Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's not unusual

Vision 1920 got support from an unexpected source in today's Eagle:
In Washington, D.C., Claire Van Ummersen -- vice president of the American Council on Education, which serves as a coordinating board for all U.S. universities -- said she had heard of turmoil at A&M but said it didn't seem to be an "extraordinary situation."
See, it's no big deal. Nothing extraordinary about
  • Forcing out the President (who happens to be the first woman and first minority to hold the position) after a year and a half, based on a performance review that never got beyond scribbled notes.
  • System level officials cutting collaborative research deals with faculty that the President learns about in the press.
  • "There's nine people who can tell me what to do. I'll make my arguments to them. They argue, they listen and then they make a decision, and I carry it out. You want shared governance? That's shared governance."
  • Multiple faculty groups holding no confidence votes for the Chancellor
This is especially sweet for Vision 1920 because Van Ummerson specializes in "Equity, Faculty Career Flexibility, Gender, Leadership Development, Women in Higher Education".
"Texas A&M is a first-ranked institution," said Van Ummersen, who isn't associated with the university but said she had followed the situation through the Chronicle of Higher Education. "[A&M] has a good reputation throughout the country and it will, I am certain, not affect the institution's ability to find new leadership because individuals who would be interested in positions would be looking at the quality and its reputation over time, not singling out any incident that has occurred."
Translation: we can always find someone who will take the job.

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