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BFA Letter to Vice Provost for Faculty RE: Targeting Decoupling Initiative awards.

Prof. Janet Broughton
Vice Provost for the Faculty

Dear Vice-Provost Broughton (Janet):

On behalf of the Board of the Berkeley Faculty Association, we’d like to express appreciation for your so carefully crafting a method for distributing the 2015 Targeted Decoupling Initiative awards. We also wish to thank you more generally for your commitment to the welfare of Berkeley faculty and to the principles of shared governance. Although the one-year time-frame of the TDI program—a time-frame that appears to have been mandated by the UC Office of the President—lamentably disrupts the normal process of faculty self-evaluation and merit review, the procedures you’ve developed maintain important roles for department Chairs, divisional Deans, and the Budget Committee of the Academic Senate. And the fact that these parties may reference the 2015 faculty salary equity study produced by your office offers reason to expect that the distribution of awards will be as fair as can be hoped in any system of merit review.

We feel quite fortunate that you occupy the position of Vice Provost for Faculty, especially during a period where many decisions being made by the UC Office of the President (regarding health care and pensions, for example) seem impervious to their negative effects on faculty. We are deeply concerned that the University-wide Academic Senate has felt it necessary to lodge a letter of formal complaint that the principles of shared governance have been ignored by President Napolitano and her staff. It is good to know that, on the Berkeley campus at least, a chief administrative officer lives up to her title, and is “for faculty.”

We did wish to call to your attention, however, one matter that came up during our discussion of the TDI program. In some departments, a new Chair will have been called into service only in July 2015; further, in some cases departments are being served by Acting Chairs from other departments. These newly appointed chairs cannot be expected to be familiar with the whole range of the faculty’s scholarly and pedagogical achievements. We hope you will urge deans to direct such new chairs to consult with those who wrote merit reviews for faculty in recent years.

With deep respect,

Celeste Langan and Michael Burawoy, for the BFA
 

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