Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day 2012: Is OBU a Good Place to Work?

We've already discussed at length the many problems OBU faculty have faced as a result of the new regime.  And we continue to provide context and comparative information about OBU's generally declining performance in the various college ranking publications.

OBU is rightly proud of its performance in the U.S. News rankings, which continually point to OBU as one of the best regional baccalaureate colleges in the Western United States, not to mention a "best value" university.  And OBU had been doing quite well in the new Forbes rankings, which began in 2008, though we have slid badly under President Whitlock's tenure:
Instead of bringing attention to the continuing decline (from #299 to #390 in the past year, down from a high of #109 in 2009), OBU's P.R. shop wisely decided to sieze on being named a Princeton Review "Best of the West" college for the umpteenth year in a row.  What they don't say is that being on the "Best of the West" list is a lot more like a participation ribbon than a blue ribbon.  There are some pretty unimpressive schools on that list, and our inclusion doesn't really mean a thing.  Also unreported is the fact that students' "glaring" complaint was a "severe lack" of communication between administration and students:

Anyway, in honor of Labor Day, I'd like to point out a list that OBU didn't make but should aspire to.  The Chronicle of Higher Education recently released its 2012 list of "Best Colleges to Work For."  I don't really know whether OBU is a great place to work.  I suspect opinions vary.  But there's no reason OBU can't aspire to this kind of recognition.  A number of Christian colleges made the list (whether you measure Christian identity by confession, affiliation, or the almighty CCCU, the final arbiter of which institutions are "intentionally Christ-centered" (hint: the colleges that pay CCCU dues tend to make the cut in the CCCU's eyes).

The only Baptist-affiliated colleges to make the list were Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, and Howard Payne.  All three are affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas -- the state convention that SBC fundamentalists love to hate.  No other state convention-controlled Baptists schools were recognized.  In our neighborhood, both Oklahoma City University and the University of Central Oklahoma made the list, which was based on performance across 12 categories.

A brief look at some of the categories make it all too clear why OBU is nowhere near being recognized as a great college to work for: Collaborative Governance, Diversity, Confidence in Senior Leadership (hahahaha), Tenure Clarity and Process.  (Look for the tenure process to become Provost Norman's favorite way to weed out whatever moderates may have snuck through the hiring process.  It the debacle surrounding one professor's dismissal, the administration showed complete disregard for rules governing the tenure process.)

Now, this is not to say that I am suggesting OBU employees do not or should not love their jobs and the university very much.  It has been my experience and observation that they are the most devoted and faithful teachers I have ever seen.  But the university does not have the right to take them for granted.  It's not right for them to say, "Well, historically we always ask for faculty input and weigh it heavily in hiring decisions, but this time, we've already found our man so we're not going to bother" or "Well, these people are mostly moderate Baptists, but we're going to constantly make them listen to speeches and sermons by men who loathe moderate Baptists" or "These people have mortgages and their spouses have jobs in the community, so we know they're stuck here no matter how much we try to remake the institution in our own image," etc.

As we celebrate labor, let's make sure we're racing toward the top, not the bottom.


  1. That's a pretty ignorant statement to make "The only Baptist-affiliated colleges to make the list were Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, and Howard Payne. All three are affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas -- the state convention that SBC fundamentalists love to hate."
    I grew up in a CONSERVATIVE Southern Baptist Church that is to this day BGCT. The majority of churches within the BGCT are quite conservative with very few being "moderate" or liberal. Also, there are several "fundamentalist" pastors in the BGCT.
    Before you accuse the fundamentalist of hating look at how you are attacking Whitlock. Have you ever met him? I have, he's a man who loves God and has a heart to see students serve him.

  2. That isn't an ignorant statement. It was the one convention that the takeover failed to "takeover," and as a result, the SBTC came into being. It is still one of the lone examples of a large state convention holding out from the RULING fundamentalists. I capitalize that to show a difference. There are many very conservative BGCT churches. I serve on staff at one of them. But, when you get to the top of the BGCT, they won't force you to be super conservative or "fundamentalist." We have the freedom to choose beliefs as individual churches in the convention. That is why the BGCT is "the state convention that SBC fundamentalists love to hate."

  3. You're missing my point. Fundamentalists don't hate the BGCT. I think it's a ignorant remark to make. Are the Fundamentalist wrong in many aspects? Yes.
    I will say that fundamentalists were displeased when they were unable to "take over" the BGCT. I will also say, I have met, and know men who are fundamentalists and they are Godly men. I know men who are not in that camp who are Godly men.

  4. We all know fundies are evil idiots who are so stupid they believe what God said

  5. Love the sarcasm lol.

  6. fun·da·men·tal·ism   /ˌfʌndəˈmɛntlˌɪzəm/ Show Spelled[fuhn-duh-men-tl-iz-uhm] Show IPA
    1. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming.
    The definition is from dictionary.com, just thought I would post it for those who do not know what fundamentalism means.
    As I said in my previous comment, I agree with some fundamentalist on secondary issues, however on the core issues I agree.


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