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“Faculty poll voters express no confidence in President Shelton, Provost Hay”

Tim+Glass+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0APresident+Shelton+addresses+the+concerns+of+faculty+and+staff+on+Tuesday+afternoon+at+Gallagher+Theater.%0A
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat President Shelton addresses the concerns of faculty and staff on Tuesday afternoon at Gallagher Theater.

Click here to view the full poll results


The results of a faculty poll questioning the competency of President Robert Shelton and Provost Meredith Hay showed an overall lack of support from voters for the UA’s upper administration.

The last question of the poll, the results of which were released on Monday, asked voters to gauge their confidence in Shelton and Hay. More than 300 voters replied that they had no confidence, while 98 said they had full confidence.

Seven of the 10 poll questions asked faculty for their opinions on the upper administration’s faculty support, transparency and handling of the UA transformation. In all seven such questions, results showed faculty favoring the answers denouncing Shelton and Hay.

Fewer than one-third of all voting-eligible university faculty members took part in the poll, with 858 total ballots cast out of 2,754 eligible voters.

The poll, created by the UA Faculty Center, ran online for voting from Sept. 18 to Sept. 25.

The poll’s questions held varying degrees of responses, with answers falling along a scale of one to five.

Results were noticeably harsher toward Hay. When asked how much support they have for the way the provost has carried out the UA transformation, 483 expressed no support. Fewer than 50 respondents said Hay had their full support.

When the same question was raised about Shelton, 256 voters held no support while 64 expressed full support.

“”I think it will take time to sort out the multiple meanings of the poll,”” Shelton told the Daily Wildcat. “”I’d like to get more dialogue, which I hope will come from the meetings college by college.””

Shelton immediately released a statement following the release of the results in which he said, “”While there is variable representation across colleges … there are nevertheless some very clear themes that stand out in the answers from those faculty who voted.””

Mentioning that the state legislature has cut UA funding by $100 million already, Shelton said, “”We have attempted to be as transparent in this process as possible.””

The president also admitted that the upper administration must do more in the future to share budget details and search for solutions with the help of the faculty.

“”Many people on campus are frustrated. Many feel that they have not been heard,”” Shelton said. “”For some, personality and personal communication style are the issues.””

He also said that it is not only members of the faculty who are frustrated with the university’s current budget situation.

“”I take the comments that were shared in the poll to heart,”” Shelton said. “”This has been a frustrating time for the administration as well as the faculty.””

In order to gauge more reaction from the faculty, the UA Faculty Center has set a faculty-only forum for Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Family and Consumer Sciences building, said Faculty Vice Chair Robert Mitchell.

“”Immediately what you’re going to start seeing is a lot more communication,”” he said. “”(Shelton) has pledged communication with the faculty leadership.””

In order to show the president’s willingness to communicate more with the faculty, the administration and faculty leadership are currently working to set up presidential forums for each college in the near future, Shelton said.

The Faculty Center is aiming to release all comments made on the poll, as well as executive summaries written by members of the faculty leadership, by the end of the day on Friday, Mitchell said.

Hay’s office declined comment and referred all questions to the Office of External Relations, who did not return phone calls Monday afternoon.

Glitches did not affect vote, faculty leadership says

A “”few computer glitches”” and operator errors that led to the discarding of some faculty members votes were not significant problems in the voting process, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he believes that most faculty members whose votes were not counted were able to vote again before polling ended last Friday.

“”Our sense is there weren’t very many (glitches),”” he said. “”It’s not very likely the votes would have been skewed.””

Many of the glitches were caused by the placement of certain punctuation in the comments portion of the poll.

Of the 13 voting faculty members of the School of Journalism, one came forward to report a problem with the voting system counting a ballot, Director Jacqueline Sharkey said in a post on the UA Defender blog.

“”Since yesterday afternoon, I’ve heard from faculty members in Agriculture, SBS and Science that this happened to them,”” she said, “”so it’s not a problem confined to one college.””

Although relatively few faculty members’ votes were not counted, the Faculty Center was disappointed with the computer glitches.

“”We are not pleased that anyone had a problem,”” Mitchell said. “”One problem is too many.””

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