Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Snarky Northwestern article impugns integrity of staff

The lead story in the Northwestern this morning reported on the Chancellor's meetings about the budget cuts we face.  Jeff Bollier writes, "it became clear each established and entrenched segment of the university population is looking to others to bear the brunt of cuts."

This, of course, implies, that we all are only looking out for ourselves.  I haven't seen the report, but I am not quite sure how this kind of sloppy reporting helps anyone.

Not surprisingly, there were an incredible diversity of opinions as to what should be cut to deal with a significant cutback.  The fact that people like we "entrenched" faculty members value what we do and think that student instruction and faculty research should be protected is somehow problematic.  The fact that some who answered the anonymous survey want big cuts represents division within our community.  

Perhaps Chancellor Wells gave the impression that he has grand innovative ways to reshape the university and is being blocked by the curmugeonly established segments.

Is is surprising that faculty believe that students already face classes that are too large, that creating new knowledge is a key component of our jobs, and that the constant reduction of our pay in real dollars is a bad thing?   Talk to student leaders on campus: they believe the same thing.  

The anti-education people who answered the survey by arguing for lower quality in order to save money are the same ones who argue that universities are useless in modern society.    


Anonymous said...

I'm a student and I didn't interpret Mr. Bollier's writing to characterize profs "looking out for only themselves."

It was pretty clear to me that no teacher wants cuts in their own department, and of course everybody is going to ask to trim budgets elsewhere.

I think profs are just standing up for their departments, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your last graph here about anti-education people. I just don't understand what these people are thinking and how they don't value higher education. It just screams ignorance to me and its frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Good point, but you also fail to mention the fact that Jeff Bollier can't write clearly worth a damn. I suppose that's a separate issue, though.

CJ said...

"I haven't seen the report, but I am not quite sure how this kind of sloppy reporting helps anyone."

Snarky? How can you make that assessment without having knowledge of what's in the report?

This is not the first time you commented negatively or made a judgement without reading a report.
You should really do so. Especially if you are going to be critical of someone or something.

Otherwise it comes across as personal and uninformed.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I have, in fact, perused the chancellor's summary of the survey.

Read it here:

CJ said...

Thanks for the link.

Who knows? said...

I am always bewildered when people recommend ways to cut the university budget with no idea of how much things cost at the university. There are a lot of questions to be asked based on their suggestions. How much of the athletics budget comes from the regular budget and how much directly from student fees?

Have students stood up and asked their government that their fees--not tuition--be reduced?

What is traded away when faculty workload is increased? Would students agree to this if they were told their access to professors would be seriously reduced? Would the students agree to it if they learned many of their best professors would leave and be replaced by incoming faculty who used UW Oshkosh as a backup choice?

The non-university people demanding drastic cuts are probably the last people who would want outsiders to tell them how to reduce costs at their workplace.