Comments and Questions from Listening Session with Bruce

English Department

Open communication with the campus has been very good and appreciated.

The emergency notice on the website alerted us to weather conditions early.   Much appreciated so we can plan the day. 

I know of two instances when administrative positions have been combined.  Streamlining is good.  The flatter the organization, the more likely the president is to hear things. 

WWU is known for excellence of teaching.  One way of growing is to team teach, but it is nearly impossible with scheduling problems, funding disincentives.  No clear process for aligning teachers besides teaching on overload or co-listing two courses.  

The pay scale doesn’t work for each teaching half. 

Colleges lack permanent leadership which is worrisome.  We need to be able to count on leaders to facilitate the process of change etc.

Faculty are ready to move on the issues we raise.   Permanent leadership is needed. 

Seeing the leadership void coupled with budget issues makes us nervous.   Need leadership on where the budget cuts are going.  We really have no sense of the impact yet.   Provost’s office needs to move on that.

We go through an accreditation process – external review as a department.   Haven’t heard of anything like a peer review of administrators.

The Senate put into place an evaluation process for administrators. 

Like the policies and principles on budgeting on the website.  Kelli Linville said that her key principle is that budgets should be formed from the classroom up. 

In last 15-20 years, satellite/support programs have developed on campus that drain resources away from other programs.  We need to be pretty careful about diffusing resources available for teaching. 

Painful part of cuts is that the budget involves people.  There are a lot of people who we can’t do without who are not secure in their positions.  Particular concern for non-tenure-track faculty on whom we rely.

We function as a very large program with minimal administrative support.  Surely we are talking about reducing the size of the student body if we are cutting budget. 

Administrative assessment – since budget could result in position losses, we need to investigate not only whether position is being done well, but whether position responsibilities should be done. 

We may not always understand the role that support functions play.  

WWU is the only institution that requires only one writing course.  We proposed an increase several years ago, but it wasn’t supported.   If we have to cut faculty and increase class sizes, this will get worse.   Most of the writing courses are taught by grad students.

In the first 8 years, I had 6 different chairs because the job wasn’t tenable.   The chair of English is compensated the same way as a smaller department.  How can we shift the ground of leadership so we’ll encourage people to step up. 

We have so many sections being held up – can’t schedule them because we don’t know our budget.  Our tenure-track faculty commit to teaching GUR classes, but decisions are really being delayed too long so that we can’t easily plan how to distribute the load. 


Page Updated 11.27.2013