MOTION FOR THE FACULTY SENATE RELATIVE
TO THE STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS AND INITIATIVES (SDI) REPORT
We have read the report and appendices closely (available on line at http://www.sc.edu/USC-Times), we attended the special Faculty Senate sessions, and we listened very closely to the questions and comments made by the Faculty, as well as the responses by the administration and the SDI committee members. We would like to offer a single motion that lays out all or most of the questions and concerns that have been raised by the faculty in theses sessions that appear to have been either vaguely or inadequately addressed, without demeaning or antagonizing anyone.
Recognizing and appreciating the effort that the members of the WAG and SDI Committee's have invested in studying the various issues raised in their Reports, nevertheless:
Whereas the Report of the Strategic Directions and Initiatives Committee (referred to as the Strategic Directions Report) is recommending profound changes in the structure, operation, governance, and future direction of the University (consisting of twenty-eight major recommendations),
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report, after numerous sessions with the Faculty Senate, remains unclear as to what is meant by the goal of being "South Carolina's flagship institution" and "to establish USC as an efficient, nationally respected, comprehensive research university" (p. 2),
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report remains unclear as to how to reconcile the well-intentioned but potentially contradictory objectives of: 1. "To increase markedly the academic quality of the student body," undergraduate and graduate, and 2. "To increase dramatically research and scholarly productivity" (pp. ii, 2)
Whereas the goals and objectives of the Strategic Directions Report appear to be somewhat inconsistent with the Board of Trustee Goals for 2005 (Appendix A), the Faculty Objectives for 2005 (Appendix B), and the Report of the Washington Advisory Group (Appendix C),
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report is clearly driven by budgetary questions that are not explicitly acknowledged or detailed in the report,
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report makes twenty-eight major recommendations with no more justification than roughly one general paragraph for each recommendation, nor specifies how the changes will be made or implemented,
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report recommends to "reallocate resources across and within colleges and schools" (p. 17), but provides little information about the nature of or any formula for such reallocations (under the recommended Value-Centered Management Budgeting approach),
Whereas it is the overriding concern of the Faculty Senate that financial considerations must not create a long-range planning environment in which the value of academic programs and of scholarly and research activities be measured predominantly in terms of the revenue that programs and activities bring to the university,
Whereas the Faculty Senate is concerned that long-range plans must identify the values to be honored and protected as the University continues to mature and must include express assurances of adequate support for the maintenance and strengthening of all programs that are fundamental to the comprehensive academic mission of the university, regardless of whether those programs are financially self-sufficient,
Whereas the Faculty Senate believes it is critical to the long-range mission of the University of South Carolina that the university offer to its students a comprehensive academic program with strength in a wide range of disciplines of the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional school level,
Whereas very few of the twenty-eight recommendations in the Strategic Directions Report speak to the first goal "To increase markedly the academic quality of the entire student body," and the report, rarely, if ever, uses language that refers to the importance of teaching, student learning, and the quality of education.
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report claims that "Volumes of data have been collected and analyzed as part of the SDI process" (p. 3), but provides almost no data within the report,
Whereas the numerous sessions of the Faculty Senate have provided considerable information about the variety of missions and activities of the different units within the University which are not addressed or recognized in the Strategic Directions Report,
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report appears to equate research in the discussion with the Faculty Senate not with scholarship or knowledge, but with the narrow definition of "the getting of grants and raising of money, especially from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense,"
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report recommends to restructure and increase Graduate Student Assistantships (p. 20), but does not explain how this can or will be accomplished during a time of increasing budgetary constraints,
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report makes constant mention of the importance of "cross-disciplinary research and collaboration", but is unclear as to how this will occur or be encouraged,
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report recommends the creation of new administrative tiers (such as the creation of Vice President for the recommended College of Health Sciences, p. 9, as well as the ambiguous nature of the recommended College of Fine and Performing Arts), but
makes no mention of the substantial growth, and potential need for change and reallocation, in administration personnel and administration salaries over the years,
Whereas the Strategic Directions Report makes no reference to the Athletics Department, its relative autonomy, and its potential source of regular revenue for the academic programs of the University (as opposed to an occasional contribution during extremely profitable years),
Whereas Dr. Palms has announced his retirement, effective at the end of this academic year, and the University is engaged in a nationwide search for his successor,
Whereas it is important that the next president of the University have the same freedom accorded to President Palms upon his (her) arrival ten years ago to participate in and lead the process of defining the future of the university;
We, therefore, the Faculty Senate of the University of South Carolina, resolve that the Strategic Directions Report remains incomplete and does not set forth with adequate clarity an appropriate and sufficient long-term vision and strategic plan for the University and urge Dr. Palms and the Board of Trustees that it not be acted upon. Furthermore, we urge that the Report be considered a starting point for more thorough study and dialogue throughout the University community concerning the problems, challenges, and opportunities which the University faces that should begin with the appointment of a new permanent president.
Shahrough Akhavi, Government and International Studies
Charles Alber, Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian Languages and Literatures
Richard Conant, School of Music
Nancy Lane, French and Classics
Charles (Randy) Mack, Art History
Philip Rollinson, English
Jerel Rosati, Government and International Studies
John Weidner, Chemical Engineering
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