The Sorry Position of Faculty

The University of Wisconsin System (the organization that oversee all UW institutions) has come out with a proposal for changing Chancellor search and screen  committees (S&S).  The Chancellor is the CEO of most UW institutions.  Here it is:

The proposed changes to RPD 6-4 are designed to address concerns raised regarding the current policy. The revisions:

 allow for smaller Search and Screen Committees and more opportunities to include members from external constituencies, as committee composition is less prescribed;

 increase the connection between the Search and Screen and Special Regent committees by having a member of the Special Regent Committee chair the Search and Screen Committee; and

 increase Regent involvement throughout the search process by: suggesting Regents visit the relevant institution when considering chancellor qualifications; providing for Regent attendance at semi-finalist interviews; and permitting the Special Regent Committee and the System President to identify additional finalists.

In addition, the proposed amendments clarify the System President’s responsibilities in the hiring process for senior leadership positions within UW System Administration, prohibit consideration of an interim appointee as a candidate for the permanent position without written permission of the System President; and reflect the previously-adopted delegation to the System President of salary-setting authority for UW System Administration senior leadership positions.

In short, the regents are going to take over Chancellor searches from the faculty.  UW System already makes the decision given the finalists selected by the S&S committee.   Being on these high level S&S is a big task.  The one benefit that faculty get is that they can keep the idiots off the short list.  The last clause of bullet three wants to nix that.

An interesting question is why would System do this?  One respondent sees the the impact of of a single state governor in this new process and the faculty are up in arms about a particular governor named Walker.  Faculty morale is at astounding lows.  Everyone is always on the market but now more are serious about it.  System seems to be focused on killing morale.   Who would serve on such a high-work low-reward committee?  Perhaps, System sees that now is the time to act when faculty have no political support.  It is short-sighted but it might be effective in increasing the power of System.

The war has begun.  System has declared war on the faculty.  It sounds harsh but there is no other way to describe it.  We don’t see it ending well for faculty.  We want a different outcome but we don’t predict it.

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