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Archive for April, 2010

So.

As if we don’t have enough on our plate as it is.  President Cevallos is pursuing retrenchment, while remaining committed to funding the College of Business’s AACSB accreditation aspirations.  Or, should I say, President Cevallos’s aspirations for the College of Business. President Cevallos’s choice to continue to pursue AACSB accreditation in light of the current “fiscal crisis” raises questions about the administration’s budget figures on the one hand and President Cevallos’s judgement on the other.

That is, by some estimates Kutztown may be looking at $2.5 million annual incremental cost of pursuing accreditation.  It is rumored (although I have not been able to solidly confirm) that the new strategic plan for AACSB accreditation (which was due to AACSB on April 15th) includes a reduced teaching load for Department of Business Administration faculty as well as continued incentives for research.  APSCUF-KU has requested a copy of the strategic plan, which the administration must provide under Article 29 since Cevallos announced his intention to pursue retrenchment.  In my department, several temporary faculty members have lost their jobs because of Cevallos’s claim that the university is in fiscal crisis (despite KU’s Aa3 bond rating).   In light of this “fiscal crisis” the choice to devote upwards of $2.5 million annually to AACSB accreditation does not make sense.  Unless, of course, the administration’s “fiscal crisis” claims are smoke and mirrors.

But (oh, that’s right), Cevallos “had no choice” in the matter.  He’s simply following orders.

That might have flown in “better” fiscal times, but not now.  In fact, we just found out that other PASSHE universities have completely reversed course on AACSB accreditation given a) PASSHE’s claims of a budget crisis; and, b) the Chancellor’s statements that AACSB accreditation is no longer mandated by that office.  Interested?  Here’s what we have so far:

  • Slippery Rock has officially pulled out of the AACSB accreditation process.  This is especially significant for Kutztown since President Cevallos has repeatedly used Slippery Rock as a model for AACSB accreditation and their move to create a Professional Studies department.  Slippery Rock will instead pursue ACBSP accreditation–for the same reasons for which Kutztown faculty argued: ACBSP has a central focus on teaching supported with quality research.
  • California appears to have stopped all activity related to AACSB accreditation.
  • Millersville also appears have stopped searches related to AACSB accreditation and it is rumored, not yet confirmed, that they have also stopped all activity related to AACSB accreditation.

Let me be clear: this does not mean that all other PASSHE universities have callled off AACSB accreditation.  Edinboro, for example, is still in active pursuit of AACSB.  However, given Kutztown’s supposed fiscal crisis, I think it’s time that President Cevallos get on the horn with his colleagues across the state system and make a case to KU’s Council of Trustees that AACSB accreditation is not a fiscally or academically responsible option at this point in time.

Or, he can do nothing and await the flood of grievances.

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At this past weekend’s APSCUF Legislative Assembly, Seth Kahn of West Chester introduced the following motion:

WHEREAS, Senator Tom Harkin has introduced the Keep Our Educators Working Act of 2010, which would provide $23 billion of federal funding in order to keep both K-12 and public higher education budgets level through at least another year;

THEREFORE be it resolved that:

  1. APSCUF strongly supports the passage of this legislation and its companion in the House of Representatives.
  2. APSCUF will indicate that support in letters to Senator Harkin, thanking him for introducing the legislation, and to Pennsylvania Senators Casey and Specter calling for their co-sponsorship, or at least their votes.
  3. APSCUF’s Mobilization Committee will organize the membership statewide to make individual phone calls and write letters to Senators Casey and Specter in support of the legislation.

This is a very important piece of legislation that I think we all need to get behind.  I know that many of you may not be familiar with the details of Harkin’s bill, so here is a link to an Inside Higher Ed article:

“Moving the Cliff,” April 15, 2010

And here is a link to the actual text of the legislation:

Keep Educators Working Act of 2010

Given the way that “budget crises” are directly affecting our working conditions and the state of higher education across the nation, I can think of no better bill to support.

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I’ve been saving up for a new laptop.  My old laptop is slowly dying and a pain to tote around.  I decided to get a netbook. You know, one of those little laptops with a 10.2″ screen.  So far, so good.  The best thing about it is that I can easily bring it to meetings and take notes.

I’ve always taken notes at Meet and Discuss, but taking notes on my little netbook is a dream and makes it that much easier to edit the drafts and make them available to everyone.  While these are not the “official” Meet and Discuss minutes, I thought I’d share them anyway.

March 13, 2010 Meet and Discuss Notes

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As you may know, this is election time for APSCUF statewide.  This morning APSCUF delegates from all 14 PASSHE universities cast ballots to determine who will lead us as we enter into a difficult negotiations year, face local and statewide retrenchment, and continue to mobilize our members on a range of key issues.  In short, it was a serious day in Canonsburg, PA where assembly was held.

negotiationsPerhaps the most watched and discussed contest in this election was for president and vice president.  Both sets of candidates ran as slates.  Current APSCUF president Steve Hicks ran again for president with current State Meet and Discuss chair Ken Mash.  Rob Mutchnick, President of APSCUF at IUP and a member of State APSCUF Executive Committee ran with Deb Cornelius, President of Shippensburg’s APSCUF chapter.

The voting took placed this morning and I got word at about 10:30 this morning that Hicks and Mash won the elections by a 61/47 margin.  I can only wish Steve and Ken all the luck in the world as we move into what promises to be a difficult negotiating year.  I hope they know they can count on us at Kutztown to do our part.  And I urge all APSCUF members around the state to do the same.  This round of negotiations promises to test our mettle as a union.  Let’s begin preparations now.

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APSCUF-KU BBQ Poster

OK, this one is for you visual learners out there:

Come to the 1st annual

APSCUF-KU BBQ!

Click here for details!

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Hey folks…for a change I’ve got some news that doesn’t include the words retrenchment, budget cuts, President Cevallos, or administrative mismanagement.

It’s just about the end of the year and the APSCUF-KU Membership Committee has put together a BBQ!  I can’t think of a better way to end a rather difficult academic year.  So, for all you APSCUF-KU members bring your friends and family out for a day of relaxation, fun, and solidarity.  Here’s the details:

EVENT:      APSCUF-KU’s 1st Annual Bar-B-Q

DATE:         Friday, April 23rd

TIME:         5:00 p.m.

PLACE:      Eric Johnson’s house at 318 Trexler Ave.

Kutztown (down the street from the Rec Center)

RSVP:  Heather Walke at walke@kutztown.edu

So, don’t miss this chance to end the semester right!

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Hey all,

Well, we’ve got just about three weeks left until the semester comes to a close.  Yet, as you know, just because the semester is over, doesn’t mean that the issues facing Kutztown University, the PA State System of Higher Education, and higher education in general go away.  We still don’t know how retrenchment is doing to shake out, for example.

If you are interested in keeping up with the XChange over the summer, you can continue to visit this page and see what’s happening.  However, I want to make sure that everyone knows about the option to subscribe to the XChange.  On the upper right-hand side of the blog you will see a button that says “SIGN ME UP.”  You can click that button, enter your email address, and you’ll be subscribed!  Then, each time I post to the XChange, you will receive that post in your inbox.

If you have any questions about subscribing, post a comment to this post and I’ll post my response.

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