Rob Whitnell sent the following to me and said I could post it here if I thought it would be helpful. I do, so I am. The rest of this is Rob’s words.
Somewhere deep into the multi-year process that led to the 1998 curriculum, Jeff Jeske started leading the task force focused on curriculum revision. In that role, one of the first things he did was make appointments with every single faculty member for a one-on-one meeting. As I remember it, he simply wanted to hear what each of us had to say, what we were excited and concerned about, what we would hope happen. And Jeff just listened. It clearly didn’t eliminate the tensions of that process, as anyone who went through it can tell you. But I’d like to think that it put all of us on a more equal footing, that maybe someone really was hearing what we had to say.
In that spirit, and somewhat related to my comments at Wednesday’s forum, maybe it’s time to do something similar. Each and every faculty member should have the chance to say what they want to say, face-to-face to someone whose task is to listen and record and ask for clarification, not to argue or discuss or proselytize. These conversations shouldn’t happen at the departmental level, and not through surveys or making posts. Individuals need to be able to speak freely in a way that they can trust their words won’t be used against them.
I don’t know how to make the logistics of that work. But here are some questions (and I’m sure there are others). Answers to questions like these, from each faculty member, comfortable that they can speak freely, could help us make the case for what can and cannot work as we’re pushed toward a new curriculum in a 12/3 calendar.
- What information do you need to make these changes happen?
- What resources would you need? Time, money, course releases (with replacement faculty), staff support, other kinds of tangible or intangible support?
- What must remain available for your current students so that they can finish under the catalog they came in under?
- What important elements of your program (any program you participate in) would you no longer be available to do in the new curriculum under 12/3?
- What new great things will you be able to do if you get the support you need?
- What elements of Guilford College can we least afford to lose in going forward with a new curriculum under 12/3?
And these questions (or similar ones) should not be asked only of faculty, but of Suzanne, Melissa, Kelly, Todd, Krishauna, Craig, Alfred, Chuck, James, Daniel, and the director of every other program that interacts directly with students.
If we want to understand resources/budget are really needed, or learn what important elements of the Guilford College we would have to lose in order to do 12/3, or find links among faculty that we didn’t know were present, or have the ability to make a strong case against 12/3 if that’s what is indicated, then information from all of us is absolutely necessary.
And the sooner the better.
Thank you, Rob, for the questions here. These will be so helpful as the process moves ahead and we work across campus to discover the links across campus, as you say.
I, too, like the idea and appreciate Rob’s reminder of Jeff’s work. My only concern is the amount of time that Jeff took to do his interviews. Time I don’t think we currently have. Would faculty be amenable to a very small committee of universally, trusted individuals to do the work? Can we put the group together quickly so we can move forward quickly in an informed manner?