Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Four gratifying e-mails 

This morning I was pleased to open four remarkably encouraging e-mails. The first came from an administrator with our IFO faculty union�s central office in St. Paul. Not only did he go out of his way to thank me for pointing out a programming error that had incorrectly stopped making employer-matching contributions to our faculty�s supplemental retirement plan, but he stepped forward to take personal responsibility for not having adequately monitored the system changes needed to comply with our contract.

Next I read a personal note from MnSCU Chancellor McCormick. After also expressing his thanks, he assured me that his office�s System Administrator would have this programming oversight well documented before individual performance reviews would be conducted in his office again this year. To underscore his belief in the importance of individual accountability, McCormick wrote that he would later this week publish for all to see, not only MnSCU�s specific quantifiable objectives for the next three years, but also a detailed internal audit of each of its disbursement accounts for the past three years.

The third e-mail I opened was from SCSU�s Faculty Association President Andrew Larkin. He echoed others� thanks to me, and suggested that, even though I was only a �fair-share� member, he would welcome me on a new university-wide committee that would be charged with the goal of strengthening each union member�s individual measure of accountability. He pledged that we could work together, not only to freeze IFO dues so long as faculty salaries are frozen, but to move toward establishing standardized measures for assessing . . . and ultimately linking compensation levels to . . . each individual member�s quantifiable measures of teaching competence and scholarly productivity.

SCSU President Roy Saigo�s personal e-mail to me was the fourth that I read this morning. He pledged never to settle another lawsuit that would leave the insidiously divisive taste of collective guilt in anyone�s mouth. Individual responsibility, rather than diffused group accountability would be the new norm on our campus. He also wrote that he would be proposing a radically different form of new �diversity training,� one that would be based on the writings of Stanford scholar Thomas Sowell. The emphasis, he said, would be on stressing to all how individual within-group differences dwarf in importance and significance any detectable between-group differences in means.

How gratifying! These four e-mails tell me that I no longer need to write and speak about the importance of embracing individual accountability on our campus.

Oh, I�m sorry . . . April Fool!