a job with paid health care, or a full-time job? Do they know what a union is, let alone how to organize one? Do they know how important unions are to the continuation of a democratic society? Have they thought about who will speak for working people if unions disappear?
Sometimes their lives and their limbs depend on knowing these things. Certainly job security and wage levels depend on some degree of labor literacy. How many know that, if they're told to work on a machine without the required lock-out-tag-out device or guards over moving parts, they can refuse to work and report it to OSHA anonymously? Labor and workplace illiteracy costs lives, and hands. Workplace illiteracy is rampant particularly in the young work force, and it means that young workers are more easily taken advantage of and used to undercut the rest of us where possible.
If business sponsors curriculum which teaches kids its values, it is incumbent on labor to sponsor curriculum with labor values. To that end, the Institute for Labor Studies developed the Labor Awareness Program, put together by a design team that included teacher Conklin.
The Labor Awareness Program is a 15-lesson curriculum aimed at upper level high school students, people in workforce development or retraining programs and in union apprenticeship programs. The design team was made up of labor educators, union members, teachers and a student, and it was tested in Kansas City area schools.
The methodology is very interactive, and it tries to meld education with skills training in order to teach students the substance of workplace and labor issues, and also how to implement what they're learning. Thus, in the chapter on collective bargaining, students learn the vocabulary and theory of contract negotiations and then do a simulated bargaining session at a mythical fast food restaurant named McGutbombs Palace of Burgers. In a lesson on the globalization of jobs, they learn to make a family budget as if they were maquiladora workers in an auto parts plant in Mexico.
The LAP is divided into three sections of five lessons each:
I. From Sweatshops to Solidarity: How American Workers Struggled for Jobs with Dignity
II. The 21st Century Workplace: Good Jobs, Technology and the Global Economy
III. Tools for the 21st Century Worker: Finding a Job and Protecting Yourself
One unique feature of the LAP is that it aims to develop collaborative relationships between unions and schools and teachers. We have trained a group of union facilitators who will go into the schools to help with some of the lessons, like the bargaining and grievance simulations, to talk about union apprenticeship and other job opportunities, and to help with workplace tours. Our LAP union facilitators are also developing knowledge and skills they didn't have before.
We hope to get the LAP into every high school in the Kansas City area and beyond. We are working with both AFT and NEA teacher unions to get a foot in the door, with individual teachers we know, with curriculum coordinators, in voc-tech schools, and with friendly members of school boards. We are scheduling in-service workshops with teachers as well. There are some community colleges using the LAP, and we hope to get it into Schools of Education. If you can help, please contact me at ancelJ@umkc.edu.
We believe that knowledge enhances power. The more knowledge there is about the workplace and the legacy of organized labor, the more future workers will be likely to carry on the tradition of workplace democracy in this country, the greater likelihood we will maintain a middle class, and the better off our democracy will be. We have learned that in today's global economy, education is no guarantee of a job. If we are to maintain a society worth living in, we must teach young people the political and organizational skills of empowered workers and citizens. That's what we hope LAP will achieve. That's the only way we will be able to stop the race to the bottom.
Judy Ancel directs the Institute for Labor Studies, which is housed in the Economics Department. First presented on the panel "Labor in the Curriculum" at the MPA/AAUP Conference
Accountability in Higher Education
by Pat Brodsky
The demand for greater "accountability" in higher education is usually characterized by a steep growth in paperwork and time commitment and an increasingly adversarial relationship between faculties and administrations. It's accompanied by rhetorical posturing about outside pressure to account for our time on the public payroll. It often goes hand in hand with a closer scrutiny of our work, and increasingly ends in speedups, funding cuts, the cancellation of degree programs, or the destruction of whole departments. Far from being a response to a spontaneous groundswell of concern, the trend toward hyper-accountability is part of an administrative agenda that includes downsizing, deprofessionalization, outsourcing and corporatization. It's about disempowering the faculty. I'll focus on two examples of this agenda in action in the UM system and at UMKC.
