More Reaction to the Coup at the U...
In Graduate School restructuring, a lack of transparency
Last week, Provost Tom Sullivan declared a “restructuring” of graduate education by effectively annexing the Graduate School and bringing administrative decisions within the jurisdiction of his own office. Bracketing off questions regarding whether this move provides sound policy, Provost Sullivan should be resoundingly scorned for his utter lack of transparency and his unwillingness to first consult those most affected by this decision.
Not only were many key actors in graduate education not involved in the decision-making process — including those working for the Graduate School, graduate student organizations, and the graduate students themselves — but most were completely unaware that such a measure was under consideration at all. As a result, rather than initiating a two-way discussion with graduate students about how to improve their experience at the University of Minnesota, these students have been met with a paternalistic public relations blitz about how this policy measure is in their best interest.
It is of no coincidence that talk of transforming the University into a top-three public research institution is now a memory. The University is increasingly treating its graduate students like a cheap (but efficiently produced!) product. By emphasizing efficiency over quality and unilateral-but-well-marketed decisions over dialogue, we risk turning graduate education at the University into a bastion of mediocrity over excellence.