Τετάρτη, 7 Μαρτίου 2012

Μαθηματική Εταιρεία, ο νόμος ΑΕΙ και ... οι «νησίδες αριστείας»

Αγαπητοί Φίλοι,

Ευχαριστώ για τις παρεμβάσεις σας και τη μεταφορά της εμπειρίας σας.  Δυστυχώς όμως φαίνεται πως όλα αυτά δεν είναι για την Ελληνική πραγματικότητα. Εμείς εδώ, στο Ελληνικό Δημόσιο Πανεπιστήμιο, ακόμη και αυτή την στιγμή που η χώρα οδηγείται μέρα με τη μέρα στην καταστροφή, συνεχίζουμε να λειτουργούμε στη βάση των νοοτροπιών και πρακτικών που μας οδήγησαν εδώ.

Σημειώνω στο έγγραφο μου προς την Οργανωτική επιτροπή για την ανάδειξη του Συμβουλίου του Πανεπιστημίου

«Δεν λυπούμαι καθόλου που δεν ακολούθησα την ειδοποίηση σας ώστε να υποβάλλω εγκαίρως αίτηση σε μια παράτυπη, όπως εξελίχθηκε, διαδικασία. Λυπούμαι όμως πάρα πολύ που, μια τόσο σημαντική για το Πανεπιστήμιο διαδικασία, εκτελείται με τον παλιό, κλασικό τρόπο, που δείχνει ότι τίποτε δεν πρόκειται να αλλάξει. Οι ίδιες νοοτροπίες, οι ίδιες πρακτικές!» εδώ

και φυσικά δεν έχω τη δυνατότητα να κοινοποιήσω στην Πανεπιστημιακή κοινότητα, την απάντηση

μου στο έγγραφο της, όπως δεν έχουν τη δυνατότητα οι υποψήφιοι να παρουσιάσουν τις θέσεις τους και ακόμη δεν γνωρίζουμε τα μέλη της οργανωτικής επιτροπής που είναι επιφορτισμένη με την οργάνωση της εκλογικής διαδικασίας, και άλλα πολλά που ακούγονται παρανοϊκά σε εσάς.
 
Και αναρωτιέται κανείς, που είναι εκείνες οι «νησίδες αριστείας»; Πως αντιδρούν σε όλα αυτά;

Κλεάνθης Θραμπουλίδης


On 6/3/2012 4:42 πμ, Eleftherios Botsas wrote:
Thank you Professor Ioannou. That is the basic principle of Microeconomics,although maximizing benefits for a given cost, or minimizing cost for a given benefit is called  basis of economic behavior. The calculus may vary from one to the other, but either way rational behavior is based on this principle.

2012/3/5 Petros Ioannou <>
Dr Botsas
the important thing that needs to be addressed is how the system you worked with encourages excellence. With the enormous information on the internet one can download administrative structures, syllabuses, rules and regulations  etc etc. In other words a single person can establish a working University on paper within a month or so. But excellence can only be achieved if a particular structure takes into account human nature too. People work harder and produce more if they get rewarded for their  efforts. People tend to lay back and become unproductive if no matter what they do they will get a full salary all all annual raises. And when politics get mixed up with academics the result is chaos from the academic side which always pays the price. A good system will be the one that has evaluations, rewards, consequences and above all prevents politics especially from outside. I think for systems in Europe and in particular Greece as well as Cyprus which are  Government influenced and financed these considerations need to be taken into account. It is a difficult task but the faculty are the ones who should push for it. The Government Ministries and Politicians love to control for their own reasons and objectives and in many cases do not truly understand the academic side.


On 3/5/2012 11:06 AM, Eleftherios Botsas wrote:
Generally, Professor Poularikas describes the USA practices correctly. However, there are many differences in his description and the real world. The Assembly of my school elected me, after the recommendations of the department and other University Committees chair of the economics after the Assembly of the School of Economics and management had voted on the chair's decision. The first requirement was that you are a tenured faculty. This was later amended that you earn tenure immediately after the Assembly decides on your chair promotion or hiring.
The second observation is that (although this may no longer be true)  for promotion to full professor all other university committees must participate. This was required because the university had committees for each college or school. For example the School of Business Administration may think that I deserve promotion,but the Committee from the college of Arts and Sciences may have different opinion. Since you earn tenure in the university school committee recommendations are subject to approval or rejection by a university committee.
I do not wish to go into the details that may prevail among universities. At my university, I spent about eight years on drafting the committee criteria.

