A response to ‘Celebrating a legacy’

Samir IsHam

This is to clarify, not to retract, anything that I was quoted saying in the referenced article (‘Legacy,’ published Oct. 31). The clarification has two purposes: the first, is to affirm my belief in the honesty and dedication of each employee working for GVSU in any capacity. I have witnessed their hard work with diligence and dedication. Their services and efforts are indeed appreciated.

Of course, this clarification is not addressed to those who believe in their infallibility or omnipotence. I am sure each employee is performing to the best of his/her ability.

The second purpose is more important. It is to open a new dialogue whereby all constituents of the university participate—a new open forum outside the established, constrained and cumbersome established agencies involved in academic governance. I am convinced that we need much more involvement by students and faculty and, yes, administrators, with the ultimate goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the university as a whole and its specialized units, as well.

With this in mind, let me open the forum with three ideas.

1) That all personnel who have been hired as faculty and are classified as tenure-track be required to teach full time without granting them any ‘alternative scheduling’ privileges to assume any responsibility other than full-time teaching. It would be much cheaper and more efficient for clerical and administrative functions to be performed by anyone other than faculty. We did not hire a person who holds a doctorate degree in accounting or economics and who cost taxpayers over $200,000 a year (base salary plus 42 percent fringe benefits) to do class scheduling or bookkeeping auditing. The only responsibility of faculty is to teach. Period.

2) Another idea is to reevaluate GVSU’s efforts to increase funding. Applying the same method for 30 years and getting same results—receiving the lowest amount per student among the fifteen public universities—must be changed. Instead of lamenting the delinquency of the legislators and their lack of appreciation of the university, we must cut costs of managing the university.

3) To cut the administrative positions by one third and to replace them with personnel who are more fit to assume the assigned responsibilities, especially those that are primarily clerical and secretarial. This would require retitling and positioning.

Hence, I am calling for ideas to realize more efficient and effective policies and procedures. I suggest all concerned, and all must be concerned, to send their ideas to the president directly. I trust that he will study the ideas diligently and seriously and hopefully would make corrective decisions accordingly in the near future, say, before I retire in five years! Let us have an open forum for new ideas and suggestions.

Again this rejoinder to the article is not intended for the attention of those climbers who continue praising every action in the hope of getting some mundane reward by those who can give them. After serving this university for 45 years in different capacities, I have a stake in the success of this institution. I know very well the efforts and dedication it took from most of the participants in making it what it is now. It can be better and it can be managed more efficiently and effectively. We thank all employees who have have been performing at the highest of their ability. But, we may need different abilities and capabilities. Let us hope. At my age of 78 that is all I can hope for.