At any forum where President Caret speaks,
we hear about the ways in which Towson is growing. The unexpected budget
boom is financing new buildings, long-needed infrastructure renovations
and attention to delayed maintenance. Towson’s enrollment growth
is getting healthy financing from the State. Salaries aren’t quite
where they should be, but steps are apparently being taken in the right
direction. To hear President Caret tell it, his vision of “clean,
safe, pretty, happy” is coming to be.
Articles in this newsletter suggest
that for faculty, however, the mood is perhaps not so happy. A year
and a half ago, we were dealt a body-blow with the Board’s demand
that we return to a 7.5-course workload. The plethora of information,
misinformation and possibly disinformation that followed left a cloud
of distrust and uncertainty from which we have not entirely emerged.
We know that the President and the Provost have worked with us in order
to negotiate ways in which the 7.5 mandate will have the least-possible
adverse affect on faculty. They, as we, would like the workload issue
to be behind us.
It is unfortunate that the workload
change occurred simultaneously with President Caret’s assuming
office. But it is up to him and his administration to foster the kind
of transparency that can overcome the aura of distrust and confusion
that has been created. Here is where there is much room for improvement.
In the past two years, faculty have been repeatedly confronted by top-down
decisions that have left us feeling more disaffected, less empowered,
and less involved in the future of Towson University.
The numbers do not lie. A Junior Faculty
Caucus survey found a significant increase in faculty seeking jobs elsewhere
since the workload mandate was imposed. Several departing faculty have
written letters explicitly detailing how the changed working environment
at Towson prompted their departure. Rather than ignore the problem of
departures by claiming that those faculty wanted to leave or simply
didn’t belong at Towson (as some administrators have suggested),
President Caret must address this issue head-on and work with the faculty
to resolve it.
A university is only as good as its
faculty. Building Towson involves more than bricks and mortar. It requires
morale. It requires investment by faculty who feel this university is
worth their commitment, and who will, through research and program development,
build up the integrity of Towson if they feel they can make a difference.
Only with an environment that encourages such faculty growth and investment
will the building of Towson achieve all its potential as an outstanding