Task for UA
The University of Akron is searching for a new president (the fifth in six years), hoping she or he will join the university during the 2019-20 academic year. The principal challenge for this new president will be reestablishing trust between faculty and administration.
During the Scarborough presidency, faculty received the clear message that the university didn’t really want or need them. Scott Scarborough has been out of office for three years, but that message lingers on.
The university has been encouraging faculty to retire early, with buyouts and incentives. In spring 2019, more than three times as many faculty members left as were hired to begin this fall. And yet the university’s own figures indicate that academics more than pays for itself — the overall deficit is driven by other expenditures, especially varsity sports. When salaries and benefits for the full-time faculty are less than 20% of the overall operating budget, and when the university’s stated mission is to increase human knowledge and to teach, functions only the faculty serve, one should not try to balance the budget by shrinking faculty numbers.
Simply put, the faculty do not trust the administration anymore. When constantly told that their research lacks value, that their years of dedicated service to the university are meaningless, then they are very unlikely to want to work with administrators to address university issues.
The University of Akron has always been better than one would ever expect of a regional state university. But that will not continue unless the new president can once again put faculty at the center where they belong, rather than treating them as scarcely necessary, or as children requiring discipline.
Constance Brittain Bouchard, Wooster
(Distinguished Professor emerita of History, University of Akron)
Treasure in the park
I enjoyed the July 30 article about the excavations at Mary Campbell Cave in the Gorge Metro Park (“Digging for clues at Mary Campbell Cave.”). As a lifelong Cuyahoga Falls resident, visiting the Gorge and Mary Campbell Cave was a huge part of my childhood. I remember learning about Mary Campbell in my fourth grade social studies lessons and then standing in the cave on a family hike picturing myself in Mary Campbell's shoes (I had a big imagination).
My siblings and I have all passed our love of "the Cave" along to our own children over the past two decades. My brother loves it there so much, he proposed to his wife near it.
Although I am excited to see the cave being explored, I would secretly be sad to see the name changed. As a public school teacher, I would want my students to have an accurate understanding of the cave, but since Mary Campbell seems to have been a true historical figure, I believe she is worthy to have the cave bear her name, even if she did not actually reside in it.
Mandy Pansmith, Cuyahoga Falls
Focus on Akron
Why would Akron City Council be wasting time passing a resolution condemning President Trump’s tweets (“Council condemns Trump's tweets,” July 30)? What a total waste of time by our elected officials. I personally couldn't care less how the members or mayor feel about our president’s tweets. Are there not enough issues in Akron needing addressed to keep council busy?
Please spend the one day a week at City Council meetings taking care of local issues and leave the personal feelings about national politics at home.
James Claxton, Akron