The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

More Issues at Ivy Tech

Posted by iusbvision on August 26, 2008

Since the Vision published this article about some highly publicized cases of faculty abuse at Ivy Tech ( expect another post with an update to the Prof. Norasteh firing soon) I have received several communications from the Ivy Tech community. They have sent information about what the faculty has to deal with.

Too many chief’s syndrome?

Snafu about pay turns into an accusation:

I was supposed to be hired at Ivy Tech for the fall 2007. My second phone interview was in mid July and I was told at the end of the interview that the fall semester would start in mid August as it did. My final (face-to-face) interview was on September XXX and the job was offered to me on September XXX.

As the result, since I would have to move from XXXX (far away), and I was in the middle of my classes for the fall semester in XXXX, I was given the start date on December 10th.

On the offer letter, they mentioned my annual salary but they did not mentioned how it works for the month of December. When I inquired about it, The HR people asked me to talk to the secretary of the Vice Chancellor of the Academic Affairs.

The Secretary of the Vice Chancellor of the Academic Affairs told me that, according to her calendar, Faculty would be paid until Friday December 15th for the fall semester.

Since I would have to move from XXXX (far away), it would not make any sense to me to start working on December 10th and be paid only for 5 days for the month of December. When I expressed my concern to the secretary, She advised me that, I should ask the math program chair to bring it to the attention of the Vice Chancellor of the Academic Affairs, so upon the approval of the Vice President, I could be present for the other days in December and be paid.

So I talked to the Chair and she said she would likely not be there when the break starts (Monday December 17th) but will talk to the Division Chair and let me know about the outcome.

After about one month, she sent an e-mail to me ‘to assign the courses for the spring’.
I talked to her on the phone and brought it up, and she said she had not talked, about the number of the days I would be paid in December, to any one, but mentioned that she thinks all full time faculty would be paid until December 31st.

I felt being in a loop.The people at the HR asked me to talk to the office of the VP of the Academic Affairs and she asked me to talk to the Program Chair and she did not pass it. So I went to Indianapolis in December, confused about the number of the days I would be paid in December and hoping that as the Chair mentioned, there would be a proper compensation for the month of December until December 31st. But surprisingly, when I started working there in December and was signing the contract, I was told I would be paid just for the weekdays ending December 15th!

When I brought it up to the Chair, she told me that after talking to the Division Chair, they believed that: ‘You tend to misinterpret every thing’. I guess she wanted to cover her mistake of not taking care of talking about the rest of the days in December to her supervisor. That was the beginning of the insulting comments from her.

Do you think an organization should have an employee moving from another state, and paid five days for the first month?

13 Hour days? A professor taught a class that went to 8:30 at night He posted his office hours on his door to start at noon on that day but often came in early:

The Program Chair asked me why I was not in my office from the beginning of the day. I explained to her that on Wednesdays I have classes and office hours starting from noon but I still attended my office at around 11 am. She said that full time faculty must be present from the beginning of the day in the morning, at least for the first couple of the weeks in each semester. I apologized that I had not been aware of that since I had not been told and I told her I wish that she had told me but she responded that, “It is just the Common Sense” and she does “not have to tell me every thing” (Not to mention that she was officially my mentor and apparently being paid for that). I felt bad about her insulting comments.

Later on I asked two other full time faculty members from other departments about it; one of them was also a Program Chair and the other one used to be a Program Chair and they both told me that was wrong. Full time faculty, even on the first couple of days of the semester are not supposed to be there more than their required office hours. One of them said it ‘might’ be true for the Programs Chairs, that they should be in their office, but definitely not for the full time faculty. How could it be a ‘common sense’ when it is not even done in the other departments?

I have received other emails about constant contradictions from the administration about exam policies, course policies, commencement policies, etc. and when called on these snafu’s the response is often abusive and/or insulting treatment.

While some of these issues may be passed off as typical bureaucratic snafu’s or a few isolated incidents; the abusive and adversarial attitude displayed by the administration in case after case indicates a dysfunctional bureaucratic culture at Ivy Tech. In the long run this situation is bad for students and the taxpayers and I am not alone in believing so.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has this to say about Ivy tech:

As a general rule, academic freedom requires tenure for the core faculty of a university or college, and such is the norm in American higher education, including almost all community colleges. As the Becky Meadows Wilson case indicates, academic freedom is non-existent throughout that institution. Many Ivy Tech faculty members have expressed great fear of publicly airing any controversial views.

Faculty members are afraid even to hold a meeting of the AAUP-the major professional association of faculty in this country-on campus.

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