Faculty are subject to a number of fairly standard forms of assessment. Every year each of us prepares a lengthy Faculty Activity Report, or FAR, tracing our every move and detailing the percentage of our time devoted to each task. These reports are used as the basis for decisions on retention, tenure, and promotion. In addition, every time we apply for a grant, research leave, or sabbatical, we are expected to justify ourselves all over again, often with the same data and to the same authorities as in the FAR procedure. And, of course, every tenure track faculty member has already been subjected to a rigorous series of assessments of his competence, known as MA exams, PhD comps, and dissertation defense.
But in 2001 Manuel Pacheco, then President of the UM System, railroaded through a system of Post Tenure Review, ostensibly to "forestall an even more draconian system imposed by the legislature," and citing "a national trend toward some sort of accountability." In a sense the FAR already is post tenure review, in that all tenured faculty must submit one each year. But the new system went far beyond existing frameworks, establishing a regime of internal surveillance, reporting, and punishment that totally went against the spirit of collegiality, due process, and common sense.
The administration claimed state legislators were demanding that UM clear its apparently vast groves of dead wood. But a member of the Legislature's Higher Education Committee claimed the subject of PTR had never come up in his committee. There had been no popular outcry, no proposed legislation. The President of the UM board of curators at that time said that he was "very wary of anything that might erode the tenure system... Tenure was important to a strong university, and he [did] not want to endanger it."
And here we arrive at the real threat of PTR and other administratively mandated demands for "accountability." Under the guise of monitoring quality, they are aiming at the heart of faculty governance and academic freedom. The institution of tenure, or job security, was developed in order to guarantee academic freedom, one of the necessary conditions for faculty to be able to do their jobs as professionals. Tenure and academic freedom guarantee the right to speak out and to defend oneself without fear of reprisals.
Under the tenure system faculty already are accountable as professionals, and the tenure system already provides for disciplinary action and dismissal of faculty. But it also requires that severe disciplinary action be the exception, based on genuine and significant deficiencies and infractions. Post-tenure review is actually a disciplining process. It reverses tenure system principles by making what should be exceptional procedures the rule, and by establishing overly broad and vague criteria for disciplinary action. It casts a pall of suspicion over the qualifications of the entire faculty, and it places all faculty at risk by subjecting them to the threat of ceaseless bureaucratic harassment, intimidation, and ideological control. Academic freedom was established to preclude the imposition of this sort of environment.
President Pacheco's "national trend" is in fact a widespread attempt to undermine and destroy the tenure system. An article in Academe , the AAUP magazine, states: "the rise of the 'accountability movement' ... is the chief characteristic of the 'managerial university'," which "weaken[s] tenure and erode[s] faculty autonomy" (May-June 2000, 23-24), and post tenure review often replaces the "positive incentives of raises" (25).
An example of the accountability agenda on the unit level arose last semester, when it was announced that a number of departments or units on each of the UM campuses had been targeted for what were then called "viability audits." Subsequently they were referred to simply as "audits," or, as the UMKC oversight committee is called, "Resources for our Vision." The audits are to be an intense, six-month-long investigation of a unit's finances, teaching loads, and degree programs, supposedly with an eye to areas where campuses could economize. Units targeted for audits were apparently selected at the central administration level. Local Provosts then decided which ones to begin with.
Like individual faculty members, departments, also, already undergo stringent assessment. All departments at five year intervals must produce the so-called COPE reports, which can run to hundreds of pages, and which do for programs what the FAR does for the faculty member. Officially, the reports aid in long term planning and major budget decisions. Like post tenure review, the audits take the demand for "accountability" to new extremes.
Unlike other campuses, where the committees are headed by deans, our audit committee is being chaired by Frank Horton, the outside consultant who last year presided over the emasculation of the School of Biological Sciences. Horton, who at other universities was known for his talent at amassing perks, is being paid $20,000 a month for six months for his services, to head a committee charged with allegedly saving the University money.
