Task Force debates advisory council merits

August 24, 2014

University opened up the doors into life for me. It helped me understand how the world works for the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.

The following article, that I wrote for the University of Winnipeg’s student newspaper, indicates that in my 20s, I was already painfully aware of how committees can suck the life force out of progress:

The Uniter
March 7, 1979
Task Force debates advisory council merits
by Tanya Lester

Members of the Task Force on Academic Development were on the defensive over their interim report recommendation to establish a Permanent Advisory Committee on University Planning during two open meetings held last Thursday in 217 Lockhart Hall.

But, in general, John Hofley, the committee chairperson, promised the Task Force’s investigation of criticisms, suggestions, and questions raised concerning the report.

In his opening remarks, Hofley explained that the Task Force had no decision making power but would do the ‘legwork’ for different bodies such as the Board of Regents and the Senate, who would then take action on the committee’s recommendations. Hofley explained that the action could be positive or no action at all.

Perry Nodleman, U of W English professor, said, “It seems that if the committee has no power, it shouldn’t exist.” He felt the Advisory Committee should have powers if it is set up because the present U of W decision making bodies have not been effective.

Other faculty members suggested that rather than establishing a permanent committee, the Board of Regents and other U of W bodies should be setting up adhoc committees to deal with University problems.

Dan Stone, U of W Faculty Association President, jokingly said there should be a committee organized to reduce the number of committees at the U of W.

Hofley agreed with a professor who said the committee would gain power by “hard work”.

Hart Schwartz, former U of W Students’ Association (UWSA) President, questioned the committee about their recommendations concerning the appointment of an evening student by the Dean of Students. Schwartz believes that students sitting on any University committees should be appointed by the UWSA.

Hofley said the recommendation was made because evening students, were not members of the UWSA. Evening students do not pay UWSA student fees.

Some faculty members believe the recommendations for the hiring of nine month sessional professors will create “second class citizens” at the University. Task Force members argued that sessionals have always been hired with no guarantee of permanent jobs at the University.

Dan Stone said the Task Force should ensure that “improper pressure” is not put on certain faculty to teach the evening courses. His concern came from the recommendation to “invite” professors to teach one of their courses in the evening, spring, or summer session in order to integrate day and evening programs.

Among the suggestions the Task Force consented to investigate were: the U of W library which has suffered a 20 % inflation rate; considering open Advisory Committee meetings; and compiling a survey to be distributed to university graduates to determine the percentage of former students who have found jobs in areas related to their university discipline areas.

Henry Duckworth, U of W president, said a meeting will be held in the near future to discuss the Task Force recommendations on ‘Liason with Students and Community’. Presumably, the sub-committee set up by the Task Force to investigate this area will have made their report public by that time.


To read the first posts in this blog, go to http://www.writingsmall.wordpress.com
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Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author name to read the first few pages and buy it at amazon.com


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