Don’t Tell Me to COM Down!

Over the decade that I was proud to be the Chair of Communication Studies, the drumbeat of administration–both from the President’s office and from Dyson College–was grow and be rewarded. Make a commitment to us by working hard, innovating and demonstrating success, and the university will make a commitment to you. When I took over the department in 2000, we had roughly sixty majors. When I handed the reins to Doctor Kolluri we had somewhere (depending on whose count you use) between 350 and 400 students. When I became chair, Communication Studies (not including CSD which at that time was part of Com) we had seven full time faculty members. As of the beginning of Fall 2012, we had four. Dr. Murphy is an administrator who only teaches 3 credits a semester, and the chair only teaches 1/2 time.

Despite those limitations, the faculty of the Com Studies Department worked unselfishly and tirelessly to accommodate our growing numbers. I turned 20 student sections into 40 student sections, 60 student sections into 120 student sections, and never got so much as a grumble from any of the faculty members. Even our adjuncts got into the spirit and took on larger sections. 

In other words, we did our part. We grew. We worked hard. We innovated. 

Which brings us to today. As you know, we have been interviewing candidates for new teaching positions. We were promised one and had a chance at two. As of this morning Dr. Kolluri was told that there was little chance of us being allowed to hire either, because other departments have greater need. It was also confirmed to me that we are being bumped from our two large lecture halls of 120 students to rooms that house 80 because another program has “outgrown” the smaller rooms. We have filled those lecture halls every semester for the past six or seven years on the second day of registration, so we “outgrew” them several years ago. The net result for you is that when you go to register in a couple of weeks, there will be 80 fewer seats just in two of your REQUIRED courses (111 and 114) than there were this semester. 

There is little that we as a faculty can do about this (although we are trying). I had hoped over the past couple of years that it was the administration’s personal dislike for me that motivated them to frustrate our intentions, but it turns out that they apparently don’t value YOU as assets of the Pace community.

It’s up to you!

You need to go directly to the Dean’s office and the Provost’s office, and tell them you are tired of not being able to get into the classes you need. You need to remind them that Communication Studies as a major needs to be taken as seriously as majors with 1/4 of our population. You need to remind them that our students are among the most (if not THE most) inexpensive to put in a seat for the tuition dollars you pay. You pay the same amount for your seat as the students who need, expensive labs, rehearsal space, machinery, etc. That you are a bargain, does not mean you are cheap!

I don’t like to cause trouble. For years my strategy was to do what I was asked to do and then some in the naive belief that results actually mattered. These two pieces of news clearly indicate that such is not the case. what matters is who makes noise. I am profoundly confident that Dr. Kolluri will be a more proactive and capable administrator than I was as time goes on. However, now it is up to you. Each of you who have crowded into classrooms, and spend hours signing substitution forms because you couldn’t get your classes, needs to make his and her presence known. 

This is the time. Speak up for what you deserve, and if they try to put you off, say:

Don’t tell me to COM Down!

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About bigshotprof

College Professor in the Communication Studies department at Pace University. My personal life fall somewhere in the gap between less than you want to know and more than you need to know.
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