This committee is mandated, inter alia, to "generate resources necessary to fuel our vision; ensure the success of our goals; and focus our resources on priorities." To most of us that translates into reallocation of funds to pet projects, most likely the health sciences initiative. A further mandate is "a complete degree program inventory ... by academic unit. The goal is to identify those degree programs with insufficient students, insufficient demand, or insufficient quality, and recommend which degrees should be eliminated." The committee is to make recommendations for either "a clear plan so that the unit will become clearly viable and the expected date by which that will happen; or a plan for program merger, discontinuance, or elimination." Note that it is assumed that a unit being audited is by definition not currently viable.
Messages are mixed. Former Provost Ballard denied that departments are to be done away with, but Frank Horton is reported to have a clear agenda of elimination. Faculty have pointed out the short-sighted and destructive nature of the audits. Criteria for judgment remain poorly articulated. No value is attached to the intellectual rigor of a program, the interdependence of various fields of knowledge, or the long tradition of larger, temporarily "popular" subjects financially carrying smaller, more specialized ones. One of Chancellor Gilliland's much-trumpeted goals is to benefit the community. Yet among the very first programs to be targeted for outsourcing was the Urban Leadership program in the School of Education.
One of the departments
selected for auditing eventually had to be dropped from the list
because the University's data were so flawed. The Department of
Sociology houses two major areas:
sociology and criminal justice/criminology. The university in the
of selecting departments had counted all the salaries and other funds
into the department, but had considered only the student credit hours
by Sociology, ignoring the very existence of Criminology, so that on
the department looked enormously expensive. The Provost stated
even though the data might be wrong, the department should go ahead
the process. "[It] would be given the opportunity of showing this
the Viability Study ...
he did not want to interfere in the process since it had already begun." The chair resigned in protest, and eventually the department was let off the hook. But the rest of us wonder what may not be used to label us ripe for "discontinuance," as the Orwellian term has it.
Finally, administrators get to play by different rules. A controversy is rocking the UM system at the moment over the discrepancy between faculty raises--in the last three years they have been $400, $0, and 2%--and those of selected administrators, such as Chancellor Gilliland, whom the president awarded a 36% raise last year, or $66,000. I refer you to the February 24 edition of the U-News, which has a four page spread on the issue of raises.
Chairs are supposed to be evaluated by their faculty on a regular basis, but the criteria are vague and consequences seem to be minimal. A colleague who recently called the dean's office to ask about the review process was simply told to "assess your chair's performance in terms of leadership and effectiveness both with faculty and students." No 25-page forms to fill out. No accounting of time spent, in percentages.
Faculty need to pay attention to this one-sided "accountability movement," both to protect our academic freedom and to achieve some transparency about what the administrators are up to, as they create the agendas that threaten our very future and that of the university as we know it.
This article was first presented at the MPA/AAUP conference plenary session on professor accountability.
Academic Freedom at William Jewell College, a Southern Baptist Institution
by Ian Munro
When I came to Liberty in 1978 to interview for a position at William Jewell College, the chairman of the English Department told me I could expect to be asked in an interview by members of the Faculty Development Committee about my "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" and my views on the "inerrancy of Scripture." Raised an Anglican in Canada, where I had only a nodding acquaintance with our Bishop, who had once remarked in my hearing that his favorite Christmas gift had been a case of Scotch, I had no idea how to answer questions such as these. In any event, they were never asked.
The context for that 1978 litmus test was the increasing challenge by fundamentalists in the Southern Baptist Convention to their then current leadership, a challenge that has also come to affect many institutions of higher education supported by Southern Baptists. In the preceding year, a Jewell religion professor, David O. Moore, had come close to being censured for questioning the corporeal existence of Satan. In the following year, the fundamentalists took control of the Southern Baptist Convention and subsequently other Baptist state conventions as well.
