Definitions of University and College Staff Members

Definitions of University and College Staff Members

Please note that multiple definitions will be written for any one position. The reason being is there are more than one definition for each position.

Faculty
A) faculty, is a person who appears to have achieved an honest degree in some field and as such might be able to share that knowledge to a classroom of students. Part of the classroom process is the setting of standards for getting a grade of attainment.

Note: The faculty member is probably the key person to create any new passion in a student who does not come to a university already possessing a level of passion for a particular area of study. A faculty member that can achieve this remarkable metamorphosis in a student is an academic saint.

B ) Faculty can also mean someone who thinks he knows a lot more than he or she really does because that person possess a piece of paper that proves to some that he or she has gone through the doctorate process. Many faculty do have this problem. Some institutions are better than others at giving a doctoral degree meaning the paper means more when it comes from one institution compared to another.
C) Faculty is a person who can, at times, act arrogantly and childishly to a degree that is most surprising. The arrogance comes from achieving a doctorate degree and with that a look down the nose attitude toward anyone else not possessing that paper. Childishness stems from an expectation that preferential treatment should be granted from attaining the degree.
D) Faculty may be a person who achieved a degree out of a sub standard process. Some degrees are purchased. Some achieve a degree through correspondence course institutions. Some doctor degrees are partly awarded through the cheat mechanism of a “garage publication” where a “journal” is created for the express purpose of being listed as a publishing credit which is epected to be a positive measure of academic achievement. If the department, college and university does not check carefully that the publication is or is not a juried and legitimate, peer reviewed, publication then the faculty member may get away with this scam. There is a degree of cheating going on in the degree granting process. The “garage publication” is only one example.
E) Faculty of record is required to teach the classroom instruction and be available for office hours. For media type of instruction, it is often times a staff member, a technician or grad student, that will step in and teach when the instructor leaves or is not available. In some cases the staff member can instruct better than the instructor of record. Some times a child of a faculty member will instruct, get paid, but will not be the instructor of record, dad or mom is. The students attending these classes are most often times cheated when a child of the faculty member steps in to instruct.
F) Faculty is a person who can not do the tasks involved in a particular profession, so teaches others how to do them. A problem for education institutions is the faculty person who graduates with a doctorate with no real life experience. The person comes straight up and out the chain of education, and finishes with a doctorate degree with little or no practical work experience in the field. This path often times works well for research activity such as science. For media production classes this does not usually work out too well. Some universities hire part time faculty that do bring the missing component of real life lessons into the classroom. The pecking order puts the part time faculty below the level of the full time PHD. Another problem is that faculty meetings typically do not involve part time faculty so the PHD viewpoint, a self serving view, is all that is put forth unless the department chair takes action to present part time faculty input and give that input a sincere voice.
G) Part Time Faculty can be one of the following:

Often times the term “part time faculty” refers to an individual who has real world experience and is hired to enhance a department’s educational program. Often times these hires are a dice roll as to whether they do offer a benefit to the student. Being a good instructor comprises a number of factors and some people can walk in having what it takes while others don’t. Student evaluations typically identify the level of success or not. Those who do not measure up are not asked to return unless there is some hanky panky going on.

A new PHD, who is being exploited by being worked just under full time so benefits, do not have to be paid out might be considered a part time instructor. This saves the institution a lot of money. When this practice is carried out longer than a couple of years the situation becomes quite insulting to the faculty member and should be considered a moral and ethical black mark upon the institution to allow this practice to go forward and not award the person full time status.

Administrator
A) An administrator may be a person who is usually learning on the job. Being a good administrator is a darn hard job and few do it well. So, for this reason alone, most administrators are still learning if they have not reached their Peter Principal.
B) Administrator is a person too stupid to understand what is currently working well and leaves it alone but rather is motivated by some insecure self image and thus wants to make change to promote a better self image to their boss.
C) Resume Bumper. An administrator might be a person who failed at his or her job at another university and the people from that university will not indicate to anyone the errors and falsehoods on the candidates resume or past work performance when background checks are conducted by the new hiring university. Failure to share information with the hiring institution, about a candidate, is done so they can get rid of the SOB.

Note: There is a floating population of PHD’s that apply for jobs as administers. They float from one campus to the next. This group, one can put forth, may be considered at various level of being failures from holding previous campus administration positions. One would have to guess that these people have figured out that it takes about two years or more to be discovered as incompetent or lacking but can possibly profit from state retirement and Social Security benefits which are calculated from highest pay. Also, with each new successful employment a half intelligent person just might learn something new and achieve a threshold of competence with each new employment. Also, with any luck, they might last longer in their new position. This would be true if the campus administration is distracted or fails to care about a particular department or the staff are so intimidated so as to quash any up the chain reporting.

