Goldstein defiant: Faculty are “not empowered” to ignore Pathways

Chancellor Goldstein sent an email via the CUNY Newswire this afternoon responding to an incident at Queensborough Community College (QCC), in which the interim vice-president Karen Steele threatened to cut courses and gut the English department after faculty refused to reduce Writing Composition from 4 to 3 credits to fit the new Pathways model.

Though Steele has since retracted her threat and issued an apology, Goldstein continued to dig in the administration’s heels over Pathways, rebuking the UFS chair and PSC presidents for supporting faculty resistance to Pathways and adding that “This claim misstates the core principle, embodied in state law and the bylaws and policies of the University, that the authority for the governance of the University on all matters rests with the Board of Trustees.”

Goldstein’s email continues to assert that the Board has “delegated a significant role to the faculty on academic matters” despite the fact that 6,000+ faculty and student petitioners against Pathways were ignored at a recent Board hearing over Pathways and even mocked by Board Chair Benno Schmidt.

The full text of Goldstein’s email is below.

I am writing to address several issues that have arisen recently in connection with the implementation of the Pathways resolution of the Board of Trustees.

First, earlier this month, the interim vice-president for academic affairs at Queensborough Community College wrote an unfortunate letter to the College’s English Department. The author subsequently apologized for the character and tone of her communication. We should remember that while Pathways established the structure for curricular reform and its implementation, faculty are fully engaged in developing course content. Such collaboration is very much in the tradition and spirit of a great University.

Second, Dr. Terrence Martell, chair of the University Faculty Senate, and Dr. Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress, have sent an email to the faculty in which they erroneously state that the faculty have the power to block the implementation of Pathways. This claim misstates the core principle, embodied in state law and the bylaws and policies of the University, that the authority for the governance of the University on all matters rests with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees has delegated a significant role to the faculty on academic matters, and the faculty have the right to exercise their professional judgment in fulfilling that role. However, the faculty are not empowered to ignore or violate a policy established by the Board of Trustees or the implementation of that policy by the Chancellor.

I hope this clarifies matters and allows us to continue to work collaboratively to implement Pathways in a manner that is in the best educational interests of our students.

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