The importance of Baptists in promoting higher education in America is sometimes forgotten. Brown University, founded in 1764, Vassar College, Temple University in Philadelphia, and the University of Chicago were all founded by Baptists and affiliated with their respective state or national conventions. The University of Chicago was still listed by the American Baptist Convention as an affiliated institution as recently as 1960. The Baptists founded colleges along the frontier as it moved west. Opening a college was a step toward institutionalization of their tradition, lending support to congregations and mission societies.
William Jewell, founded by the Baptists of Missouri in 1849, was one of those frontier institutions and, like others, its mission from the outset was divided between the interests of the learned clergy in preparing young men for Baptist service and the larger needs of society for educational resources. The College's declared mission is, first, "to "provide students a liberal arts education of superior quality," and only third (after "serve communities beyond the campus educationally, culturally, and socially") to "be an institution loyal to the ideals of Christ" and express "the Missouri Baptist heritage." One can see in this tripartite declaration of purpose a tension between "liberal arts" and "Missouri Baptist heritage," with the middle term, "serving communities," as a mediating factor. Or one can see the middle term not as a mediator, but as an amiable referee separating two determined contenders.
Conflicts between the interests of the Baptist clergy and the institutions of higher learning they founded and supported is not new. By the late 19th century, there was already tension among Baptists over the extent to which these "denominational" schools would be distinctively "Christian" and reflective of Baptist views of the Bible, the Church, and the world. "Devolution" is the term applied by William Brackney in his 2001 study of the process of a college's separation from the sponsoring Congregation and resultant secularization. Threats of interference led to the "devolution" of a number of institutions, including Brown, Colby College, Colgate University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Richmond.
Academic freedom, according to Brackney, was seldom the reason in those days for the devolution of Baptist colleges and universities to secular status. In the case of Brown, for example, the University's affiliation with the Baptists, traditionally a faith of people in low to middle socio-economic groups, limited fundraising potential.
Since the conservative takeover of national and state Baptist conventions, academic freedom has become a salient issue for Baptist institutions, but only indirectly. Issues of institutional governance have been more immediately important. At Mercer University, for example, the second largest Baptist University after Baylor, the president, R. Kibrey Godsey, drew fire from the Georgia Baptist convention for arguing that Christ is a historical person rather than a divine one. The President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Dr. Russell Dilday, was fired by the seminary's board of trustees for being too sympathetic to moderate Southern Baptists and for trying to block conservative measures at the seminary.
Subsequently, the Association of Theological Schools placed Southwestern Baptist on a two year probation in 1995, saying the trustees had violated the school's own procedures for presidential evaluation. While the probation ended without further consequences, some conservative Baptists felt that the Association of Theological Schools is not sympathetic to "confessional institutions." In the words of conservative leader Albert Mohler, academic freedom in confessional institutions should be understood "first in terms of fidelity to the confession and then in terms of the professor's legitimate freedom effectively to teach within those parameters."
Placing "fidelity to the confession" first and academic freedom second illustrates one potential dilemma for academic freedom at confessional institutions. At Baylor, the largest Baptist university, the campus is divided over president Sloan's "Baylor 2012 plan," which calls for more emphasis on research, an ambitious building campaign, and a stronger, deliberate effort to incorporate Christian values into all aspects of the curriculum, including increased attention to hiring faculty members who will espouse Christian beliefs in the classroom. The head of the Faculty Senate at Baylor has said that candidates recommended by departments are frequently turned down after a thirty-minute administrative interview, in which they are grilled about their religious beliefs. "Hiring and tenure decisions that used to be the purview of faculty are now routinely overturned by the administration."
At Baylor, as at William Jewell, and, no doubt, at many other institutions as well, there is considerable debate over the potentially coercive effects of insisting on the integration of faith and learning. Two faculty members conducted a survey in 1994 at Baylor which found that, while most faculty members wanted to maintain the University's Christian identity, 40% said that faith and learning are distinct tasks and ought not to be integrated. A professor of psychology commented, for example, that there is "nothing on the MCAT, on the GRE, on certification tests in psychology, that has to do with the integration of faith and learning. We can't destroy our reputation as a strong academic institution by integrating faith and learning in every classroom."
