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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

FIU Faculty: "I Second What Miamista Said"

Okay, if you had questions about what I was saying about FIU read this article in today's Herald- (This will be taken down and the link added to my entry "FIU: Doctor, No"- note: I consistently update old entries.)

Herald: FIU profs censure their leader
FIU's faculty strongly criticized president Modesto 'Mitch' Maidique, but stopped short of asking the school's trustees to get involved.
Florida International University's faculty senate expressed ''grave concerns'' Tuesday about school president Modesto ''Mitch'' Maidique's leadership, following a report that criticized him for what it labeled a financial crisis, recruitment problems and other shortfalls at the public university.
Tuesday's action reflects a concern among some faculty that Maidique's aggressive push to keep FIU growing -- including recent efforts to win approval for a medical school -- has left some basics neglected.
''There was a continuing tendency to overextend ourselves in spite of limited resources and infrastructure,'' the Oct. 13 report states.
The report says the medical school effort ``might require a more sophisticated and professional approach.''
Most of the faculty's 62-member senate supported Tuesday's resolution, which called for Maidique and his top deputy to meet with a three-member faculty panel to consider the problems, said Bruce Hauptli, a philosophy professor who chairs the faculty governing body and one of the report's three authors. The faculty senate represents about 1,000 full-time professors.
The senate stopped short of passing a stronger resolution that would have asked the school's board of trustees ``to reassess the President's recent leadership and administration of the University.''
Maidique said he would meet with the faculty committee. ''I'd like to withhold judgment about how grave those concerns are until the committee is organized,'' he said.
He also suggested an ongoing impasse in union negotiations contributed to the disenchantment: ``How large does that loom over this?''
The union issue, said Hauptli, was included among several items in the faculty's five-page report, but was far from the overriding issue.
FIU has grown swiftly since it opened in 1972 in west Miami-Dade as a two-year program for community college students to earn a bachelor's degree. This fall, more than 35,000 part-time and full-time students enrolled. In 2000, it earned a Carnegie Foundation status as a major research university. And its first law school class graduated in the spring.
But the quick rise has had pitfalls.
Earlier this year, FIU agreed to pay a $11.5 million settlement to the federal government because of accounting irregularities with a research grant, part of the impetus for the faculty report. Hauptli said budget constraints were extremely tight last year, faulting the grant scandal and a series of historical decisions at FIU.
The report -- while praising Maidique's vision and acknowledging challenges with state education politics -- also cites ''lapses in hiring and replacement of top administrators'' and poor planning for new technology.
FIU's board of trustees, which extended Maidique's contract for one year during a summer meeting and has ultimate authority over his tenure, received the faculty critique last week.
''I read the report,'' said Chairman David Parker. ``I think the information is old news.''
Maidique also sent the board a response, pointing out that he has revamped his administrative team.
''A University of this size and scope, woefully under-funded by the State, and serving students from one of the poorest communities in the United States will always face special challenges,'' he wrote.

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