Faculty respond with survey

Union reviews move to name president, provost

By Grant Morgan, Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday afternoon UA’s faculty union released the results of a survey regarding the Board of Trustees’ recent decision to make Matthew Wilson permanent president and Rex Ramsier permanent provost of the University.

The information was sent in a newsletter to bargaining-unit faculty, and expressed various concerns about shared governance and about the Board’s rapid decision to name the president and provost.

The union (the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors, or Akron-AAUP) was told on Friday, Oct. 14 that the Board would be holding a special session five days later to consider removing “interim” from Wilson’s and Ramsier’s job titles.

After its chapter meeting that Monday, Oct. 17, the Akron-AAUP sent out a survey to bargaining-unit faculty requesting their thoughts on the matter, to be presented to the Board at the special session on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Akron-AAUP was represented by three members at the meeting who, along with the survey results, gave comments on shared governance. They were Yang Yun, biomedical engineering professor; Jeanne-Helene Roy, French professor; and John Zipp, sociology professor and president of Akron-AAUP.

Among other concerns, the email noted that the five days’ notice the Board gave Akron-AAUP was “notification” rather than “consultation”; and that this, along with other points, represents “a significant setback” in shared governance, an area in which UA “appeared to be making important moves” the “last few months.”

“After the [Board] noted the urgency of needing to stabilize leadership, we noted that, if they had treated us as partners in shared governance…we could have worked together to devise an appropriate strategy to meet the needs and concerns of all groups,” said the Akron-AAUP letter.

To a question about the then-interim president, 21 percent of responders said Wilson is the right selection for president, while 74.8 percent said that he may be the right selection, but it is too soon to tell; 1.9 percent said he is “definitely not” the right selection.

Forty-four percent of responders believed that, at the Board meeting, “interim” should not be removed from Wilson’s job title, and a search for president should come after Wilson’s term as interim ends in December 2017.

Forty-three percent believed that “interim” should be removed, though a search would still be conducted when his term as permanent president ends, either in December 2017 or May 2018.

What the Board finally decided on was, of course, to remove “interim” and extend Wilson’s tenure to June 2019, adding that by June of 2018, the Board will consult with the Faculty Senate, University Council and Akron-AAUP about whether to do a search for president.

Responders were not so optimistic about Provost Rex Ramsier, with 21.4 percent strongly or somewhat agreeing that he is the right selection for provost; 25.4 percent neither disagreeing nor agreeing; and 52.2 percent strongly or somewhat disagreeing.