21 December 2015

Beta testing UTRGV

Grades were due today, marking the official end of UTRGV’s first semester.  How did we do?

Well, we kept the wheels on the bus. The university did not grind to a screeching halt, and students took their classes.

But it’s been a rough semester.

After all the “We are one” pep talks at the start of the semester about the distributed campuses in Edinburg, Brownsville, and so on, I saw a whole lot of people who didn’t get that memo. There didn’t seem to be a lot of work into building bridges between the campuses. Quite the opposite: I saw efforts that seemed designed to insulate people at one campus or another.

When UTRGV was pitched, one of the selling points to the politicians and state administrators would be that UTRGV would be less expensive than UTB and UTPA because the number of administrators would be halved. Instead of a president, provost, and college deans at two universities, there would only be one of each.

Instead of streamlining administration, there are clear signs of huge administrative bloat. While it is true that there is only one dean for each college (for example), what wasn’t factored into the discussion was the rapid proliferation of vice provosts, assistant deans, deputy administrators, and sub-vice deputy positions. So far, I haven’t seen any cases of these administrative positions adding any value to the tasks I need to complete. So far, the only power these individuals seem to have is the power to call meetings.

The first semester was like the beta release of UTRGV. Functional, but buggy and glitchy. I think Beta testing will be continuing for at least one more semester.

Picture from here.

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