Make haste slowly — it’s good advice.
Our U is growing — offering more and fuller programs at a new (to us) location. The road to that hasn’t been easy — some administrators hoped to fast-track this. I have to admit that I was one of the ones pulling the brakes, not because I don’t want to see this growth, but that I want to see it done correctly. We’re already confronted problems that result from the difficulty of communicating well across hundreds of miles and there’s a disquieting feeling that the growth is unthinking. With no tenure-track faculty currently at the remote site and hopes to offer programs with a bare handful of new hires, the committee that I was on asked for a little time and a lot more consultation. At that point, I couldn’t feel happy supporting the nebulous proposal.
Two weeks later we were back at it with department representatives for the programs in question in attendance and someone teleconferencing in from the distant campus to boot. And things went well. People from one program spoke passionately about the inability to offer one of their four-year degrees under the current proposal, but staved off administrative unrest by pointing out the way that another program could fit the bill for now with hopes to build up to the research-based program. Details were offered about the additional hirings needed and acknowledged. Additional resources were also committed for the library at the site. All in all, two weeks gave us the opportunity to help make this a strong plan that I can happily support.
We’re still not moving at lightning speed. Matters have to go through the academic senate, ads need to be drafted, hiring committees approved, offerings outlined. Much as the administrators might like it, we’re probably not ready to offer the full programs for next fall. But now everyone involved is committed to the endeavour (unlike two weeks ago!) and we have a much better chance of getting something off the ground in short order. As well, we’ve set a clear precedent of what needs to be considered should another program experience a growth spurt at this distant campus and want to grow. That, to me, was definitely worth the wait!