I appreciate my Atlanta-based USG colleagues making a last-ditch effort to draw publicity to this terrible policy that the USG is ramming through and the Regents are likely to sign today. Here's my argument, for all the business-minded folks out there (including Regents)...
It's often joked that academics don't know what it's like outside the ivory tower (despite the public service and research we do across the state, but I'll let that go for now). Imagine you own a company and have thousands of highly trained employees.
These employees have the top degree in their fields. They are the front line employees who have the most regular interaction with your "customers" (I dislike the customer metaphor for students but it's accurate in this analogy). You invest many thousands $$ when you hire them.
Your company is nationally renowned and aiming to move up in the rankings. Two of your branches are ranked in the top 20 in the country. Wouldn't you want to express to those employees how proud you are of them, how deeply they are appreciated, as you keep working to improve?
And if some of your other employees brought you a new HR policy that led your group of highly-trained front line employees to explode in protest, explaining how this policy change would hurt your national competitiveness, wouldn't you listen to them?
Many of your highly-trained employees have worked for your competitors in the past, and they make clear that this new policy is punitive, and your other competitors don't do this. They explain how this will hurt recruitment and retention. Would you be unmoved?
In this case, USG faculty (who normally pay little attention to @BORUSG meetings) have pored over the (poorly written, constantly revised) policies that have been rushed through with *no* input from campus faculty governance. We have written detailed explanations of the problems.
In the "real world" of business, if this policy passed despite this level of employee concern, and with no explanation of why it's needed (i.e., what's broken that needs to be fixed), you'd have your best people on the job market immediately. That's already happening.
It's hard to explain how demoralizing it is to work for an academic institution (the USG), which by all rights SHOULD be the beacon of higher ed in the southeast (and climbing in competitiveness with UNC and UVA), instead succumb to politically-motivated head-in-sand policies.
Whether it's the anti-CDC "we can't mandate nothing" passivity of our Covid non-policies (which ignore the scientific expertise of our own virology / public health employees) or this unnecessary undermining of tenure, these steps are creating active harm to our national rep.
Ultimately, this hurts our "brand" and takes us back decades in our academic reputation. This will hurt our funding, our ability to solve problems faced by citizens of our state, and our education we can offer the state's young people. Georgia suffers when the USG flails.
Here’s a helpful thread of all of the various statements and protests and objections raised by US G employees around the state.

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More from @jfrickuga

13 Oct
Unsolicited advice for my USG colleagues: I think how we talk about this tenure debacle matters, especially for conversations with people outside of academia. Tenure is not being eliminated. What is being significantly undermined are the protections afforded by tenure.
Short version: tenure will still exist, but our existing policies for post tenure review are being radically changed, making it easier to fire faculty for capricious or political reasons, with existing due process protections undermined or eliminated.
Issue: Tenure is meaningful & important as a foundation for academic freedom, & it is currently industry standard within academia. Whether people support tenure as it currently exists or not, it can’t be disputed that it is strong & protected at top ranked universities.
Read 5 tweets
11 Oct
Over 300 UGA faculty have joined this online meeting, in which Dr Denley has presented a sunny overview of the gigantic policy changes, and is avoiding answering direct questions about why campus governance bodies were kept out of the loop as this is being rammed through.
If you’ve ever graded a student essay answer on a test where they don’t know the answer but they write a lot of words, that’s what this feels like. Also, side note, is Microsoft Teams always this jerky on video?
UGA faculty are enraged at this meeting. @tim_quigley just knocked it out of the park and made a compelling case for pausing on the vote tomorrow. Over 300 faculty showed up on just a few hours notice. We are not impressed by the non answers we are receiving.
Read 6 tweets
11 Oct
UGA faculty are meeting with USG Chief Academic Office Tristan Denley this afternoon. This document clearly lays out the nature of our objections. Lots of faculty (who have better things to do!) have spent a lot of time poring over these proposals: drive.google.com/file/d/1aZcGZL…
It's been like a game of whack-a-mole because the USG seems to be rushing through a vote on a monumental policy, where significant irregularities and problematic wording has been pointed out by USG faculty around the state, as well as provosts and other admins.
The effective elimination of tenure is bad enough, but the larger problem is the centralization of power, and taking away due process from department heads and university presidents. Parents, GA business owners, alums should be deeply concerned about this. insidehighered.com/news/2021/10/0…
Read 4 tweets

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