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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cincinnati Dean Says 'Small Cabal' Of Tenured Faculty Is Seeking Her Ouster Because Of Her Attempt To Balance Law School's Budget

UC BardFollowing up on Monday's post, Cincinnati Law School Dean Under Fire From Faculty: Ouster, Vote Of No Confidence Discussed As Provost Unveils 6-Month Plan To 'Restore Mutual Trust And Respect' And Dean Lawyers Up:  Cincinnati Business Courier, UC Law Dean Responds to Call For Her Ouster:

The University of Cincinnati's College of Law dean said calls for her ouster from a "small but vocal cabal" of faculty result from steps she has taken to tackle the college's deficit.

Jennifer Bard said that in a statement in response to a March 19 Business Courier story about a group of faculty planning to take a vote of no confidence in the dean based on documents provided by the university through a public records request. The documents show that a group of at least nine law professors discussed holding a vote of no confidence in Bard as early as Nov. 22, 2016. Interim provost Peter Landgren responded by sending law school faculty a six-month plan to "restore mutual trust and respect." ...

Bard said in her statement that she was hired in 2015 "with the express written expectation that my principal responsibility was to develop and implement a plan to eliminate the very considerable financial deficit at the College of Law." ...

Bard said she has made significant progress in cutting the deficit but that rankled a small group of faculty.

One suggestion was to integrate the UC law library into the existing university library system. Until 2015, the American Bar Association required law schools to have autonomous libraries in order to achieve accreditation. Bard said integrating the library into UC's system would save significant money while having minimal impact on service to students. She said the law library director opposes that move.

Bard said an audit of the law school identified a need for written pre-travel approval and the submission of travel receipts, which has caused discomfort for faculty. ...

"Because UC operated for some time with interim leaders in both the president's and provost's office, the disaffected group of tenured law professors worked to exploit this leadership vacuum to preserve the status quo, derail the progress I have achieved and try to push me out of the dean's position," Bard wrote. ...

Bard said in that letter she had read the emails furnished to media through public records requests and was struck by the level of tension that exists between tenure-track faculty and hired professors of practice. She said such tension is not unusual but needs to be addressed.

Bard ended her letter with a call for dialog between herself and the faculty of the law school. "I would like us to begin having the hard conversations that have to take place here to address our very pressing issues and I would like to work together in an atmosphere of respect and dignity with the entire law school community," she wrote.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/03/cincinnati-law-school-dean-says-small-cabal-of-tenured-faculty-seeking-her-ouster-is-upset-at-budget.html

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Comments

Law professors are such babies. Threatening a no-confidence vote when the mechanism does not even exist? Trying to oust a Dean in part because she makes faculty apply for travel stipends?

These faculty literally have no concept of a budget. They just pitch a fit when they lose something that previously made their lives easier.

Posted by: JM | Mar 22, 2017 6:38:20 AM

A story remarkably empty of what the dispute is all about. I don't think it's just the dean creating makework for faculty by requiring them to fill out useless forms in advance of trips, though that gives some sign of her lack of administrative ability.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Mar 22, 2017 7:14:19 AM

It's noteworthy, though, that the press got their FOIA request filled without any trouble--- does that tell us something about the provost? Ordinarily, administrators fight to keep information secret, and their favorite excuse is "personnel matter". Or, perhaps the provost is just releasing the info so the dean can see the plans of the opposition in their emails, and directly passing on the emails to her would look too much like a breach of confidence.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Mar 22, 2017 7:16:56 AM

Incidentally, the students found out from reading this blog. Shameful.

Posted by: Goddessofoddness | Mar 23, 2017 8:41:55 AM

One suggestion was to integrate the UC law library into the existing university library system. Until 2015, the American Bar Association required law schools to have autonomous libraries in order to achieve accreditation. Bard said integrating the library into UC's system would save significant money while having minimal impact on service to students. She said the law library director opposes that move.

You could do that, but it would not be optimal (or it would not have been 25 years ago. Perhaps there has been much change in collection development and reference within law libraries). Law collections incorporate space hogging serials, series, and looseleaf services which are quite atypical in ordinary academic collections (the old Biological Abstracts and Chemical Abstracts excepted). (Have these been discontinued?) Also, you're collecting for a program with a three year course of study, which will influence the optimal depth of your collecting. (Recall an academic major at an undergraduate institution will encompass 42 credits). Law librarians are commonly quondam law students or lapsed attorneys. Very seldom do academic reference librarians or bibliographers carrying much background in a discipline to guide them in aiding their clientele. Particularly if you have practitioners using your collection, you should have someone on hand intimate with this type of material.

Posted by: Art Deco | Mar 23, 2017 12:02:22 PM

Art Deco:
Three changes in the past 25 years: Lexis, Westlaw, and HeinOnline change the calculus.

Posted by: Biff | Mar 23, 2017 5:25:47 PM

Requiring travel receipts for reimbursement hardly seems radical, especially at a state institution.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 23, 2017 6:35:36 PM