The proposal to eliminate political science and the way it has been handled include due process violations, unethical behavior, and unfair procedures. These issues should concern all Marian faculty. If these violations, behavior, and procedures are allowed to go unchallenged, then a precedent will be set that could affect other faculty and programs in the future.
DUE PROCESS VIOLATIONS
First, according to the “Marian University Academic Policies Committee Procedures and Timelines” document, there are at least four omissions in the proposal.
(1) “The proposal is submitted to the faculty and chair of that department, and/or other department faculty, chairs, and Deans potentially impacted by the proposal for revision suggestions.” This proposal was never submitted to Johnny Goldfinger or Holly Gastineau-Grimes for revision suggestions. Needless to say, they were not given an opportunity to provide “revision suggestions.” This requirement is not only a rule to facilitate shared governance, but simple common courtesy, and it was ignored. Why did the administration refuse to discuss the elimination of political science with the political science faculty before the decision to submit the proposal was made?
(2) Neither Johnny Goldfinger nor Holly Gastineau-Grimes ever signed the “APC Proposal Notification Form” as required. The signature on the form is not merely a formality. It is a permanent record of support or opposition by stakeholders and potentially valuable information for the faculty and other decision-makers.
(3) Program deletions require “Impact on majors, minors and other programs as well as existing students and teachers.” There is no mention of how the deletion impacts Johnny Goldfinger or Holly Gastineau-Grimes, who are both faculty members in the political science program. This is a serious oversight not only because it involves the futures of real human beings, but also because it has implications for value of tenure at Marian. The administration discusses how it will handle affected students; it should at least have the courtesy of putting in writing how they plan to deal with affected faculty members.
(4) The list of cross-listed courses in the addendum is incomplete. This demonstrates how little thought was put into the proposal. Given that the list is incomplete, it is questionable that there are signatures from other affected programs and faculty.
The elimination of a viable program like political science (with two faculty members who are political scientists and 31 majors) has serious human and institutional ramifications. Asking the administration to follow the rules is not unreasonable. What is the value of rules if they can be ignored and not required?
UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR AND BETRAYAL OF TRUST
The proposal to eliminate political science and the addendum rely primarily on the 2021 political science self-study required by the Teaching and Learning Committee (TLC). Using the self-study as a rationale to terminate the political science program is something that should disturb faculty and administrators alike. The political science program had no reason to expect that the self-study might be used punitively. The program self-study was characterized as a tool to “encourage,” “improve,” “document strengths,” “identify opportunities,” and “facilitate evaluation and alignment” (from the “TLC Self-Study Process” sent to the faculty on October 16, 2020.)
Nowhere is it stated or even implied that this self-study could be weaponized to punish or eliminate faculty and programs. Several members of the TLC committee (including members of the TLC Self-Study Subcommittee) have confirmed it was explicitly and widely understood that the self-studies would not be used to penalize or undermine programs. Moreover, the Personnel Policies Committee, which is responsible for interpreting the Faculty Handbook for the faculty contends that “The By-laws of the Faculty Constitution grants to the TLC no role in assessing the viability of any program. The results of the Self-Study may be reasonably used to address practices in assessment and development or articulation of learning outcomes, but the use of program Self-Study to support the judgment that a program is non-viable is illegitimate.”
The proposal’s appeal to the self-study to eliminate political science is unethical, dishonest, and a betrayal of faculty trust.
The faculty’s Academic Policies Committee voted on the proposal after seeing the addendum to the proposal, but without seeing or hearing the response to the addendum from political science. (Note that the addendum had specific allegations against political science not mentioned in the original proposal.) Furthermore, the person submitting the addendum was there to answer questions, while no representative from political science was present. This is extremely unfair. This is the same as a jury making a decision after hearing only from the prosecution and not from the defense. Not only is that obviously unjust, but the arguments in the addendum are disingenuous and there was no opportunity to rebut them before the APC vote. As you can see in the response to the addendum, it is full of misrepresentations, distortions, and falsehoods.