Certain Contradictory Postings

We have seen certain contradictory and  counterfactual postings by Prof. Bill Hazelton. In this post I point out these contradictions  in the hope that Prof. Hazelton will offer clarification/correction/retraction. I shall be citing from Prof. Hazelton’s  post to highlight these contradictions.

1. Prof.Hazelton writes:

“On the issue of cost savings….

Strange as it may seem, the AcTF will not be calculating cost savings. That is because it was never in our instructions to save the university money (or better, but curiously considered much less frequently, increase revenue).”

Yet in another posting he writes:

“Let’s assume we abandon the Prioritization process tomorrow. How then do we deal with the budget cuts that we now know are coming?”

So Prof. Hazelton,please make up your mind. We do know that the initial justification for the Prioritization exercise was the anticipated budgetary shortfall.

2. Prof.Hazelton writes:

“On the “Dickeson Model” and Tenure….

The Task Force has gone to great lengths to distance ourselves from the “Dickeson model,” without abandoning the Prioritization process altogether. We have tried to put in place processes that leave tenure completely out of the discussion, as has the Provost. None of the AcTF members, nor the Provost, have discussed tenure except to say that it isn’t to be affected by this process. I’m not sure how many more times this can be reiterated: this process is designed not to affect academic tenure AT ALL.”

The Dickeson book was distributed, the consultant Mr.Goldstein is an associate of Dickeson and used his “model”. In fact before the public airing of  criticisms of this prioritization exercise, there was no statement from the Task force distancing themselves from the Dickeson “model”. so where are the “great lengths” to which the Task force have supposedly got to distance themselves from Dickeson “model”? Is there a memo which I have overlooked? I would like to know.

As of this date the Prioritization website  in UAA says the following:

“In light of potential changes in UAA’s funding picture, and with the objective of becoming an even better institution, UAA has begun work toward a comprehensive examination of the way in which our resources are being invested at UAA. Our approach to this effort is modeled on the process outlined in Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services by Robert C. Dickeson, a distinguished president emeritus and renowned higher education consultant. This model encourages a well thought-out change management approach that recognizes the important role that faculty, administration and staff have in shaping UAA’s future”

The contradiction is obvious.

Also on the issue of tenure Dickeson has made very disparaging remarks about faculty. His history is that of tenure  busting under the cover of “program exigency”. His method has been used in other universities with absurd outcomes (e.g. the University of Guelph). So naturally we are skeptical about the outcome of this exercise.

 

3. Prof. Hazelton also makes a comparison between the tenure process and the prioritization process. This is a good time to highlight the difference between the two. Tenure and Promotion process judges  each file against the Tenure and Promotion Standards. Tenure and Promotion process is not a beauty contest, but  an evaluation against standards and multiple levels of evaluation. In contrast the Prioritization process is a beauty contest. The task force rank orders “programs”

4. Lastly if cost and budgetary controls are the focus then the way to do it is to look at administrative overheads-not by prioritizing academic programs. I have written elsewhere about it.

 

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AcTF Open Dialogue

This is a community forum for people to share their perceptions and experiences with UAA’s process of prioritizing of academic programs. Members of the AcTF will post to share their experiences of task force deliberations and dialogues with the UAA community. We encourage well-informed and open dialogue about this process. Anyone is welcome to comment on posts. Find more information on UAA's Prioritization Process Website.