The PPRC purports that “The proposed reimagination of the academic structure at TU is bold.” Agreed. The plan is not only bold, but also brazen and reckless. The plan’s publication alone has already begun to tarnish the reputation of a great institution. Of the undergraduate higher education institutions that, like TU, sit on a one billion dollar endowment or greater, a full 99% of these institutions offer undergraduate majors in philosophy. If, as the report indicates, cost-cutting is truly a motivation here, then it is apparent that something is amiss at the University of Tulsa.
--Jordan Hughes, B.A., B.S.C.S, M.S., Software Development Engineer for Amazon
On April 11, 2019, TU President Gerard Clancy released a plan called “True Commitment” or what people are calling “The TU Reorganization.” (Read it here.) The plan is based in part on recommendations from a special university committee called the Provost's Program Review Committee, or PPRC.
The "True Commitment" plan outlines four sweeping changes to how the University of Tulsa is organized:
eliminating all 15 departments in the Kendall College of Arts and Sciences (including university mainstays like Economics, Psychology, Political Science, Languages, Sociology, Education, English, and Philosophy) and replacing them with four "divisions" organized around fashionable topics,
creating a large new general education curriculum called "University Studies" and requiring faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences teach it,
eliminating the Business School, Law School, and Health Sciences and replacing them with a single “Professional College," and
eliminating 40% of the academic programs (majors, minors, master's, and PhDs) that TU offers.
Unfortunately, observers have noted numerous alarming irregularities in the process used to create the "True Commitment" plan -- irregularities so serious that they raise doubts about whether the President, Provost, PPRC, and Trustees fulfilled their basic due diligence responsibilities.
The True Commitment plan did not include basic background work like market research on how the proposal will impact applications, enrollment, faculty hiring and retention, or institutional prestige; criteria for defining success; plans for evaluating the roll out; or a backup plan in the event the proposal fails.
The Provost's Committee submitted its initial report after just 8 months. During that time, the committee was tasked with comprehensively reviewing 227 academic units--almost one per day. Top universities usually devote more time to routine reviews of individual departments or schools, let alone floor-to-ceiling overhauls. I know of no other respected national university that has ever attempted to create such a sweeping redesign on such a rushed timetable.
There are numerous reports of serious errors in the data on department finances and enrollment counts that the reorganization committee used to decide which degree programs to shut down.
Many faculty have reported that the review process was conducted in secret and that they were blindsided when the report was released. Members of the Provost's Committee signed non-disclosure agreements; I have never heard of any academic unit at any university requiring NDAs for an internal program evaluation. The administration is currently limiting faculty access to key materials related to the reorganization plan, including the Provost's Committee report and the Higher Learning Commission report that allegedly prompted the administration to launch the Provost's Committee.
The timing of the announcement at the end of the academic year seems like an attempt to limit the scope of deliberation and debate. As one student put it, "they tried to announce it right before finals when students couldn't focus on it."
The end result of this process was a plan with what I see as numerous serious flaws and the potential to permanently damage the quality and reputation of the University of Tulsa and negatively impact the value of a TU diploma.
The plan is surprisingly short and ambiguous. It outlines the reorganization process in just 2 pages of text and 13 pages of simple flow charts. Key proposals like eliminating the 15 departments in Arts and Sciences and combining the Business, Law, and Health Sciences into a single “professional college” are explained in just one paragraph each. Section 02 of this website ("The Process") contains more words than the "True Commitment" plan for how to eliminate departments in Arts and Sciences.
Without details about how the reorganization will be carried out, it is difficult to know how the proposal will affect learning outcomes and the overall quality of the university. Many faculty are deeply concerned that the plan will hollow out the value of a TU education by reducing the quality of teaching and research in the social sciences, humanities, and arts to the point that students' exposure to these topics is superficial.
Without market research, it is difficult to know whether the plan will work, that is, whether aspiring law students will want to study in a "professional college" and not a law school, whether high school seniors will want to take a chance on a college that doesn’t have department like Economics or English, whether good faculty in Arts and Sciences will want to work at an institution that does not give its experts control over their own academic departments, and how the proposed changes will affect TU's national reputation. As I see it, this plan is a profoundly irresponsible gamble that could jeopardize TU's reputation as a high-quality national university.
The plan forces faculty to rush the implementation. The "True Commitment" plan states that departments have at most two years to figure out all the details that aren’t listed in the plan itself, which effectively means just two tries (since universities make decisions about admissions, hiring, and curriculum on a year-long “academic year” calendar).
Each piece of the "True Commitment” plan seems to have serious problems that the administration hasn't addressed.
The academic program cuts are based on data that students and faculty have criticized as inaccurate (here's one example), and bad data lead to bad decisions.
The new "University Studies" curriculum seems likely to take Arts and Sciences faculty away from the small high-quality courses that TU is famous for and force them to teach big gen ed classes.
And eliminating the 15 departments in Arts and Sciences seems like an administrative power grab designed to take decisions about faculty hiring and curriculum away from the experts who are best qualified to make them, which has the potential to damage TU's ability to retain its current high-quality faculty (Arts and Sciences faculty voted 89-4 against the plan--see below) and give TU a bad reputation nationally that will make it hard to recruit good faculty (close to 20 higher-education associations have already condemned "True Commitment"--see below).
And when the quality of a university's faculty goes down, the quality of its education and its national reputation go down, too. Colleges and Universities have to change with the times, but that doesn't mean that just any change will work.
On November 4, 2019, a letter was sent to President Clancy, Provost Levit, and the Board of Trustees in which 219 TU Alumni (whose graduation dates ranged from 1961 – 2019) expressed their strong reservations regarding the True Commitment reorganization plan
“Had these changes been in place when we attended TU, we believe it would have been detrimental to our educational experience. We are saddened to believe that with these changes, future students, including those outside of the directly affected programs, will receive a lower quality education than we did. For this reason, we urge your reconsideration of the announced changes and a fuller, more transparent engagement with the faculty in order to secure TU’s educational and financial sustainability.” (full text)
In a public lecture on October 16, Economics professor Matthew Hendricks
Instruction is the most important component of university spending. Higher spending on instruction improves student retention and graduation rates, student engagement, and employment outcomes.
TU is among the worst Universities in the country in terms of the percent of expenditures allocated to instruction. In 2015, for example, TU Ranked 422 out of 467 schools, that is, in the bottom 10%.
From 2007-2017, TU continually siphoned funds away from instruction and student services and into other areas.
