Thursday, November 18, 2010

Provost Pauly Caves, Rescinds 8:00 a.m. Class Mandate

Below is an e-mail, sent to various University offices by Anne Deahl, a staffer in the office of Provost John Pauly.

It’s inconceivable that she had the authority to do this by herself, so Pauly is obviously hiding behind one of his employees.

The Backstory

We blogged on this issue back in February. Provost John Pauly required that all departments increase the number of classes offered at 8:00 a.m. We showed that plenty of empty rooms were available at 9:00 a.m. (or 9:30 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday).

Pauly and the Registrar (Georgia McRae) surreptitiously briefed various administrators on the issue, disputing our analysis. Of course, neither Pauly nor McRae bothered to share their claims with us — obviously knowing that they could not withstand the scrutiny we would give them.

We found out about this, and did a new analysis dealing with all the issues they raised. We found empty classrooms to be plentiful at 9:00 a.m. (9:30 a.m on Tuesday-Thursday) and at 1:00 p.m. (12:30 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday).

Pauly promised to raise the issue with McRae, and to respond to our new analysis, but failed to do so.

The E-Mail
Colleagues,

This is a follow-up to my previous email and subsequent discussion at CAPS regarding the revision of the Course Scheduling policy. I have discussed this critical issue at length with the registrar, vice provosts and the provost. We have heard your comments and taken into consideration all of the needs expressed, as well as each college’s unique scheduling issues.

Upon further review, given your feedback, we have determined that the proposal many of you recently requested to maintain the 9% maximum in each time block and eliminate the 7% requirement at 8am is a viable solution.

Some background here may prove helpful. Several years ago when this 9% metric was our guideline, we did not strictly enforce this as a policy, nor did we require courses to be offered in approved time blocks. As classroom capacity became a concern two years ago, the guidelines became policy. There had also been a provost initiative at the time to more evenly spread courses throughout the day and the week to benefit students. Given these factors, we implemented a scheduling policy that included required 8am courses, and was conservative, to ensure adequate classroom space to meet our current and potential future needs for growth.

Having considered your input over the past year, we realize that while teaching more 8am sections does help distribute courses more evenly throughout the week, this may not outweigh the challenges it presents to both faculty and students. Your willingness to work within the 9%, and to work together in schedule-building, both within and across colleges has allowed for greater efficiency in scheduling as well. Eliminating an 8am teaching requirement will, however, mean some flexibility on your part and we would ask your continued collaboration and the following:
1. There is a limited number of particular types of classrooms available in each time block; therefore, staff in the Office of the Registrar may come to you at times and ask that a course be moved into another time block, or, if this is not an option, then it could mean that the class will be assigned into a classroom that does not meet 100% of the pedagogical needs of the instructor. We would ask your forbearance and accommodation during these times.

2. When there are ADA issues that must be addressed, we may need to move more than just that one class, as has been our practice in the last year, to accommodate those needs. As more of our classrooms become accessible, we expect this issue to diminish over time.

3. Your understanding that these recommendations continue to be predicated on several assumptions:
a. The total number of course sections will remain relatively consistent (i.e., no college/school designs major structural course changes that would reduce class size, but double the number of sections needed, etc.)

b. We will retain the current inventory of General Pool Classrooms (121), or its equivalent.

c. Some colleges/schools will continue to teach some courses at the 8:00am hour by choice, as they did prior to the implementation of the 8:00am requirement.

d. Your continued cooperation to work across colleges/departments to maximize the use of each time block.
With this change and your help, the Office of the Registrar will make every effort to keep the commitments made earlier:
1. Priority in scheduling a classroom is given to faculty who have a specific piece of equipment/software installed in a classroom that is needed for a particular class.

2. Priority in scheduling classrooms in the building in which a college/school/department resides is given to the faculty in those colleges/schools/departments.

3. Priority in scheduling a classroom within the same building is given to faculty who teach back-to-back classes.

4. Priority in scheduling a classroom that meets the enrollment and pedagogical needs of the class.

5. The University’s commitment to follow the ADA regulations and move those classes with students/faculty with ADA issues to an appropriate classroom.
Knowing many of you are beginning work on your fall 2011 schedules, we will implement this policy now and you may follow it for fall 2011 schedule building. It is our hope that this change will be amenable to you and meet as many of your needs as we can reasonably meet. Please share with me any comments or questions you might have.

Thank you.

Anne Deahl

Associate Vice Provost for Academic Support Programs and Retention
Marquette University
Zilber Hall 454 C
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1881
It’s easy to understand why campus scuttlebutt holds that Pauly will occupy the Provost’s office for only a “decent interval” before being given the axe. The most important piece of baggage he has is his central role in the attempt to hire a lesbian dean candidate who was outspoken in her opposition to Catholic teaching on sexuality.

The current fiasco goes beyond showing bad judgment in pushing a policy that was both unneeded and anathema to the vast majority of students and faculty. Pauly defended the policy with bogus data, and when challenged stonewalled for six months.

Our initial suspicion was that Pauly was simply bamboozled by Registrar Georgia McRae, and would relent in the face of good information. But instead, we found that Pauly was responsible, and was rigidly attached to the policy.

Labels: , , , , , ,

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friendly heads up. "Recind" is spelled wrong.You know this obviously but you are probably not aware. Take care!

11:38 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Actually, I don't know how to spell "rescinds" but thought I had spell-checked that. :-(

It's fixed now.

12:48 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home