Faculty in disaccord with University leadership

By Grant Morgan, Managing Editor

Faculty are not happy with the way things are going at The University of Akron.

Yesterday, the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released results of a survey sent out to assess opinions about the current leadership at UA. The survey results come after months of tough criticism against decisions made by the University administration.

Its conclusion? “More than 70% of reporting faculty are not confident in University of Akron leadership.”

“There’s been a lot of anecdotal evidence that faculty are upset about the direction the University is changing,” said John Zipp, sociology professor and president of the Akron AAUP. “And so we thought, ‘Well, it’s time to actually find out how widespread these feelings are.’”

The survey — sent out a week ago — consisted of seven questions, with each question drawing around 450 answers from faculty within all colleges on campus, as well as University Libraries and Wayne College.

The campus-wide response rate was 73 percent. The Lebron James Family Foundation College of Education had the highest response rate at 93 percent while the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering had the lowest response rate at 26 percent.

Here are the results:

  • 72.2 percent of responders said the University is worse off than it was a year ago.
  • 73.1 percent of responders said their departments are worse off than they were a year ago.
  • 47.2 percent of responders said their students are worse off than they were a year ago; 39.2 percent said their students are “about [the] same” as a year ago.
  • 81.3 percent of responders did not agree that “shared governance is working well at The University of Akron.”
  • 79.7 percent of responders did not have confidence in the University’s “strategic planning and budgeting process.”
  • 72.2 percent of responders were not confident that “President Scarborough is leading the [U]niversity in a positive direction.”
  • 78.1 percent of responders were not confident that the “Board of Trustees has been upholding its responsibilities.”

“The concern is amazing,” Zipp said. “There’s a very small percentage of people — four to seven percent — who agree with the direction that’s going on. That’s a very serious issue.”

President Scott Scarborough responded with an emailed statement, saying, We worked closely with the faculty of the colleges as they developed their strategic plans and we charted the university’s strategic direction based on those plans. We recognize that change is always difficult for everyone involved, but making needed changes is what had to be done at The University of Akron to become a more distinctive university and to establish a sustainable economic model going forward. We will continue working with the college deans and the faculty to implement those plans to help achieve our shared goal of providing an even better and more valuable educational experience for our students.”

The survey results can be seen by following this link: http://akronaaup.org/blog/?p=1569