Unless the Board of Trustees and upper administrators reverse course, the ongoing expansion of TU’s administration, combined with yet further reductions in instructional spending under True Commitment, will only make matters worse.
Concerned Faculty have drafted an appeal for legal intervention by the Attorney General of Oklahoma to halt the implementation of the “True Commitment” plan.
We believe that the Board of Trustees of the University of Tulsa has breached its fiduciary duties of care and loyalty in approving the radical academic restructuring of the University known as True Commitment. (full text)
The "True Commitment" plan has been formally denounced by every faculty and student organization at TU that has voted on it, including . . .
The Faculty Senate, which voted 30 – 13 on August 29, 2019, that the submission of the PPRC recommendations and the True Commitment proposal to the Board of Trustees, and the efforts to implement these plans, violate Article VI(C) of the Faculty Senate Constitution. (full text)
The University of Tulsa School of Law (April 15, 2019)
The University of Tulsa College of Arts and Sciences (89-4 vote, April 17, 2019)
"The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences resolves not to implement the changes proposed by the PPRC within the coming academic year (2019-2020), pending the creation of a task force to study the effects of the proposed changes on students, faculty, and the University." (full text)
The University of Tulsa Student Association (April 16, 2019)
"BE IT ENACTED by the Student Senate of the Student Association of the University of Tulsa that a vote of no confidence in the True Commitment Plan has been passed through this body." (full text)
The University of Tulsa College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee (May 3, 2019)
"We are troubled by the fact that the True Commitment Plan, which brings significant changes to our college’s curricula, programs, and degrees, has been enacted without the consultation or approval of this committee or the UCC. We believe this violates procedure and is an abrogation of the rights and responsibilities of this committee, its analogues, and the UCC." (full text)
The University of Tulsa Geosciences Club (April 14, 2019)
"We do not support “True Commitment” and we respectfully request that an independent task force be created to study the effects of the proposed changes before it is implemented." (full text)
The University of Tulsa Students of French and German (April 30, 2019)
"We the students in the French and German programs wish to dispute the following recommendations from the PPRC on the grounds that this is impractical, based on faulty data, and contrary to the True Commitment’s purported intent." (full text)
The University of Tulsa English Graduate Student Association (May 3, 2019--additional signatories May 9, 2019)
"EGSA condemns the environment of distrust, division, and patronization fostered by the way in which the 'True Commitment Plan' was announced." (full text)
Concerned faculty have written an Open Letter to the Board of Trustees stating that the “True Commitment” plan “is utterly hostile to faculty, staff, students and alumni—the true heart and soul of the University of Tulsa” and asking the Trustees to halt implementation and conduct a transparent review process. (full text)
The same group -- which now numbers over 100 faculty from all five colleges -- issued a series of pointed questions to the Provost on June 13th in response to her announcement that her office would create a new administrative position for PPRC chair Tracy Manly. (full text)
The plan has been condemned by numerous professional associations in higher education, including . . .
The National Humanities Alliance (June 4, 2019)
As higher education institutions continue to make cuts to humanities departments (Millsaps College, Tulsa University, Wheeling Jesuit University), we are working to collect and share successful strategies for making the case for studying the humanities as an undergraduate, helping humanists to secure their rightful place on campus. (full text)
American Philosophical Association (May 22, 2019)*
"We urge you and all those involved in making vital decisions about the future of the University of Tulsa to reverse TU’s proposal to eliminate the philosophy major, the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and the Honors Program in which all five TU philosophers teach as part of the recently announced “restructuring” plan. . . . According to the Payscale.com 2017–2018 college salary report, early and mid-career salaries of those with a BA in philosophy outrank those of profession-oriented majors such as information technology, nursing, health care administration, marketing, and business administration." (full text)
American Historical Association (May 14, 2019)*
"The American Historical Association expresses deep concern about the dramatic restructuring plan released by the University of Tulsa on April 11. Apparently prepared largely behind closed doors (or at least with limited access) and without meaningful input from members of the university’s history department, the new Tulsa ”True Commitment” envisions radical cutbacks in history and other humanities and social science disciplines. While the AHA always takes care to not make assumptions about institutional budgets or other constraints, the University has not released any scarcity-based imperatives for this major reorientation of priorities." (full text)
Graduate Assistants United (April 28, 2019)
"Higher ed is under attack at the University of Tulsa." (full text)
American Anthropological Association (April 28, 2019)*
"On behalf of the American Anthropological Association and its 10,000 members, we are writing in support of the critical importance of preserving the integrity of anthropological research and teaching at the University of Tulsa." (full text)
Society for the Study of Southern Literature (June 2, 2019)*
National Communication Association (April 28, 2019)*
American Comparative Literature Association (April 28, 2019)*
American Musicological Society (April 28, 2019)*
American Philosophical Association (April 28, 2019)*
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (April 28, 2019)*
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (April 28, 2019)*
Medieval Academy of America (April 28, 2019)*
Modern Language Association of AmericaRhetoric Society of America (April 28, 2019)*
Society of Architectural Historians (April 28, 2019)*
Society of Biblical Literature (April 28, 2019)*
Society for Cinema and Media Studies (April 28, 2019)*
Society for Classical Studies (April 28, 2019)*
Society for Ethnomusicology (April 28, 2019)*
* These organizations released a joint statement condemning the plan: "The University of Tulsa appears to relegate liberal arts programs to a supporting role in a new university focus on pre-professional and vocational programs. . . . By focusing on preparation only for a very few careers and ignoring evidence of the career-enhancing value of humanities and social science majors, University of Tulsa administrators restrict opportunities for their students and reinforce the notion that higher education should focus on workforce preparation rather than preparing lifelong learners who can use their educations to pursue a range of careers." (full text)
American Political Science Association (April 19, 2019)
"We are concerned that consolidating the programs into large interdisciplinary divisions will weaken the disciplinary integrity and financial health of all the social science and humanities programs and undercut the university’s progress towards its ambitious and admirable goals." (full text)
American Institute of Professional Geologists (April 17, 2019)
"I believe that limiting programs that produce trained, competent geoscience professionals will ultimately have a negative impact on our society. I recognize that the landscape of higher education is changing and that Universities often have to make difficult, unpopular decisions. I hope the Administration and Department will reconsider this one." (full text)
Phi Beta Kappa (April 25, 2019) also sent a measured letter--not an outright condemnation--to President Clancy:
"We greatly appreciate the magnitude of the decisions you are making. At the same time, we are convinced that the arts and sciences are the heart of what makes American colleges and universities the envy of the world.” (full text)
The plan has been criticized by local Presbyterian leaders.
