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One of the Morrill Hall Gang Speaks Up on Inside Higher Education


One of the Morrill Hall Gang squeaks up:

# Posted by Andy Howe, Director of Student Support Initiatives at University of Minnesota on July 29, 2010 at 9:15am EDT #

As I read through the posts, there are many generalizations, misplaced logic, blaming without owning some of the responsibility, and ignorance on the realities facing the marketplace of ideas.

[Would you care to be a bit more specific, Dr. Howe. These sound like unsupported generalizations to me...]

What would we as educators say to students who turned in online posts, journal entries, or papers like some of the posts above? There are also some unchecked arrogance and privilege embedded in some of the statements.

[Again, would you like to give some specific examples? Or is this too hard?]

I agree with many of the points made above and in Eva von Dassow's speech. The defensive tone and rhetoric, however, overwhelm the credibility of these statements in my opinion.

[So you don't like what is being said because of the tone and rhetoric? People are pissed, Doctor Howe, and they have a right to be - in my opinion]

Faculty at public research institutions usually have tremendous power to create profound change on campuses. With this power comes responsibility to use it wisely. Let's be more collaborative than divisive.

My response to Dr. Howe on the IHE website:

People who live in glass houses...

Posted by Bill Gleason at University of Minnesota on July 29, 2010 at 3:45pm EDT

Dr. Howe,

I note that you work in the office of the University of Minnesota Provost.

You call for us to be more collaborative and less divisive?

Where was that spirit of cooperation when the Provost attempted to rub out the Graduate School?

Interested readers should see the statement of the University of Minnesota Faculty Senate in response to our Provost's actions:

From the Senate Resolution of 30 April 2009:

WHEREAS: The Provost's plan to abolish the Graduate School, as publicly announced by the Provost in his e-mail of Feb. 9, 2009 to the University faculty, was adopted without any prior consultation or involvement of the University Senate, or any part or committee thereof, in violation of University policy;

WHEREAS: The "Implementation Committee" (eventually renamed the "Committee on Graduate Education") appointed by and reporting to the Provost is not a "campus assembly (or analogous body)" and was constituted and charged only after the plan to abolish the Graduate School had already been made and publicly announced;

WHEREAS: The formal charge to the "Implementation Committee" (now "Committee on Graduate Education") did not encompass review of the merits of the underlying plan to abolish the Graduate School, having instead been limited to consideration of how the Provost's plan to abolish the Graduate School was to be implemented;

BE IT RESOLVED: That the University Senate of the University of Minnesota disapproves the Provost's plan to dissolve the Graduate School as announced in the Feb. 9. 2009 memorandum;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the University Senate demands that any proposal to dissolve or otherwise to restructure the Graduate School comply with the University of Minnesota Policy on Reorganization.

Perhaps you might have a discussion with your boss about a more collaborative and less divisive approach?

An earlier and even more self-serving comment by the same Dr. Howe (same source):

A call for collaborative action Posted by And Howe, Director of Student Support Initiatives at University of Minnesota on July 28, 2010 at 1:45pm EDT

I am continually perplexed about the discussion of increases in administrative positions at the University of Minnesota (and other higher education institutions). Less than five years ago, for example, the University of Minnesota changed its budget structure to "encourage" colleges and units to rely more heavily on central administrative services. The reliance of the services has grown. Shouldn't then support (e.g., human, financial, etc.) be increased to ensure that the services are meeting the needs of the campus? If the support is not sufficient, then complaints will increase that the quality of the services are substandard. Wouldn't we expect central administration to grow on our campus and other campuses with similar budget models?

One can argue the flaws of the budget model; how central, colleges, departments, and units spend the limited resources; and the quality of our services across our institution and others. The fact remains, however, that discourse without action produces little results on resolving the issues. During the 2010 State of the University Address, President Bruininks stated that "Reductions, reinvestments, reform, and redesign must occur not only centrally, but also within local units, colleges, and campuses. Our priorities must arise organically, as faculty, staff, and administrators work together with a clear view of the challenges the University will face in coming years" (p. 6). For these decisions to raise organically, collaboration, partnerships, and compromise (i.e., discourse plus action) have to be core to campus culture. I fear, however, blaming one group over another works against us than for us. We run the risk of becoming paralyzed in our action. Ultimately, no action or action made out of spite negatively impacts the learning and development of students across our institutions of higher education.

My hope is that this public elevation to the issues in the video and the informed posts to the article will be a call for collaborative action to put our discourse to work for the common and greater good as well as our colleagues, students, and individual selves.

Andy Howe, Ph.D.

Director of Student Support Initiatives
Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Cough, cough. Dr. Howe, you just don't get it.

How many vice presidents do we have?

And how many more coordinators do we need in the provost's office at ca $70k per annum?

In case you are not aware at the U there are real educators - as you style yourself - being paid a lot less than $70K/annum. Do a little research on the salaries of government and university employees.

For shame.

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