To the extent that the state flagship campuses lose sight of their comparative advantages, the harder it will be for the branch campuses and regional comprehensives to keep their focus.  At Michigan, a plucky band of faculty have reminded their administrators what matters.
In an open letter to the University's Board of Regents dated April 20, a group of about a dozen University faculty took aim at administrative salaries at the University, publishing an extensive report that claimed spending on select salaries is heavily out of line with peer institutions, and that the University has moved away from its core mission of “teaching, research, and service.”
The letter does not focus on the intellectually contested territories of affirmative action, special education, or Student Affairs usurping curricular prerogatives properly of the faculty.  The imprimatur of faculty at a Public Ivy calling out the business follies, however, is a Good Sign.
“The faculty and staff of the University of Michigan are as alarmed as all members of our community by the rising costs of tuition and the proliferation of ‘image-building’ nonacademic programs and activities,” the letter read. “The University is in desperate and urgent need of fiscal reform.”
We all know the drill. Taglines. Branding initiatives. Slick marketing and packaging.  Strategic planning and ad-hoc task forces that usurp faculty responsibilities.  Let the Michigan faculty fight it out on this line, even if it takes several summers.

No comments: