Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Farce That is Faculty Governance

in the Academic Health Center

at the University of MInnesota


[The implementation of a conflict of interest policy at the University of Minnesota has had a long and checkered history. (In the Nixonian sense) Over the summer a policy was put into effect without adequate faculty consultation - this after three years of foot dragging by the medical school administration. Possibly they were in a hurry to do damage control because they learned of the upcoming piece by Carl Elliot - Making a Killing?]


Faculty Consultative Committee
Thursday, August 12, 2010
1:00 - 3:00
238A Morrill Hall

Professor Campbell commented that the timing of the adoption of Appendix A was confusing.

Faculty in the Academic Health Center had received an email message that the Appendix had gone through the 30-day consultation period, but no one knew anything about it.

He said that the Appendix had not been brought to the Academic Health Center Faculty Consultative committee and that he did not know with whom there had been consultation.

Ms. Zentner said she had not been involved in the consultative process that took place in the AHC regarding the Appendix but understood that Dr. Cerra had met with the deans, who in turn were to have taken the Appendix to their schools for consultation. He then met with the deans again.

Professor Campbell said the process had been unsatisfactory.

It is not consultation if Dr. Cerra talked only to the deans, after which all the faculty receive an email saying the 30-day comment period had ended.

He said he did not blame Vice President Brown or Ms. Zentner but observed that only a small group in the Academic Health Center had seen the Appendix before it was put in place. That is not usually the way the University operates, he commented.

Vice President Brown agreed Professor Campbell's criticism was fair
and pointed out that the document can be changed in the future as the need arises.

Professor Luepker noted that he is a faculty member in the Academic Health Center and had not seen Appendix A prior to its adoption; it appears the faculty were not consulted, he said.

Professor Curley said, apropos of Professor Campbell's comments, that it is a matter of concern if Academic Health Center faculty have not seen Appendix A. When the policy comes to the University Senate, will Appendix A be a part of it? Vice President Brown said they can be separated and that she did not want controversy about Appendix A to serve as a bar to adoption of the institutional policy as laid out in the main document.

But what happens when there is a direct disagreement about the application of a term or phrase in the policy, Professor Hancher asked? The policy will not be "policed," Vice President Brown said. If a question about COI arises, it will go to one of the COI committees, where there will be discussion and the issue worked out.

Of course this is business as usual at the University of Minnesota and only offers further proof of the inadequacy of faculty consultation. In the future, there will be a price paid by the administration. May they hang separately.

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