Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On the Big Ten Expansion and a Toothless Faculty Senate

I'm sure by now you know that the Big Ten is expanding and Nebraska is the new kid on the block. All of the schools involved insist that the expansion isn't just about big sports money. No, they say academics were considered too when Nebraska was extended the offer to join. Michael Sanseriono at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes closer look at the claim that academics was part of the decision. He cites a couple of academic rankings which puts Nebraska at the bottom of the Big Ten, but that isn't really what caught my eye, you really have to take rankings with a grain of salt. The more damning thing is that there was no evidence of a consultation with the academic side when the decision was made.

I found this quote from the current chairwoman of the Penn State  University Faculty Senate particular informative, not only with respect to the decision making process in the expansion of the Big Ten, but also in the way decisions are made at Penn State in general.
Jean Landa Pytel, chairwoman of Penn State's University Faculty Senate, said the school's faculty has not been consulted about conference expansion.
"This is an athletic issue," Dr. Pytel said. "We're the academic arm. That is purely a business decision. ... We haven't been involved in the conversation, so I guess I have to have faith in the president that he knows what he's doing."

Let's see. Shortly after Graham arrived he merged Hershey Medical Centre with Gessinger Health Care. That merger had to be dissolved in about a year. At the same time, he merged with Dickinson School of Law and praised the strength of DSL. Five years latter he decided that the DSL was in terrible shape and he had to abrogate the merger agreement and move the law school from Carlisle to University Park to fix the problem. A big fight ensued. Then there is the Village at Penn State. A retirement community that Graham decided to build. It recently defaulted on it bonds.

Faith is an amazing thing isn't it? But who exactly is it that provides a check on Graham?

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