Vol. 18, No. 1 September 7, 2000
A leader who doesn't bend with every breeze may not be universally loved, but he is very likely to be respected. Editorial, "Minimal Response." The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 1980, p. 24, col.2
Welcome President McClenney!
We, the Kingsborough faculty, are glad to welcome you, our new president, a nationally and internationally known educator. We know that you are an educator who will communicate well with students, faculty and community and lead our college with strength and confidence into the twenty-first century. Since your arrival in mid-July, you have impressed us all.
Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, members of the Search Committee, and members of the Board of Trustees also deserve thanks for selecting you and for not heeding pressures brought by forces within the College for continuing the status quo. Personal gain seemed to be motivation for pressure to continue the reign of mediocrity. It seems that there was an attempt to sacrifice academic integrity for personal gain, deals were made to satisfy personal greed, college procedures and rules were brushed aside in an exhibition of raw power, and concerns for elaborate and expensive parties and memorial plaques took precedence over practical and financial considerations. Fortunately, these did not succeed.
We are gratified to see fresh approaches to communication.
First, never before in the history of KCC have we seen the president of the college sharing a table with faculty and staff. Occasionally, we have had a glance of a dean, but never of the president. You have erased the notion of "royalty" in college administration, and have brought it down to the pragmatic level of college governance.
Second, although e-mail has been around for years, no member of the faculty or staff at KCC has ever received e-mail from a dean or from the president. Your use of e-mail is a welcome beginning, and we hope that deans and other college administrators will learn to make use of this efficient method. Furthermore, your e-mail message inviting the first ten respondents to lunch reinforces your commitment and sincere desire to make everyone feel important to the functioning of this institution. It is clear that you respect all members of the college community: professors, secretaries, members of our security force, maintenance personnel, and custodial staff.
Third, your unescorted, sometimes unannounced visits to various parts of the college and your casual way of conversing with members of the college community have helped people feel comfortable sharing their ideas. You have opened the channels of communication with the KCC community, in the process permitting you to know more than those who surround themselves by an insular group. Please keep up with these techniques of communications. They are good.
Fourth, in this short period you have reached out to the community and to its political, business, religious, and cultural leaders. You have been written of in the Daily News, the New York Times and the Skyline. This is wonderful.
a. That "our registration is a nightmare and needs immediate fixing" is an understatement. We need a Provost and a Dean of Faculty who are not just paper pushers, but knowledgeable and comfortable with technology in order to create a more efficient system of registration. We must get away from thirty years of neglect in this area. For the Office of the Provost, we need a person respected by the faculty: a person with academic integrity who will guide and illuminate faculty on new technology, research, innovations in education, new books, and new trends in education. The Office of the Provost should also be much more faculty-friendly, contract-abiding, and truthful in its maintenance of personnel files. It should demonstrate integrity and sound advice for promotion, appointment and tenure, and should stop playing political games.
b. We need to ferret out those very few who, by hook or by crook, are used to not teaching: those who are undeserved recipients of an inordinate amount of released time, who use videos and movies in lieu of teaching, and who are chronically late and/or absent to classes.
c. We need to abide by the decisions of the College P. & B.
d. We need to eliminate administrative, functions which are not essential to the educational mission of our students.
e. We need to allow more clerical support and released time to chairs of larger departments.
f. We need to evaluate allocation of travel funds: administrators vs. members of the faculty. Larger departments should be given more funds. Also, funds should be made available to departments to attract candidates from other states to come to KCC for interviews.
g. We need to evaluate allocation of travel funds: administrators vs. members of the faculty. Larger departments should be given more funds. Also, funds should be made available to departments to attract candidates from other states to come to KCC for interviews.
h. We want the administration to respect the right of academic departments to determine which courses are taught in their departments.
i. We must find new ways of saving and raising money.
President McClenney, you have
a big job ahead.