D) The Mouth. Some administrators got their job because they have orator skills with or without any supporting intellectual skills. Funny thing about humane beings, they are taken in by command of speech. Just look at our political leaders for this example. It does not matter much if the meaning of what they say does not make too much sense. We just tend to follow people that have a commanding voice. Just sit in a meeting with a group of administrators and try to pin the appropriate tag to each as to how they got the job and are keeping it.

Note: I attended a management training opportunity on our campus. We broke into small units, of about 5 to 8 people, to formulate a hypothetical policy. The group needed a scribe, someone to write up the results of what we decided. A woman, middle level administrator volunteered. She took our ideas and put a bureaucratic spin on the simple concepts we had agreed upon to such an extent that I could barely recognize our work. I sat back in utter amazement at her ability to completely take a simple idea and remove clarity and replace with an academic bovine spin. It did sound important and pumped up when she read it before the whole room of people, I felt she should find work at the IRS document section.


E) The 80% Solution. Some administrators can settle for a fair even good not great or best outcome. Compromise between what is best and what will get by is always a factor in our lives. It takes a savvy astute administrator to make the best decisions to achieve the best outcome. Some administrators will not revisit a problem but will use the words “ it works for me”. Some administrators get by, fly under the radar of detecting incompetence, this way.

F) Some administrators actually are positively functional for the institution by exhibiting many of the following traits.

  • Have an open door policy to better detect problems.

Remember that a boss is basically a troubleshooter and problem solver. A supervisor should know when and where the unit has a problem. If an administrator did not detect a problem that person failed, will be found out as having failed, and will be replaced.

  • Encourage communication. Communication is the main factor working for a university that is using the military model.
  • Value new and well thought out ideas and plans.
  • Level headed, meaning they don’t go off wasting resources and time.
  • Understands the mission of the work unit.
  • Have a good solid game plan for carrying out the mission and will not come up with a new plan if an old one works perfectly.
  • Do not dictate but bring in staff for collaborative meetings to address problems and find solutions.
  • Respect others and give credit for first, work performed above a set norm and second, for giving ideas toward fixing problems.
  • Are willing to work collaboratively with other departments and allow staff to independently collaborate outside the unit when it makes sense to do so.
  • Continually measure, as accurately as possible, the units performance and progress especially when implementing any new program.
  • Give direction and training to staff that need mentoring so that each staff member can reach a high level of productivity and professionalism.

President
A university president is the person who wears a number of hats. One hat is that of being a figure head an icon that stands in for what the university represents to the community, state and even to other nations. That means he or she will be seen as the embodiment of the university. Another hat is the necessary self promotion which is part of the image perversion where we humane’s tie a CEO reputation with the company reputation. As a result, this self promotion may seem at times to get more importance, take up more president’s time at the expense of wearing other hats. Gaining good press coverage is necessary as educational institutions are in competition with one another for students in general and high caliber student in particular. To survive, a university president must be seen as being an important force on the campus and in the community, even capable of creating change for the betterment of both groups. Another hat is chief administrator. Delegation is a necessary component of being a good administrator but not delegate too much and loose touch of what the campus is about is very important. Most important is making good solid department head hires and weeding out department heads that are not functioning at a high level of competence. Both are difficult to do as most department heads try hard to endure themselves at a personal level with the president. A president must be able to see through the bovine and weed out incompetence.

University presidents typically need to leave a legacy if they hold their job for some time. Typically this is a building with their name on it.

Provost
This is the head administrative officer of a college. While the president of the university is out looking for endowments this person is running the farm.

Dean
Dean is a necessary evil part of the educational bureaucracy. They claim to organize a number of academic departments under their control. If not held in check by a strong president, they can become a medieval lord. As a university power factor, they are evil because they add another layer to the step ladder of the power structure thereby making the front line more distant from the chief administrator. They will act in competition for resources, land and money to carve out their medieval fiefdom. Guess who pays for the 100 year old Scotch in their office, the tax payer. At this level of the ladder begins the legacy factor. A dean that holds his or her job for a long time begins to look around to find out ways to still be remembered long after they leave the university. I guess this is just another “all about me” ego thing.

Aside: The clash of these black wrap horned titans is one of the job perks the staff get to hear about from other staff members prior too and after meetings and during lunch breaks.

Associate Dean
Associate Dean is the bad cop, the henchman or women that does the dirty work for the dean. They can really muck things up when they are delegated power over media stemming from being incompetent in their knowledge of technology. Some associate deans hold very little power and are given very little responsibility while others are the Dick Chaney of the particular college, the power behind the throne. It is very smart to scope out who is the more powerful, the dean or associate dean before interfacing with either.

VP
Vice President’s typically parcel out the money and space. Space is power. Money is power. Just another level of the militaristic model that can degenerate into cronyism, favoritism and cherry wood paneling and over stuffed furniture for the feudal lords. Good VP’s are indispensable in the militaristic framework. When they are really good at what they do they move on to become presidents or otherwise move on for more benefits and pay at a “better” university.

