Faculty ask for “clear, credible communication” from administration

A letter to Robert Hiscock, sent in reply to the administration’s “FAQ” site posted on February 3rd:

Robert,

I’m very concerned about the content of the faq posted earlier today and communications over the past two days.

Courses are routinely scheduled before the budget is approved by the Board. Many or perhaps all departments have been told the plan for teaching resources next year and I understand that WGST was told unambiguously that there would not be resources to hire someone to teach courses next year.
There are many polite words for your announcement and the statements made by Gloria and Hans, but I think it is fairly clear to all that these statements are somewhere between deceptive and meaningless.
It’s widely believed that a good strategy in crisis management is to admit error, communicate clearly and then take action.
It is disappointing to me that our administration is still firmly in the “MtA falsely declares” world. No one I’ve talked to in the past two days thinks the administration has any credibility. We laugh about it, but it really isn’t very funny.
While I’m convinced there is a deliberate effort to deceive the community, this is actually irrelevant. The real problem is credibility. Clear, unambiguous and credible communication is necessary.

Andrew Irwin

Math and Computer Science
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3 thoughts on “Faculty ask for “clear, credible communication” from administration

  1. Hi Andrew,

    Academic planning does happen before final budgets are known, and all departments go through a similar process with their budgets. This is a normal part of planning for any upcoming year. However, until a final University budget is known, such planning can only reflect scenarios for different budget possibilities, and do not reflect final decisions. There was not, nor is there now, any decision made or intention to drop the WGST program.

    This past Tuesday the Government of New Brunswick announced their budget for the coming year, and this now provides the University with more information than we had previously. It is not the whole budget picture, but is an important piece. This allows Deans and administrative managers to do more informed planning about how to deliver programs and services.

    We’ll continue to communicate through the FAQ page, which we created to answer questions that have been asked, as well as by other means. Additional questions can be directed to me, or to communications@mta.ca.

    Robert

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  2. The university has responded to our budgetary concerns by assuring the community that the WGST program is not in the process of being cut or cancelled. However, we remain deeply concerned with the potential withdrawal of funding for the program for 2016-17. A program offering no core courses, with no faculty, and limits on the registration of minors – even as a temporary situation – will be negatively affected for years to come. We are concerned about what the potential withdrawal of funding for 2016-7 means for the viability of the program in the future and the level of university support it can expect. We have therefore insisted on having a public, transparent, and clear conversation with our community about the implications of these funding options. We are encouraged that the university has confirmed that the budget process is not finalized, and the program hopes to be informed soon about our staffing and timetabling options for the upcoming year.

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  3. I am reading “Dear Parents: Everything You Need to Know About Your Son and Daughter’s University But Don’t” by Ron Srigler for today discussion at Quo Vadimus. One paragraph said:

    “Consider, for instance, the growth of university Public Relations Offices, or Communications Departments, as they are more often called these days. These Offices and Departments work directly for the upper administration, and so do its bidding without resistance. They advertise the university, inflating its accomplishments and spinning its failures so as to maximize exposure and limit damage.”

    The WGST program is an academic topic and we are discussing it with the Director of Marqueting and Communication (“spinning its failures” or “to limit damage” perhaps?) This means to me that something is seriously wrong with our university. My question is where is the Dean, the Vice-President Academic or our university president to discuss this?

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