Monday, February 05, 2007

Today's DE's editorials had me rolling my eyes

First we have Poshard talking about cutting budgets from the colleges on the front page. That is where all the work goes one isn't it? I guess that if Morris Library is $9M over budget that it isn't on time and under budget then is it?

We have the Guest Column by LeNie Adolphson about the "Democratic Party: Failing on Iraq". I guess if you don't understand that only having enough votes (which is 60 in the US Senate) can the Demo's push through anything they want? Before you write a letter like this, shouldn't you have to know something about what your talking about? Not in the DE maybe.

Next we have a letter from John Kaufman about his big problems about parking if there is a SIU basketball game. Poor guy needs to review with Mr./Ms. (?) Adolphson the rules, I don't think there is a rule about deserving a parking place. Yes, it is popular to think you deserve a parking place right now among students, but generations of people have managed to attend college without a car. It just isn't that far to walk, suck it up.

Then we have a letter from Eugene Timpe - Emeritus faculity about "Two very different commitees". He claims that "The credibility of a committee is derived from its membership." What a pile of crap. Every group derives credibility by its actions. Great members don't make for great groups by default, and at SIU the results of committee's work is often the worst possible outcome. I find the anonymous plagiarism committee at SIU have among the best results of any group at SIU don't you? They are enacting real change and consequences for people acting unethically, this is a rare thing in the SIU community.

I will not get into the "Our word" business about the lack of post superbowl rioting from Bear fans, that was just a waste of space.

The ironic thing is that there was also a column about "Please cover the real issues". Here we have a student calling correctly for the media to cover the real issues and stop pushing yellow journalism. Here is a quote -
As a public who strongly relies on the media for essential information, we should set a higher standard for the news that is delivered to us.
To the DE editorial group - just because people send these stupid editorials in, doesn't mean you have to publish them if they are just off the mark. My feeling is that the quality of the DE has been pretty good this school year, but remember you will be judged by the company you keep. Publishing silly letters to the editor really isn't the way to build the quality of the paper. Today there were to many poor examples of this, you can do better.


Anonymous said...

About the plagarism committee. A faceless group seems to have created it own definition of plagarism. They threaten to go to the media and name names. This really sounds like McCarthyism. Anyone accused plagarism by these people who are afraid to show their faces should demand accountability. So, Peter, this group has no credibility and none should be given to them. I hope you post this.

Fraydog said...

Hey, typical SIU kind of thing to do that, don't you think? Albeit it's happening at SIUE this time.

Too many people point the fingers at each other, not enough work to fix things here. Same old story. Ben Franklin said it best, "if we don't hang together, we will all hang seperately." So it goes with the SIU System, SIU and SIUE.

Peter in Carbondale said...

I think the people without accountability includes almost everyone at SIU. There is a whole lot of plagiarism going on (no matter how you define it) and the rules should be applied fairly across the board. I think the threat was to ask SIU to enforce the rules across the board fairly, or not to enforce them. SIU doesn't seem to enforce the rules fairly and they have been exposed in public.

It is a good thing that SIU's management is accountable in court and it sure looks like they unfairly fired that SIUE professor doesn't it? OK, at least the public reason seems pretty bogus. If the goal of the anonymous plagiarism committee was to point out this injustice, I think they have performed at a very high level. This issue has gone from ignored to important in just a few months.

I guess if you wanted to argue that you don't like their methods, I could understand that. The problem is that SIU is so poorly managed, that there are no regular channels that will provide a result that seems fair to the wronged.

Please name a committee at SIU that performs at a higher level for me? Anyone? Maybe this is the difference between business and SIU? We want results in business and at SIU they don't care about results as long as you can serve on worthless committees with well qualified people?

Anonymous said...

I guess if you wanted to argue that you don't like their methods, I could understand that. The problem is that SIU is so poorly managed, that there are no regular channels that will provide a result that seems fair to the wronged.

Every department, college, and contract has grievance procedures and termination procedures spelled out in great detail. While these are regularly (and wrongly, I should add) ignored, its simply not correct to say they don't exist.

SIU Prof

Peter in Carbondale said...

This is exactly the point isn't it? In business, we say that if you have rules that aren't followed, they really don't exist. SIU professors say the rules exist and aren't followed, but in some fantasy world they still exist. The only problem with ignoring the rules are if your boss calls you on it or if you are sued.

Anonymous said...

That's a fine point, but you should say it like that rather than making factually incorrect claims about the rules being non-existent. From a legal standpoint, for example, there are huge differences between the two situations. I'd think a former business owner would understand that difference. But its your blog, so do whatever you want...I don't care.

Anonymous said...

Look, this is a self appointed committee. Unless you're talking about the committee that looked into Dr. Wendler's S@150 language. But this self appointed committee has no credibility whatsoever. They've said they want to expose plagarism to prove that the guy at Edwardsville isn't the only one. By that statement, they admit they guy at Edwardsville plagarised. Geez, why is there support for this "rogue" group. This ain't the way to make SIU better.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Look, SIU is a mismanaged mess. There is no management support for doing the right thing. There is no consistency. There is no merit based incentive. If you don't think that point out systematic cheating is a good thing we just have to disagree.

It is a shame that you can only do this kind of thing in the dark of night because otherwise you would be retaliated against, but that is the way it is.

To bad the professors at SIU don't have a backbone and work to fix things in the open.

Anonymous said...

They may not have a backbone to get things out in the open, but they sure have time to file lawsuits and generally trash everything from the administration does. I'm not saying the administration is always right, but why can't they just do what they were hired to do. Teach. Do some research. If they don't like the working conditions, if they're not happy, they're free to move on. Just like anyone in any job.
If workers in private industry bitched and moaned in public like SIU professors do, they'd be canned and canned quickly.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Professors complain because they are right and the administration at SIU does suck. They don't leave because they are underpaid, unless they collect their retirement benefits. Would you take a 50% reduction in total compensation if you didn't have to? It just isn't private industry and the professors aren't paid like it is.

