Tag Archives: UA Faculty Senate

ABOR Preview, part 1: Who will stick up for students in the tuition battle?

By Shain Bergan

As the week before Spring Break commences, the three academic issues on everyone’s mind are tuition, fees and tuition. As it so happens, base tuition and mandatory fees for Arizona’s public universities will be decided this week when the Arizona Board of Regents comes to the University of Arizona.

Always looking out for the students, the Board chose in late 2008 to put together a group—known as the Tuition and Affordability Work Group—to “examine tuition policies and affordability issues”. Well, it’s time for that group to put up or shut up. The entire Arizona university system is now—as in, like, right now!—looking to the group for leadership and guidance over whether or not to endorse a plan that would raise tuition about $2,000, which I’m sure will have some weight with the Regents’ decision.

I think we all know what the student preference would be (You know, keeping university enrollment affordable and all that jazz.), so I’m sure such a group would keep their interests in mind, right? After all, here’s a description of the people in the Tuition and Affordability Work Group:

“The work group included senior university staff, student leaders, and Board staff.”

Very well. Let’s go through these, shall we?

Senior university staff – I’m assuming this means university staffers in lofty positions. The only people this could include, though, would be university upper administration types and those who have been elevated by their peers (a.k.a. Faculty Senate Members). Considering the upper administrative and faculty leadership situations look something like this, this and this, I wouldn’t be holding out too much which stance they chose to go with while in the Tuition and Affordability Work Group.

Student leaders – Ah, surely if high-salaried folks in the Admin Building and at Faculty Senate meetings are unwilling to stand up for lower tuition and better higher education affordability (Don’t even throw that weak crap about financial aid picking up the affordability slack, because I will bring this up.), students’ own peers will do so, right?

Read this and this, then cringe.

Strike two.

So what’ll it be, Arizona Board of Regents? I think we all know the answer, but we’ll still be there on Thursday.

Strike three.

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It’s time, Mr. President: End this “world class” charade

By Shain Bergan

When UA News released this video last week of University of Arizona President Robert Shelton “on the issues”, it was met with little to no fanfare, or even rather no recognition. It’s not hard to see why; there is certainly a lion’s share of routine talking points and the usual stock quotes to which we’ve all become way too accustomed since the initial memo announcing the beginning of the UA Transformation Process hit the presses in September 2008.

You know them—they string together phrases like “world-class institution” and “quality education” as if anyone is really buying that the mass reorganization, consolidation and cutting of UA programs nearly across the board are making us into a better university full of better students who will become better people to create a better world following their UA edification.

The video is almost a perfect summation of the what the UA faculty and students have been damn angry about for almost two years now—the inability of the university leaders to just admit that we’re all screwed.

I get it. Times are tough. It’s difficult to run a university when the state slashes $100 million out from under you. But please, Mr. President and Ms. Provost, call it what it is. It’s not “maintaining a quality education”; it’s trying to make sure that at least some quality is left following cuts and tuition hikes unprecedented in Arizona’s educational history. Students aren’t children anymore; neither are the faculty members. It’s time to fess up and admit what everyone already knows—that the actual “quality” of that piece of paper you get following graduation isn’t what it used to be…and it’s only going to get worse in Arizona.

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Uncontested: Apathy race between Faculty Senate and ASUA elections too close to call

Sitting on these bleachers are the members of the UA faculty who followed through on their promise to push for new faculty leadership.

By Shain Bergan

Hmmm, this election apathy seems familiar.

After a painstaking process, the official final nominations for the 2010 University of Arizona Faculty Senate elections are finally officially in, and the verdict is, well, less than inspiring:

Of the 15 colleges represented by the UA Faculty Senate, only one of them (The College of Fine Arts) has a contested election. One of them (Eller College of Management) has exactly zero nominees. And for the 29 seats that are up for grabs, there are a total of…29 candidates.

Not only are the executive positions without contestation, the faculty will have the EXACT SAME LEADERSHIP at the top. Your executive faculty leadership nominees:

-Chair of the Faculty: Wanda Howell, incumbent

-Vice Chair of the Faculty: Robert Mitchell, incumbent

-Secretary of the Faculty: J.C. Mutchler, incumbent

What’s the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Apparently the faculty can really talk the talk, but they can’t walk the walk.

Here’s the breakdown of the colleges and their nominees for the upcoming election, for which the voting deadline is Mar. 4. An asterisk denotes a candidate who will clinch a Faculty Senate seat as long as they can gather one, count ’em, one vote. A contested election is marked in red text:

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Climategate revisited: Is the UA out of the scandal yet?

Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, a UA scientist connected to the Climategate scandal

By Shain Bergan

UA President Robert Shelton may want to rethink his claims against critics of the “research” uncovered by scientists around the world who have been charged (in the court of public opinion) with sensationalizing scientific climate research. The scientists in question were said to have manipulated data associated with climate change (a hot-button topic) to reflect their own political interests.

In other words, the data arguably didn’t show much of a global warming impact, but the scientists supposedly wanted to make it look like there was a definite connection anyway, as uncovered by emails and documents that can be seen on this nifty site.

These scientists were made up of respected members of the science community from around the world, including the University of Arizona. For some reason, the Arizona Daily Star’s links are gone, but luckily, PrisonPlanet.com was able to save this Star article about the scandal, and here’s a good Tucson Citizen story on the matter.

One of the UA scientists tied to the scandal is Dr. Jonathan Overpeck.

As it turns out, the “findings” of the Climate Research Unit at the central university associated with the so-called “Climategate” scandal are being reviewed and may be challenged by a group of independent scientists, who will be brought on by the school.

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UA Faculty Senate Elections: The more things change…

…the more things stay the same. Come and see:

By Shain Bergan

With petitions for those wanting to run in the Spring 2010 University of Arizona Faculty Senate Elections due in just a few short days on Feb. 14, the petitions are rolling in slowly but surely. Today marks the first release of the petitions that have so far been turned in, acquired by the WatchCat News-Journal via a public records request to University Communications.

Keep in mind that in all likelihood, most of the faculty running in this election have yet to turn in their complete paperwork. After all, they have until the rest of this week, plus the weekend. This is a good start, though. The first round of Faculty Senate nominees are as follows:

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ASUA Elections violation a celebrated practice with Faculty Elections

What would be a violation in a University of Arizona student government election is simply perfectly legal procedure for the UA Faculty Senate and its bylaws.

At least five members of the Senate passed around their petitions for the 2010 Faculty Spring Elections during Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting, an act that could be construed as campaigning both before the allowable date and inside of that organization’s offices. Good thing no such rules exist for the faculty. Ha! Take that, puny students!!

It’s worth noting that the petitions that I was able to get a good look at belonged to Faculty Chair Wanda Howell and Secretary of the Faculty J.C. Mutchler. To those reading who might be running against one of those two for a leadership position—Plan accordingly. Your competition has.

Faculty Senate: When the boss is away, the kids will play

University of Arizona President Robert Shelton may have been out of town for an unspecified reason, but that didn’t stop the astute Faculty Senate from their monthly meeting. On the agenda this time around: new school formations, a budget update and uncomfortable relationships. Let’s dive in, shall we?

  • Provost: I have an update; we’re still working… – The administrative report (given by Provost Meredith Hay in Shelton’s absence) was so expeditively accelerated that a tweet would have probably sufficed. Hay stood up just long enough to explain to her faculty leadership colleagues that the UA administration is Continue reading