"We express our concern over the recent restructuring plan of the University of Tulsa, in which it appears humanities and the arts and sciences are being devalued. This is a move away from Presbyterian educational values. Therefore, we ask: 1. Did the University of Tulsa seek out any Presbyterian educational voices such as the
Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities in examining various strategies for restructuring? 2. Does the University of Tulsa still consider itself to be a Presbyterian-related University? As graduates of, and/or advocates for Presbyterian-related colleges and Presbyterian leaders, we are very concerned about declining support for the humanities, liberal arts and sciences at higher education institutions that serve to educate the next generations of faith leaders and engaged members of society..” (full text)
Brian Cortes, BA ’04 “Studying/Working in the Foreign Lang. Dept. gave birth to an understanding of the world beyond our political borders. I’ve seen/lived in 4 continents because of these people/education by TU Foreign Language Dept.”
Christopher Mayo, BA '04 "While in the past I was a champion for TU, I have now had to actively advocate against it as it appears they are simply cowing to corporate institutions rather than upholding the value of education, the power of free thought, and beauty of independence."
Kally Walsh, BA '06 "As an alumna of the liberal arts program and a current manager at a world-class university, it is deeply disappointing to see my alma mater being forced down a path that will deteriorate its strong academic reputation developed over more than a century. My giving is now on hold."
Shuyu Tian, BA/BS '19 "Knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. Although we're moving towards a more STEM-focused society, humanities provide guidance on how we apply STEM in society. TU needs to not only provide technical expertise but impart wisdom of the humanities as well for its students."
Silent Partner, BA '18 "In losing resources for arts & sciences at TU, we lose a massive amount of potential for future success. I'm extremely disappointed in the path my alma mater is taking."
Silent Partner, BA ’99 “Proud Philosophy Major and long-time donor. Until now.”
Angel Alajaji, BM '06 "I am an Associate Director of Data Operations for a hospital in Chicago - and I received my Bachelor of Music at TU. My music degree helped me get to where I am. To say that liberal arts degrees will not prepare you for the 'relevant' jobs of today is entirely false."
Stacy Pendergraft, BA '93 "As a theatre prof for 18 years, TU's rigorous liberal arts courses have been the core of all I do both in the classroom and as a professional maker. I have been proud when TU recruits at my kids' school. No longer. We'll spread the word--TU is not the institution it once was."
Scott Kirkhuff, BA '95 "Am married to an alum and was hoping to send our three children to TU, as well. That will not happen if the True Commitment is implemented."
Amelia Ivory, BME '09 "As a local music educator I will not be able to promote TU as a viable college choice for my students. Musicians are some of the highest scoring students academically and we’ll be forced to send some of the brightest students out of Tulsa."
Sarah Elizabeth Thomas, BM '16 "Thanks to the dedicated faculty and supportive environment at TU, I am pursuing a career as a professional violinist and I just received my master's degree from a major conservatory. TU should cultivate the high quality courses in liberal and performing arts that I experienced."
Joanna George, BS '19 “’Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’ --Thomas Merton In losing support for the furtherance of liberal arts programs, TU loses a part of indescribably crucial part of itself- in culture, identity and essence."
Kelsey Erwin, BA '16 "I would love to support the university whose excellent programs and faculty helped me find my way to where I am today. However, under the planned reorganization, TU can't be that university."
Asher Gelzer-Govatos, BA '08 "My time at TU was formative in my life. I'm dismayed by the current corporate takeover of my beloved alma mater.”
Stacy Davis, BA '96 "As a liberal arts major and a religious studies professor, the solution to academia’s problems needs to be more critical thinking, not less. "
Megan Hosmer, BA '19 "As the humanities and liberal arts are downsized, privatized, and commodified, higher education finds itself caught in the paradox of claiming to invest in the future of young people while offering them few intellectual, civic, and moral supports." - Henry Giroux
David Chandler, MA '10, Ph.D. '15 "The decision to restructure TU was made with outdated analytics. Crippling the school's academic programs due to poorly informed trustees will do nothing but harm the university and its students."
Brian Hasse, BM '13 "With the skills I learned as a music major at TU, I’ve since worked in banking, from entry teller to now Associate Project Manager for JPMorgan. The idea that restructuring programs will better prepare students is false. TU prepared me with skills essential everywhere."
Jennifer Lowrey, "Universities at their core are more than just job training centers. They are and should be centers of thought, learning, exploration, art, beauty, reason. If you cut those things out, you cut out the heart of the university. Without the heart, a thing dies."
Dr. Rita George-Tvrtkovic, BA '94 "My studies in anthropology, religion, and the Honors Program have been indispensable—not only in my career but also in my life as a citizen working for the common good."
Matthew Oberrieder, BA '93 "On trial, Socrates says, 'The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being' (Apol. 38A).' True Commitment' seeks to job-train TU students into an unexamined, inhuman life. A job is to earn a living--but for what is one living? Liberal Arts answers that question!"
Kaedi Love, BA '14 "As 'The Harvard of the Midwest' as well as an institution of higher education, it is the duty of the University of Tulsa to consider the needs of students and faculty in their decision, rather than merely considering the pockets of board members."
Leanna Duncan, BA '13, MA '14 "I've always loved TU and wanted to support its mission in any way I could. If True Commitment unfolds as planned, however, TU will no longer be the university I loved."
Natalie Merrick, BA '16 "I feel so lucky to have had the experience at TU I had. I am disappointed that future students will not have the same opportunity."
Naga Durgarao Koduri, Ph.D. '15 "The graduate program, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, at TU is solely responsible for success in my carrier. This program offers a lot for students like me. They will produce many scientists like me to make the world better place. Please don’t ruin this opportunity."
Tawny Tidwell, BA '09 "Without the liberal arts education I received at TU, I would not be ‘job ready’ for my work in international human rights. Knowledge and holistic education should be a right of every Oklahoman and every student at TU."
Garrett Cannell, BS '13 "Much of my career success as a physician is attributable to the foundation I built within the TU Department of Chemistry and with the dedicated academicians it houses. I cannot conscionably support the reformat of this department as set forth in the “True Commitment” plan."
Daniel Chang, BS '14 "My time in the liberal arts program and other sciences has taught me different ways of thinking that are useful in various fields. Trimming out these programs would have led me down a more narrow path and would have put me at a disadvantage in the workforce.”