The real question is why the BOT has allowed SIU to become such a sludge pit of incompetence in management? Oh, we are in Illinois and they are political appointees. Never mind.

Isn't it interesting that the professors who complain the most are the ones who care the most too? What do they get for caring? Attacked by fools. Please don't tell me you want the professors to set passively in their offices.

Anonymous said...

You're painting in pretty broad strokes. Not all administrators are incompetent; not everything done by bad administrators is bad. Not every professor who doesn't file a lawsuit doesn't care (in fact, some of us are too busy trying to improve our classes, recruit students, make class offerings better, and publish).

Wendler is a good example. He did plenty of stupid things to be sure, but his committment to research excellence was not a bad idea nor was it poorly executed. Its helped my department recruit better faculty, rather than sifting through the dregs like has happened in the past. Its also paid dividends in greater grant money coming into the university (one of four major revenue streams).

To say that administration is always mismanaging and that most professors don't care and just sit in their offices is such a gross overstatment as to make one laugh out loud. Grandiose prouncements and lawsuits aren't going to fix the problems at SIU. A better attitude, more communication, hard work and an early retirement package would go a lot farther....

Anonymous said...

The following it from the minutes of COS meeting. It is small item, but telling.

Spring Registration: University registration figures are down; however, graduate registration is up,
improving the situation somewhat. College of Science is currently down 25, with 23 being related to
pre-pharmacy. SIUE has initiated a pharmacy degree program that will impact our pre-pharmacy numbers.

You do not see two Wal-Marts next to each other. You do not see one McDonalds across the street from another.

Anonymous said...

Wendler didn't get fired because he was overemphasizing research.

He got fired for not being a team player, not reviewing decisions over with Stone Center, for becoming a major PR and marketing liability, and his overall tendency to jump the gun on projects that were good but needed development.

Also, I think there are plenty of whack jobs among faculty. I don't know if I buy that all the people who care are the ones being attacked. However, that culture - or maybe I should say that perception - should change. The administration has to make peace with its critics. More shared governance in an insular SIU culture that has always been top down is needed. Want any more proof? Look at Wendler's old institution, Texas A & M. Bob Gates went against the prevailing winds there in empowering faculty, students, and staff to have a greater role in University decision making. It worked brilliantly as he left as one of their most liked administrators in the history of the institution. Now they want to put a statue of him up - the sign that an administrator has done a brillant job.

If only Wendler had done the same thing... I doubt he'd get a statue, but people would have been willing to look past the gay benefit slip up and the other PR screw-ups.

It comes down to one thing - trust. The administration has to trust the faculty who care the most who had been persecuted in the past and those people need to be able to drop their defenses and work with the administration.

Otherwise, no progress will be made here at SIU.

Anonymous said...

You do not see two Wal-Marts next to each other. You do not see one McDonalds across the street from another.

In Carbondale, however, you do see three auto parts stores together and people hailing that as progress.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of shared governance...yes, more emphasis may be needed there. But the faculty is respresented by a union. How in the world can you have both? Find any group represented by a union and see if they have shared governance. If I were running SIU, I'd say you can have one but not the other. Right now they have union representation, so I say shared governance is out. Get rid of the union and you can have shared governance.

Anonymous said...

Wait a couple of years, there will be two Super Wal-Marts within a few miles of each other (Carbondale-Murphysboro) and yup, somehow it's called progress.

Catch 22 said...

Trouble is, a big reason for forming a union is lack of shared governance. What reason would faculty have to believe that they would actually get shared governance if they gave up the union?

Peter in Carbondale said...

Unions are a simple statement by workers that management is performing poorly. Does anyone really think that the union members in the faculty want to be paying union fees instead of doing real work.

The moment you think this is about bad employees, instead of bad management you are missed the bus.

Anonymous said...

Never said it was about bad employees. I don't think it is bad management either. The chancellor, the president and the rest of the higher ups are restricted by state funding. Gov. Rod cuts higher ed spending and what happens - tuition goes up. Don't think that SIU is the only university in the state to have to raise tuition. I'm saying employees want in all. Seems to me they're saying "shared governance doesn't work, we want a union. Union isn't strong enough, we need to better shared governance." And on and on we go. People who work here knew what they would get paid when they said yes to the job. So why are they so crabby now? Believe me, outside of Carbondale people think the faculty are more interested in pay hikes than in teaching. If you don't believe that, you missed the bus, too.

Peter in Carbondale said...

If you don't think SIU has been poorly managed you are just plain stupid. Please go away, you aren't worth my time.

Good bye.

Anonymous said...

Many more issues existed in the formation of the union than fiscal ones. Peter would know since his father was on the faculty if I am not mistaken.

Even if the faculty get more of a say, what about the other constituent groups? Students are getting the shaft worse than anyone, who defends them? The FA might send a rep to a USG meeting once in a while... yay.

Otherwise, where are they standing up for students (and by they I mean the faculty in general, not just the union who has raised the point that students are getting charged way too much for too little in return.)

We have more bloat than ever that we can cut out. Don't believe me, look at the SIU factbook coming out for this year. We're way overpopulated in the Professional AP and CS categories. We could cut 250 campus jobs and not miss a beat, especially if they are the incompetent ones.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I just looked at the online Factbook. We have more professional non-faculty staff on campus than we have ever had.

I fully expect Peter to freak when he sees the increases, at the same time our enrollment is going down and our state money is flatlining.