In Theresa King and Elizabeth White’s excellent article, “FDU Reveals Restructuring Plan,” Provost Gillian Small said that she wanted to “make sure everyone feels like they have their voices heard.” I am truly grateful to her for that statement; therefore, I would like to share my opinion of the recent report, but before I do so, I would like to ask the Provost two questions:
1) How much did the University pay to conduct this study? I understand that the survey results are merely a recommendation and the University isn’t bound to follow it, but the amount spent on this survey will most definitely be taken into consideration when decisions are made.
2) If Michael Poliakoff, the president of ACTA was hired to work on this study, why did the University feel the need to constantly stress the fact that it’s not an ACTA report? In 2010, when Mr. Poliakoff joined the controversial ACTA, then president Anne D. Neal stated, “When it comes to higher ed, Michael Poliakoff gets it.” The report may not have ACTA printed on it, but their president helped conduct it. It’s impossible to say that the report is completely void of ACTA ideologies. If Fairleigh Dickinson University doesn’t agree with ACTA’s philosophy, why would we pay the president of that organization to advise us on restructuring the University?
I personally found the survey results to be insulting to the Metropolitan Campus. Dissolving University College is a slap in the face to the excellent work of the administrators and professors. Provost Small said “They’re not suggesting we get rid of anybody,” but by eliminating the positions of Dean and Associate Dean – 2 vital positions, you are getting rid of people. The old theory of dissolving positions to save money never works. The title and salary goes away, but the responsibilities still exist. Who inherits the responsibilities?
The notion of lumping Humanities, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Social Science, Criminal Justice, Communications and Media, and Art into one school is the equivalent of tossing pocket change into a bowl. The students deserve better.
Of course enrollment numbers are a serious issue which need to be addressed. FDU is a private University surrounded by lower tuition-based State
Colleges – it’s always been a concern. Unfortunately, FDU and all institutions of higher education in the United States have been affected greatly since the inauguration of President Trump. His campaign attacks on Mexicans, Muslims, and the Chinese have certainly affected the number of international students enrolling in our colleges and universities.
The report focused on “Centers of Excellence.” I came to FDU in 1994 as a freshman. I have spent more than half my life on the Metropolitan Campus. We’ve always been a center of excellence. Yes, we need to figure out ways to grow and strengthen, but in my humble opinion, the recent report doesn’t enable positive growth.
With my utmost respect,
Professor James Rana