Faculty slams U of C admin

Academic decision making at the University of Calgary is being systematically eroded by an administration intent on forcing its own agenda, according to the U of C Faculty Association.

In its February newsletter Academic Views, TUCFA blasted U of C administration for using “bullying tactics to get what they want,” and outlined a number of areas where collegial governance has allegedly been undermined by administration.

“[Academic staff] cannot be treated as unknowing cogs in the mechanism when their job description requires them to be highly intelligent and successful people,” reads the uncredited article. “It is inconsistent with the kind of [people] the university needs as their professors to treat them as puppets… [T]he leadership that seems to reign here is leadership in the sense of control.”

TUCFA President Anton Colijn said the article represents the views of TUCFA’s executive and their sense of member opinion. He stressed it is aimed at garnering further input from faculty across campus.

“We have written about our perception,” he said. “What we would like to see is if our membership corroborates what we have observed.”

The article, entitled “Ailing collegial governance” claims that deans and administrators use their roles “to control faculty and university agendas without real consultation with the faculty,” and accuses the administration of “pulling everyone’s strings.”

“Finally, when all else fails, some senior administrators are not above using bullying tactics to get what they want,” reads the article. “Increasingly, faculty members may be subject to subtle or less subtle harassment to make it clear that they should keep quiet.”

The article does not list examples or name any specific administrator.

U of C vice-president external relations Roman Cooney denied the article’s claims.

“Virtually every major decision making body at the university includes faculty and student input,” said Cooney. “The university has a number of public forums in which all members of the university can raise their concerns, and frankly they do.”

Colijn believes the level of debate in General Faculties Council meetings has been one of the things hardest hit, claiming reports presented at GFC are often brief summaries, geared more towards quick approval rather than discussion.

“There’s no room for the larger university community to debate,” he said. “For a considerable length of time some of us have had the feeling that collegial governance is on a downward trend.”

Cooney stressed the lack of concrete examples in the article and denied claims the university resorts to bullying tactics.

“That’s an impossible question to respond to,” he said. “It’s an open-ended criticism with no examples behind it. Of course I disagree.”

Cooney also defended GFC.

“GFC is an open forum,” said Cooney. “In my experience the representatives of the academic community–as it should be–are not shy of raising their issues.”

Find Academic views online here.

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