Carol A. Pettit, JD/M '07 "I was already disappointed that the Business school no longer had a Master of Tax program. Discontinuing the Indian Law LLM is even worse. A University is not supposed to be a job training institution even though students should learn skills they will use in future careers."
Matthew Porter, JD '17 "If I wanted ‘job training’ I would have gone to a vo-tech. I chose our university for its academia and alumni networking, which are far more important elements for the success of graduates."
Dr. D. Mark Austin, BS '81/MA '83 "The University of Tulsa changed my life. I am a college professor with over thirty years experience and I am disappointed to see TU headed down this damaging path."
Amelia Williamson DeStefano, BA '12/MA '14 "More than anything, my TU education taught me this: You don't know what you don't know. Convenient narratives are very seductive. Good intentions don't matter. Sadly, these are all things I wish the current administration would consider to guide its conduct."
Jeff D Gaffen, BA '97 "I was a Musical Theatre minor at TU as well & I am deeply hurt by TU TrueComm."
Emily Duensing, BA '75, JD '84 "It is so important to take the long view on dealing with what is very likely short-term adversity. I don't think the current plan takes the long view, nor does it appear to be inclusive of ALL views. Put egos aside, and listen."
Gary D. Allison, BA '68, JD '72 "As a 44 year law faculty member, I took pride in watching TU develop award winning programs and climbing into Top 100 lists. Now all of this is being thrown away."
Parents, alums, faculty and even outside experts are writing the administration in protest.
I understand that the university’s leaders would strongly prefer that faculty members stop voicing concerns about their violations of university rules, their trammeling of shared governance, the shortcomings of the True Commitment plan, and the poor judgment that lies at the root of these problems. But I believe it is our duty to do so as members of this community and partners in the university’s governance. I would again suggest that if our leaders truly believe a “silent majority” of faculty have confidence in them and their plan, they would bring these issues to a vote of the faculty. TU Law Professor Matt Lamkin (full text)
We do not have confidence that this plan reflects sound business or management judgment. We know it does not reflect the letter or the spirit of the commitment to shared governance that is required by our documents that govern the relationship between faculty, administration and the board and is required by the various accrediting bodies to which we, as faculty, are responsible. Thus, your expression of confidence in this plan merely underscores for us a simple truth: we do not have confidence in you, the provost, and all those recently chosen by you or by the provost for prominent, leadership roles in formulating and/or implementing this embarrassingly bad plan. The faculty objections to the plan are part of a very public record that cannot be ignored by the HLC, the AAUP, or any other body with accrediting or oversight authority over this university. Concerned Faculty of TU (full text)
I hope TU administrators will consider how deeply I value TU as my alma mater, and that you will protect the ability of faculty to communicate with me about the evolution and growth of the programs I fell in love with and continue to benefit from. Kelsey Erwin ’16, National Merit & Presidential Scholar (full text)
Subject: TU Eliminated from Last Will and Testament due to "True Commitment" - that's my commitment.
Dear President Clancy, Provost Levit, TU Board of Trustees, and Alumni Relations:
My name is Dr. Matthew Wilburn King. I am writing to inform you that my wife and I have directed our attorney to eliminate TU from our Last Will and Testament after reading the “True Commitment” plan in detail. I have already communicated this to Ms. Amy Freiberger in the Alumni Relations Office but wish to formally articulate my concerns to each of you too. (full text)
President Clancy, Your email of 6/27/19 to the campus community presents a grossly misleading account of the process that produced True Commitment and the state of the university in the aftermath of that process. We cannot allow this to stand. We reproduce the text of your email below; our comments are interspersed in bold. Sincerely, Concerned Faculty of TU (full text)
To our president and provost, we say: Take responsibility. Start anew. Include your partners. Take time to listen sincerely and respond thoughtfully. Solicit good ideas. Allow your partners to create the particulars of the plan. Respect and incorporate at every opportunity their opinions. Reach the widest consensus possible among all partners and stakeholders. Plan on snags; they are inevitable. Go back to your partners for help—they’ll be glad to do so. Don’t trash those who point out the problems, but instead bring them into the process. If you respect your partners, you will find viable solutions. Everyone can win. Concerned Faculty of TU (full text)
I disagree with your current decision to remove the Arts from the TU campus. To eliminate the arts for more 'practical' programs is dropping TU off the map as a cultural institution and in training young minds to think outside the box. Our world is complicated. The Arts have always been the conscience of our nation and our leaders’ decisions. Students need training in the arts to morally and creatively solve the depth of problems facing our nation in every age. Please reconsider cutting the heart out of TU. Julie Tattershall ’84 (full text)
I'm still holding out hope that the present administration and board will see fit to abandon the so-called "True Commitment" plan. If not, I intend to unsubscribe from all future alumni mailings at the start of the Fall 2019 semester, as my alma mater will have effectively ceased to exist. My cousin's very bright, capable, and STEM-enthusiastic son, a rising high school senior, recently took TU *out* of consideration for his future undergraduate experience. His interest had been fueled precisely by the fact that TU offered superior programs in the sciences AND liberal arts - which, no matter what amount of administrative double-speak ensues, it no longer will. Sam King, '03 (full text)
As a Presidential Scholar alumni of TU, I cannot recommend any student attend under your True Commitment restructuring. You are gutting the programs that led to my success as a working professional. . . . Clearly past excellence is backfiring on you. Your curse, now that you have announced your intentions toward the liberal arts, is to face the criticism your university taught generations of proud alumni to give. The criticism is this: the TU Reorganization claims to further academic growth and rigor, but it does not. Its theory is harmful to the university when put into practice. Far from the promise of commitment, the reorganization abandons commitment to TU's most cherished achievements and principles. Kelsey Erwin, Class of 2016 (full text)
"I would like to register my deep concern about the direction TU is taking, as evidenced by the description of your mentoring program above. The education of whole human beings should always come FIRST, and 'industry expectations' should never dictate what that looks like.".Rita George-Tvrtkovic, Class of ‘94 (full text)
"Please convey to the President, Provost, and Trustee Chair that I can't in good conscience encourage anyone to attend TU until the administration reverses course and addresses the faculty's grave concerns about their radical and misguided reorganization plan." TU Alum Nick Carnes (BA '06) (full text)
"You have come to the right alumni for the job, for I will most enthusiastically take up the charge of your students. I will tell them exactly what I told you on your Facebook page: Run. Far away. As quickly as you can." TU Alum Andrew Pratt (BA '09) (full text)
"Many of my peers have told me that this is a terrible plan and I agree. Please reconsider and let's build a greater Arts School at TU as opposed to reducing it's cultural and economic impact on the lives of Tulsans." TU Alum Steve Liggett (full text)
"You did not bother to inform the TU community of the plans laid out in this document when you rolled out
True Commitment. Yet this document looks like the key to the whole True Commitment plan! Indeed, the
cyber-security development is touted as 'part of an expansion at TU that will rapidly add 1,000 students at
the University of Tulsa.'" TU Professor Jacob Howland (full text)
The dreadful “True Commitment” plan is simply the latest, but perhaps the worst of these attacks on the core value of the university. And this op-ed was apparently published as advance publicity for that plan, a plan which itself reads like a press release written by someone who didn’t really have too many concrete proposals (except those massive cuts), little in the way of a rationale or data for why the cuts were necessary except vague non-sequiturs about “excellence” and “the future” and self-discovery, and proposals with few details that read as if they were written by someone who knew very little about what a university actually does. TU Professor Tamara Piety (full text)