2012/3/5 alexander poularikas &lt>


----- Forwarded Message -----
From: alexander poularikas &lt>
To: Hellenic Professors and PhDs Electronic Forum <HELLENIC-PROFESSORS-PHDS@HEC.GREECE.ORG>
Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2012 6:06 PM
Subject: Re: Μαθηματική Εταιρεία και νόμος ΑΕΙ και η σχέση νομιμότητας και νομιμοποίησης

To the excellent letter by Professor Ioannou, I would like to add some additional points so that our Greek Colleagues understand the workings of the USA universities.
1) Chairmen, Deans, Vice presidents and Presidents are mostly recruited from other universities. This is done to bring in new ideas and new experiences they had experienced somewhere else. 
1a) Our department, and most of the departments of a university, do not recruit as professors
their own PhD's. They must be be hired someplace else and then, in about 10 years or so,  may apply,
if they wish for.
2) All these positions are filled with first rate researchers who, for one reason or other, want to start or
continue an administrative position. In the last 30-40 years, most of  these positions do not last more than 8 years.
3) The yearly salary increase is based on merit and merit alone.
4) A professor who is involved in research, has PhD student and Masters writing theses, produces 
publications in refereed journals and  presents new research results in scientific meetings, he teaches one course per semester.   
4a) If a professor is not research oriented he/she teaches 3 courses per semester or 3 in one and 2 in the other.
5) If a professor is involved in research and he/she thinks that has a good idea to write a proposal for funds,
the chairman releases him/her from one course one semester ( in USA the contract is for 9 months )
to concentrate and write the proposal.
6) In our school, we would add up to 30% as bonus to a teacher from his research funds. This is 
an incentive to write proposals and do research. Once a year funds from the development office are given
as rewards for excellence in teaching and research to selected professors in a university ceremony.  
7) Every university has an independent, but belongs to the university, development office (company) that its maine purpose is to bring money into the university. This state can not touch this money which is used for specific needs 
of the university. For example, if there is not enough money from the state for recruitment, that office will pay.
Most of this money comes from the alumni, students who graduated and became rich or from big companies. 
Walmart gave to the UN of Arkansas 600 million if they much it. Hence, the university succeeded to get 1.2 billion. Harvard, the richest one in USA has about 32 billion endowment.
8) For a new Assistant Professor, we always give him/her low load of teaching, start-up money, help to improve
his/hers abilities in teaching and research and travel money to scientific meetings for two to three years.
9) The universities have special office with a lawyer who checks if the patent proposals from the faculty seem
important. If that is true, the University pays for the expenses to obtain it and mostly split the royalties 50-50 with the professor.
10) The professors are encouraged to write their own books. I used my book for several years in my school, but
the royalties and extra money I gave I created an Alexander and Barbara Poularikas Scholarship (about $25000 today)
for deserving students. The money is in the development office and it is invested.
11) In Alabama, when I accepted the position, I signed that I can belong to a union ( my rights
under the Federal and State Constitution are not violated) but I do not have the right to strike.
12) Between the university and the state there is a large committee that comes in contact with the
legislation. There is no political influence to the university. The states do not have Ministries of Education. The
universities are completely independent to run their own affairs. The state is involved if a crime is committed, like  building Molotof bombs in the buildings.
13) A large committee checks the quality of the universities in a specific area of USA. The professional
organizations e.g. IEEE for electrical engineers, come every 4 years and check the quality of the department. There is yearly quality checking for the professors, chairmen, deans, vice presidents and presidents. 
14) Professors must spend 6-8 hours in their office per week to help students with their work. If they can't be there, they must
inform the chairman to put a substitute. The professor can't consult more than a day or two a month and the consultation must be in his/her field.
15) The civil courts avoid taking any decision regarding complains from universities. For example,
if a professor does not receive tenure the courts are not involved when the professor files a 
complain. 
16) The students must adhere to the university constitution and any decision is final. For example,
the engineering students can not drop below D=2.00=base. If at a particular semester they drop
below 2.00 they must bring their grade back to 2.00 or higher. If this does not happen, he/she has one more
semester to correct the grade. If he/she does not bring it back to 2.00 or better they are expelled 
from the department and it is final. Also, the students in engineering must pass their
specialty courses with a C=3.00 (highest is A=4.00) or better. Otherwise they have to repeat it
once more to correct the grade. Under special circumstances may be allowed one more try.
17) For weak students the university has helping personnel, professors or graduate student, who
teach the students for their improvement.
19) The universities have offices that help the students get jobs after their graduation. The
companies come and interview the student at the university.
20) Any complain by a student starts with the chairman of the department, goes to the dean,
next to a university-wide committee, to the arbitrator, to the vice president and final to the 
president. 
21) It is mostly prohibited to have political meetings in the universities. If the current politics are
discussed in the Political Science Department, speakers from the opposite sides must also speak.
22) Students are there to learn and are not involved how the university is run. This is left to
professors and the administration alone.


