- Associated Press - Sunday, May 1, 2016

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Professors at Tennessee Tech University have published an open letter to address their concerns about the administration after a survey was conducted that a faculty group official said expressed “widespread dissatisfaction.”

The survey findings were presented at a faculty meeting last week in Cookeville, The Herald-Citizen ((https://bit.ly/1WAcgVq) reported.

American Association of University Professors local chapter president Julia Gruber said 79 percent of the 150 respondents to the survey indicated the university is worse off than a year ago. She said the survey also found two-thirds of respondents indicated their college or academic department is in poorer shape than a year ago.

More than nine in 10 respondents believed shared governance among faculty and administrators was not working well, and more than 8 in 10 respondents indicated they had no confidence that President Philip Oldham is leading the university in a positive direction.

Oldham told the newspaper that he believes the university is “exceptionally healthy.” He questioned the survey’s validity and said the number of responses was insufficient for a significant confidence level in the results.

Gruber said 35 percent of the university’s full-time faculty returned surveys.

“This is a surprisingly high response rate,” she said. “We believe that the survey is broadly representative of faculty opinion at TTU.”

Among the concerns in the letter were administrative practices in the handling of the College of Engineering; administrative pay increases and the creation of several associate vice president positions; disparities in adjunct instructor pay, and the cost of a $26 million vehicle parking project.

Gruber said the faculty chapter is “acting as a sounding board for widespread dissatisfaction.”

She said her group hoped the survey and the open letter to the campus community “can serve to spark and guide conversations that lead to actions that serve to re-establish trust and partnership.”


Information from: Cookeville Herald-Citizen, https://www.herald-citizen.com/

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