Thursday, August 31, 2006

Susan McFadden in the Dean's Office

Susan McFadden was part of the interim appointment of John Koker as Dean of L and S, and took a position as "faculty liaison to the interim dean" (I wonder how big of a pay raise she gets for doing it). She sent out a memo this week describing some of her goals for the year.

Unfortunately, she has quickly taken up the role of chaperoning administrative priorities through COLS.

Project # 1: A healthcare emphasis that will stretch across several departments. It is unclear exactly what this means, except that students who are interested in health care issues will take more courses and get some sort of additional listing on their transcript. It isn't nursing, which we already have, it isn't pre-med, so is it meant to train students to be nursing home employees? Is it a supposed outlet for all the students who can't get into the nursing program? She claims it is secretly an attempt to make students work harder, but I am not sure how that is going to work . . .

Project # 2: Convince the faculty that the administration's already-in-place plan for a Freshman experience course is a good idea. We saw what happened when Petra Roter tried to defend the program last Spring. Someone hopes that McFadden will do a better job convincing us of the usefulness of this class.

Project # 3: Shakespeare on the Fox. Now here is a better initiative. Bring an important literary tradition to campus and bring the community into the intellectual life of the university. She wants people to volunteer to give talks on their expertise that relate to the project. Step up and do your part!

She leaves us with the strange metaphor of a "gift" of an interim year. Perhaps I haven't been around long enough to know that COLS works better without a long-term dean. Perhaps this is a dig at Michael. If it is such a gift not to have a dean, lets turn the position into one held internally on short-term contracts.

I don't know what to make of her approach to this position. I have a lot of respect for McFadden, and I hope that she will not become the latest administrator who thinks she knows better than the faculty as a whole.


Anonymous said...

As I recall, Mcfadden was very critical of the freshman experience and was not supportive of Petra Roter's presentation.

Lake Winneblogo said...

She did give Petra a hard time. I hope the adminstrative post does not change her way of thinking. It does with many who cross over to that side . . . They have a "broader perspective" than us provincial faculty members.

Anonymous said...

What a weird post!! Susan is an old and loyal professor, but she takes a short-term job helping a new dean, and suddenly she is an ADMINISTRATOR!! This feels like junior high school stuff. She used to be our firend, but now she is hanging out with that other crowd, so now she has cooties. What a sad commentary on the state of this campus.

Lake Winneblogo said...

The problem is that Susan's introductory letter to the campus reflected the administration's previously decided initiatives,not anything new.

It looks to me like the administration is attempting to get one of the most vocal critics on board as a way to sway the rest of the faculty.

Why didn't she lay out a different course? Why didn't she suggest her own or John Koker's ideas? Do we really need someone else in the Dean's office pushing their agenda? Don't they already have enough employees over there to do that?

Anonymous said...

Huh. Interesting...I had Susan McFadden for a "freshman seminar" course years ago. What is the difference between this and the proposed "freshman experience", I wonder?