AAUP survey: Faculty lacks confidence in Oldham, Tech administration
Tenured faculty overwhelmingly lack confidence in the school’s current administration including President Phil Oldham, according to a survey conducted by Tech’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
The respondents also reported being dissatisfied with the composition of the board of trustees and its decision-making process. Seventy-three percent of respondents said the board does not act in the best interest of students, according to the survey released this week.
Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with the way administrators performed their jobs, according to the survey.
The AAUP serves as a watchdog on college campuses across the nation. The AAUP surveyed full-time faculty at the end of the spring semester in order to gauge satisfaction and confidence with the Tech board of trustees and of the Tech administration.
Of the 421 questionnaires distributed, 137 were returned. Ninety-eight respondents are tenured, 22 are on tenure track, and 12 are non-tenure track. Five respondents did not indicate their faculty rank.
Oldham came under fire in the spring during an investigation conducted by Tech officials about a study conducted for the Fitzgerald Glider Kit. The issue drew protests from students and faculty members.
“As an alumnus of Tech, I am concerned about the future of Tennessee Tech under the current administration,” Rachael Robinson said in a comment on Tech’s AAUP blog.
Earlier this semester, the board approved a 2 percent salary increase for Oldham and a $60,000 performance bonus.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with Oldham’s job performance, and 60 percent lack confidence in him as an administrator.
Oldham said he plans to continue meeting with faculty and address any concerns they may have.
“As I regularly meet with the Faculty Senate and talk to faculty members across campus, I am encouraged that all of us share a common goal: to make a stronger university to better serve the students who have selected Tech to be their collegiate home,” Oldham said in a written statement to The Oracle.
Other findings from the survey:
- Seventy-three percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with the hiring of administrators.
- Nearly 60 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with decisions made about campus buildings and grounds.
- Over 40 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the protection of free speech on campus.
- Nearly 75 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with shared governance.
“I greatly appreciate the faculty at Tech and the job they do to serve and educate our students. As always, I remain committed to putting students first and creating the best university and educational experience for our students,” Oldham said.
Autumn Tinch contributed to this story.