A Survey about Surveys

In the last couple of months we have seen more and more surveys popping up in our inbox. There was the survey about the Inspector General’s Office, about Morale (where are those results?), Lecture capture cameras (ditto), and now Registration. I know many people do not fill out these surveys which I think is a mistake. Consider this, in some small way filling out these surveys is like voting. If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about decisions made later. How much happier we all would have been if the powers that be had sent a survey about branding or graduation or most recently,  no more spring hires. (Just a side comment- if we are no longer allowed spring hires, does that apply to district too? So, if there is a job opening do they have to wait until fall semester to hire or are they allowed to hire based on need and availability?).

Not to say that a survey would have changed the decisions that the money spenders made, but at least our voice would have been heard. A large complaint about this administration is the total top-down communication. I would like to think these surveys are at least an attempt to give the people who actually work with students a voice.  So next time you see a survey pop into your inbox, don’t ignore it, fill it out. Don’t pass up an opportunity to actually communicate back to the powers that be, we have so few opportunities to do so….

6 thoughts on “A Survey about Surveys

  1. No more spring hires…district hadn’t screwed with any of our traditions for awhile and decided, “hey, spring hires- let’s fu$# with faculty and take that away.”

  2. Last survey I received asked about campus safety. It seemed to be targeted at people who drive to their campus.
    I work at Truman. It’s a war zone up there. No parking survey can adequately capture the fear & frustration of people who must dodge bullets in the street in order to get to school.

    If the survey makers asked useful questions, I might respond.

  3. Chris: that is ridiculously scary. You are right, a survey would not have helped at all. I did hear that Truman had built a fence and that there was a lot of money earmarked for security. Although, I can’t really see how that helps with flying bullets. Be safe.

    Philo-Dave and my angry fellow Spring hire:

    I tapped a source at District today to learn more about the No spring-hire rule currently in effect. My contact stated that the identity of the one who first suggested this and the one who has now implemented the rule is unknown. So, either I need a better source at district or the decision was made in the labyrinth of bureaucracy at District and no one knows. The reasoning seems to be that most institutes of higher education don’t have spring hires. Another reason is that a fall-only hire allows us to run a nationwide search and gives us more time to consider our choices. Where is Kamran when we need someone to count the fallacies in that reasoning?

    I can speak a little about this having been on numerous hiring committees. I’ll ignore the bandwagon reasoning (I can spot that one) of what other schools do. I would point out that we do have a nationwide search, resumés come from everywhere for the jobs we post. On occasion we do interview those from places others than Chicago. Most of us do not have a budget to fly potential candidates in so we skype with them or have a telephone interview. I don’t know if we have ever hired someone who we initially interviewed via computer/telephone. I would love to hear if anyone was hired via that method.

    Most people we hire come from right here in Chicago. Chicago is not a small town with a limited pool of candidates and we have excellent talent from which to choose. In fact, most people we hire, at least in the English/Speech/Theater dept. are adjuncts. I believe that 4 of our last 5 hires were adjuncts. I suppose the argument could be made that a longer search time would allow for a “better” class of candidates but I won’t make it, I too was an adjunct.

    So, apparently there would be a February deadline for Fall positions which would give us more time to consider candidates. As long as hiring is done by faculty, I doubt that length of time matters in the least. Most faculty are notorious procrastinators and will in fact wait until the last possible minute to schedule interviews. And fall hiring means summer interviewing (unless the committee is super motivated and complete the process before the end of the spring semester which would of course mean while still teaching and be little different then interviewing in the middle of fall semester, parenthetically:)) . So, faculty who may not be teaching in the summer are now required to come in and interview those potential hires. Which of course, we already do. A longer time to collect resumés just means more files to investigate. We already get LOTS of resumés.

    Of course, the real reason behind this might have something to do with the tenure overall. The program has been set up to accommodate Fall-only hires. The person who made this fall-only hire decision might not realize just how flexible potential TAP leaders can be. It also seems likely that the person who made that decision did not actually talk to anyone who had served on a faculty hiring committee. If only they had sent a survey!

    • During the recent chairs’ meeting, President Laackman stated his main reason for pushing all hiring decisions to the fall is because that is when the new, and much improved tenure-process will begin. He stated that he didn’t want these spring hires to be at the tail-end of a discontinued system, watching their slightly junior peers undergo the worthier experience. They would experience the majority of the stressful and frustrating tenure process knowing that faculty and administrators judge the process as obsolete. The chairs seemed in agreement to this: none raised an objection, and this is a group that is generally ready to raise an objection. As someone who has just recently finished the current tenure process and jealously heard about some of the changes taking place, I must say that I agree with the president’s decision on this.

      As for the notion that all hiring will be more in-line with 4-year schools (ie, hiring in the winter for fall-time positions), I am more skeptical that this is a good plan.

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