Intelligent Design

Baylor faculty senate nixes President Lilley’s tenure decisions … so is Lilley history?

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Tim Woods of the Waco Herald Tribune dropped another bombshell when he revealed yesterday,

Baylor University’s faculty senate Tuesday passed a “failure of shared governance” resolution sharply critical of the administrative style of President John Lilley.

The action came during a meeting lasting three hours and 45 minutes, after which senate chairman Matt Cordon said faculty morale has been low for months. The senate voted 29-0 in favor of the resolution, with two members abstaining. (May 7, 2008)

Denial of tenure to profs supported by their departments was a top grievance:

This spring, 12 of 30 professors eligible for tenure were denied by Lilley and Provost Randall O’Brien. The pair cited as a reason substandard research when viewed “through the lens of (Baylor) 2012,” O’Brien has said.

Baylor faculty claim tenure guidelines were changed after their tenure notebooks were filed.

The vote was 29-0, with two abstentions. So not one of the 31 senate members supports the administration.

One way of looking at it: The worst Lilley can do is convert two abstentions to nays. Can’t get worse.

Uncommon Descent was actually nicer to Lilley

Hey, we’ve discussed Baylor tenure here at Uncommon Descent in recent months, and I’m pretty sure more of our commenters were pro-Lilley than the senate was.

I recall we even had a tenured prof sign in to announce that Lilley has vital information about the deficiencies of the denied that we mere mortals can’t know. Or something.

Guess the Baylor faculty senate is mortal too then, because darned if they know either. Ten of the 12 denial-ees are appealing, probably with support. (By the way, is Lilley in the running for Denialist of the Year?)

Former president Sloan’s administrative ghost rises, wagging a finger … ?

What would spook me if I were Lilley is that reporter Woods goes on to recall the ghost of the ill-fated former President Sloan. Sloan lasted ten years, and Lilley has hardly managed 2.5 years before all this blew up.

Anyway, reading over the resolution, it’s clear that faculty feel overridden on tenure decisions which they – quite obviously – think should be theirs, unless serious misconduct is suspected. Lilley had approved the departments’ written statements on tenure (January 6, 2006), and there was no hint of a problem until candidates started to file.

Were the “wrong” candidates qualifying? The faculty was supposed to read between the lines to know who Lilley didn’t want and get rid of them before they applied for tenure?

Incendiary? Who, me? Read this next  bit –

One of the Whereas’s reads,

Whereas the Faculty Senate emphatically decries the implications of the President’s public assertion that he trusts and/or has confidence in only certain unnamed departments and deans;

Wow. So Lilley was implying the other heads are all deadheads … Maybe he was shafting the tenure candidates from “disloyal” departments under suspect deans. I couldn’t think of a better way of cementing opposition if you paid me, but rats! Some management consultant beat me to it.

But more to the point: What if the CEO of General Motors was thought to have confidence only in certain divisions and product lines? What if the US President was widely rumoured to have confidence in the loyalty only of certain states and branches of the federal civil service?

That would suggest something about his abilities as an executive.

Still, confusing as it all sounds, at the end of the day, it’s kind of simple. A retired dictator once explained, I am resigning because I cannot make the peasants resign.

So maybe Lilley should heed Sloan’s ghost and resign. Even if Lilley is right in his views, he can’t run Baylor if he only has the confidence of some departments and deans.

Anyway, people who have donated large sums to Baylor should investigate insurance against spontaneous combustion.

Note: An angry jock has just informed me that Lilley’s really, really big sin was wanting to change the Baylor team logo, to score more brand recognition with, like, the Air America crowd. Oh, come on, Jock. This is all getting to you, isn’t it?

For one thing, there isn’t an Air America crowd any more. That second fellow left to catch the bus. Still, messing with the team logo? … mmm, I always say, Lilleys that fester … .

Also, just up at The Mindful Hack

Placebo effect: Your mind’s role in your health. (No, don’t throw away that prescription. But read this before you conclude that only that pill makes you well.)

Philosophy of mind: In case you wondered whether you are conscious and reading this. (Actually, there is hardly a materialist explanation of consciousness that is worth considering.)

Animal minds: Learning may not pay, but some animals do it anyway. “If your science prof told you long ago that learning evolves because animals that learn faster are more likely to survive, forget it. Learning imposes costs of its own, as one experiment showed.”

Heard way, way too often: The soul boils down to a few genes?

Materialist Mythbusting: Genes ‘R’ Not Us

8 Replies to “Baylor faculty senate nixes President Lilley’s tenure decisions … so is Lilley history?

  1. 1
    poachy says:

    But more to the point: What if the CEO of General Motors was thought to have confidence only in certain divisions and product lines? What if the US President was widely rumoured to have confidence in the loyalty only of certain states and branches of the federal civil service?

    That would suggest something about his abilities as an executive.

    What if a blog owner only had confidence is some commenters to do so without moderation?

    That would suggest something about their abilities as a blogger.

  2. 2
    O'Leary says:

    poachy, in your case, lack of confidence is well advised, and no one – I am sure – has ever considered making you dean of anything. It’s not material to our business here to get along with you.

    Not so John Lilley with his faculty.

  3. 3
    wnelson says:

    Hear, hear O’Leary — it’s like they’re degreed professionals with a charter — or something.

    You can’t stop the signal.

  4. 4
    O'Leary says:

    wnelson, yes, I think it’s important for a U’s governors to listen to the signal.

    One of the complexities of an admin position is that one must administer the people who actually work in the concern, not a hypothetical ideal group. So keeping their confidence is a key part of the job.

    Under some circumstances, it is entirely honourable, as well as sensible, for a CEO to simply resign.

    That is, the CEO thinks that the U should go one way but other key players won’t follow – it is more productive for all concerned for the CEO to find a group to manage that actually shares the vision.

    Often, it isn’t even strictly a win-lose situation. Different visions are in play and no one can force others to share his vision. It’s clear that the faculty don’t share Lilley’s. That’s really what this conflict is about at bottom.

  5. 5
    Peter says:

    So many academics buckle under pressure from peers or the mass media. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lilley thought he was safe just going along with their biases, not realizing he was in a Christian institution. Sounds like lots of profs I know.

  6. 6

    Oh, is Baylor a Christian institution? On what grounds can this be stated, given their hostility towards the idea of a Designer and pro-lifers like Beckwith?

  7. 7
    Larry Fafarman says:

    Let’s not forget that Lilley insisted that the website of the Bioinformatics Lab be removed from the Baylor website.

  8. 8
    DLH says:

    Some unheralded developments on Baylor tenure denials:

    Seven BU faculty see controversial tenured enials overturned

    As questions swirl about the security of his job, Baylor University President John Lilley announced Wednesday that he and Provost Randall O’Brien have granted tenure on appeal to seven of the 12 faculty candidates denied tenure earlier this spring.

    The announcement came a day after Lilley and O’Brien met with the faculty tenure committee and the same day the Tribune-Herald published a story in which multiple regent sources say the Baylor board of regents will vote Friday on whether to fire Lilley.

    Former UNR president accused of causing low morale at Baylor”

    Herald’s story, in which three unidentified regents said that a vote was scheduled to be taken to decide whether to fire Lilley. . . The story also said Lilley has been under pressure to increase Baylor’s endowment to $2 billion, and the reason he gave for denying tenure to the dozen professors was that their research was substandard in light of the university’s efforts to become among the country’s top-tier research institutions.

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