Len Re: Mike and David

By

Leonard Zwelling

            I
am extremely grateful and honored that both Dr. Siciliano and Dr. Farquhar
contributed to the blog last week. What I would like to do briefly is summarize
not the problems they identified and articulated so well, but rather the
suggestions they made to improve life for the faculty and staff at Anderson.

            Dr.
Farquhar, unsurprisingly calls the faculty to action. He views the current
Senate leadership as overly passive although readily acknowledges the role of
fear in the faculty body politic for the lack of more aggressive stances by the
Senate leadership. He also notes, as has been remarked upon before, that all
the Faculty Senators have day jobs that occupy more than their full time,
making any contributions to more strategic action advancing faculty welfare a
real stretch for the faculty members as well as for their families.

            David
also disagrees with me with regard to the benefit that can be derived from
faculty surveys that provide a sense of where the faculty’s thinking is on a
given issue at a particular time. I took the position that the administration
has adequately demonstrated its willingness to ignore already available data
while David thought surveys were a mechanism to keep the pressure on.

            Then
Dr. Farquhar crosses a very critical line with the suggestion that a “no
confidence” vote in the President might be the next step for the faculty as it
would attract the attention of Austin and the media alike. I have felt this
route was non-productive for there is already ample evidence for the UT System
to question the behavior of the Anderson leadership and the media has actually
been very aggressive in its pursuit of this story.

            In
summary, Dr. Farquhar is suggesting a far more activist approach than I ever
did and it is worthy of the Senate and the faculty as a whole to consider his
suggestions.

            Dr.
Siciliano, like Dr. Farquhar (and me) provides an extensive list of the
problems. He too comes to the conclusion that there is a real issue about whether
or not the faculty has confidence in its leadership and believes that it is
time for the Senate to debate this issue.

            Two
former chairs of the Senate with well over 60 years of combined experience at
Anderson are suggesting that the Senate take up, debate and vote upon a formal
statement of no confidence in the leadership. This was a step I had not
entertained for I thought it would not have a desired effect and might cost the
faculty more than it gained. But these two guys know more about faculty politics
than I could ever know and the Senate might want to reread what they posted on
the blog and at least debate whether to debate this point.

            It
is not at all unreasonable.

Leonard Zwelling