On Thursday David Dudley did something that surprised his colleagues at Georgia Southern University. He sent all of them an open letter [300K PDF] in which he described — in detail — the extent of dysfunction he sees at the university.
He described an administration disconnected from the faculty, with oversized ambitions that could move the institution away from its teaching mission. He described a faculty governance system willing to adopt the wrong resolutions just to make the administration pay attention. And he described professors who have spent their careers at the university (in November he’ll have been there 23 years; he currently serves as chair of literature and philosophy) who feel besieged by one idea after another from administrators destined to be short-termers.
While his colleagues were a little stunned when they opened their e-mail, it wasn’t because they disagreed. “I was so happy because someone stood up and said this out loud,” said Eric Nelson, one professor. “We all have these sentiments, but no one has said so like this.”