Administrative Spin, Informal Polling, and Student Movements

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 456

Today Chancellor Cheng gave her “2011 State of the University” address to a pretty packed house. I meant to take pictures but things moved too quickly before she started and as people shuffled out (sorry!). Forgive any errors as I was taking notes on the fly while the Chancellor talked:

Cheng began with introductions of various administrators and community members and then moved into a discussion of the labor situation. She repeated that she is “extremely disappointed” and thinks agreements are possible if we take the time and realistic looks at the issues. She reiterated the “availability” of board teams and emphasized she “remains committed to fiscally responsible solutions.” Cheng mentioned a post on her website as a response to questions that were being asked (possibly this one: http://chancellor.siuc.edu/labor/ despite the lack of information?). Then she moved onto the deficit and how the deficit was taken care of, projecting this year as having a balanced budget. She addressed the declines in state budgets and anxiety over higher tuition and fees. She mentioned that the administration and Poshard are watching the pension debate. Cheng moved onto how performance funding is coming and the metrics are focused on completion and retention (still no specifics). She addressed the changing federal funding landscape for education and research. Cheng then moved onto breaking down the impact report that went out earlier this semester on how much SIUC contributes to the Illinois economy. She then moved to our “successes,” such as our ranking moving up in US News & World Report ranking, high percentage of full time faculty, graduation and retention rates going up, high volunteerism, and so forth. After a long iteration of accomplishments, she snuck in a mention of a task force to assess and make sure programs are meeting goals. Then came the distance ed notes – basically it’s here, growing, and “making a positive influence in the lives of out students.” Next came the discussion of the Center for Teaching and Learning Assistance, University College, the new student convocation (though no mention of the fee assessed to students for that), and Saluki Start-Up. Then came deferred maintainance and how we need to be “very strategic on how we allocate resources.” She gave us a timeline on the new student sevices building (spring 2012), a new housing plan which will be available toward the end of the semester. She moved onto the enrollment change and claimed we “are turning the corner.” Then Cheng moved onto the marketing initiative and how “it was more then the new logo.” She said it was “time to change the story” – and that is what the branding is supposed to do. Next came the Strategic Planning (not the announcement of one, but the announcement of completing one). She finished with an emphasis on how the “we,” SHARED GOVERNANCE, will keep us a quality university.

Basically, this was nothing we haven’t seen before in the DE or The Southern.

There’s also been reports of informal polling happening across campus. So if someone in a supervisory or administrative position starts asking you questions like:

  • What does your job entail?
  • Can you train these people to do your job?
  • Is your syllabus available?
  • What hours are your classes?
  • When are you supposed to be in the lab?

CONTACT YOUR UNION. Even these questions (especially asking if you will train replacements) can be considered intimidation and interference — WHICH IS ILLEGAL. Please let us know if you are experiencing anything like this!

There’s also been some movement among the students regarding the labor crisis:
Strike Warning for SIUC Students – Facebook
SIUC Strike Warning – Twitter

Both sites include a call to action, asking people to contact the Board of the Trustees, President Poshard, and Chancellor Cheng and tell them to settle:

Ms. Misty Whittington
Executive Secretary of the Board
Office of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees
(618) 536-3357

Rita Cheng: rcheng@siu.edu
SIUC Chancellor
(618) 453-2341

Glenn Poshard: poshard@siu.edu
SIU President
(618) 536-3357

Upcoming Events:
Friday September 30: GA United Strike Authorization Vote
Friday September 30: ACsE Nomination and Candidate Form Due
Friday September 30, 4:40-6pm, Blue Martin: NTTFA Informational Meeting
Wednesday October 5, 5pm: Informational Meeting for Students About Striking

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7 thoughts on “Administrative Spin, Informal Polling, and Student Movements

  1. “Next came the Strategic Planning (not the announcement of one, but the announcement of completing one). She finished with an emphasis on how the “we,” SHARED GOVERNANCE, will keep us a quality university.”

    Could you explain this further? Did she say that a hitherto unseen strategic plan has been completed? Who was involved in its development? Who is going to be involved in implementing the plan?

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