"The restructure is not resented because it concerns the marketable studies, but rather that it makes them the exclusive focus of the universities efforts: it is fundamentally an attack on the philosophical spirit: the love of wisdom for its own sake." TU Student Adam Dees(full text)
"The PPRC purports that 'The proposed reimagination of the academic structure at TU is bold.' Agreed. The plan is not only bold, but also brazen and reckless. The plan’s publication alone has already begun to tarnish the reputation of a great institution. Of the undergraduate higher education institutions that, like TU, sit on a one billion dollar endowment or greater, a full 99% of these institutions offer undergraduate majors in philosophy. If, as the report indicates, cost-cutting is truly a motivation here, then it is apparent that something is amiss at the University of Tulsa." Jordan Hughes, TU Alum (B.A., B.S.C.S, M.S.), Software Development Engineer at Amazon Alexa (full text)
"TU cannot simultaneously tout the accomplishments of its Native American students and cast aside the programs that have led to these accomplishments. . . . If TU truly wants to focus on social justice in Oklahoma--as stated in the True Commitment plan--turning its back on the needs of Indian Country, which absolutely includes the need for well-trained attorneys in the field of Indian law, flies in the face of this mission." Bracen Gregory (full text)
"We request that you immediately release the complete HLC site visit report to the faculty. Your email of April 30 offers no cogent reason for continuing to withhold that report from us. In addition, we request that you instruct Provost Levit immediately to make the complete PPRC report, now sequestered in her office, freely available to all faculty to study at our leisure. You and Provost Levit have repeatedly referred to the HLC report to justify the actions and recommendations of the PPRC, and have used the PPRC report to justify your radical True Commitment restructuring plan. Yet you have made it impossible for faculty to read any portion of the former, and as difficult as possible for us to study the latter." TU Professor Jacob Howland, May 18, 2019 (full text)
"To the Admissions Office: As the primary pre-law advisor at [REDACTED] University in [REDACTED], I have recently received advertisement materials from your law school, as an encouragement to advise my many pre-law students to consider Tulsa as an option. I appreciate you thinking of me. But I fear that given recent news from your university, I will be advising none of my students to apply to the University of Tulsa. This is expressly because of the University's announced plan to decimate the liberal arts in favor of a more vocational training." Prof. David Lay Williams, Pre-Law Advisor at TU Peer Institution (full text)
"[G]iven the planned severity of cuts in some departments, the novel reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences, and as yet unanswered questions regarding the methodology of selecting programs for elimination, we cannot have confidence that these announced changes are necessary or advisable." Letter on behalf of one hundred TU alumni (full text)
"As you can see, I’m currently an associate professor at The University of Scranton where I teach theatre. Like TU, we’re facing demographic changes, increasing pressures from the job market, and the rising costs of higher education, but we’re not giving up on the core of what makes a university. Your reorganization plan seems to be just that." Dr. Hank Willenbrink, TU Alum (full text)
"[A]s a Statistics geek, I strongly doubt the method/model that the school used to decide which programs to be cut." Shannon Shang, TU Alum and TU Adjunct Professor (full text)
"I am afraid to say that your [President Clancy's] controversial policy approach and positions for change at the University of Tulsa do not reflect well on either your leadership or the future of the University." John W. Mayo, Executive Director for the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy (full text)
"[N]o candidate who is even marginally thoughtful in managing their career would risk accepting a job at a university going through this level of upheaval.” Prof. Anna Carpenter, explaining her reasons for resigning (full text)
"Every parent or guardian or grandparent or anyone who cares at all for a college-aged child has reason to oppose what is happening at the University of Tulsa" Professor and TU parent Julianne M. Romanello (full text)
"The report was conducted secretively, with little to no input from students and faculty. Further, while the report lists its findings and recommendations, no data is given to validate them. As someone who works for state government, I can tell you that the value of transparency is no small matter. When decisions such as these affect the entire community, an organization ought to include as many voices as possible and be as transparent as possible." Anna Rouw, BA (full text)
"I have gone on to get my MFA from the university of Maryland which was listed in the top 5 graduate programs for theatrical design. I now work as a regional designer and am faculty at a college in Phoenix. TU’s small competitive program gave me lots of opportunities to grow and discover who I was as a theatre artist. Theatre is an apprentice style field where small programs are stronger because it means more one on one attention." Adriana Diaz, BA 06 (full text)
"While I understand that the new TU plan seems to spread the sacrifices all around, and it also seeks to put Arts and Sciences at the threshold of entering students' experiences, it does so in a manner that will destroy what has been built in A&S.” Professor Holly Laird (full text)
"I attended TU from 1968 to 1972 and I am absolutely heartbroken and feel almost sick about what is happening to the university that I love. . . What you are planning to do will be the end of a great university." Mary Jean Parker, Class of 1972 (full text)
"How will TU attract and keep high quality professors in those areas when only a few general requirement and minor courses are offered? How will deep thought and critical thinking be fostered on a campus that limits such subject matter? Unfortunately, TU obviously doesn’t expect to keep these professors because early retirement options were mentioned in the reimagining, so what happens to TU students when those professors are gone?" Candy Coonfield, Class of 1998 (full text)
"Your 'university studies' general education curriculum evokes a bare-minimum educational experience, not a first-rate immersion in critical thinking and expression. [And] the fact that “True Commitment” was crafted behind closed doors, with participants bound by non-disclosure agreements, is anything but ethical behavior in daily affairs." Dr. James F. Brooks, Professor of History and Anthropology, University of California - Santa Barabara (full text)
"Implementing these changes violates the principals of liberal learning and the Academe in favor of becoming a technical or trade college. Listen to the feedback and protests of your students and alumni- not because they give you financial support, but because they are successful and enhancing the world as a result of the education they received at TU." Jenna Elser, BA '08 MFA (full text)
"Since graduating I have worked in over 20 schools in the Tulsa area, including every high school in Tulsa Public Schools, and I have encouraged all of my students graduating to apply to the University of Tulsa . . . . However, I am now worried with the recent announcement that I have done my students a disservice." Tristan Loveless, BA '18 (full text)
"How can I now recommend TU to curious high school students who don’t yet know what path they’d like to pursue in life, or to graduate students trained in the liberal arts who are looking to start a career?" -- Eugene Huskey, two-time TU parent and William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Stetson University (full text)
"I write to you to convey my shock and disappointment at the University of Tulsa leadership’s recently announced intent to terminate and/or substantially compromise a host of programs and degrees that for years have been standard-bearers of the university’s scholarly and creative integrity." Sam King, BFA 03, MFA 05 (full text)
"In my faculty office at Duke, I used to have my BA from Tulsa proudly displayed alongside my MA and PhD from Princeton. It broke my heart to take my undergraduate diploma off my office wall at Duke today, but I can't stand by the version of TU that you've outlined. Please reconsider." Dr. Nicholas Carnes, BA 06. (full text)
And negative press coverage about the plan has been pouring in, including . . .
