Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Chancellor Wells: No increase in teaching load "in the upcoming year"

Those looking for reassurance from Chancellor Wells this afternoon left disappointed. The chancellor was unequivocal in his declaration that there will be no increase in the teaching load next year. For the years that follow, he would only say that "there is no plan." Although he responded politely to many questions defending the current 9 hours load, he did not say that he was committed to it or would fight to maintain it. Instead, he said that there needed to be study of faculty "use of time." Apparently the chancellor thinks that we all have lots of free time that should be filled with additional classes.

Provost Earns added that his office is preparing an "Academic Program Plan" that will address questions of teaching loads as one of its provisions. He would only say, as well, that there is currently no plan to demand more teaching.

The chancellor also dodged some very specific questions about the inequality of budget cuts across the university. The first question of the session asked very specifically about a series of shifts of financial responsibility from the adminstration to COLS. The questioner noted that on top of the 3% cut, there are almost another 2% that will have to come from our budget. He did not (could not?) address any of the specifics, except to claim that system demanded some of them.

On the question of gateway courses, he would not acknowledge that demanding COLS put up seats for incoming students beyond our ability without providing funding was also another cut.

The highlight of the meeting however, was a question asked by an untenured faculty member. Joking about her need to remain anonymous, she asked, "Why should I stay?" Her demeanor broke some of the tension, but the chancellor's answer did not. He could only come up with good colleagues and the prospect of a new building. Unfortunately, those colleagues will be trying to leave if teaching loads increase!

The mood was tense, but polite. Hopefully, the chancellor and provost gained a better sense of the deep worry among the faculty. They did not, however, do much to calm those fears.


Anonymous said...

"Hopefully, the chancellor and provost gained a better sense of the deep worry among the faculty"

I think the keyword in your comment is hopefully. Sounds a bit passive do you think. I also think that the professional classes are finally experiencing what the working class of this country have been going through-higher work loads and less pay- since, ahhh let me guess...1890. At least you all do not need to feel alone, maybe just maybe we are all heading towards a time when we begin to realize were in this together. We need to realize that whether we are a janitor or professor or cook, we work for a living. So we need to get together, stop squabbling, grow some balls, and begin to move democracy and equality to the workplace.
frank mccandless

Lake Winneblogo said...


I do think you are right. There is deep passivity among the faculty. Cuts have been brewing in the state and the university for several years now, with only grumbling among the faculty here.

This was a small step towards collectively defending our own position, let alone reaching beyond our own confines.

The chancellor also suggested in this meeting that we had it better than the academic staff (people who teach on one year contracts or less). It was a subtle reminder that our priveledged status on campus is in jeopardy.

On a broader note, our society has more significantly than ever bought in to the idea that working together and helping others is anathema. Even among faculty members, we have trouble seeing beyond our own needs or the needs of our department.

Until in changes, the administration here and the elected officials in Madison and Washington will run us over.