Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Dog that Didn't Bark
Which is to say, I'm wiped. That's normal for this time of year.
In a discussion commiserating with a colleague who is also up against it, I realized that this year's greatest achievement is something that didn't happen.
In the context of the largest single-year funding cut in the college's history, and the largest single-year enrollment jump in the college's history, here's what happened:
- the course completion rate held steady this Fall
- several strong new programs were developed
- labor relations remained positive
- we hired a few new full-time faculty
- we continued to improve shared governance
- the culture continued to shift, slowly, in a positive direction
- nobody flipped out
Going into this year, I thought this would be the big one. For a while there, I was honestly concerned that something was going to either fall apart or explode. I'm not ordinarily given to drama, but when you're caught in a pincer move as severe as this year's, it's fair to wonder just how you'll get through.
Instead, the college got through without catastrophe. Layoffs were minimal, and confined to administration. We actually hired some faculty. And the largest student cohort in history did remarkably well, all things considered.
Some victories are conspicuous and easily explained. This year, the victory was the dog that didn't bark. Very few will notice the victory, but it's real. In an environment as straitened as this one, that's what victory looks like.
I'll take it.
Well done all who kept their focus and held the line.
Breathing a sigh of relief down here, too.
Can you tell me more about your ideas and strategies for shared governance? I think I will be asked about it in an upcoming job interview. I have my ideas, but am interested in hearing from you.
We too had an OK year, and our main accomplishment would be that we managed to serve 15% more students with 10% less in our State allocation. I fear, however, that the message that we and others are sending out is, "Yes! We can do More with Less!" As long as we continue to 'manage', then there will be no incentive for our respective legislatures to restore any of the budget cuts that we have all experienced.
Having the wheels come off (or at least wobble severely) might not be such a bad thing.