“University Cuts Humanities Program Even as it Employs over a Dozen People ‘with the Title of VP or Higher,’” The College Fix, October 31, 2019
“The University of Tulsa’s trustees recently proposed slashing the school’s humanities department by more than half, but the university’s administrative staff remains notably large, with the school currently looking to hire yet another of more than a dozen ‘vice’ positions already on campus.” (full text)
“Research Calls into Question Administration Spending,” The Collegian, Oct. 22, 2019
“Hendricks’s conclusions paint a picture of misplaced priorities, especially when contrasted with comparable universities. Although it may be true that the numbers communicate the priorities of previous administrations, the same austerity-like approach to instructional costs has been communicated by the current one. This is evident in both the original True Commitment plan as well as the offer made to the Faculty Senate by the Board a little less than a month ago.” (full text)
“The Intimidation Game: Bullying and Retaliation at the University of Tulsa,” James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, October 23, 2019
“What is so disturbing about all of this is the way supposedly liberal academics can turn into intimidating bullies once they’ve adopted transformational plans like True Commitment. No commitment should be higher than to decency and respect.” (full text)
“Faculty Senate Asserts True Commitment Violated Constitution,” The Collegian, September 10, 2019
“The outcome of this vote is a notable setback for the administration, given their previous claims regarding the state of shared governance at the University of Tulsa. Early in the rollout of this plan, Provost Levit even went so far as to laud True Commitment as a “triumph of faculty governance.” The passage of this resolution directly refutes their claim of shared governance, with this glaring defeat putting the administration on treacherous footing with their own governing bodies.” (full text)
“Letter to the Editor: TU Faculty knows a Thing or two about Running Universities,” Tulsa World, September 8, 2019
“Over this summer, TU faculty have conducted deep research into restructuring plans adopted (and sometimes rejected) by other institutions, familiarized ourselves with the workings of educational consultants and penned a series of position papers analyzing aspects of True Commitment. Through this we’ve learned that managing institutional change rests upon developing "stakeholder buy in" well before finalizing any plan. Providing ample opportunity for employees to participate meaningfully in strategic planning isn't just a nice thing to do, but essential to avoiding the kind of turmoil TU finds itself in today.” (full text)
“In times like these, should we not rally behind the principles which drive our universities’ search for knowledge, as opposed to something called ‘brand equity,’ ‘integrated brand strategy’ or whatever profit-seeking consultants spin?” (full text)
“Faculty Launch Counterattack as University of Tulsa Slashes Humanities Programs,” The College Fix, September 4, 2019
“Faculty at the University of Tulsa are trying desperately to halt a massive restructuring at the school that slashes its humanities programs in favor of a new emphasis on STEM and business majors….One of the scholars’ biggest points of contention is the apparent hypocrisy in campus leadership’s priorities, and in an ironic twist, the road leads to Bob Dylan — because even as the university champions one of the most iconic singer-songwriters in history it is also slashing its music program.” (full text)
“For Better or Worse, TU Begins Transformational Makeover: 'This is Evolving,' Clancy says,” Tulsa World, August 25, 2019
Simply put, True Commitment eliminates dozens of degree programs, mostly in the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences, and shifts resources to high-enrollment areas such as engineering, computer science and certain business disciplines. The administration describes True Commitment as a “reimagining” and badly needed refocusing of TU’s academic programming. But a substantial portion of the faculty and a large number of students and alumni are furious about not only the plan itself but the manner in which it was developed and presented to the university. They see it as a threat to both TU’s history and tradition and its future. (full text)
“U. of Tulsa Faculty to Ask Oklahoma’s Attorney General to Halt Controversial Restructuring Plan,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 22, 2019
The appeal lays out a number of objections to the True Commitment rollout: that the university didn’t conduct adequate market research and feasibility studies before approving the plan; that the academic restructuring and cuts in departments would cause great damage to the university and the town of Tulsa; and, most significantly, that administrators “disregarded the explicit policies and procedures of shared governance” by neglecting to consult with enough faculty members before approving the plan. (full text)
“Letter to the Editor: Not liking TU changes,” Tulsa World, August 13, 2019.
I would like to make some observations about the current University of Tulsa administrative plan to eliminate 84 degree programs over the next several years. I, as so many former students, do not agree with this action. (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: Reshape the TU reimagining," Tulsa World, June 25, 2019.
I am saddened beyond words to think TU is to become what many are calling “a trade school,” merely training students for jobs and the bottom line. Please, TU leaders, listen to your concerned students and alumni: Reconsider!" (full text)
"Revolution by template", The Tulsa Voice, June 19, 2019.
The problems with True Commitment, though, are not just stylistic. In its report, EAB instructs universities how to ramrod the whole process. "When institutions are very small or very centralized, it is possible to make a decision without an extended period for faculty, student, or staff input." (full text)
"University of Tulsa Administration Sells School to Businessman," Daily Nous, June 19, 2019. (full text)
"Corporate Wolves in Academic Sheepskins, or, a Billionaire’s Raid on the University of Tulsa," The Nation, June 18, 2019.
