A Georgia Southern prof pours out his heart on school’s problems and hits send — to everyone on campus

I value people who are willing to speak out. And this Georgia Southern University professor certainly did that in an email he sent campus wide. The candid opus from veteran professor David Dudley is drawing national attention, at least among the ranks of academia.

His frank letter led to a meeting last week with the Georgia Southern president, according to Inside Higher Ed, which has a good piece on the letter and its reception at the Statesboro campus

Here is Dr. Dudley’s open letter to the entire Georgia Southern community:

I write this letter because I will no longer sit by silently as a crisis of leadership engulfs the university I love. No one has helped me compose it, nor have I sought permission from anyone to write and send it. I speak for no one but myself. No one will have seen it before it is sent.

My purpose is to invite dialog among the various parties who must begin working together if Georgia Southern is to move forward to attain goals upon which there is broad agreement. These parties include the President, Provost, Vice-Presidents, Deans, and Faculty. At the moment, many of us realize there is intense strife among these parties, and we are in danger of descending into warfare that masquerades behind a fragile veneer of civility. It’s time for open discussions where all parties can be heard, their views respected, and agreement reached. I, for one, wish to be part of those discussions. I hope this letter will serve as a starting point for those conversations.

About me

In November, I will complete my twenty-third year at Georgia Southern. Hired as an assistant professor, I am now a full professor and Chair of the Department of Literature and Philosophy. The university often calls upon me to serve as its voice during recruitment events for scholarship applicants. At the invitation of Christian Flathman, I composed “We Are the Eagle Nation.” I believe I enjoy the respect of many people across campus, and I know I have many friends here. Georgia Southern has been good for me and good to me, and I have no personal axe to grind against any office or individual. Like many of my fellow faculty members, I have invested many years of my life at this place, and I have a stake in its future. I deserve to be heard, and I will be heard.

A visit to the Faculty Senate

I attended the last meeting of the Faculty Senate, a disheartening experience. The dynamics played out there are symptomatic of the larger problems we currently face. I note the following:

•While the Senate rightly commended Ted Moore for his service as Provost, the resolution was not actually read to him when he re-entered the room. That was an oversight. More telling, however, was the President’s failure to say a word of commendation to the Provost or to ask the Senate to recognize the Provost with even a round of applause. The division between the President and the Provost was evident at the meeting, as it has been evident for a long time.

The university community deserves an open and honest discussion of their differences, be they philosophical or on policy matters, and the real reason Provost Moore has left his job after only one year.

• The Senate proposal for a moratorium on hiring additional administrators and/or raising administrators’ salaries was ill-advised and, as the President noted, impossible for him to agree to. The President’s response to the motion was reasonable and correct. Yet the Senate passed it anyway, as if daring the President to ignore it. Two dynamics are at play: the motion expresses the deep frustration faculty feel over lack of raises, over salary compression, over ever-increasing health insurance costs, and over larger teaching loads. Second, passing the motion despite the President’s thoughtful remarks shows that the Senate believes its concerns are not being heard and that reasonable debate is ever more difficult.

• The President’s refusal to accept a faculty representative on the President’s Council is within his rights according to BOR policy. But here was a missed opportunity to reach out to faculty, inviting their greater participation in decision-making discussions. Instead, standing behind policy, the President sent the message that faculty voices are not welcome at the highest administrative levels.

•The two most significant items of business coming before the Senate, the Career Pathways document and the Teaching Legacy document, never made it to the floor for any serious consideration. Professors Welford and Gossai were advised that they had five minutes apiece to present lengthy, detailed, and important information. When Senators asked for more time to consider these documents, the Senate Moderator scolded them for taking too much time on other matters. The Senate should have been called back into the session the following day and the presenters given as much time as they required to make their presentations. I can only hope that both subjects—that have enormous implications for the future of this university—will be at the top of the Senate’s agenda in the fall. Let us not fiddle while Rome burns.

