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Archive for December, 2009

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

December 18, 2009, 02:43 PM ET

Indiana U. of Pennsylvania Faculty Votes No Confidence in President

Faculty members at Indiana University of Pennsylvania have voted overwhelmingly for a resolution of no confidence in the institution’s president, Tony Atwater. According to a statement issued by the campus chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, the faculty union, more than 86 percent of the 777 eligible faculty members voted, and 85 percent of them (568) voted no confidence. The resolution cited Mr. Atwater for disregarding shared governance, overspending despite budget constraints, and an alienating leadership style. Mr. Atwater told the Indiana Gazette<http://online.indianagazette.com/articles/2009/12/18/news/doc4b2bd9f65f327854137782.txt> that he was not surprised at the vote, and noted that the difficult economic situation had forced him to make unpopular decisions.

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One of the most frustrating aspects of the recent College of Business, AACSB roller coaster has been some of the claims and statements made by KU President Cevallos.  Some of these claims were made in his email to College of Business faculty, others were made at public meetings. It’s not that he is simply making false claims.  False claims are easy to deal with.  What he is doing is using partial truths and spinning them in ways meant to minimize his agency, accountability, or leadership.  I want to run through a few of these claims here.  Ideally, I can do this all in one post…however, I am sitting in the waiting room at the Scion car dealer as my car gets it’s 10,000 mile (actually, 11,700 mile) service.  So, I’ll take it one post at a time:

Claim: It doesn’t matter what the Chancellor says regarding the lifting of the mandate for AACSB accreditation because the KU Council of Trustees issued their own mandate before the Chancellor’s office did.

If this were simply a false claim, we could simply show that his representation of events are wrong.  We could show the date of the Chancellor’s mandate and the Council of Trustees mandate and compare the dates.  The problem with the claim has virtually nothing to do with chronological accuracy. The issue has to do with what his claim is meant to do.

First, the claim is meant to dismiss the importance of the Chancellor’s announcement that the mandate has been lifted.   That is, the claim is meant to raise doubts among members of the KU community (and beyond) that the Chancellor’s words have any real impact on moving forward with AACSB accreditation. The effect of the claim is to suggest that those who have relied upon the Chancellor’s announcement are both misinformed as to what got the AACSB accreditation ball rolling and don’t understand the way the chain of command works.

The problem with this claim is that it has been the Chancellor’s mandate that has driven both the timeline and the insistence upon AACSB accreditation.   I’ve asked several members of the College of Business who have worked on gaining AACSB accreditation and not one of them was told that it was the Council of Trustees that were driving the push for accreditation.  They had all been told explicitly that AASCB accreditation had to be pursued because the Chancellor’s Office said that all College of Business/Business majors located at PaSSHE universities had to gain AACSB accreditation.  If they did not, the previous Chancellor assured them that their programs/colleges would be closed.  Quite a stick, no?

At last week’s University Senate meeting, I asked the president where the deadline or April 2010 for reorganization of the College of Business/AACSB accreditation application came from.  Cevallos answered that the deadline came from AACSB.  A faculty member of the College of Business who has been working on AACSB accreditation confirmed Cevallos’s statement.  Yes, it is true, that AACSB set the April 2010 date.  However, that’s only part of the story.

The reason why the College of Business started the AASCB accreditation clock ticking was because the Chancellor’s Office set fall 2010 as a deadline for universities to show “substantial progress” toward accreditation.  Translation: if the College of Business could not provide persuasive evidence that they were on their way to accreditation by the fall 2010, the proverbial ax could fall.  So, the urgency behind the current timeline had little or nothing to do with the Council of Trustees mandate.

This is important for at least one key reason: the PRIMARY objection of College of Business faculty to the current restructuring is NOT a resistance to accreditation, or even AACSB accreditation.  Rather, the resistance has been to the PROCESS by which the reorganization has proceeded.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, that process had taken place largely under a mandate from the previous Chancellor.  Current Chancellor Cavanaugh’s recent statement regarding the importance of shared governance (see my previous post on this point) was a game changer–or, at the very least, offered the possibility to right some wrongs.

When the Council of Trustees told Cevallos to proceed in spite of the Chancellor’s statements, Cevallos used this as a way to re-write the history of AACSB accreditation at KU.  Part of Cevallos’s s story of his newly found commitment to AACSB accreditation includes telling audiences that AACSB accreditation was “number one” on his job description when he was hired.  Having the body that hired you insist that you achieve the number one item on your job description after seven years is a pretty strong motivator, I guess.

Coming soon: Claim #2: Don’t worry, look at Slippery Rock!

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“Cevallos” held a meeting today with the faculty of the College of Business to tell them of the adminstration’s plans to move forward with AACSB accreditation.  I put “Cevallos” in quotes, because he began the meeting repeating what he said about the Council of Trustees ordering him to proceed and there was nothing he could do because it was the first thing in his job description.  Then he said that now the question turns to implementation and since that was not his area, he would turn it over to the Dean.  And he did.  Then he sat down in the front row leaving the two Deans and the Provost standing there to run the rest of the meeting.  He must have realized about 10 minutes into the meeting how that looked…so then he stood up and stood behind the Provost for much of the rest of the meeting.

