Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What next?

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!



Anonymous said...

Those all seem like such big issues I wouldn't even know how to comment...would it be possible to do smaller things that when added together do make a difference? An example is the wonderful job Beth has done in turning around the classroom AV problem. I'd like to participate in a small way, maybe being on a proactive committee that address (and solves) infrastructure issues. I know it was mentioned before but how about getting new furniture (tables, chairs etc) for classrooms? Can we have some faculty imput on basic concerns such as these? I would like to participate but as junior faculty I am not sure what I can contribute; if IUN is to be my future I would like to be involved in a meaningful way (but one likely to be less focused on those larger, harder to grasp concerns).

Iztok Hozo said...

I don't know if you have seen this. In today's paper:
EDITORIAL: Show big picture for IUN campus and Charlie Brown's column: NWI teaching hospital would be huge economic boon.
Click on the links for complete texts (If expired - Check NWI TIMES December 7th edition).

Anonymous said...

Some good ideas would be to: 1.) stop hiring adjuncts and temps and instead begin investing in tenure-track profesional teachers, 2.) actually allow the VCAA to have some real authority, not to be undermined by the Chancellor, 3.) have the Chancellor more accessible to students (he still doesn't even know that Mr. Decker is no longer SGA president!! Heather Walker was voted in almost a year ago!), 4.) provide more accountability in the upper administration in dealing with crime prevention and saftey (honestly, 9 vehicle break-ins, countless assaults and a B&E at our brand new Health and Wellness Center is not going to increase enrollment), 5.)stop wasting money in poorly engineered parking lots (even a monkey could realize that bowls collect water) and other wasteful expenditures, 6.) take all that money that would thus be saved and invest it in academics (who cares what our school looks like if it at least has good profs?), 7.) help make financial aid open to all, we don't have to rely on the federal gov't to help our students, our university made 408.6 million this year in private endownments alone, how much will be coming to IUN? (according to hte Trustees report IUN is once again the low man on the totem pole), 8.) start catering to fields other than health, such as Education, COAS, and the Fine Arts, they matter too!... This list could go on and on because of all the problems that plague our campus. He have a do-nothing Chancellor, a university system that sees us as the red-headed step-child and a bunch of upper-admins (though not all) who are completely out of touch with reality. My name is Christopher D Mercado and I'm a student senator with IUN's SGA; my Health and Safety Committee and I are extremely well focused on these problems and are open to any assistance that can be given in these matters. We are currently writing legislation to petition our state legislature for funding and resources. A small but dedicated core of students reside at IUN and notice the plight of our faculty and school, we're with you every step of the way. The more voices that we hear, the more we can do!