The Provost

The Provost of a university like Georgia Southern ought to be its second officer, not just one Vice-President among equals. The Provost bears the greatest responsibility of any administrator: the oversight of the university’s academic program. If Provost Moore resigned his position because he holds that point of view but other administrators do not, we all deserve to know it. We deserve to know how things are actually being done and if academics are not, in truth, the most important part of our mission.

Dr. Jean Bartels is an extraordinarily accomplished and capable leader. Her credentials to fill the position of Provost are not in question. I have enormous problems, however, with her appointment to a three-year term as Provost. Indeed, I would have enormous problems with anyone’s being appointed to such a long-term position without any input from the university community. Given the current climate of distrust and dissension, the appointment of a new Provost to serve for three years sends exactly the wrong message.

Faculty

I keep hearing that the current administration bears a dismissive and contemptuous attitude toward faculty. From what I observe, there is truth in this observation. To my mind, this is the fundamental mistake any university administration can make. Deans, provosts, and presidents come and go. Many such individuals are building their careers and are often looking to go on to the next, better job. That’s their prerogative. Higher administrative offices seem to be revolving doors. But faculty members tend to stay put. Given today’s job market in academia, that is understandable. Georgia Southern has a long tradition of faculty members devoting their entire careers to this place. I am among those people, and so are many of my colleagues. We have given Georgia Southern our best years. We’ve worked hard for small pay. We’ve taught our thousands of students, and we’ve celebrated the successes of hundreds of them.

Let me say this as plainly as I can: Georgia Southern belongs to its faculty and staff every bit as much as it belongs to any administrator. In fact, it belongs more to us, because when the current deans and higher administrators are long gone, we will still be here, striving to maintain what this place stands for: individual attention to our students, which is why they come here.

The Assessment Mess

The current debacle over GSU’s failure to adequately assess student learning is a failure of higher administration. Our last president and provost paid assessment some lip service immediately after our last SACS accreditation, then one retired and the other took another job. Assessment was left to fend for itself. Then new people were hired, new plans trotted out and then abandoned. Faculty were given lots of misinformation. They did what they were asked, then the rules and the processes changed. Now we face a crisis, and it’s not faculty’s fault. But it’s faculty who are here cleaning up the mess. They deserve an enormous thanks from the administration. It’s true: faculty not on twelve-month salaries are being asked to come to work in the summertime without pay to complete the assessment work for the university’s sake. Some might complain that faculty have little sense of loyalty, that they should be glad to help out in a crisis. I say that if faculty had been properly rewarded, esteemed, and thanked all along, they would render this service gladly.

Unless Things Change . . .

Georgia Southern is at a crossroads. The current administration is trying to lead us in new directions. More doctoral research programs. More publications. A higher national profile. Bigger football (bigger might just not be better, in my opinion). We are about to undertake a huge capital campaign. We have two choices before us: work together, openly discussing everything, listening to one another, and striving for consensus, knowing that we won’t always agree on everything. Or the administration and faculty can circle their wagons, retire to hostile positions, and let the battles begin. I wonder at the success of a capital campaign, where extraordinary volunteer effort will be required at every level, if we are busy fighting each other. Who wants that second option? Not I.

What I Suggest

We must begin new and open dialog among all parties. We need a series of open forums. I ask the President to visit every department and every Dean’s Advisory Council. Faculty Senate and the higher administration must declare a truce and start listening to and respecting each other. Individuals who have not yet let their voices be heard now need to speak up without fear of reprisal. We should all begin talking to each other instead of about each other. We need many more ideas than I possess. Let’s put our university above ourselves. And what is our university? That leads me to my last points.

The Most Important People at Georgia Southern . . .

are not its president, nor its provost. Nor its other vice-presidents, deans, department chairs, advisors, staff members, or faculty members. The most important people here are our students, and when we forget that, we might as well turn off the lights, lock the doors, and go home.

