Saturday, June 19, 2010

Not so fast, Kemos sabe

In March, we noted the addition of Dr. Alex Kemos to the TAMU leadership. Kemos was hired for a paltry salary equivalent to a mere 10 English lecturers. Today's Eagle reports that Kemos wasn't Dr. Kemos after all:
Texas A&M's No. 3 administrator presented himself as a warrior-scholar: A former Navy SEAL with a doctorate from Tufts University.

But records obtained by The Eagle indicate Alexander Kemos never was part of the elite fighting force, and Texas A&M officials confirmed Friday that he doesn't have a doctorate or even a master's degree, which was a posted requirement for the $300,000-a-year position that serves as the top adviser to Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin.

On Friday morning, the day after he was confronted with questions about his background by Loftin in Maine, where the pair were vacationing, he resigned.

"It's a human tragedy," said Jeffrey Seemann, Texas A&M's vice president for research and the chair of the search committee that selected Kemos, who lives in College Station and has a wife and three children.

In a message to the campus Friday afternoon, Loftin said Kemos will no longer serve as senior vice president for administration, effective immediately. He said Kemos cited "a desire to spend more time with his family."
Vision 1920 is shocked by this scandal in academia. Tufts clearly committed a FERPA violation in releasing information about Kemos' records to the Eagle.

Monday, June 14, 2010

no SEC please, we're Texans

Loftin explains via email
To The Aggie Family:

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of speculation as Texas A&M University and several other institutions in the Big 12 Conference evaluated our athletic affiliations. At the end of the day, 10 of the 12 schools in the Big 12 – including Texas A&M – have determined that the conference was definitely worth saving due to our collective strengths in academics, national competitiveness, geographic fit and overall financial value.

Throughout the conference evaluation process, I was encouraged by something that I already knew –Texas A&M is incredibly strong and the passion of our current and former students, as well as our faculty and staff, is unmatched anywhere. As evidence, I have been overwhelmed by thousands of emails, phone calls and Facebook posts from Aggies in support of any of the three options we were considering – remaining in the Big 12, or joining the Southeastern Conference or Pac-10 Conference.

Let me be clear: This decision was made in the best interests of Texas A&M and was not made in haste. As I mentioned to the Faculty Senate Monday afternoon, our top consideration was the demands placed on our student-athletes, in terms of academics, time away from the classroom, and the overall level of competition. There were also many other factors considered, including maintaining Texas A&M’s strong foothold in the State of Texas and preserving our natural athletic rivalries, many of which date back more than 100 years. And, ultimately, by remaining a member of the Big 12, we were able to more than double our financial return to the levels being offered by other conferences.

I understand that some Aggies are disappointed, but I am confident this decision will serve Texas A&M well in the years to come. As Athletic Director Bill Byrne and I stated numerous times throughout this process, our hope and desire was for the Big 12 to continue. And we both agree that this is an exciting, new day for our league.

I appreciate all of your feedback and thoughts on this important issue. As Aggies, I know that you will rally around our Texas A&M student-athletes as they train over the summer and begin Big 12 competition this fall.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Regents push reform

today's Eagle describes the latest push toward Vision 1920. The Regents are serious about reform. As in re-forming A&M as a tier 3 football school.
One of the most compelling reforms -- rewarding instructors with awards of up to $10,000 based on anonymous student evaluations, called "customer satisfaction" -- has already been rolled out at all A&M campuses, starting at the flagship College Station campus and two others in fall 2008. It has been met with faculty resistance, but McKinney assured regents he will boost participation, which has been sparse, in the voluntary program.
We have ways of making you volunteer.
One of the reforms tackles academic tenure.

It calls for most tenure appointments to be given to teachers who have taught "on average three classes per semester and thirty students per class for the seven or more years that a teacher is on the tenure track," and for student satisfaction ratings to determine teaching effectiveness. Average teacher ratings, the reform states, must be at least a 4.5 on a 5.0 scale.
This is a brilliant cost-cutting move. We won't need the Research Foundation and the faculty payroll will shrink to almost nothing after we drive out all the ones who can get other jobs malingerers.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Rumors are flying that A&M will go our own way in the massive conference realignment that broke out last week. It's looking like tu, OU, OK State, and Tech will join Colorado in the Pac-N (where N is a number we can't count to without taking off our shoes). If the rumors are correct, A&M will join the SEC instead.

While football fans think this is about recruiting and TV revenue, Vision 1920 suspects that the BoR is thinking on a much bigger scale. Joining the Pac-N would mean a whole new group of schools in the same conference we'd have to use when doing comparisons of academics to peer institutions. While it must have been tempting to follow the example of mandatory furloughs in the University of California System, the SEC offers a much weaker better list in terms of the goals of Vision 1920.













S Carolina

Arizona State

OK State
Oregon State
Texas Tech
Tier 3
Miss State
Ole Miss
Tier 3

Been gone for a while

Vision 1920 has been off the internet for over a month, and posting will continue to be very sporadic. It was nice to log on and see someone missed us.