Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eric Flamhotz Receives Distinguished Ph.D. Alumnus Award from Michigan

In 1979 I took a course called "Nu-cleus" taught by Professor Eric Flamhotz at the UCLA Graduate School of Management, now the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Professor Flamholtz described the course as emphasizing "decision making" or "d/m" and he utilitzed a wide range of experiential methods, including case studies, role playing games, class presentations, a real-life consulting project and two films, Twelve Angry Men and The Outrage (the Hollywood version of Kurosawa's Rashomon that starred Paul Newman and Claire Bloom.) For the real-life consulting project three fellow students and I did a consulting report for Robert Poole's Reason Magazine and the Reason Foundation in Santa Barbara. The course was one of the great educational experiences of my life, and along with Dominique Hanssens' statistical modeling and times series courses, one of the three best classes that I took as an MBA student at UCLA.

Twelve Angry Men (also here) is a great teaching tool for subjects like group dynamics, interpersonal skills and power and influence, and I have shown it ever since I began teaching organizational behavior, management skills and management. The Outrage wasn't as strong an adaptation of Rashomon as Rashomon deserved. (The Magnificent Seven did justice to The Seven Samurai, but the Outrage did not do justice to Rashomon. Although Claire Bloom's performance is wonderful, Paul Newman's Spanish accent is terrible. There is a very cool pre-Startrek appearance by William Shatner as the preacher, but the film just is not on the level of The Magnificent Seven.)

The last time I saw Professor Flamholtz was when he was visiting New York City in September 2001. We had breakfast on the morning of September 11, 2001 at a restaurant in the Times Square area of Manhattan. Leaving the restaurant, I read about the 9/11 attacks on the electronic news headline board on the Times Square/Dow Jones Building.

I just learned that Professor Flamholtz, who was a student of Rensis Likert, is the seventh Ph.D. alumnus of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business to receive Michigan's Ross Business School's distinguished Ph.D. alumnus award. Michigan must be a great school to have had six people get the award before Flamholtz.

Although I had Flamholtz when I was a first-year MBA student in 1979, he influenced my teaching when I started 12 years later in 1991 (and ever since) because he focused on teaching management skills and competencies. Flamholtz was a pioneer in that area, as the subject had been under discussion for less than 10 years. I searched for several years to find a framework that would match Flamholtz's creative, competency-based style, and finally found Whetten and Cameron's textbook Developing Management Skills by David A. Whetten and Kim Cameron (Whetten teaches at Brigham Young and Cameron at Michigan). Over the past sixteen years I have taught o.b. and management skills using methods derived from Flamholtz's course and Whetten and Cameron's textbook and teaching model.

Flamholtz is a truly great professor who excels in teaching as well as research, and he deserves the Michigan award.

Dr. Eric Flamholtz Receives Award from the Ross School of Business of the University of Michigan.

>"On April 23, 2007, Eric Flamholtz received the Distinguished Ph.D. Alumni Award from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. He is the 7th recipient of this Award, which is "in Recognition for his Contributions to and Excellence in Management and Organizations." He also delivered the Keynote address to the Ross School's 2007 Ph.D. graduates as well as faculty, the Dean and Associate Dean of the Ross School, The Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and current Ph.D students. Also in attendance was Professor Paul McCracken, who twice served on the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and who was Professor Flamholtz' instructor on economic policy issues during Flamholtz' first semester at The University of Michigan in 1966. In his address, Dr. Flamholtz thanked his mentors at the University of Michigan, including the late Rensis Likert, developer of the "Likert Scale" and founder of the world renowned Institute for Social Research, where Flamholtz worked as a Research Assistant during his doctoral studies. While in Ann Arbor, Flamholtz made a pilgrimage to Michigan Stadium where he first learned to enjoy big time football and where he has a brick celebrating Michigan's 1969 classic upset victory oven then No. 1 ranked Ohio State."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Smoking Gun: Professional Staff Congress Smears Anne Neal

During the last bargaining cycle, the New York City schoolteachers obtained a 16 percent raise over three years, while the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), CUNY's faculty union, obtained six percent. Despite this failure, the PSC leadership has focused on attempting to silence and attack middle of the road and conservative faculty members such as my colleagues KC Johnson, David Seidemann and even the indefatigable Sharad Karkhanis.

As I have previously blogged, College of Staten Island Professor Sandi Cooper, former chair of CUNY's University Faculty Senate, has been planning an attack on Anne Neal because Neal has been appointed to be one of 15 members of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI).

Frontpagemag's Ron Capshaw wrote the following about Cooper on March 6, 2006:

"At CUNY, the traditional political spectrums had shifted so far to the left that a New Deal and Camelot defender like Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was 'conservative' simply because he wrote and taught from an Enlightenment perspective...As a TA under Dr. Sandi Cooper, I was required to sit in on her European survey lectures and witnessed, not a teacher, but a fringe element of our history come to life, which in her case was the American Communist Party line in its salad days... According to Cooper, the Soviet Union was capitalistically encircled in the ‘30s and Cold War..."

Now, Barbara McKenna and Peter Hogness seem to follow through on Cooper's e-mailed call to organize against Neal and Neal's American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) in an unfair article in the summer 2007 Clarion, the PSC's newspaper.

The headline on page 12 of the summer 2007 Clarion reads "Ideologue named to higher ed panel", suggesting that Cooper is not an ideologue, while Neal, who has spent the last decade struggling for quantification of academic standards and academic accountability is one.

The article states:

"Despite its official-sounding name, ACTA is a highly political organization that has been a sometimes shrill advocate for a conservative agenda within higher education."