The most important person on our campus is the young woman from a small southeast Georgia town who will enter here as a freshman in August. She will be nervous but excited. She might not know what she wants to study, but will find her interest sparked in a biology course, or a sociology class, or in a philosophy class. A certain professor will ask a certain question, present a certain problem, discuss a certain topic that this student has never heard of or thought of before. And then her education begins.

The most important person on our campus is the young man from Atlanta who could have gone to UGA but chose us because he was impressed by our personal regard for him as a student and as a person. He already knows he wants to study business, but he, too, will be surprised at how his intellectual field is enlarged by what he hears in an American history class, or in a geology lab, or at a construction site.

These young kids are more important than we are. That’s what we’ve told the world through our choice to help educate them, prepare them for the challenges of citizenship that lie ahead. We are here because we’ve chosen to serve them.

Servant Leadership

My friend Tim used to teach a course in church leadership, designed for people interested in various kinds of ministry, including pastoral ministry. At the end of the course, each graduate received a gift. Not a diploma. Not an engraved plaque. Not a gift certificate.

A toilet brush.

A reminder that true leadership is servant leadership. The higher the level of leadership, the greater the responsibility. The greater the call to service.

We Are Still the Eagle Nation

I wrote these words, I stand by them, and I want Georgia Southern’s leaders to live up to them: “We hold of highest worth the equality of all people and their freedom to think, believe, and express themselves.”

Here there can be no second-class citizens, and that includes faculty. They are not second-class to department chairs, deans, vice-presidents, or to the president. We must hold of highest worth everyone’s freedom to express her- or himself. I’m standing on that belief now, as I complete this letter.

“We value honesty and honor in the workplace, on the field of sport, and in our communities.”

It’s time we were all honest with one another.

“We are proud of our great university and are grateful for all it has given us.”

May that always be true.

I welcome your responses. I welcome new opportunities for us to reason together for the sake of our students. For the sake of our university. For all our sakes.

Sincerely,

David Dudley

Chair, Department of Literature and Philosophy

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

55 comments Add your comment

Feshman 2012 Mom

June 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

I love the intelligent, measured and obviously considered opinions rendered in this letter and am absolutely horrified that it had to be written. My son will be attending Ga Southern in the Fall and you can be sure I will contact Dr. Dudley and see what progress is happening in regard to his thoughts!!!!!

CobbGOPer

June 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

“…as the President noted, impossible for him to agree to.”

What horrifies ME is that the CHAIR of the Department of LITURATURE (and philosophy) apparently forgot you’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition…

Roger Carson

June 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

Sometime faculty members fail to remember they are employees of the university and the state of Georgia. They have the option to leave for greener pastures if they are unhappy.

Clem

June 20th, 2012
4:44 pm

Great letter. Hope it works out.

Courtney

June 20th, 2012
4:45 pm

Well written and expressed. Though I have never worked in education, in the corporate world this would have been considered a very brave initiative. Hello Jerry McGuire. This is what I admire, the radical spirit of the Mayflower that made a new nation and changed an old nation. Man’s got guts.

Shar

June 20th, 2012
4:49 pm

A thoughtful, considerate and balanced letter about what sounds like a grown-up food fight.

I hope that eloquent, dedicated cooler heads like Dr. Dudley’s will prevail.

Beverly Fraud

June 20th, 2012
4:50 pm

Am I right to assume that he has tenure, which allows him to have the ACADEMIC FREEDOM to move things forward in a constructive manner such as this?

How much SYSTEMIC CHEATING of Georgia’s children could have been prevented if teachers had the ability to speak out without administrative RETALIATION?

CobbGOPer

June 20th, 2012
4:53 pm

But I agree with his points, particularly in that the most important people on that campus (and any university campus) are the students.

Universities tend to forget this fact in their rush to accumulate more money. When students represent nothing more than a profit source – which is all students are to too many colleges nowadays – then things have gotten badly turned upside-down.

MortalWombat

June 20th, 2012
4:57 pm

I Know That Feel Bro.

Also, chuckling at “LITURATURE.”

ROFL.

