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Valerie Fowler requested that the Dearborn groupnow an ad hoc committee chaired by Huberexamine the issue. While the committee’s report differed in tone and content from Chancellor Cunningham’s eventual proposal, it hardly mattered; the Dearborn session’s most important contribution was to give administrators a way to justify post-tenure reviewby pointing to presumed faculty enthusiasm for the idea. At the beginning of the 1996-97 school year, in addresses to both the Faculty Council and the Graduate Assembly, Berdahl reported that the need for post-tenure review was first raised by faculty at the Dearborn conference. Berdahl’ s comments were perhaps partly intended to defend the university’s autonomy in the face of Ratliff’s legislative threat, but they also suggested that the faculty was itself eager to subject itself to post-tenure reviewthat in effect it had brought Ratliff and Cunningham down on its own head. The TQM ideal of “worker input,” as represented by the Dearborn conference, had served administration goals well; it had co-opted faculty voices and authority, and it had bypassed normal governance procedures. Normally, such a sea-change in faculty review procedures would begin at the departmental level, then move through the Faculty Senate and other elected bodies. Instead, it had been delivered via a corporate partnership conference, courtesy of Ford. The direct influence of so-called TQM on tenure reform at U.T. was minor, but the indirect influence was important, and largely ideological. TQM provided the language within which tenure rights would be eroded, in the name of efficiency and faculty input. The entire episode points to how corporate attitudes, as well as corporate economics, are encroaching on higher education. So, if there’s any humor in tenure reform, perhaps the comic strip Dilbert applies: “Our two goals this year are to downsize and to improve customer service,” announces Dogbert, the human resources director. Dilbert: “Question: how can you improve service if you’re getting rid of service people?” Dogbert: “Who do you think is screwing up the customer service? Duh….” NO JOKING AT THE LEGE When Bill Ratliff spoke, no one laughed. In the summer of 1996, speaking as chairman of the Senate Interim Education Committee, the Mount Pleasant Republican promised that if state universities did not devise a plan to evaluate tenured faculty, the Legislature would. Ratliff described presumably recalcitrant faculty members as their own worst enemy, and in September, in remarks to the U.T. System Faculty Advisory Council, made plain what he con sidered the central purpose of post-tenure review: “Every one of you knows one or more members of your department that either ought to get kicked in the rear, or they ought to be sent packing,” Ratliff said. “I want the incompetents removed.” Whatever the substance of his concern for the fiscal interests of taxpayers and the education of students, Ratliff’s heavy-handed rhetoric came straight from a well-thumbed American primer on anti-intellectualism. He portrayed the university faculty as a pack of deadbeats on a state-funded gravy train, and he seemed not even to realize that most departments and colleges already conduct anthat procedures for removing grossly negligent professorsthe largely mythical “deadwood” were already available. Nevertheless, most state university administrations rushed to anthe Legislature. At stake, potentially, was the autonomy of each system’s regents, not to mention a $3 billion state surplus. To get a good slice of the appropriations pie, higher education had to show itself deserving. In October, for example, the University of Houston sponsored a conference on tenure, and by midspring, an ad hoc committee’s draft proposal had already split the faculty. Some agreed that the university did need such a mechanism for dealing with personnel problems; others thought the university did not need yet another layer of review in order to pay more attention to professional development. Initially, says Angi Patton, president of the Faculty Senate, “The administration was willing to let faculty take responsibility, and it enabled us to influence the issue more than if it had come down from on high.” In early May, however, the Faculty Senate voted to table the issue pending the legislative status of Ratliff’s tenure bill, and the administration has since stepped in to write its icy was approved by the U.H. regents. At the University of North Texas, Art Goven, former president of the Faculty Senate, described a similar process as “gentle,” because the faculty had “seen something coming.” A faculty-written post-tenure review policy passed a faculty-wide referendum by nearly three to one. While U.H. and U.N.T. were scrambling to pre-empt the Legislature, Texas A&M had anticipated Ratliff. In 1995, the A&M Board of Regents instructed the faculty to develop a post-tenure review policy. Though Ratliff called the result insufficient, the new policy SEPTEMBER 26, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11