Kaiser has effectively gotten his hands on a billion dollars that does not belong to him—money that the Chapman family donated specifically to support liberal education at the premiere private university in Oklahoma and the wider region—and figured out a way to spend it on the things he wants. No one who has followed his behavior in the past should be surprised by any of this, or by the blatant conflicts of interest between Levit, Clancy, Dorwart, and the TU board, on the one hand, and BOK and GKFF on the other.(full text)
"End of Play: The Death of Theater at the University of Tulsa," Kent Meister Photography, June 8, 2019.
“In the spring of 2019 the University of Tulsa, my alma mater, announced a restructuring of the school under the banner of TU True Commitment. With virtually no warning, all performance art degrees were eliminated. As a graduate of the theatre department there in 2002, I went back to document the students and faculty at this point in their history.” (full text)
"University of Tulsa is the Latest University to Drop Liberal Arts Programs," June 7, 2019. (full text)
"Professors fear University of Tulsa abandoning its historic commitment to education beyond job training." (full text)
"Reorganizing Away the Liberal Arts," Inside Higher Education, June 6, 2019.
“Tulsa is essentially becoming a sort of pre-professional school,” Tulsa philosophy professor Jacob Howland said. “The writing’s on the wall -- they’re just destroying the liberal arts, natural sciences and humanities at TU.” “You’re not giving students an education that allows them to adapt to changing economic circumstances. You train people for these jobs, and if there’s technological development in five years and suddenly the jobs are gone, what have you done to these kids?” (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: TU's elimination of arts programs will have long-lasting community impacts," Tulsa World, June 4, 2019.
The TU trustees should be asking serious questions of themselves, before selling off a sizable chunk of the city’s soul simply for the sake of adding a few extra dollars to its (already sizeable) endowment fund. (full text)
"Letter from Professor Jacob Howland to University of Tulsa Alumni," LinkedIn, June 1, 2019
I’m writing to you now because the wonderful institution to which I’ve devoted my career is in crisis. The True Commitment restructuring plan is to our flourishing communities of teaching and learning what chainsaws are to tropical rainforests. (full text)
“True Commitment”: a View From the College of Law, LinkdIn, May 28, 2019
"Still reeling from the '4-11' diktat, curiously labeled “True Commitment,” stakeholders in the T.U. community continue to analyze its provisions; puzzle over its motivations; point out its obvious misstatements; question the secrecy in which it was formed; and forecast its impact on the University, its students and the community of Tulsa in which it is situated." (full text)
"A Remedy for the Abuse of Language," Crisis Magazine, May 28, 2019
"Consider the case of the University of Tulsa, which recently eliminated many programs in the Arts and Sciences, several of which were thriving and highly regarded. According to University of Tulsa Professor Jacob Howland, who has been front and center in the resistance to these cuts, 'faculty were repeatedly assured that this process would be transparent, inclusive, and data-driven. In fact, it was none of these things.” Of course it wasn’t. “Transparency,” “inclusion,” and “data-driven” don’t mean what they ostensibly mean." (full text)
"The right way to downsize American higher education," The Week, May 26, 2019.
"In many respects, our existing system is actually quite good, but it's bloated, decadent, and controlled by an army of petty bureaucrats, each with his own tiny fiefdom to protect. There is no reason to trust that these overpaid functionaries have the right priorities. When the system starts contracting, trustees and administrators will get busy scratching each others' backs, and we may just be left with whatever happens to survive their cutthroat game of swivel-chairs. Quite recently, the University of Tulsa gave us a peek at how this 'keep the sports teams, fire the history department' devolution might unfold. If this kind of thing becomes the norm, higher ed could easily devolve into little more than a network of posh finishing schools for the wealthy." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: Big TU freshmen class not attracted by 're-imagine academics'," Tulsa World, May 25, 2019.
"As top administrators pursue their controversial plan to “re-imagine academics” at TU, they should reflect that this entering class was not a product of the April announcement to radically restructure the university. Rather, as I have learned over three decades working with the admissions office, students choose TU for its commitment to the high-quality instruction taking place within small classes taught by faculty who are active in research and are members of departments with robust professional cultures." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: Colleges are learning institutions, not factories," Tulsa World, May 20, 2019.
"Narrow specialization doesn't help with seeing unlikely connections and new ways of doing things . . . . My advice to those who seek to learn and develop innovative, critical thinking is to look elsewhere." (full text)
"‘High-touch,’ or out of touch? A critical analysis of TU’s ‘reimagining’", Tulsa Voice, May 16, 2019.
"Administrators have been met with a steady outcry from the community in response to the university’s decision to uproot 40 percent of the degree programs and offerings in the name of progress and student success." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: Tulsa's music scene stems from TU influence," Tulsa World, May 16, 2019.
"While the School of Music faculty is innovative and has means to bolster presently offered bachelor of arts programs with more rigorous performance tracks, there is a fair argument that the degree may not be academically comparable to a bachelor of music degree at another university." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: TU musical theatre degree contributes millions directly into local economy," Tulsa World, May 12, 2019.
"[M]y performing arts company has contributed $11.3 million to our local economy. How can TU insinuate that my degree is not practical or professional? . . . When TU kills arts education, they are killing businesses, jobs and economies all across this country. Plain and simple." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: TU distinguishes itself by its well-taught critical thinking courses", Tulsa World, May 11, 2019.
"Yet while TU is proclaiming its commitment to critical thinking and ethical behavior, it is pushing up course loads and class sizes. This contradiction has to make us wonder: Have critical thinking and ethical behavior already flown the coop?" (full text)
"A Once-Good University Takes a Bad Turn," The National Review, May 8, 2019.
"[O]nce faculty, students, and alums began to protest against [President Clancy’s] agenda, out came the authoritarian measures.” (full text)
"Administrative Hardball at the University of Tulsa," The James J. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, May 8, 2019.
"The administration has turned a deaf ear to all of these appeals. Indeed, it has responded with an iron fist, now no longer concealed by the velvet glove." (full text)
"University of Tulsa Announces Cuts to Geoscience Programs," AAPG Explorer, May 7, 2019.
"These cuts will hit the humanities the hardest – and these get the lion’s share of the media coverage – but the reductions in programs and degrees are not just limited to theater, music, philosophy and foreign languages. The school’s Department of Geosciences will also be hobbled when the plan takes effect in four to five years." (full text)
"TU Hatchet Job,” Tulsa World, May 6, 2019.