ATL Business Executive

June 20th, 2012
5:01 pm

The letter written is a true, modern day, profile in courage and should stand as an example to all of us as to the importance of free speech and freedom of personal expression. We need more men like David Dudley in our communities, our country, and in our world to stand up for civility during these times of severe polarization.

[...] Most Important People Today at the AJC blog – Get Schooled by Maureen Downey is an open letter from Professor David Dudley to everyone at  Georgia Southern Unversity. [...]

IEC

June 20th, 2012
5:13 pm

Off subject maybe but worth telling….Ga Tech had trouble heating their campus on cold winter days after years of expansion (new big library and all) and couldn’t figure out their condensate return problem (this is the school of thermal dynamics, right?) I identified the problem in a short period, explained the probelm to the school’s facility manager engineer. He had already rented a boiler, put it in the parking lot to get through last winter (probably costing $200K) I told him the problem was a simple 5K fix. They had overlooked such a simple problem. They hired me as a consultan ( through a consuilting enginerring firm they threw more money away on), paid me to redesign the return system. I did it their way and they still don’t understand it. Thing is, I never went to college — but have 32 years in industrial machinery design. Point is, like governement, the bigger they are, the dumber they are at the top. President and top Admin probably won’t see the truth because their heads are too big. Makes you wonder doesn’t it???

Double Zero Eight

June 20th, 2012
5:18 pm

Great letter! As a department chair, he probably
should have noticed the grammatical error before
the letter was sent campus wide. I understand that
no one is perfect. He is however, the chair of a
department that takes pride in writing.

John Daly

June 20th, 2012
5:24 pm

@Roger Carson – yes they can leave, but it takes more courage to stay and fight for what you believe in.

Prof

June 20th, 2012
5:28 pm

Wonderful letter! So good to read… though he probably won’t be chair much longer. However, as a Full Professor he won’t be going anywhere unless he wants to. (See? I ended my sentence with a preposition! And I too am a Full Professor, though not a chair. As Winston Churchill once said, “There are certain things up with which I will not put.”)

John Daly

June 20th, 2012
5:35 pm

For all you grammar “experts”, from the Chicago Manual of Style:
“The traditional caveat of yesteryear against ending sentences with prepositions is, for most writers, an unnecessary and pedantic restriction. As Winston Churchill famously said, “That is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put.” A sentence that ends in a preposition may sound more natural than a sentence carefully constructed to avoid a final preposition. Compare, for example, this is the case I told you about with this is the case about which I told you. The “rule” prohibiting terminal prepositions was an ill-founded superstition. Today many grammarians use the dismissive term pied-piping for this phenomenon. “

justbrowsing

June 20th, 2012
5:38 pm

Hats off to Dr. Dudley. His letter should be a game changer, no matter the fallout. Sometimes, one has to be the ram in the bush to initiate open dialogue and positive change. It was obviously on his heart to write this, and it clearly expresses his concerns while not offering up an indictment. Facts are what they are. Kudos Dr. Dudley!

The previous illegals question

June 20th, 2012
5:38 pm

How can teachers heartlessly ignore the suffering of millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans and legal immigrants …who will be DEVASTATED by this election-year amnesty ploy benefiting illegals?

Shame on them and on President Obama! (And on Maureen for censoring commentary on the previous blog topic!)

catlady

June 20th, 2012
5:39 pm

I interviewed for a just under the top level position at Ga Southern about 15 years ago. They were very nice, and treated me very well, but I did not think I was their top candidate. When I got back to Athens, I told my kids, “I’ve got bad news and good news.” The bad news? I didn’t think I would get the job offered. The good news? We don’t have to move to Statesboro!

Soareagle

June 20th, 2012
5:53 pm

I personally know Dr. Dudley as an individual and as a professor. I think the reader can clearly interpret for themselves what kind of man he is through his writing. However, I want to substantiate his remarks by saying that he is indeed one of the most caring teachers I have ever known. He expects a lot of his students, but he cares about them just as much. As for the President of GSU, he appears to expect a lot from his faculty, but he doesn’t care much about them. For the sake of Dr. Dudley and other professors at GSU, who share his same sentiments, and especially for the students and for the future of Southern, I hope Dr. Dudley’s brave and honest efforts will be rewarded by open and transparent discussions ending in positive changes for the university.

