The basic problem is they (the JRB, the Chancellor, and Provost) are dealing with a system that was broke long before the present people got there. I'm not going to say that mistakes haven't been made by Wendler and Dunn. On the contrary, I think this can be a good learning experience for everyone if they all play it right. After studying this issue for a little bit, I'd say the JRB would be correct if issues merely dealt with procedural mistakes made and bias errors. After hearing the details involved in both cases, and thoroughly examining the Faculty Senate minutes, I'm not convinced that's the case.
Personally, I'd rather have the Chancellor error on the side of not giving someone tenure. The person who failed to receive tenure can go teach elsewhere, and if it is indeed an injustice they will go to a better institution. However, we as the students, alumni, and friends of SIU, are stuck with whatever deadwood we get. If Wendler has a .0001 % chance running through his mind that he's dealing with deadwood, he should deign tenure.
Would formulating better procedures help? Surely they would. I think the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor should work together to work out what the issues are and come up with a system of tenure and promotion that encourages excellence. However, if the Faculty Senate drags their heels, the Chancellor and Provost have to come up with a solution on their own.
Now on the Faculty Senate proposal: I don't agree with it. Personally, I think it screams out the need to get better processes, but to shift power from one people to five isn't a solution that brings excellence to the tenure process, it's a Band-Aid. I think the Chancellor would be very wise in rejecting it.
Oh Fraydog, you are just a young guy and don't get it. You are going to have doubts about everyone you hire and promote when you are a manager. By your standards no one would ever get hired or promoted. Humans are wonderful, almost always they live up to expectations, if those expectations are put forward by reasonable people in a reasonable way.
Wendler and Dunn have been truly bad at managing people at SIUC. Didn't you read my entry about how Wendler needs to prove then can manage the thing they have control over (the administration) first? I am giving the professors a bad time right now, but the administration is so poorly managed, fat and lazy at SIU, it is sickening. The administration is so bad that they aren't really fun to blog about, it is so easy, just like hitting the side of your house with a rock. The worst part is the administration is more corrupt and bad under Uncle Walt then they were before.
If SIUC was a high tech company they would be turning over 25% or more of their professors per year. The people would be streaming out of there. Because they are a university, the professors just tune them out and go into their offices and do research. This isn't leadership, it is madness.
Here is the problem I pose to you Fraydog. A professor is up for tenure promotion, he is going to get that promotion or be fired. He has no black marks on this record. He has published his papers and taught his classes. His department's faculty does their review and votes to promote. His department chairman does this review and votes to promote, as does his dean. Now it goes up to Dunn and Wendler, they decide not to promote. Now let's assume that the field is chemistry and Dunn and Wendler know jack about it. What do they know about this? Have the met the professor? Have they reviewed this record? If they did review it, do they know enough about chemistry to judge his record? Could you review a chemistry professor's record and know if the work was good or not? The real question is why have they decided to fire the professor? They simply don't say, which is why the JRB keeps returning 3-0 decisions against the administration (this includes the person the administration appoints to the JRB panel).
Remember if you screw over the professor, everyone is going to know about it. So you make everyone, everyone do less work. We have a good suggestion that it is likely more efficent for the organization to not screw people over. Read the first comment again, it is so fundumentally correct that every manager or future manager should take it to heart.
I can't tell you how many times I have had someone in my office complaining about the performance of someone else, I always ask them what would they like me to do? Fire them, complain at them, hit them with a 2X4? If I took that action they would stop working for at least a month and then maybe they would quit. It is better to ask them to perform better, while giving positive feedback, and leave them alone. People get sick, their dog dies, get divorced or have other personal problems. When they do, they get less done. Over the course of years it evens out, so you do nothing unless you are really sure you want to replace them.
Have you had a class where you do the work, pass all the tests, but get your report card and get a "F"? Wouldn't you be demanding a reason for flunking? Is "because I said so" a fair answer in your book?
One of the problems with being a smart 20 year old is that you just don't have the life experience to understand the way the world works. You keep writing about how Wendler had an impossible task, everything was messed up, blah, blah, blah. In fact, Wendler inherited a great situation. I wish someone would give me something that easy to do, software startups are really hard. A got a free staff of super smart professors that are largely working hard for below market wages, tied to the university by a retirement system SIU doesn't have to pay for. All Uncle Walt has to do was act reasonable and he would have felt the ground well of support that his predecessors did before being illegally fired. This staff is holding it breath and hoping a reasonable manager arrives and leads this place back to greatness. Instead of taking this fairly easy situation and succeeding, Walt decided to come in as a big swinging dick and he has ruined his chances of ever doing well here. It is to bad you can't hear the new CoBA Dean speak, he knows how to lead at a college. I hope if Wendler stays he starts to chanel some people smarts. Have I mentioned that if Walt loves this place he should resign?
Someday, you will look back at this and realize that you had no clue about managing people yet. You are just too young and inexperienced to understand. Someday you might get lucky and have that great management moment where your best person quits because you screwed up (it has happened to me a couple of times). You get it? If you piss off the people what work for you enough they quit (but if they are college professors they don't go anywhere) and a little less pissed and they just stop working for a while. But hang tight, you are smart and you will learn all of this the hard way soon enough.