Monday, July 6, 2009

STALEMATE IN POWER STRUGGLE BRINGS UTB TO NEAR CRASHING END

Just an FYI

Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium [Better freedom with danger than peace with slavery].

Jean-Jacques Rousseau On The Social Contract

NEWSFLASH: Art Rendon has filed an appeal in his BISD lawsuit. It should be interesting. In that briefs have yet to be filed, I do not know the issue[s].

Some time ago we all got a lot of laughs over me posting a picture of a bottle of pickled eggs suggesting Juliet Garcia had the aguacates of the UTB staff under her control. I was wrong. I have spent a lot of time speaking with instructors and administrators at UTB and it appears there is a stalemate at work.

Juliet Garcia needs to build her legacy. To do so she has relinquished way too much power to the Deans and the department heads. In terms of UTB/TSC being a failure, in Juliet Garcia’s defense, more and more universities are recording record numbers of drop-outs and failures. This is a national trend. UTB/TSC has two basic problems bringing it down.

Anyone remotely familiar with UTB/TSC knows that at the freshman and sophomore levels, the failure and drop-out rate is high because of poor instruction. We have students graduating from local school districts who are proficient in the basic computer programs found on any computer, but who go on to UTB/TSC and fail the basic introductory computer course. It is no great secret why this is happening. Complete and total incompetence on the part of department chair and the instructors. They continue to use a text which appears translated from Chinese and the provided test bank questions which are certainly translated from Chinese.

This problem would seem easy enough to fix. Just change the text on orders from Juliet Garcia. What has become clear to me is, Juliet Garcia has negotiated a peace accord with the Deans of the various schools. So long as the Deans and the professors do not organized a vote of no confidence she will leave them be to sink UTB/TSC into bowels of hell.

There are a lot of very good professors out at UTB/TSC very frustrated that it is heading down the path of complete failure. At a minimum TSC needs a separate president from UTB. The interests of the two institutions are different. While trying to find an American Government syllabus to use as an outline for creating an online textbook using free government web pages, I quickly learned with the exception of the department chair I could not find one. Oh, the probably exist somewhere, but the person in charge of creating the web page for the Government Department does not deem it important to have a link to the department professors or their web pages.

The department chair’s syllabus for the introductory course is all one needs to read to understand why UTB/TSC is a failure. As the department chair his job is guaranteed. He does not have to succeed. The best lawyers in the country struggle to read and understand US Supreme Court opinions.

This is from his freshman course syllabus.

"San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973). This is a very lengthy case opinion. I do not recommend downloading it. It is 62 pages long. But do skim through the first 28 pages to obtain an understanding of the decision of the Court. "

Also, find the following cases at Findlaw.com and review them. I will discuss them in class for you, but you will be responsible for understanding the issues addressed and the decisions rendered by the United States Supreme Court.

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857)
Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927).
Ex Parte Mitsuye Endo, 323 U.S. 283 (1944)
Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)
United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974)"

http://blue.utb.edu/cchapman/

The above is the definition of failure. I am the first to oppose the dumbing down of our students. But you do not begin training doctors with brain surgery. You begin with anatomy and physiology. Most of these kids are just out of highschool. I have no problem teaching American or Texas government through the opinions of the United States and or Texas Supreme Courts. But teach it, do not scare the students away by making them read decisions that even most law students do not have to read. (Law students read highly edited excerpts from various opinions which highlight legal concepts.)

This type freshman course should begin with an introduction into comparative concepts in government. A comparative approach allows the students to see the differences in the various forms of government, thereby providing them a better understanding of our own form of government. It also makes for an easy essay question or short answer question. Students are very good with learning through elements. There are 4 basic elements to the following form of government: a; b; c; and d. When you teach this way it is easy for the students to see differences and similarities. This is an introductory course not an advance course. Maybe not all forms of government will fit into 4 basic elements, but a good instructor can find 4 basic elements for each form of government and then present them in a comparative way.

Without some instruction as to the meaning of government, its purpose, and where it comes from, how can you expect these young minds to understand the more complex issues presented in these Supreme Court opinions? You cannot. Chapman bored with doing his job, teaching a basic introductory course, instead chooses to try and teach a freshman course in constitutional government which is sure to fail. He is tenured and therefor protected.

Chapman along with other department chairs and deans basically have Juliet Garcia tied up in a room under a threat, "complain and we will issue a vote of no confidence." As tenured professors Chapman stays and Juliet Garcia goes packing. This is wrong, but a consequence of Juliet Garcia’s lack of competency in political maneuvering. There are top administrators and professors who want the failure to end and who are willing to stand with her to force out the old guard Deans and department chairs. The problem is Juliet Garcia lacks the skills and knowledge on how to conduct a putsch of intrenched incompetent Deans and professors. Her problem is the failure of all failed leaders, she surrounds herself with yes-men instead of thinkers and people loyal to the success of the students.

Her first step should be the appointment of an administrative assistant who reports directly to her and no one else. The job, review the courses with the highest failure rate among freshman and sophomore students. Once the reviews are done, Juliet Garcia needs to put it to the department chairs and Deans - fix the problem or be replaced. There is strong support among the finest professors for such a strong-armed approach.

Juliet Garcia fails to understand that the desire to vote no confidence comes from her failure to act against those who are deadwood and taking down UTB/TSC with the rotting ship they represent. If she would simply get rid of the deadwood, then the competent professors would back her during a no confidence vote.

I am now convinced most of the bad policies and decisions coming out of UTB/TSC are a consequence of this stalemate and not Juliet Garcia making the decisions of her choosing. This is all the more reason why TSC should have a separate president from UTB. A strong TSC president could put an end to the teaching methods of the bad professors. In fact, I personally believe TSC would be better off with a lot more adjunct instructors who can be fired at a drop of the hat, than these tenured old guard who treat the freshman courses as punishment.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to know how many other institutes of higher learning have the same set-up as UTB-TSC; i.e., a vocational school attached to a "university." I cannot imagine there are many. To me, this arrangement smacks of conflicting educational goals from the get-go. And therein lies the problem: is UTB a real university? Is TSC a real community college? No, and no. But perhaps there's a model out there that is working. I'd like to see it.

BobbyWC said...

Sorry for the late approval of your comment but I was in SA all day on business.

Your comment was so on point

Thanks for participating

Bobby WC