The University of Idaho is competing for state funding with prisons, highways and health care, new UI President Robert Hoover says, not the other state college and universities.
Hoover spoke to faculty members on Thursday, his first meeting with the entire faculty.
To avoid a shift from oversight to micromanagement of university procedures, the school must learn to justify its expenditures to state bureaucrats and the Board of Education, Hoover said. To protect and support its faculty, there must be a reallocation of resources.
Hoover pitched himself as a leader and the Moscow school as the state’s leading educational institution.
Praising the faculty as the major cog in a machine that produced a $518 million economic impact last year, Hoover said one of the major challenges in the next decade is attracting, then keeping, quality faculty with fewer dollars from the state.
One solution would be to produce a greater research windfall.
Hoover praised the faculty for helping the university rank among the 100 best college buys in 1997-98 and for its ranking among U.S. News and World Report’s top 150 universities for the past five years.
But the address ended with two notes of apprehension from the ranks.
James Foster, assistant professor in computer science, wanted to know who would win and who would lose under Hoover’s allocations.
And while attracting the best and the brightest teachers and scientists is a commendable goal, foreign languages Professor Alan Rose said he was “more concerned about the dim ones still here.”
“Your eyes are not dim,” he told Hoover, “but unfortunately you can’t see my paycheck.”
Hoover said he had the same concerns when he was a faculty member.
“I was a faculty member, and I cursed those administrators day in and day out,” he said. “We didn’t get into our problem in one afternoon; we’re not going to get out of it in one afternoon.”
After the meeting, Faculty Council Chairman William Voxman said faculty members always have believed they had answers to surviving reduced funding.