Monday, May 19, 2014
The First Base Coach Problem
The idea of the heroic martyr rallying resistance from within just doesn’t square with how organizations have to work. One person’s gadfly is another’s prima donna. Colleges are complicated enough, with enough moving parts, without adding intramural politicking. As uncomfortable as it can sometimes be, the first base coach has to understand his role.
Here you go: Link (This is intended for children's coaches, but gives the idea.)
If top administration officials start expressing different views in public about important university or academic policies, there will be massive confusion. Noone will know what the policy really is, different factions will form, and noone will know who is in charge.
General Colin Powell put it well. He said that during the time while he and his team of officers were trying to create a strategy, he expected his subordinates to express their advice and opinions clearly and fearlessly, even if they disagreed with the general. He said that vigorous debate at this stage empowered and energized him. But once the decision is made, the debate ends. The subordinates are expected to carry out the general’s plans as if they were their own.
But if a dean finds the orders handed down from the president or the provost to be truly objectionable, immoral, or offensive, he or she is obligated to resign rather than be forced to carry them out. This is probably why a savvy dean will try and negotiate a tenured faculty appointment (or retain one that they already have) before they accept the appointment, just in case the president or provost turns twisted and evil and starts to institute policies that are truly evil and immoral, and their conscience forces them to resign their deanship in protest.
The Dean (Robert Buckingham) in question did have a tenured position along with the deanship. Originally, Professor Buckingham was informed he was terminated from the university and was to leave immediately and not return to the university, school, or his office. He was removed not just as dean but also as a tenured faculty member of the institution.
The President called the latter part a blunder and that Professor Buckingham can retain the tenured position and return to the university. An investigation is under way to determine why the blunder happened.
The Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education is concerned and looking into it as well.
The well defined hierarchy might not square with how many people in Canada want public universities to run.
Dean still stripped of administrative duties but retains tenured faculty position that he was originally also relieved of.
The president can stay also as a tenured faculty member.