Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Opening Day Observations

Welcome back everyone! We are officially back in session, with classes beginning tomorrow.

I thought I would share a few of my observations of today's opening festivities. I was unfortunate enough to attend the 1 hour and 40 minute administrative song and dance show.

Some negative highlights:

I decided to count and noticed that out of the new hires this year, 69 were lecturers and only 22 were assistant professors. UWO seems to be continuing its slide toward over-reliance on non tenure-track teachers.

Art Rathjen, head of the foundation, decided to end his address by undermining all the talk of selling the liberal arts at UWO with an old joke about arts majors working in fast food restaurants.

Petra Roter went on forever, first with her joke shtick (Abba songs this year, rather than internet abreviations), followed by a laundry list of activities that didn't seem to have any connection to the rest of the reports.

Chancellor Wells introduced new and even more ridiculous terminology to the LERT initiative, by talking about our opportunity to review the draft "meta-rubriks" from some national organization before we develop our own rubriks for assessing learning outcomes through the VAPA program to be placed on the upcoming VSA.

Finally, and one that shocked the audience, Wells succeeded in offending everyone who thinks that we need to get beyond casual mysogyny. A group of 5 female staff members presented several gifts to him for his support of the classified staff. His first, off-the-cuff, response, "There must be men who are classified staff--they must be out doing real work. . . "

On the plus side:

The growth agenda is helping UWO replace faculty members and stabilize our finances.

The COLS meeting was efficient and got us out of there in a hurry while still allowing us to briefly meet new hires. (Though John never told us what the 3rd perfect number was)

The incoming class has higher grades, test scores, and is more diverse.


Douglas McCloud said...

And this surprises you because...?

Really, we've been dealing with our Chancellor "My name was placed in nomination but I've decided to stay at UW-Oshkosh" Wells for what 7+/- years. This campus is/has been a stepping stone. Seems though much like the old frogger game, he doesn't know what his next move is.

And with our VC-SA really, public speaking, yikes! We are all accomplished and you not, more than us humble faculty and you need to remember that. Most of us are more well-rounded than you, please take note of that. As well, I'm thinking that you can attend meetings without a diet soda. Trust me, it is possible. We know this isn't your life's mission, either. Build your CV, move on!

Sorry folks, just feelin' a bit snarkie tonight!

Anonymous said...

In an environment where we have almost no University wide contact or camaraderie, some sort of opening day event is important to have. This is especially true to honor our faculty and staff who perform at a very high level, as we do.

However, I am concerned that it has developed into a long comedy routine. And yes, Petra is funny, but I am not sure the faculty need to hear from her at all. Nor for that matter Art Rathjen. The Chancellor and the Provost should make some inspiring remarks and the rest, if it is informational, can go in a slick pamphlet or report of the kind that we get so many of. The comedy routines can go away. Please, make them go away.

I want to start off the semester without tearing my hair out because I have wasted three hours of valuable time. The Letters and Science meeting was a model of efficiency. Thank you John Koker.

Lammers said...

>>In an environment where we have almost no University wide contact or camaraderie<<

Well, there IS University Club, which has been fulfilling that very function for many years now.

Anonymous said...

Opening Day ceremonies are an enormous waste of time. They serve no useful function and consume an inordinate amount of all too precious time. Why not have the administration just post its comments and lame attempts at humor on D2L and we'll look them up there?