Progressive Faculty Network and others speak out on North Carolina’s Strategic Directions Planning

A partial draft of the NC Strategic Directions Plan can be found at: http://www.northcarolina.edu/strategic_direction/meetings/index.php?mode=browse_premeeting&code=strategic&mid=3795

Other background materials and stories can be found at the following sites:




Raleigh News and Observer, January 14, 2013

Faculty feedback

Missing from your coverage of the UNC system’s five-year planning is that the Advisory Committee for Strategic Directions has not revealed its plans for two sections of the report: “Maximizing efficiencies” and “Ensuring an accessible and a financially stable university.”

These documents will appear just two days before the systemwide Faculty Assembly meets Friday, its only meeting before the Board of Governors’ vote Feb. 8. That leaves no time for the Assembly to examine the final draft or to gather feedback from faculty across the system.

Judging from a video of the Jan. 9 meeting of the Advisory Committee for Strategic Planning, the section of the report on “Maximizing efficiencies” will likely call for larger classes and the merging and elimination of some programs. These actions directly affect teaching and curricula, responsibilities of the faculty.

UNC System President Tom Ross should direct the committee to present the final draft for a vote in April. Extending the timetable will allow faculty to read the document and respond. The current haste short-circuits faculty feedback, itself a serious consequence of valuing efficiency over education.

Mark Driscoll
President

Altha Cravey
Vice president, American Association of University Professors, UNC-Chapel Hill Chapter

UNC-Chapel Hill Daily Tar Heel, January 15, 2013:  Strategic Plan Draft Needs Faculty Input
http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2013/01/strategic-plan-draft-needs-faculty-input

TO THE EDITOR:

The UNC Advisory Committee for Strategic Directions is largely made up of politicians, CEOs, administrators and only one faculty member.

As of their Jan. 9 meeting, two key sections of the plan — “Maximizing efficiencies” and “Ensuring an accessible and a financially stable university” — were unavailable.

The full draft will appear on Wednesday, just two days before the system-wide Faculty Assembly meets to provide feedback.

That is the only meeting of the assembly before the plan is brought for a vote before the Board of Governors in February. And this schedule leaves no time for the assembly to gather responses from its constituents.

Because faculty are the ones who best understand our concerns, we think it crucial to have the Faculty Assembly receive comments and respond.

In addition, there should be a public forum with President Ross and members of the working group who wrote the document.

This would give faculty, students, staff and committee members a chance to discuss plans that will affect us all.

On Jan. 9, Charles Perusse, chief operating officer of UNC, gave hints of what’s to come.

He spoke of increasing “efficiencies” with regard to education, including class size and “low enrollment and low productivity programs.”

Mr. Perusse has spoken earlier of consolidating programs.

Increasing class size, putting programs together and getting rid of programs with a low number of degrees would have far-reaching consequences for teaching and curricula, and hence are matters in which faculty should be centrally involved.

What is most efficient may not be the best for teaching and learning, or for having a university with intellectual integrity.

The Progressive Faculty Network calls on President Tom Ross and Board Chairman Peter Hans to direct the Advisory Committee to present the final draft to the Board of Governors in April.

That timetable will allow faculty to read the document and respond. The current haste itself reflects the problem of valuing efficiency over education.

This letter was endorsed by 46 members of the Progressive Faculty Network of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Sherryl Kleinman
Professor
Sociology

John McGowan
Professor
English

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