Wednesday, April 16, 2014
"Bad Dean" by Old Fart Prof (next installment of a potentially infinite series)
Bad Dean had several issues from the start: he was authoritarian, a micro-manager, and had spent ten Cold War years at a Pentagon-funded think tank. Founding Dean was the polar opposite, and the faculty and students had gotten used to a high degree of self-governance and an atmosphere of liberal political activism.
Bad Dean immediately took charge by reallocating lines between departments, forcing departments to accept Chairs of his choosing, eliminating student control of campus organizations, and tightening
courses offered to only those he approved. All of these actions were in fact within his legal power, but such powers had not been exercised directly by Founding Dean. Within months, faculty were petitioning for his ouster, and Bad Dean’s office had been occupied by students, who he then had arrested.
By the end of a year, Bad Dean was meeting with university administration and questioning the college’s future viability. Faculty were leaving, either to take better jobs or because they were denied tenure by
university administration. The atmosphere on campus had been poisoned; applications went way down as the college’s troubles become public knowledge.
After three years Bad Dean was given a senior professorship in a graduate program on another campus, with a hefty travel and research budget and minimal teaching load. An original Founding Faculty member became Dean, and presided over the college’s eventual dissolution. Within four years, the college became merely a group of dorms and academic buildings with the same name as before but no faculty, curriculum, or degrees.
To quote Kurt Vonnegut, “So it goes.”
-- Old Fart Prof