Members of the Faculty Senate say the administration didn’t include them when making decisions on how to restructure their colleges in response to a $50.4 million cut in state funding to the University.
Though they said they do not necessarily disagree with the final decisions, some faculty members were not satisfied with the steps taken to reach them.
In response, the Faculty Senate is drafting a procedure to let faculty raise concerns about restructuring. This new procedure is not official and has no bearing on how the University will make its final decision.
While this is an admirable effort on the part of faculty to allow professors to air their concerns, it is unnecessary and excessive, considering past attempts to do exactly the same thing.
USF Provost Ralph Wilcox created a Budget Task Force last spring so that faculty and administrators could jointly restructure the way the University is run. Wilcox’s hope was that this method would make faculty input all-important.
The idea behind the Budget Task Force was also to keep the administration from making changes without consulting USF’s colleges and schools.
When the Budget Task Force proposed its recommendations, the faculty was given the opportunity to write rebuttals, which were compiled into a report so the administration could take their concerns into consideration.
Some faculty members were not happy with the Budget Task Force’s recommendations, but it would be silly to say that they were not consulted.
The University is an academic institution where the concerns of academia should be heard, but creating a new procedure that follows a format similar to the one already in place — and one that’s not really recognized by the University — could easily result in a waste of faculty time and resources.
It is an additional procedure that creates another layer of University politics and could cause more of a bureaucratic runaround than an actual result, because faculty concerns must be approved by the senate before being aired to the University under the new plan.
Of course the University should look into — and respond to — faculty concerns.
But faculty should also look for ways to voice their concerns most effectively, and this plan does not appear to do so.