At the November meeting of the Indiana University Northwest Faculty Organization, the outcome of the discussion on the No-Confidence vote could be simply described as: "What Next?" How do we avoid repeating the past? One of the proposals was to constitute a task group that would examine our "structural problems" and formulate a series of steps that would take our campus beyond the current difficulties. That seems to be on the agenda for the January meeting. What do you think? Post a comment (if you plan to post more than a single comment - make-up a user name).
What are the challenges we have to face during the next 18 months (before the next administration takes us to infinity and beyond)?
It seems to us, that there are several items which need to be addressed:
1. Academic structure problems: Why do we have so many problems with VCAA's? Is it budget structure? Would we be better off if each school was under responsibility center management (control and responsibility over their budget)? What is so different at IUN compared to other universities which do not have problems with VCAA's?
2. Future of IUN.
Do we believe that IUN can grow into a major research university alone? Will PUC leave us in the dust? Is merger with PUC the only way to grow beyond critical mass? Will a Teaching Hospital and 4-year Medical School solve all our problems?
3. Faculty (and staff) unhappiness with salaries.
While on the short-term, this problem will be alleviated if we continue with the faculty salary equity program (for the next two years), this doesn't address the problem for staff, and (given the realities of Indiana budgeting process) only solves the problem temporarily. Asking for more money from the state legislators is probably futile, so maybe the solution is in addressing the benefits. Something like raising the tuition remission for employees to 100% would be easier to pass than drastic salary increases. If we could include other state universities - even better. As 18/20 begins to wind down, we need to promote early retirement schemes, which might include some sort of part-time employment for a limited 5 year span with health insurance.
Anything else? What do you think? Post your comments!