William Casey

June 20th, 2012
6:13 pm

“The most important person on our campus is the young woman from a small southeast Georgia town who will enter here as a freshman in August. She will be nervous but excited. She might not know what she wants to study, but will find her interest sparked in a biology course, or a sociology class, or in a philosophy class. A certain professor will ask a certain question, present a certain problem, discuss a certain topic that this student has never heard of or thought of before. And then her education begins.”

This is EXACTLY why my son chose Georgia Southern and happily remains there as a Zell Miller Scholar senior. He arrived with an aptitude and love of Mathematics. A professor so inspired him that he has added an additional degree in Philosophy to his program, even though it meant overloads each semester and Summer school. He also works for the University as a math tutor. I am so pleased with his development that I contribute to the annual fund. I’ll be able to contribute a lot more after he graduates. LOL

I’m saddened but not surprised by the academic politics. I saw it full force forty years ago as student representative to various faculty committees and the Social Science Department at UWG. I commend the professor on his letter.

Really amazed

June 20th, 2012
7:57 pm

Truly from the bottom of this person’s heart! More people should be this honest. I hope if my son goes there this person is still teaching!

GSU Alumn

June 20th, 2012
8:22 pm

Disheartening to read, but not surprising. The paragraph regarding the young woman from south Georgia was once the shoes I wore. This letter sprung tears as I read of my alma mater’s struggles. However, as with UGA, and other institutions, there will always be politics. I am saddened that Dr. Dudley shared our dirty laundry with the world, but at the same time, respectful of his courage in doing so.

Content Matters

June 20th, 2012
8:22 pm

Grammar is important, but the essence of communication involves conveying
ideas and concepts. The idea that someone would read and critique the letter
without analyzing the concepts and arguments expressed seems to a singular
focus on style over substance.

Content Matters

June 20th, 2012
8:25 pm

8:22 pm

Grammar is important, but the essence of communication
involves conveying ideas and concepts. The idea that someone
would read and critique the letter without analyzing the concepts
and arguments expressed seems to be a singular focus on style
over substance.

Will O.

June 20th, 2012
9:29 pm

I was a student of Dr. Dudley’s a few years ago. He is one of the most caring professors I ever had. When I changed my major from business to English, he made me feel I’d made the right choice. Basically, he’s the best.

Lee

June 20th, 2012
9:44 pm

A very eloquently worded hissy fit. Basically, this professor couldn’t get his way through established channels so he decides to poke out his lower lip and stomp his feet.

What’s next? The President of the USA pitching a fit because he doesn’t like to wait on the mechanisms of our Constitution, so he just passes an Executive Order to ignore laws that he doesn’t like?

Oh, wait, I forgot…….

GSU Alum

June 20th, 2012
9:47 pm

Please, “LITURATURE” brat, reconstruct that sentence without ending in a preposition, rather than critiquing a man who most certainly knows more about writing than you ever will. SMH. I graduated in 2007, and never have I been as proud of something or someone from that university as I am today after reading this.
P.S. Know the rule before you try to blast someone for breaking it. And knowing the rule means also knowing the exceptions. Everyone is a tough guy… online.

Really???

June 20th, 2012
11:00 pm

Really??? Hero??? Courage??? How can people attribute heroism and courage to an individual who writes to the entire e-universe without threat of any potential consequence whatsoever? Heroes are the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces, our policemen/women, and our fire fighters, I see heroes in those who do not have steady employment but are still working to find ways to provide for their families…those who confront danger with very serious consequences head-on are my heroes…the cry from the professor seems out of touch with the reality that many of us outside of academia face….

