Archive for Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Provost candidate wants to raise quality, not costs

March 2, 2010


Kansas University’s second candidate for provost said he supported healthy skepticism, shared governance and research that makes an impact in the world.

Steve Warren, KU’s vice provost for research and graduate studies, pointed to the three degrees he earned at KU — paired with his 18 years of outside experience as a professor at Vanderbilt University — as good preparation for the provost position.

Warren spent 18 years as a faculty member at Vanderbilt before returning to KU to become director of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies in 2001.

During Monday’s public forum, he offered three “hypotheses” for ways he could raise the quality of education and research done at KU without affecting the budget.

KU faculty members typically devote 40 percent of their time to teaching, 40 percent to research and 20 percent to service — including serving in administrative positions and other roles.

Warren said that for some, perhaps those rates could be adjusted. For example, he said, some faculty members aren’t as involved in research as others, and if they took on more teaching, it would allow faculty who are more engaged in research to devote more time to it.

He also suggested that departments look for ways to run meetings more efficiently, and that KU might be able to spend less on graduate teaching assistants and more on full-time, nontenured faculty to improve undergraduate and graduate education.

Warren said that some elements of online education had a place at KU, but he balked at offering online-only degree programs through community colleges.

“We want kids who want to come here,” he said.

Warren is the second announced candidate for the position. Philip McConnaughay, law dean at Pennsylvania State University, has already visited KU. A third and final candidate is scheduled to be announced later this week.


Steve Bunch 8 years, 1 month ago

Yep, more efficient meetings, that's the ticket. If this provost thing doesn't work out, Mr. Warren might consider running for the legislature.

By the way, Mr. Warren used the term "junior colleges," not "community colleges," in his remarks. That, and his failure to understand that many community college students are working adults with families and community ties who would like to get a KU degree without having to quit their jobs and uproot their lives to move to Lawrence, shows how out of touch this fellow is.

KawHawk 8 years, 1 month ago

"KU might be able to spend .....more on full-time, nontenured faculty...."

Great. Let's create a permanent underclass of faculty who have no tenure, aren't eligible for sabbaticals, teaching awards, who'll do all the scut work that the tenured deadwood won't, and likely won't have a voice in departmental affairs. Whoops. We already have those, they're called "lecturers" AKA "academic pariahs." Administrators LOVE lecturer positions, for all the above reasons PLUS they're cheaper, they don't get benefits, and they can be hired and fired at will. What's not to like, Warren ?

Shades of corporate America made manifest in academia. Very-well paid administrators overseeing a large passel of underpaid drones that can be disposed of when times get tough or if the peasants get uppity.

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