Letter to the editor

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Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 12:00am

I swore I would never do this again. Once burned you vow to avoid the flame. So with one hand firmly grasping the can of worms, the other holding the opener, I would like to pose a hypothetical situation.

I have a class that I would like to start teaching. It will most assuredly benefit my students and the general area of academia. I don't want to burden my department chair by talking to him about this because once he/she sees the proposal he will see the benefits and know it will be a good thing. I ask sixteen close friends whose influence and affluence are renowned. They are thrilled with the prospect of this class becoming part of the curriculum. They have a limited understanding of how the classroom works or how to present the material to the students effectively, but their collective years of experience in the work force and their seemingly limitless resources convince me that I should go ahead and put together a proposal for the Curriculum and Instruction committee. I say to them this is a good class. It is being taught throughout the Utah Higher Ed system. I have a number of friends that want this class taught. What do you think? Oh! This proposal needs to be approved ASAP. Sadly there is resistance; there are many questions as to how this class will be taught. Will I need new instructors? Are the classrooms able to handle the needs of the new course? What texts? How many students? Costs involved? Questions, questions, questions! I don't need this nonsense. I assure the C & I committee that all will be well. I am teaching the class so just have faith that it will work and that everyone will be happy. Perhaps others will catch the vision and then there will be no stopping us in increasing interest in similar classes, so much so that we will need to have bigger classrooms to handle the overflow. The question becomes, does the class get approved with no or too few answers to satisfy the committee? C & I would, I am certain, send the proposal back and demand that all questions be answered so they can make a better decision. They would probably refer me to the Faculty Senate as well as Tenure and Sabbatical for stronger evaluations as to my effectiveness in the classroom and the institution.

After our Q & A with Rep. King and State Sen. Mike Dmitrich it appeared that there were simply too many unanswered questions. Although we were told repeatedly that many of our questions had been answered. I felt that we were no further along than before this meeting. Since our meeting two weeks ago an article appeared in the Deseret News. Reporter Wendy Leonard states that the merger bill has been put on hold. I assume pending further discussion regarding the questions raised in Tuesday's meeting. Let us hope.

This article brings up more questions as to what might be the outcome of this merger. This potential move would allow greater opportunities for upper-division and graduate degree programs, and provide research dollars due to our association with USU. It also talks about the mystery clause that would retain open enrollment and tuition rates, for two-years.

What happens after that? Would these be Ed Net classes? etc? Questions, questions, questions! This merger may be a great boon to Carbon County, Price and CEU. I would hope so. According to the above information it is assured. Unfortunately, I cannot rely on blindly following an elected official's reassurances that he will oppose anything that may damage the institution. Politics is an ugly business.

Should the bill pass many statutes and amendments added after the fact could truly alter the landscape of CEU and its employees. We the people usually get to carry the burden of the hasty and unwise choices and decisions of those elected to lead. What we need are cool heads and respectful dialogue. If this is a good thing we need to be reassured by facts and not empty rhetoric and platitudes. I think we as a community deserve it.

This is meant solely as a means to have dialogue. If someone out there has better insight or answers concerning this issue, like say, members of the Board of Trustees, Regents, President Albrecht, please share with us. We can reach a better decision with facts than conjecture. This is a hot button issue and one of such importance it cannot be left up to only to businessmen and politicians. We as educators, staff and administrators have a stake in it. Otherwise, I think our new best friends will be ARTSearch and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Corey Ewan, Ph.D.

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