Chip

June 20th, 2012
11:21 pm

The President at Georgia Southern is an idiot. He is more worried about being big-time football than academics. I imagine this professor will probably get his butt kicked and nothing will change in the near-term. But, a President can only last so long with his campus in chaos.

Sonya

June 20th, 2012
11:38 pm

I attended Georgia Southern and graduated
In December 2009. I majored in English Language and Literature, took two classes with Dr. Dudley, who is one of the most amazing men that I have ever had the honor of knowing, and came to understand just how much pride and love he has for Georgia Southern. As a person with 23 years at the same place, I hope people will stop and open their eyes to see that this isn’t about being disloyal. It’s about wanting what is right. To the commenters who say that he could go elsewhere or who question this man, I hope that Dr. Dudley doesn’t leave because so many young Eagles will miss out on amazing opportunity to learn and be challenged by a wonderful mind and a professor who pushes not obey intellectually but makes his lessons applicable to life’s situations. That in itself is a rarity in today’s collegiate experience. I am now an educator, teaching in some of our nation’s worse schools, but I know my content well, and I am very proud to reach and teach today’s young people. I thank Dr. Dudley and most of the other dedicated professors I had the pleasure of knowing and learning from at Georgia Southern University. Good leadership and people who stand up for a resolution (which sometimes is an entire revolution) are necessary to do great things! I say, “Good for you, Dr. Dudley. I’m extremely proud of you, and today you have reminded me of what it mean to be an Eagle!”

Courage Has Many Forms

June 21st, 2012
3:34 am

“How can people attribute heroism and courage to an individual who writes to the entire e-universe without threat of any potential consequence whatsoever?”

As a 12-year military officer, I can tell you that courage and heroism take many different forms. Moral courage can be every bit as challenging as physical courage. Standing up and speaking out in public, exposing yourself to criticism, ridicule, and judgment, and potentially risking your career and reputation, whether in uniform or not, can be just as terrifying as receiving incoming fire, and yes, I’ve done both.

Dr. Dudley did not hide behind a pen name or post anonymously. As one commenter posted, “So good to read… though he probably won’t be chair much longer.” Whistleblowers are often targets of reprisals, so yes, he wrote this in his own name, fully aware of the potential consequences to his career and reputation, and chose to hit “send” anyway. In today’s uncertain times, choosing to hit “send” can be every bit as brave as pulling a trigger.

Courage Has Many Forms

June 21st, 2012
3:36 am

“How can people attribute heroism and courage to an individual who writes to the entire e-universe without threat of any potential consequence whatsoever?”
As a 12-year military officer, I can tell you that courage and heroism take many different forms. Moral courage can be every bit as challenging as physical courage. Standing up and speaking out in public, exposing yourself to criticism, ridicule, and judgment, and potentially risking your career and reputation, whether in uniform or not, can be just as terrifying as receiving incoming fire, and yes, I’ve done both.
Dr. Dudley did not hide behind a pen name or post anonymously. As one commenter posted, “So good to read… though he probably won’t be chair much longer.” Whistleblowers are often targets of reprisals, so yes, he wrote this in his own name, fully aware of the potential consequences to his career and reputation, and chose to hit “send” anyway. In today’s uncertain times, choosing to hit “send” can be every bit as brave as pulling a trigger.

Double Zero Eight

June 21st, 2012
7:50 am

@ GSU Alum
The error that I mentioned had nothing to do
with a preposition. Apparently, you missed it.
I do not profess to be a writing expert.

The second paragraph under the heading
We Are Still the Eagle Nation reads:
“Here there can be no second- class
citizens, at that includes faculty.”.

The word “at” should be replaced by and
in order for the sentence to make sense.

A professor of literature should be held to
a higher degree of competency in my opinion.
My hope is for the error to be corrected before
it is sent to other universities.