Monte Vaughn Cooper, in his study of faculty perspectives on integration of faith and academic discipline in Southern Baptist higher education, comments that faculty members of Southern Baptist colleges and universities are encouraged to "express and relate their personal faith to students," and some professors do. But at what point can such professions of faith, for example, beginning class with prayer, become coercive? At what point might efforts to integrate faith and learning diminish learning and scholarship in the name of faith?
William Jewell's break with the Baptists was also prompted directly by issues of governance, and only indirectly by academic freedom issues, although the distinction is difficult to make. The College was criticized for insisting on its right to elect its own trustees, though it had always done so; for permitting the student government to consider a change in the Student Bill of Rights to forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation (subsequently voted down by the students); for failing to censor the student newspaper and for allowing a theatre student to produce portions of "The Vagina Monologues" as a senior recital; for declining to provide the Convention with personal information about trustees and faculty, including church membership; and for refusing to outline its official position on the Genesis account of creation.
The chair of the administrative committee of the Missouri Baptist's executive board said the decision to provide no further funds to the College was "about holiness, righteousness, and godliness." Dr. Sallee, the College's President, said it was "about control."
Termination of the official relationship to the Missouri Baptists has not resolved the tension between fidelity to the confession and academic freedom at the College. The "devolution" process of secularization that has occurred in many institutions that have broken with the founding Convention is resisted by the majority of the College's faculty. Yet a clear sense of what it means to be a Christian college or have a Christian mission remains in debate. The "Christian Identity task force" report of 2002 typifies the continued ambivalence.
On the one hand, the report recommends recruiting "a strong core of faculty willing and able to engage Christian intellectual life in their classrooms." It does not recommend that candidates for faculty positions be "examined for their theological positions in a series of litmus tests." But it does argue that potential faculty should be invited to reflect on "how they believe their Christian faith and philosophy could contribute to [the College's] academic mission." It does not argue that the policy of restricting tenure to Christians be changed, but it does say that tenure policy is not the key issue. It argues that a "core of 10 additional faculty should be recruited "willing and able to engage/lead/speak for the Christian academic mission of the College in their respective disciplines." But is also says that these new teachers should represent a "variety of Christian perspectives and traditions."
The same ambivalence is apparent in many areas of College life and academic freedom. There is no requirement that students attend chapel, but most facilities on campus are closed during the one chapel hour each week. There is support for student discussion of homosexual rights on campus, but gay faculty and staff would lose their jobs if they were open about their sexual preferences. One faculty member who regularly facilitated an open discussion of homosexuality as a legitimate choice was threatened with being fired. However, he did retain his job, and he continues to teach the same course. There is support for student freedom of expression in performing "The Vagina Monologues" but also a call for "responsibility."
The faculty members I have spoken to feel that they have academic freedom and that they can teach what they wish. Yet at the same time many of them conceded that there is a kind of tacit deference to the prejudices and narrow horizons of students, a tendency not to push the envelope too far beyond what students will accept. The break with the Missouri Baptists opens up an opportunity for a serious dialogue about the relation of faith and academic freedom. But it is a dialogue that has yet to come.
Ian Munro teaches in the English Department at William Jewell College. First presented on the panel "Academic Freedom, Organizing, and Labor" at the MPA/AAUP Conference
The entire contents of each issue of The Faculty Advocate (except for public domain material) is copyrighted. The Faculty Advocate, April 2004, Copyright 2004 by the UMKC Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. All rights returned to authors upon publication. AAUP chapters, state conferences, and the national organization have permission to reproduce and distribute. Permission for other non-profit publishers is a formality, but UMKC AAUP asks them for the courtesy of requesting it. Contact the Editor, Patricia Brodsky: 816-235-2826, e-mail: email@example.com
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