Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wednesday, October 25 is...

Independence Day (Kazakhstan)
Thanksgiving Day (Grenada)
Restoration Day (Taiwan)

Whether you're thankful, independent or in need or restoration this morning, I've got reads for you.

First and foremost, you won't find me blogging a lot about it, because I'm involved in it, I wanted to point out this story from the Register about Ed Fallon's third open records request to IDED in 2006. Hopefully this time we'll get answers.

Again today in the Register, we have claims that Michael Gartner, president of the Board of Regents, is working behind the backs of faculty at the Regents institutions. This comes on the heels of reports that Gartner and Board President Pro Tem Teresa Wahlert told the universities to plan as if state funding is going to dry up, which they denied despite the fact that it was confirmed by several credible sources.

I'm not sure if I'm the first to say this, but I want to make sure someone says it: Michael Gartner needs to resign. This is getting way out of hand. Whether these allegations are true or not, the fact that they keep coming up shows that Gartner, at best, has a poor working relationship with the people he's supposed to represent. Maintaining that relationship is one of the critical aspects of his job. If he can't do it, it's time for him to step aside and make room for someone who can. Once again, I'll nominate Nick Johnson.

The Des Moines Airport still isn't safe.

Finally, an answer to the age old question: Yes, chickens have lips, and they look delicious.


1 comment:

Manville said...

I think you're screaming "fire" in an empty movie theater.

A valid strategic planning process discards *all* ongoing assumptions and asks the difficult question: absent historical inertia, should we continue doing what we're doing, and if so, why? All programs, practices, budgets, and objectives should be on the table. As they are examined a viable strategy should emerge. All expenditures should be justified from dollar one, not simply on the margin.

Second, the Board of Regents do not serve the university faculties, as you suggest. They serve the citizens. The faculties are important interest groups with a lot at stake. But the Regents don't work for them, the maintenance of their lifestyle, nor the cultivation of their careers. They serve the citizens. I'm sure the faculties will be brought into the process once there is a working document. The citizens are the shareholders here, and the faculties are valued employees. Most faculties don't like to think about this fact.

Third, forget about drafting any sort of meaningful, intellectually credible strategy document in a room of thousands. They're doing the right thing by attempting to draft a strategy for discussion purposes, before submitting it to the usual hue and cry. That is what a board should do: deliberate, think independently, and subsequently explain and sell their strategy to constituencies. Would that someone would take the same approach with Social Security.

Fourth, academic communities, while they vote left, tend to act in a highly tory fashion. By tory, I mean that they have strong, vested interests in the status quo. What, in the Augustan period was summarized as "whatever is, is right." If change is necessary, and of course it is, it will be accompanied by contention. There is no painless way to allocate finite resources without annoying or angering those who wish for things to stay the same, i.e., who prefer that rational allocations not be made, and who oppose any significant change as a disaster.

Iowans want a good university system, and we'll have one. It's nonsense to assume that all state funding will disappear, just because some people may have hinted that they're doing zero-sum budgeting. All public entities should start each year justifying their first dollar, not simply their marginal new (requested) dollars.

Just curious, but are Regents meetings not subject to statutory open meetings laws? Can't a reporter just request any and all proceedings from such meetings, let alone associated emails, in lieu of attending?