“How can a university call itself world class without the humanities, languages, theater, music and many engineering and law school-related programs?” (full text)
"TU's restructuring starves Oklahoma culture," The Oklahoman, May 5, 2019.
"For a hundred years, TU has enriched the lives of all Tulsans in countless ways. Let’s not allow the TU board and administration to turn it into an overpriced trade school." (full text)
"A Crisis of Shared Governance at the University of Tulsa," Academe, May 3, 2019.
"Whereas the Provost defends True Commitment as an achievement of shared governance, the president deflects responsibility onto the Board and claims that it insists on True Commitment’s implementation." (full text)
"Identity crisis: The University of Tulsa’s ‘reimagining’ touches a nerve," The Tulsa Voice, May 1, 2019.
“What is high-touch? The short answer: gobbledygook. It’s used by businesses to glorify what they consider to be their close interaction with their customers. Yes, the University of Tulsa is embracing this trope, as if nobody at the school in years past ever thought about working one-on-one with a student before.” (full text)
"Stifled scholars: TU cuts threaten graduate students and research," The Tulsa Voice, May 1, 2019.
“The university . . . stands to lose prestige from research done by graduate students and professors. Previous university presidents have aspired for TU to be among the best research schools in the country. This goal will not be attainable after the cuts, as the university will no longer have enough yearly Ph.D. graduates to be considered a major research university." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: TU's reorganization reflects 'true confusion' about identity", Tulsa World, April 30, 2019.
"What justifies TU’s premium is its liberal arts core. Reducing liberal arts to introductory courses for technical specializations will not attract quality faculty, rendering that core hollow." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: TU being reduced to high-priced trade school," Tulsa World, April 30, 2019.
"The news of the University of Tulsa's proposed changes has been devastating to everyone with whom I have talked — not students majoring in affected programs, but each person who loves Tulsa and loves what the university has done for our city." (full text)
"Disruption, extinction and other coming attractions: Reflections on the University of Tulsa governance crisis", Tulsa World, April 28, 2019.
"What worries me, however, is that President Clancy has bet the farm on scholarship that may well be irrelevant to TU’s particular situation and, even worse, may be bogus altogether. Is it wise for him to risk the future of the university on philosophical assumptions so fundamentally in doubt?" (full text)
"Six University of Tulsa students: 'True Commitment' misses TU's true identity," Tulsa World, April 27, 2019.
"While the administration attempts to placate us by claiming all current students will graduate with their current degree, they miscalculate our interest; we care for the mentors and administrators around us and future Golden Hurricanes." (full text)
"'Reimagining' in Tulsa," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 26, 2019.
"To many people in higher ed, that reads as yet another blow to the notion of a liberal-arts education as the rising tide that lifts all boats." (full text)
"Trouble in Tulsa - Conversations with Mark Bauerlein", First Things, April 26, 2019.
"As is the manner of our administration, they sprung the data on us in a kind of ugly surprise." (full audio)
"Trouble at the University of Tulsa," National Review, April 25, 2019.
"Once a thriving regional university with a strong reputation for the liberal arts, the University of Tulsa is in deep trouble these days." (full text)
"Letter to the Editor: TU leaders need to show more transparency about decisions", Tulsa World, April 24, 2019.
"Why was the committee report that recommended restructuring not submitted to the campus community for comment before implementation? Why did the committee members, who were hand-selected by Clancy and Provost Janet Levit, not include anyone from theater, music, philosophy and religion, languages or geosciences, which are programs hardest hit by the cuts?" (full text)
"The War on Liberal Arts Education," Lawyers, Guns, and Money, April 23, 2019.
"Even in a relatively good economy, college after college is seeking to turn their institutions into a vo-tech program and eliminate the liberal arts and, in some cases, the social scientists. The latest is the University of Tulsa, which at one time and not that long ago, actually had a really great History department." (full text)
"The reimagining of the American university," The Spectator, April 22, 2019.
"A college in Oklahoma has turned academia into an Atwoodian nightmare." (full text)
"University of Tulsa slashes its liberal arts programs, prompting protests, accusations of mismanagement," The College Fix, April 22, 2019
"Some professors argue campus leaders are being disingenuous in suggesting the motivation for the changes is student-driven; rather, they are the result of financial mismanagement." (full text)
Talk Radio 1170 Tulsa, April 22, 2019
"This fella at McDaniel [College] said . . . it looks like you guys plagiarized from our [reorganization] document because the language is identical . . . . It suggests that to me that what happened is that the administration of the University of Tulsa bought this plan off the shelf from educational consultants who are profiting from selling this to universities and colleges. . . . The business model makes no sense. . . . If you're an in-state student, why wouldn't you choose OU and OSU? . . . This business plan is completely incoherent. It's madness." (full audio)
"Oil puts food on the table. What has Shakespeare ever done for me? Plenty, and the University of Tulsa should keep that in mind", Tulsa World, April 19, 2019.
"We are the caretakers of the culture and history we inherit. And this Easter, appropriately, the pledges to rebuild Notre Dame from the ashes have all the force of faith. But if we lose our universities — if we begin to view them as job training centers rather than cathedrals of learning — the damage may not be so easy to repair." (full text)
"Tim Blake Nelson: Damage is Likely if TU Cuts Humanities, and Not Just to Liberal Arts Students," Tulsa World, April 19, 2019
"Without robust programs in the humanities, the university itself will recede from its place as a leading institution not only in our state but our region." (full text)
"Storm Clouds Over Tulsa: Inside the Academic Destruction of a Proud Private University", City-Journal.org, April 17, 2019
"This approach has been employed in a particularly crude and short-sighted manner at the University of Tulsa, where a new administration has turned a once-vibrant academic institution with a $1.1 billion endowment and a national reputation in core liberal arts subjects into a glorified trade school." (full text)
"U. of Tulsa Has a Billion-Dollar Endowment for Just 4,000 Students. Why Is It Cutting Programs?", Chronicle of Higher Education, April 15, 2019
"The plan suggests that the liberal arts are courses that students take when they first arrive in college, before they go on to major in something else." (full text)
Tell the administration go back and to do this right.
include the faculty
collect good data
work out all the important details
conduct careful market research
have clear plans for short- and medium-term evaluation
develop a backup plan
Universities have to change with the times.
But that's no excuse for sloppy work.
what you can do
write the administration
explain your concerns concisely
explain how the True Commitment plan affects your willingness to support TU