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:
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.