IT staff pushes back on BOT’s reorg proposal

The Emerald has the story here. Views differ:

Greg Bryant, who works in IT, felt that an internal discussion, instead of hiring investigators, would have worked just as well.

“These [IT workers] are people who have been here for decades. They’ve solved problems all the time, and they have all kinds of suggestions about how things could be better done, but they weren’t asked that,” Bryant said.

Patrick Chinn, a member of the Transform IT Advisory Board, believes that the reorganization helps the IT staff and students. He said it aims to optimize the IT  department and to improve the students’ experiences on campus.

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8 Responses to IT staff pushes back on BOT’s reorg proposal

  1. Not a character assassination, I promise says:

    First thing to note is that Greg Bryant is Faculty, not Staff. Second is when I read this article yesterday, his quote in paragraph ten read,

    “It’s not a very efficient use of human beings. It doesn’t allow for creativity to really flourish. It’s anti-freedom. It’s tyrannical,” Bryant said. “Some people would call it an issue of management style, but it isn’t. Just being nice isn’t. It’s the fact that you have control over another person’s life and that’s really not how these things should work.”

    I’m all for academic freedom of speech, but maybe our IT infrastructure should run on best practices and not as an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

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  2. Offbeat says:

    Greg’s take is certainly divergent from the norms but current IT mgts methods are negligent and frankly shows how bad it is not to have public searches. Internal appointments for senior mgt lead to this poor type of results.
    Very few members of senior IT staff on this campus were open recruited. They are simply in over thier heads.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Though recruited ones may also be over their heads.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    UO IT person here, theoretically, this IT re-org is a good thing for this campus. There are a LOT of redundant efforts on this campus, and really, just money going down the drain. Money that could be going to the political demands of BLM or the shareholders or whoever makes money off this place. (we’ll still have to threaten to strike to get a goddamn living wage no matter what happens, though. Shared sacrifices!)

    Yet I agree with the idea that solutions and IT management hires should be in-sourced first before we spend big fat bags of cash multiple times on outside consultants to tell us what we already know (you are pissing away money with redundant efforts across campus in your silo’ed IT model, consolidate efforts and groups eliminating unnecessary duplications of work). Could have saved a lot of time and money, but then we wouldn’t have the outside consulting company to blame all of the blow-back on. (“Well, this is what our recommendations say, our hands are tied!”)

    No one like being reminded that they are only a cog in a machine they have no control over, Greg.

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  4. Greg Bryant says:

    Individual and team self-management is the best practice in IT (see ‘Agile’ and ‘Scrum’) and engineering generally, for the same reason that it’s the best practice in the sciences: free association and free inquiry produces the best solutions, and maintains motivation. This is why we have Academic Freedom. Francis Bacon wrote about this in 1620: “For however various are types of political systems, there’s only one for Science; it always has been and will remain democratic.” If we genuinely want to improve our institution, we should work towards a culture where ‘management’ doesn’t mean ‘telling people what to do’ but instead means ‘helping the group to discover what’s needed’. The former is managerialism, the latter is workplace democracy.

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  5. dog says:

    Dog as the scholar Police

    1. I am pretty sure that the word “democratic” was not in the lexicon in 1620.

    2. I believe the actual quote is this:

    For however various are the forms of civil politics, there is but one form of polity in the sciences; and that always has been and always will be popular.

    and comes in the Preface to the 1620 work

    Instauratio_Magna

    read more about that here:

    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1353/ren.2008.0728?journalCode=rq

    Now I have been mostly irrelevant to the manner in which IT works but for many years was quite relevant.

    I have always maintained that one of the reasons IT has had its set of problems is

    a) it has never been sensibly funded by central admin and especially from research overhead

    b) in the 1990s, IT became too obsessed with administrative computing at the expense of academic computing.

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    • Greg Bryant says:

      I believe the ‘genera politiarum’ that’s ‘popularis’ is democracy. Bacon’s point is that no one can dictate ‘the truth’ — an ancient observation about dogma, which I think we all agree with.

      Democracy isn’t just voting on facts, of course. When it works, it entails a healthy, respectful, community-wide, highly collaborative culture. Such a culture could have overcome the problems (a) and (b) that you point out. Of course, that’s only counterfactual speculation. We need to develop this culture now, to overcome problems in the present and future. We’ll get nowhere if we remain cogs in a machine.

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