In the spring of 2005 I attended a meeting of the Manhattan Institute where Roger Bowen, former head of the American Association of University Professors, Stanley Rothman and Anne Neal gave presentations. At the conclusion of the presentations, the PSC's president, Barbara Bowen (no relation to Roger), stood up and made a rambling, angry speech that included accusing Aristotle of misogyny. Her speech was so shrill and extreme that she inadvertently made the strongest possible case for Stanley Rothman's and Anne Neal's point of view. Yet, in McKenna's and Hogness's view, it is Neal, not Bowen, who is an ideologue.

McKenna and Hogness go on to call Neal's appointment "particularly brazen" and "putting the fox into the accreditation henhouse" because Neal opposes limiting federal financial support to accredited institutions, and NACIQI's job is to recognize the accreditation agencies. They also level these accusations because Ms. Neal is skeptical of universities' intolerant obsession with identity politics.

But McKenna and Hogness reveal the meat-and-potatoes issue that really irritates the PSC: Neal's advocacy of objective, quantitative measures to assess and evaluate higher education institutions. The PSC makes a truly Orwellian argument here. Neal, who advocates rational measurement of achievement and outcomes is an "ideologue", while the PSC's insistence on special interests, privileges, lack of accountability and "the academy is right and we know best" reflects rationality. If the PSC were to apply its argument to all phases of American life, the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 would have to be repealed and the accounting profession abolished because measurement is "ideological". Of course, the SATs would have to be abolished as well, because as we all know they too are ideological. The federal budget would need to be abolished because it involves ideological measurement. In fact, the only thing that could be measured that would not be abolished is faculty paychecks. But given the PSC's and Barbara Bowen's incompetence at collective bargaining, they would probably want to avoid measuring those as well.

In fact, Ms. Neal is eminently qualified to serve on the NACIQI board. What seems to irritate the PSC is that Cooper, Bowen, et al. dislike conservatives and dislike accountability. On the one hand, they would like to avoid objective measurement and accountability, much as Ken Lay or Jay Gould would have. They would also like to exclude conservatives like Neal altogether. On the other hand the PSC likes to argue that academia does not exclude conservatives and that academics are tolerant of all viewpoints. Might we call the McKenna and Hogness article a smoking gun about the deceptive nature of the tolerant-of-conservatives claim?"

CUNY Professor Wins Appeal against Faculty Union

Brooklyn College's Professor David Seidemann had previously been defeated in a pro se (representing himself without a lawyer) law suit against the CUNY faculty union, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC). Professor Seidemann just e-mailed me that he has won on appeal in federal appeals court, this time with representation from Davis, Polk and Wardwell's Phineas E. Leahey. Professor Seidemann is to be highly commended for his investment of time and effort in establishing individuals' rights to refuse to subsidize the PSC's left-wing extremist political goals.

According to the Bureau of National Affairs:

>"A union representing employees at the City University of New York violated a professor's First Amendment rights by requiring him to file annual objections for agency fees and by requiring him to specifically state what percentages of the disputed fees he found unreasonable, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Aug. 1 (Seidemann v. Bowen, 2d Cir., No. 05-6773, 8/1/07). Reversing a trial court, the Second Circuit agreed with Brooklyn College geology professor David Seidemann that the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York's requirement that agency fee payers make annual objections was an unreasonable requirement and therefore violated his First Amendment rights.

"PSC's annual objection requirement burdens employees exercising their constitutionally protected right to object, and the union has proffered no legitimate need for disallowing continuing objections," Judge Peter W. Hall wrote for the court...

"...the Third Circuit explained that there was no suggestion in Supreme Court precedent that said "merely because an employee must initially make his objection known, a union may thereafter refuse to accept a dissenter's notice that his objection is continuing. The fact that employees have the responsibility of making an initial objection does not absolve unions of their obligation to ensure that objectors' First Amendment rights are not burdened...

"...In 2002, Seidemann filed written objections with the union seeking to reduce his agency fee for charges he alleges are not related to the collective bargaining process. He brought an action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York accusing the union, and its president Barbara Bowen, of interfering with his First Amendment rights and the union's duty of fair representation.
Several times during pretrial litigation the union revised the procedures by which nonmembers may make such objections and refunded Seidemann's agency fees for the 2001-2004 fiscal year, with interest.

"According to the union's April 2003 procedures, prior to the annual objection period PSC must provide agency fee payers with information regarding the previous fiscal year's rebatable expenditures...

"...In reversing summary judgment granted by the trial court, the Second Circuit said that in addition to the annual notice being burdensome, the union failed to provide a legitimate interest that was narrowly tailored enough to justify the burden.

"The union argued that it wanted to "take advantage of inertia on the part of would-be dissenters who fail to object affirmatively, thus preserving more union members," the Second Circuit explained in finding the reasoning unreasonable.

"In addition to finding the annual reporting too burdensome, the Second Circuit also found the union's requirement that fee payers must identify what percentage of the activity they object to is believed to be unreasonable.

"The Supreme Court has specifically and consistently rejected the notion that dissenters must object with particularity," Hall explained, adding that "requiring particularized objections to preserve an objector's rights to dissent places an additional unnecessary burden on objectors."

"Because of confusion over evidence, the Second Circuit refused to decide whether other union procedures and notice requirements were permissible but instead sent the issue back to the trial court. The Second Circuit, however, did rule that Seidemann's claims were not moot because the union failed to demonstrate that it had made a good faith effort to correct past problems and to not violate rights in the future."