Maureen Downey

June 21st, 2012
7:59 am

@Double, Done.
Maureen

Deke

June 21st, 2012
10:02 am

As a Ga. Southern alumnus I have very mixed feelings about his email! According to his former students he is a very good professor. And he obviously has serious concerns about the school he seems to love.
Well, I love Ga. Southern also and have serious concerns about the way he spoke out! Yes, it takes courage to speak out publicly against the way your boss does his job. But I don’t believe sending an email to the “world” is the proper way to speak out!
I suspect he has created more animosity between the President and the faculty not less and probably made resolving their issues more difficult! It seems he could have found a less embarrassing way to get the attention of the President.
I do think the issues he discussed certainly need to be resolved. And I believe Ga. Southern’s President is a very dynamic leader who wants what is best for the school. In fact, I think we are fortunate to have him!!

Mel

June 21st, 2012
10:18 am

Roger Carson’s attitude is most disheartening because it is so prevalent. We can all leave our jobs and try to find “greener pastures,” but if no one ever fights for what is right there will be no greener pastures. I think it is ironic that Carson used the phrase greener pastures, suggesting that workers are little more than livestock to be shuffled around by corporate and governmental overseers.

Hail Southern

June 21st, 2012
11:28 am

The President is unwilling to allow a faculty representative on the council? Come on…

I’m sure the President has all the stats on the student body but the professors are the only ones who really KNOW the students. Just like you can’t run a business without understanding your customer, you can’t run a school without understanding your students.

David Dudley

June 21st, 2012
11:38 am

My thanks to all who have read and responded to my letter. Here are two additional typos in the document: In the second paragraph, last sentence, “conservations” should be “conversations.”
In the section “We are Still the Eagle Nation,” the sentence beginning “It’s time we were all honest” is lacking a word. It should be “It’s time we were all honest with one another.” Thanks, Maureen, for printing my letter. Let the conversation continue!

Prof

June 21st, 2012
11:55 am

While it continues, I want to note as an FYI that the earlier blog, “Bloody Monday: Layoffs at Georgia Perimeter College” has been moved to “Older posts” but is still going fast and furiously. Interesting insights that pertain to USG, not just GPC….and many also pertain to issues of academic leadership and faculty dissent, as here.

Maureen Downey

June 21st, 2012
12:06 pm

Dr. Dudley, Thanks and fixed.
Maureen

Beverly Fraud

June 21st, 2012
1:30 pm

How much SYSTEMIC CHEATING could have been avoided in APS and other places if teachers had the same level of protection against administrative RETALIATION as David Dudley does?

Think about THAT next time you say teachers don’t deserve any protection.

GEORGIA!!!!!! SOUTHERN!!!!!!!!!!

June 21st, 2012
1:51 pm

It is so refreshing to find a faculty member that is willing to stand up for what is right.

I am a Georgia Southern alum who experienced first hand the downright bully system that currently is in practice at GSU. In my program, the Dean would make the professors’ as well as the students’ lives a living hell and it was obvious to everyone! She made getting an internship all but impossible. Further, she FORBADE professors from assisting students with attaining these internships/jobs. Now call me crazy, but isn’t that the main purpose of attending college?…To become gainfully employed… Even more, I can think of multiple occasions where my above-and beyond, hands-on, come in on Saturday to open the lab for students, supportive, LOVING professors were brought to the point of TEARS as a direct result of her evil reign.

NOW, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The rest of the town of Statesboro (namely the law-enforcement) is on the “Good Ol’ Boy” system where you either know someone or you “are” someone to have any hope of “justice” or fair treatment or to even have your voice heard. It seems the university has adopted this philosophy.

If Georgia Southern University is to regarded with the highest esteem that it so blatantly wishes to achieve, or to be listed among the most respected educational institutions in our great nation, administration is going to have to get with the program! They need to hire more forward-thinking, resolution-minded individuals who are not afraid to speak their mind such as Dr. Dudley.

I am sorry to say that in my 5 year stint at GSU, I didn’t have the privilege of having Dr. Dudley as my professor. It does, however, warm my heart thinking that there are people such as him that are still on the front lines to fight for the Eagle nation—past, present, and FUTURE!

