I have been working on strategic plan for recruiting students and majors for one of my departments, in a very complex situation. My information on what is happening is incomplete and inconsistent, and I really wish I had the answer to certain questions.
a/ What were the four reports the chair filed in defence of the department during spring 2015? What type of review was it under? Why were faculty not consulted? Why, if certain decisions were made in June, were we not told until August?
b/ Why does the dean say we just have enrolment management problems, but on the other hand suggest we could soon be turned into a service department? Why does the chair express such hopelessness? Is he just not engaged … or does he know more about what has been planned than he is revealing … or is he also in the dark?
c/ Can we have access to the reports already filed? Can we know what time-lines we have? Can we speak to someone who will clarify certain things the chair is vague about, or must we continue to play the present game of Chinese whispers? Can the recommendations of research faculty in field be heard?
Mostly, all of this is frustrating because the answer is so simple: let the professorial faculty in each field and subfield make the decisions about course offerings in it. When these decisions are made by administrators in other fields, instructors and secretaries, they are made poorly. This, of course, is what we cannot say directly. Or, perhaps we should.
I appear to be quite close to doing so, since I am writing here about the kind of thing most people consider “unbloggable.”