I acknowledge receipt of the Livingston Fellows Executive Committee along with your resolution and I am forwarding it to the Secretary of the senate who keeps all communications. There was no contact address or phone number other than the Dean’s office, so please forward this message to the other members of the Executive Committee.
Your frustration is shared by many dean’s evaluations committees and in response the senate Faculty Affairs and Personnel Committee (FAPC) is in the process of reviewing and proposing amendments to the process. As a matter of fact the FAPC is meeting with the upper administration this coming Friday to discuss exactly that. Nevertheless, I was disappointed by your resolution and do not think it promotes our attempts for increased faculty participation in the operation of the University.
You bring up two issues:
· Lack of support and recognition for the faculty conducting the evaluation and
· Lack of indications of wide utility of the exercise.
One of your “whereas’s”, however, is inaccurate: the FAPC, within their own limitations of volunteered time, discussed both your concerns and focused on the latter.
In terms of the former, namely lack of support from the administration and lack of recognition by either lightening of teaching load or by service-based FASIP increases, I can only say what you probably know already: this has been, and still is, the way at Rutgers for all volunteer work on shared governance. My own approach is that if my good deed of the moment goes unpunished I consider myself as being ahead.
You have hinted in the past that it might be up to the senate to provide support. I can only respond to that as follows: I did the same job for my own unit as you did for LC. I may not have been as thorough as you were, but I am also sure that you did not have to content with the incompatibilities among committee members or the abbreviated schedule that I had to deal with. Also as chair of the senate I could be considered, in a way, the “boss” of the senate staff. Even so it did not even cross my mind to enlist their help in the task of evaluating my own dean. The role of the senate if advisory to the president. Senate resolutions and guidelines are not university policy until they are endorsed by the administration. Once that is achieved the senate should be out of the loop. The fact that the chair of the senate is one of the four recipients of the report is only the result of a compromise between the faculty position that the report should be public and the administration position that only administrators should be able to have access to it.
One last point on support, for the benefit of other recipients of our exchanges: reading your cover letter and resolution one might conclude that you did not receive, or appreciate, any significant help from Dr. Monica Devanas of the Teaching Excellence Center. Having had the opportunity to read your confidential report I know that you appreciated her “crucial” help (as did we and the other committees) but others who do not have access to that document may not come out with the same impression.
Your second concern is certainly universally shared, in different shades, by faculty. Our discussions with the administration are focused on the lack of feedback to the evaluating faculty and on indications that these evaluations are not taken seriously. The FAPC considers these issues as the most important. We therefore do take your comments on the subject very seriously into account and they are part of arguments made to date and to be made again on Friday. Your issue on support and recognition will also be brought up, but only as a secondary consideration in this particular context. I promise, however, to include it in discussions with the administration on the future of shared governance.
I realize that your frustration on the issue of support and recognition is in part a result of, and in combination with, the second issue you brought up, namely that of lack of indications of the utility of the exercise outside the unit. I hope that we will be able to address the latter concern to your satisfaction and that you and your colleagues will be willing to perform the same onerous task in the future once you are able to clearly see the purpose and utility of the evaluation process.
Paul Panayotatos, Co-chair
Faculty Affairs and Personnel Committee
Senate Chair 2003-‘04