After speaking to faculty across the university, it is clear to me that opposition to the Provost’s plan to dismantle the Graduate School is widespread. However, many faculty members seem hesitant to speak up, and I have even heard rumors that reporters are having trouble finding faculty sources willing to go on the record. Feeling intimidated is human, but the health of our research enterprise, and indeed of our institution itself, is on the line here. This is not the time for timidity.
Luckily, UW-Madison faculty have real power and we don’t have to stay silent. Unlike other universities, our university administration does not pick departmental chairs, and it is the faculty who are responsible for faculty hiring, and decisions on merit pay and promotion. Our system of shared governance guarantees us a role in decision making and shields us from abuses by university leadership.
UW-Madison operates so well, in part, because of shared decision making, but this only works if people participate in governance. It is the faculty’s right to question any proposed reorganization plan. Further, it is our responsibility to oppose any plans that are poorly thought out or which seem likely to harm our great university. The Provost’s proposal, unfortunately, meets both these criteria, and so he should be facing a torrent of questions and criticisms from the faculty, not a trickle.
– CK Adams