Short of it is that the administration is moving forward with the reorganization of the College of Business.  The long of it is that I have a lot to write about and will hopefully be able to get back to the blog tonight amidst grading all those final papers.

And I’m pretty angry and Cevallos’s persistent spinning of the accreditation process.  More to come.

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Today’s article in the Pittsburgh Tribune on the IUP No Confidence vote:

IUP faculty to hold no-confidence vote – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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Here is an article posted in the Indiana Gazette this morning by Sam Kusic: “ANALYSIS” What does union’s vote mean for IUP’s President.

Part of the article looks at votes of no confidence against other PaSSHE university presidents, including Kutztown.  Here’s that excerpt:

THIS IS territory other state system presidents have found themselves in during recent years.

For example, Dr. Angelo Armenti Jr., California University of Pennsylvania’s president, faced four no-confidence votes in the late 1990s and early 2000s, two from the faculty union and two others from those on staff, according to the faculty union. He remains president.

“We took (votes), we were ignored, and we moved on,” said Linda Toth, president of California University’s union chapter.

And at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, President Dr. Robert J. Dillman has had two, one in 2004 and one again in 2006. He remains president..

The faculty union had scheduled a no-confidence vote against Kutztown University of Pennsylvania President F. Javier Cevallos, but just before it was to take place, he extended an olive branch to the faculty. They sat down and talked, and the vote was put off.

And at IUP, former president Larry Pettit faced an affirmative a no-confidence vote in 2001. So was John Worthen in 1983. Pettit retired following the vote, and Worthen became president of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., a position he held from 1984 until his retirement in 2000.

The union has said that in both cases, the two announced they were leaving IUP within a year of the no-confidence votes, meaning to suggest that they were forced out as a result.

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As I mentioned a few posts ago, several faculty members from the College of Business sent Cevallos emails concerning AACSB accreditation after Cevallos asked for further faculty input at the Thursday, 12/3 lunch-time meeting.  I asked several of those faculty members if I could post some of their emails here.

Robert Derstine, a professor of Accounting, emailed me today with the go ahead.  His analysis is quite detailed and long; so, rather than post the full-text here, I will post a link to an on-line version of his email.  In addition, Prof. Derstine included several documents with his email.  I am posting them here too.

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On December 1st I posted an update/commentary on the New Lytle.  Specifically, I was reporting on a recent meeting between  LAS Dean Anne Zayaitz and the Chairs from English, History, and Modern Languages.

In that post I indicated that I emailed Dean Zayaitz to make sure I had my information correct regarding her report to the chairs.  Specifically, I asked her if the following list was accurate concerning plans for the new building:

  • one (1) computer lab
  • 16 classrooms of approximately 2000 square feet with a capacity of up to 50 students (double the size of the Lytle’s current classrooms), some of which will have electronic divider doors
  • suite (aka bullpen) offices for temporary/adjunct faculty

She responding to me right away.  In the post, however, I wrote:

I contacted LAS Dean, Anne Zayaitz, to make sure I had the details right and it seems what is listed above is pretty much on target.  She did say, however, that what was discussed at the meeting was a “feasibility study” not a detailed architectural design:  “This implies ‘footprint’ info—e.g. number of classrooms at particular sizes, number of offices at particular sizes, open spaces for student interaction, etc.”

I spoke with her today and she said I misrepresented what she said, specifically regarding the size of the classrooms.  I want to offer my apology to Dean Zayaitz for any misrepresentation.  That was certainly not my intent. To ensure that there is no question about what she said, here is the relevant portion of her email:

The information at this point is for a Feasibility Study not a detailed architectural design.  This implies ‘footprint’ info—e.g. number of classrooms at particular sizes, number of offices at particular sizes, open spaces for student interaction, etc.  Much of what folks in the departments are discussing are details way ahead of where we are.  At the next meeting the chairs involved will be part of the conversation.  I have no copy of any plans at the moment.  What was discussed at the meeting last week was a building totaling 65,165 sq feet with 16 classrooms with 1000 sq feet each.  I asked for consideration of some to be smaller than that due to the need for seminar-style rooms, so the number of classrooms may increase (but the total classroom space would still be ~16,000 sq feet).   We are in the discussion phase—the Chairs will be at the next meeting in January or early February.  As soon as there is more to share I will.

As you can see, I clearly stated that there were 16 classrooms of 2000 square feet while Dean Zayaitz clearly said 1000 square feet.  A significant difference for sure.  When I said the list was “basically on target,” I neglected to point out this difference.  For that, I apologize.

I want to be clear that I do not intend this blog to be a space to spread misinformation or rumor.  Just the opposite.  I will make arguments to be sure.  But I hope this blog can contribute to principled debate.  If I have my facts wrote, PLEASE correct me!  Post a comment or send me an email saying so.

Thanks for your time!

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