DOD
Term: DOD stands for Director of Development. It is their task to go out and raise money. Problem is, many do not cover their salaries. Many are seat warmers. A good DOD that can work as a team player with staff can really help build out a media complex but few are allowed to do so by the dean.

Secretary
Secretarial staff, in many departments they serve the department chair primarily and the faculty. For the university, they offer continuity, institutional knowledge and may be the type of individual that cultivates friends in other departments for getting results and work around solutions. For the student, a good secretary can offer advice to the students as to how to get things done in the highly impersonal structured bureaucratic institution. This person can some times help a family make the necessary connections with department staff to take an inside look when touring the university. Typically the campus will have a campus tour office but that will only provide the overview look. A good department secretary will put a family in touch with the department chair person and other staff and even make arrangements for a production facility tour.

IT
Term: IT stands for Information Technology.

With the advent of the IT classification and if that department becomes an important component on a campus, which it should, usually results in an uplifting of respect of all of the technician classifications. This comes about out of a number of factors. One factor is no longer do the faculty and administrators only make up the command structure. The IT department puts in place a vertical pillar component of reporting responsibility into the campus flow chart. The departments and faculty and staff are told or dictated to by the IT department. This is how it is going to be they say and very few can go against their recommendations. The IT department on campus sets campus wide computer system criteria. The faculty can have input but any IT action must be sound, depending upon industry criteria not campus whims. Currently the IT staff get high pay and a very high pay range progression. The IT positions are partly based on certification and degree achievement. Many IT positions are paid at levels higher than tenured faculty. This is quite unfair to other technicians that hold high skill levels but are not recognized as being in fashion during this Internet and computers being vastly important in our lives. Some one should bring a class action lawsuit over this pay discrepancy. Reformulating the technician classifications in a state wide system can be quite expensive.

Equipment Technician
The full range of competence from sleeping on the job to guru and indispensable can be found on any campus. Their duties are typically to make sure the department equipment is fully functional. They are expected to design, fabricate, evaluate, purchase, install, test, and maintain. In some departments these people do the teaching when the instructor of record leaves the room. A big problem for media classes is that the instructor of record is only obligated to show up for classroom and office hours. This is an inherent deficiency of the university process where publishing and research carries weight and not teaching outside of the proscribed classroom times. Projects are typically required and a staff member some times steps in to teach and troubleshoot a project’s problems. In the areas of photography, graphics, video and IT, the staff often times are better instructors than the instructor of record but get no extra pay, another cause for a lawsuit.

Student
A) Student has a range of meanings. The faculty mail room is full of definitions, some are not suitable for print. Students obviously have varying level of competence or how well they are prepared to take and properly function in college. The range in competence, to some degree, fits with the rating of the institution. At the state college and university level they typically are not high achievers as compared with private institutions or highly rated public colleges. The better schools attract better students. The massive bulk of students come directly from high school. Most think a college is nothing more than getting away from mom and dad and attend the next level of schooling. Some students come to class with an immature attitude. They often times lack aggressiveness toward their education and lack passion for any subject. Some students attend college with poor writing and comprehension ability. There is a population of students that only want the degree and not the education that proceeds getting that paper.

B) Student when referring to an individual that did not go directly to college from high school but may have had a military career, worked a few years before going to college, is an older aged person, or anyone who has measured life after high school for a while, usually this person is an instructor’s delight. The motivation is there to learn and they are aggressive in wanting to learn more and beyond what the course offers. A student that does not come directly from high school should be considered as possibly being more mature and given some added points for acceptance into any university.

C) Student can be a continuum of passion. For example, in film production there is a range of understanding about film making. At one end is the state student who has very little knowledge of some famous film directors while at the private college like USC the students have such a passion for “their” art form that they can identify most if not all of the lesser known directors of film. Guess who wins the best jobs in Hollywood?

D) Just about any student can be a sleeper, a joker, a wild card individual that shows very little to the staff that they are above average and capable beyond being a Walmart greeter. For some unknown reason, every now and then a student pulls it all together at some point to excel in the real world. This is very unnerving for the staff because we can not predict this result. We do know that the just about any numbskull, we deal with, could be a star in a few years so we try to treat all students with respect and care.

Note: If you are a student who is not getting B grades or higher in (high school) college and obviously reading definition “D” above and dreaming that you will excel later in life, that you are this late bloomer category, think again. The time to excel is NOW, not later. Most of our teenagers put off everything, cleaning their room, doing their chores. Never dream of what will be later, get to work NOW, study hard, do the required readings in advance, do more than expected, prepare for every test well ahead, put together study groups and ask questions. Be aggressive toward your education. Lead the self disciplined life!

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