Fighting the downsizing of education at the University of Vermont.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fogel's priorities v. ours

The Burlington Free Press's Tim Johnson just posted a new blog entry following up on Fogel's recent administrative appointments. The positions, salaries, and Fogel's explanation of the need, particularly for the new senior advisor on the "commercialization of intellectual property" can be found at

What I especially want to point to is how Fogel responded to Johnson's question regarding his late-February promise that he would be streamlining the administration. Fogel now says:

"A prevailing theme of our decision-making has been, of necessity, adjusting to changing circumstances. As you know, as our financial picture improved, our projected layoff numbers were significantly reduced, as were our departmental budget reductions to academic units.

"As a matter of fact, we were able to reinvest significant monies in our highest priorities. Our decisions on administrative structure and costs will be ongoing and informed by new data that emerges. Fortunately, we have been able to operate in a less crisis-oriented mode, and are able to make more carefully considered decisions as a result.

"This fall we will be completing a comprehensive administrative benchmarking study vis-a-vis comparable universities, and we will be able to provide a full accounting of administrative positions and costs in relation to what they have been historically at UVM and also within the national context in higher education. I am strongly committed to increasing efficiencies wherever possible, which will be an ongoing process rather than an unveiling of a large plan. I am also committed to hiring and retaining talented individuals who will actively focus on achieving UVM's most important goals."

So Fogel's "highest priorities" were to preserve and even add to his administration while (in the end how many?) first-round staff layoffs and hour reductions still went through, full-time lecturers were not reappointed, tenure-track positions were eliminated (in English we got Victorian literature back but still lost creative writing and Irish literature lines), and (again how many?) part-time faculty were cut.

Here's the response I just posted on Tim Johnson's blog:

"Tim, you might consider asking Fogel's administration to give a full postmortem on the cuts they did make:

* the number of Phase I staff layoffs (and any additional staff layoffs) that went through;
* the number of staff placed on reduced hours and benefits;
* the number of full-time lecturers whose contracts were not renewed;
* the number of part-time lecturers who were not assigned courses for the fall;
* the number of tenure-track lines that were eliminated.

That final accounting against the preservation and even expansion of Fogel's administration should give a pretty clear view of what this president's "highest priorities" are."

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