Thursday, August 13, 2009

Acquiring Resources from College Administration

Here are comments from survey respondents describing how, if at all, they have dealt with the issue of acquiring resources from college or university adminstration.

  • I have been one of few colleagues who makes plans for the summer, gets out of the small town we all live in, and find ways to connect my work in Greek philosophy with philosophies from all over the world. The dean has been supportive in the past but we are now in a financial crunch and there was no money this summer. By "supportive," I mean a total of about $12,500 dollars in the last 8 years: about $1500 each summer on average. The Dean paid for me to attend a conference on how to get funding but it takes a lot of time and there are always limitations that would force me to do work the is distracting at this point in my career. I used to be more patient, but I am 55 years old now and I know what I want to say. I received a grant to study in two NEH summer seminars over the last 25 years, so that was all funded. But the second one was basically one big distraction from what I want to do, even though it was advertised as something I would be interested in.
  • We are planning to build a case for funding a fourth philosophy position in our department.
  • We hope to devise a departmental mission statement that will make clearer to the administration what our goals are and what we need to accomplish them. So far, though, that process is in its infancy.
  • Constant negotiation. Provision of rational assessment of resource allocation across the college. Recognition of the fact that no one really cares about rational allocation.
  • Our chair does a good job of trying to be noisy without irritating the dean. Other than that, what is a department to do?
  • There are no resources for my discipline. However, because we are a technical school, we always have access to the latest and greatest software, creative accessories.
  • We have not had success in increasing our budget, so some unusual expenses (new office furniture, speaker honoraria, etc.) have to be argued for each time. We have had to fight to maintain our above-average offices--often by pleading that our small size requires special efforts not to marginalize us geographically. For hiring, we argued that hiring in ethics would meet many general ed. requirements and other college-wide goals. Finally, we have had success in arguing that a split position with Women's Studies should be housed in philosophy.
  • I make a lot of noise and am permanently filling other's inboxes with stats and demands.
  • Wrote a letter to the administration requesting another full-time philosophy line.
  • Yell every chance I get. Explain the need and clarify the possibilities any time I have a good trustee audience.
  • Some of our department members have been highly successful in joining interdisciplinary research programs which have brought external research funds to support acquisition of computing facilities, travel, etc., thereby reducing strains on the meager resources provided by the university. Competition for resources within the university is fierce and our 'wins' have often followed our pointing out in various ways that we are so small that surely the tiny requirement we have can be met from someone else's unanticipated surplus. This strategy has not worked well for acquisition of new hires, and the only way we have managed to receive permission to hire is by presentation of evidence that we would be forced to discontinue our major program, which would reflect badly on the university.
  • Our dept. chair (who is not a philosopher) lobbies on our behalf.
  • Move into a Computer Science Department!
  • The biggest problem is two-fold. As the only philosopher, on the one hand, I only have one "vote" (or one voice) in a college of ~70 faculty. So, it can be hard when competing for resources. Every other collection of faculty have more power. On the other hand, any resources one gets are seen as "just for this one person". You have to go out of you way to make anything you request appear to me for "philosophy" in general, and not just for oneself.
  • We sought external matching funds and private bequests to get our new line.
  • Trying to carve out a space in a college wide commitment to ethics forms the foundation of our attempts. It makes it easier to articulate the value and therefore the need for continued support perhaps.
  • Write memos, form good relationships with administrators when possible.
  • Persistence, nagging, and willingness to tolerate failure!
  • none successful
  • none to mention that have worked!
  • Ask as the need arises.
  • Applied for outside sabbatical fellowship funding.
  • Whenever we get funds, we write reports telling the Dean all the good things that have come of those funds. We try our best to show the college what good things come from investments in our department.
  • Our issue has been getting permission to replace the second full-time member of the department, who retired. I've been persistent -- I raise the issue at every opportunity -- and finding allies in other departments who support our request. (Other faculty have been very supportive.)
  • Whenever possible, I have advanced the needs of my department with the administration.
  • We have not addressed this due to the inertia of some faculty.
  • This is an ongoing thing. Since we are a new minor, I am in constant dialogue with administration regarding needs. Since I have effectively raised awareness of the minor and garnered 16 minors in the first year alone, they are usually quite helpful and generous in granting my requests. We are currently attempting to secure a tenure-track line that I can slip into. I am a Visiting Professor now (non tenure-track). This looks promising and should be made available within the next two years.
  • Show them how many classes and students have been taught. Use general education requirements to establish a need for more classes.
  • I have suggested for years that another philosophy instructor would be a good thing for us to have, but so few philosophy courses are required of our students that there is relatively little demand. Fortunately a recent external review recommended that we hire another philosopher and I have insisted that this recommendation be pursued (despite its being given low priority by my department head and our having been told, supposedly, off the record that the school would never hire another philosopher). I made a point of getting myself invited to the relevant meetings so I could make the case for hiring a second full-time philosophy instructor and I was successful. There seems to be more support for philosophy outside my department than in it.
  • College as a whole is short of resources. All departments face this so it is a matter of balance.
  • Emphasize that improved full-time/part-time faculty ratios and lighter teaching loads will improve student retention, since students like greater access to their faculty and want to know that their faculty will be around all four years of their undergraduate experience.
  • The administration supports us as good as they can.
  • Unsuccessfully.
  • We beg.
  • Try to be very outgoing and form strategic alliances with people in other fields.
  • We successfully got a new line advertised, whereupon it was revoked for budget reasons. ALl we did was make a case: we're teaching this many PHI students, the number is only going up, so we need more.
  • Again, complaining, and again, to no avail.
  • Submitting both internal and external grant proposals. In some cases I've been blessed by colleagues outside of my department who have control over money to sustain specialized academic efforts and have benefited from this.
  • there was no money.
  • We've been lucky and been strongly supported by a wealthy donor. The administration's priorities are in the sciences.
  • We had to write to foreign universities soliciting help especially after the war in Sierra Leone--we lost so many materials. We received help in terms of books and computers. We are paid by the government and this makes it very difficult to maintain staff who leave in search of greener pastures or better paid jobs.

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