The quality checks, the incentives to produce high quality research, first rate teaching and service is ever-present.
These constant goals, after some years (50-100) produce excellent results. My university started with the 
suggestion to Alabama Legislation by VON BROWN, the famous German rocket man
who built the Saturn IV and went to the moon, in 1962 and today is a full-fledge 
university with about 8000 students, mostly in the engineering and sciences area, and bring in about 35-50 million dollars research funds per year.

Therefore, The Ministry of Education in Greece must be abolished and the universities must run their own affairs under their own constitution enacted by their own faculty.  

Filika
Alexander Poularikas 

Alexander D. Poularikas
Professor Emeritus
University of Alabama in Huntsville

208 Bel Air Rd SE
Huntsville, AL 35802


From: Petros Ioannou <>
To: HELLENIC-PROFESSORS-PHDS@HEC.GREECE.ORG
Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2012 12:04 PM

Subject: Re: Μαθηματική Εταιρεία και νόμος ΑΕΙ και η σχέση νομιμότητας και νομιμοποίησης

 The fact that many good Universities in the USA private or public with completely different administrative structures and laws and regulations are considered to be great Universities is not the administrative structure itself that made the difference  but rather how the administration is involved in promoting excellence and what happens if it does not. For example if an elected Dean does not manage to attract funding and the Departments he/she administers do not produce then he/she willnot be elected again. The Dean is given enough authority and power and some time to achieve certain goals (that eventually boil down to how individual faculty perform too ) by making changes and creating insentives to achieve them. If he/she fails then termination from someone above is imminent. Also he/she is subjected to  evaluations like every faculty.

So excellence in a University does not come from whether the administrative officials get elected or appointed but rather how the system democratic or 'authoritarian' promotes excellence. Productivity and excellence has to be injected into the system through responsibilities and consequences. Responsibility and consequences will attract serious people in administration with the ambition to promote excellence and discourage those with 'dark' incentives.
By simply copying parts of an  administration system of a good University in the USA or anywhere else  and apply it to a different place  may not improve anything unless you also copy the substance.

The other point I noticed is that academic freedom is understood differently by different people.   The fact that I do not elect my Dean or President  who are appointed instead does not take away my academic freedom to publish whatever I want to publish or teach my course the way I want to or participate in their evaluation which can help decide its reappointment by an upper committee I have no control over. No administrator will ever approach me to tell me what to research or publish but he/she will if I use my University Office as a hotel room and have nothing to show at the end of the year. So the pressure to deliver either as a good researcher and/or good teacher or good administrator is always there and you feel it psychologically and in your salary raises. This pressure starts from the lowest level (cleaning person)  and covers all levels (including the Dean and President) . No one escapes an evaluation. Academic freedom should never imply that you are free to choose not to do your duties in the best possible way by demonstrating excellence in at least one or more of the faculty activity areas : research, teaching, service.

If we can focus the discussions on 'how a particular change in a University administrative structure can promote excellence by motivating and rewarding those that produce and encourage those who are laid back to do more' that would help progress. In such case the particulars of an administration structure even though important will be of secondary significance.

Petros Ioannou
Univ. of Southern Cal.

On 3/3/2012 7:20 AM, Kleanthis Thramboulidis wrote:

Αγαπητέ Παναγιώτη,

Αντιγράφω από την ιστοσελίδα σου «Επειδή δεν είναι η πρώτη φορά που εκφραζόμαστε δημοσίως και επειδή η συνέπεια λόγων και επιχειρημάτων», και θα σημειώσω, κυρίως πράξεων, που υποθέτω, όχι σκόπιμα, παραλείπεις, «πρέπει να συνεκτιμάται, οι δικές μας απόψεις είναι αναρτημένες στην διεύθυνση …» (εδώ) και θεωρώ πως είσαι αρκετά συνεπής ώστε να ... πλήρες κείμενο

Κλεάνθης Θραμπουλίδης

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