Revisiting the 2009 UFS Faculty Survey Review: Re-Visit I

I whisked through questions to complete the survey even as the questions were raising more questions. Like this one, Question 5f: Level of Respect Shown to Faculty by College President. Should there have been a similar question about department chairs?

A study by Hunter’s Faculty Delegate Assembly supporting a position that incivility regarding Academic Freedom really takes place at the department level was released just about the time a few senior faculty members at Hunter, like D:F/M’s former chair and still Distinguished Professor Stuart Ewen, were publicly spearheading an effort taking the College administration to task for alleged violations of Academic Freedom and vicious encroachment on faculty rights and privileges and perceived perks and whatnot.

There was suppose to be this climate of fear being generated, cascading from the 17th floor of Hunter East where the offices of the top administrators are located, innundating every nook and cranny of academic life [for professors, was the concern, not students]. This was a few years ago when all manner of Academic Freedom violations and transgressions were taking place in D:F/M. And D:F/M, according to a former Hunter Senate Chair and former Hunter Ombudsperson who visited D:F/M for some talks with the chair who succeeded Ewen, was no better or worse than several other departments in the College.

It was in the middle, they estimated. Was D:F/M a microcosm for the rest of the middle road departments at Hunter? At the University? The following question should have been on the survey: Level of Respect Shown to Faculty Colleagues by Department Chairs. Or, Rate Your Department Chair. And possibly this one, Level of Respect Colleagues Show Colleagues.

But no gripe here about them not being asked there. Nevertheless, one should have been there and others should have been considered. [The survey could could have included an addendum at the end saying something like, Questions Considered But Were Tossed Out.]

Questions 9d of the survey seemed, in light of what goes on in D:F/M, was milktoast-esque for this instructor’s tastes: My department takes steps to enhance the climate for faculty of color.

Plans are in the works by this writer to revisit, several times, this Faculty Experience Survey in an attempt to intuit the politics and realpolitics involved with this survey.

If institutions of higher learning desire academic honesty, they must be institutions of obvious integrity, places where students, faculty, and administrators seek truth and wisdom and technical expertise in an environment marked by trust, honesty, respect, fairness, responsibility, and courage. — Peg Hogan, Former President, The Center for Academic Integrity.

“Bullying academic departments tend not to allow assistant professors to follow their own bliss, either in the classroom or in their research agendas. This is sometimes the very motive for the bullying: Many departments really don’t want anything – or anyone – new or innovative around. And scrutinizing other people’s work.” Historiann.

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