Category Archives: faculty-administration relations

November 24, 2008, 2:58 pm

What Works For Christians Could Work For Academics Too

Pastor Ed Young of the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas has been urging his flock to improve their emotional well-being by having more sex. In fact, last Sunday he instructed the married couples in his flock to have sex every day prior to coming to church yesterday. The economic downturn (read: Republican trainwreck), in addition to the ordinary problems couples have (adultery, PTSD, child-rearing, exhaustion, quiet and/or open rage, working two or three jobs) are causing people to lose the intimacy that is the key to a healthy marriage, Young argues. In the longer term, the Seven Days of Sex should cause couples to at least double the amount of intercourse they have and “move from whining about the economy to whoopee!”

Well yes indeed. Of course, Young is not the first Christian to suggest this. From Henry Ward Beecher’s gospel of love through Marabel Morgan’s advice in…

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July 11, 2008, 12:49 pm

A Meditation on Change: the Radical Wears Her Administrator’s Hat

Recently I have been involved in one of those academic negotiations that involves calling on powers of persuasive argument normally reserved for one’s scholarship (sprucing up old ideas with new evidence, adding a dash of original thought culled from new reading) in an attempt to make a case for intellectual and institutional change. It is a case that I have made before, many times, sometimes to great applause from allies of various kinds. It is a case that others have made before me, and along side of me. But it is a case that, although partial results have been won over time, has never succeeded as it should. It is a change that makes sense, but it fails — over and over — to be approved. And what I want, although it seems to have puzzled some people at Zenith over close to two decades, doesn’t puzzle me — and in fact is not an unconventional feature of institutional life elsewhere….

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March 19, 2008, 7:13 pm

Department of Odd Coincidences

So after yesterday’s post condemning tenure (again) I get back to work on the talk I am supposed to give on pornography (again) and I drift off onto the internet (again), clicking around to the sites listed on my sitemeter from whence people arrived at Tenured Radical. Eventually, I come up with a story from the Chronicle of Higher Education about:

Pornography and Tenure.

Go ahead. Make my day!

To make a long story short, a married couple out at New Mexico State University was just denied tenure, and they are charging racial bias. What they also reveal, however, was that shortly before they were denied tenure, John — the husband part of the married couple — received an e-mail from an associate dean that contained a “graphic sexual image.” He complained to the dean; and shortly afterwards, the chair of the couple’s department decided that neither member of the couple should receive…

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September 20, 2007, 7:07 pm

The Progress of the Radical

Early September: invitation issued by the Provost’s Office for a meeting to be held from 11-1 (groan) on a Friday (groan), to help new chairs of programs and departments get on the same page with our friends at the office of Academic Affairs. Lunch will be served (ok, this partially makes up for coming in on a Friday and ruining a whole day for writing or any other kind of intellectual/creative activity.)

Mid-September: notice goes out that the putative meeting has been extended to three hours, 11-2. Suddenly the offer of lunch is failing to allay my sense of impending Doom. Call to unnamed administrator is made by the Radical to express sense of Doom, and is sympathetically received, perhaps because they Know Doom Well over there.

Today: Message that the meeting has been cancelled is received. Cheers break out in isolated locations around campus. Once again, Good has prevailed…

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June 8, 2007, 12:57 pm

Life as a Broker: The Role of the Committee Chair in Faculty-Administration Relations

In order to stay better informed, your Radical has signed up for the free daily updates from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Like every other periodical and newspaper that comes into this house, I can’t read all of the update, much less all of the Chronicle, which is why I did not use my remaining research monies to buy a horrendously expensive on-line subscription. But I do like scanning the update for items of interest: I also started scanning Inside Higher Ed when they started linking me, which may be part of their strategy for linking bloggers: “Bring ‘em into the light, boys!” Sometimes what I see in my daily scan are items of great interest, sometimes they are small pieces that cause me to think. And when I think, I blog. It’s inescapable.

Today’s food for thought was by a fellow named Gene Fant, who was a department chair at a small southern college, recently became a…

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May 9, 2007, 1:08 pm

Lifting As We Climb (with all due respect to Anna Julia Cooper)

Today’s thoughts are about Leadership.

Dean Dad has a new post up about mediating an emotion-laden disagreement between a faculty member and a fellow dean. It is an extremely lucid account of how he became aware of the conflict in the first place, how he collected information about it, and how he came to know that the two people had misunderstood each other and had acted on that misunderstanding, thus setting up a contest over authority. He then describes the actions he took to set everything straight. Because students were involved, and graduation requirements at stake, it was potentially quite messy (and even messier, I can imagine, at a community college where, unlike Zenith, students are often juggling a full work schedule, the college schedule, course availability, and graduation requirements.) The kind of conflict he describes is one that everyone will recognize having…

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December 20, 2006, 2:41 pm

Dean, Dean — Who’s Got The Dean?

One of the biggest laughs I ever heard in a Zenith faculty meeting was several years ago, when a member of our administration was explaining a number of strategies the institution was exploring for raising extra cash. The final one was a patent on discoveries made under the auspices of the institution. A colleague from one of the humanities departments said she didn’t understand (thinking, “Hmmm- I wonder if my examination of the Lack in contemporary French poetry is worth more than I know?”), and the administrator said, “Well, for example, the discovery of a new gene.” Drat.

At which point the semi-comatose Dr. Grumpo awoke, came to full consciousness and shouted from the back, “WHAT? CAN’T HEAR YOU!” The administrator repeated himself. And Dr. Grumpo shouted, “AH! I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU’D DISCOVERED A NEW DEAN!” Needless to say, everyone howled and added to the fun while the…

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