GATA DR. DUDLEY!

bootney farnsworth

June 21st, 2012
4:20 pm

once again, some faculty idiot whines about everything which is wrong and yet fails to reach out to the largest body on campus – professional and support staff.

and I call him whining faculty idiot because I saw it all the time at GPC. bitching about how the world does them wrong yet not realizing others are in the same or worse boat. I used to regularly hear from faculty at GPC about their inability to understand why staff didn’t stand with them in their battles with admin.

here you have exhibit A.

I have no doubt Dudley is right in his assessment of the situation. the BOR seems incapable of hiring presidents who can do anything other than ruin schools while looking for new jobs.

but to leave out the largest single group of colleagues, except to say they are not important….
pompous jackass.

perhaps he ought to scrub a few more toilets with Tim

Cutty

June 21st, 2012
4:32 pm

Re the “ending a sentence with a preposition” issue, there’s an old joke:

A fellow was walking across campus. He stops a rather tweedy professor and says, “Could you tell me where the library is at?”

“Young man,” the professor begins, and launches into a mini-lecture on the preposition thing. “Now, would you like to reword that request?”

“Yeah. Could you tell me where the library is at, a$$hole?”

Cutty

June 21st, 2012
4:38 pm

Bootney, he didn’t say staff aren’t important. He said they’re not as important as students. You don’t dispute that, do you?

Eagle08

June 21st, 2012
5:01 pm

@bootney — It helps to read the document you are about to comment on, before making false comments about it.

@CobbGOper — If you have ever taken any form of recent grammar or writing course, you would know it is ok to end a sentence in a preposition for artisitic purposes. As was pointed out, it sounds more natural when read by the reader. Also, learn to spell.

@Dr. Dudley — Excellent letter. I enjoyed being in two of your classes during my career at Southern. I befriended several faculty over my career there and heard many of the same frustrations from them regarding the separation of adminstration and faculty. I suffer the same frustrations in my workplace now and wish I could send a letter as you have done (without having pre-packed all of my belongings). My hat’s off to you.

GSU Alum

June 21st, 2012
6:08 pm

I am a recent and proud graduate of Georgia Southern. Like Dr. Dudley and several of the comments have addressed, I chose Georgia Southern for its emphasis on students and a faculty that truly wanted to be engaged with students. These relationships and one-on-one attention provided exceptional education, professional and personal opportunities. Those brought me to GSU and what makes GSU such a wonderful place. However, as Dr. Dudley has written, the university is at a cross-roads. Even in my past four years, I have seen how these are slowly disappearing as classes get larger, professor loads increase and the overall atmosphere has shifted. As a student, I have seen a marked difference is faculty morale and thus the overall quality of the university this last year as a result of the relationship between administration and the rest of the faculty. (I am, by no means, blaming the faculty. They are caught in the middle without the support or appreciation they deserve.) Witnessing a near war between administration and several departments, all throughout the first semester, it became clear that traditional and acceptable avenues for addressing frustration (student and faculty) were either unavailable or simply ignored. Dr. Dudley has had the courage to write what I imagine many would like to say and lay along some of the concerns I have/had as a student/alum. While I am sorry that it has taken such a public display of such concerns, I do hope that it means that something changes and GSU can continue to offer exceptional opportunities for its students through the very best faculty.

ugagrad

June 21st, 2012
6:14 pm

@ CobbGOPer

If that is all you took out of this letter then you are an idiot. Do not scrutinize the man’s writings…read them and if you have an opinion on what was said, share it,

Parent of Student

June 21st, 2012
10:39 pm

Georgia Southern has been a wonderful place for our daughter, because the faculty is extraordinary. We, too, hear that there is frustration among the faculty, including some of the very best teachers. It would be such a shame to lose the student-centered culture of the university. Really hoping that all the leaders of GSU will make the effort to do what it takes to heal this, to find respect for one another, and to do what’s best for the students (which won’t happen with a miserable faculty).