See the Facts and Logic blog for critiques of the behavior of the Meehan Adminstration in abolishing RESD.
July 13, 2010
Faculty members of the now dissolved Department of Regional Economic and Social Development start a Facts and Logic Blog on which we can post what we call “Restorements” that, one-by-one, expose the factual errors and illogical arguments that, largely through Provost Ahmed Abdelal, the Meehan Administration has put forth for closing RESD dating back to November 2008. The Facts and Logic Blog is a direct reponse to the repeated and further distortion of the process and facts that resulted in the dismantling of RESD made in an email from Provost Abdelal to Phil Moss and John Wooding in response to their July 2nd emails that demand that the Provost back up his assertions with facts or stop making them. Abdelal copied his email to the UMass Lowell faculty in general.
July 12, 2010
Phil Moss, co-director of the program in the economic and social development of regions, sends a memo to Interim Dean Nina Coppens, expressing outrage at the way in which the Meehan Administration has usurped control over the content of the RESD website without consultation with the faculty members in the program. The history of RESD and the program it built have been purged. Over the past two years we at RESD had put substantial time and effort into updating the website to make the program more attractive to potential students. Now most of that material is gone. Notably, the Meehan Administration chose to leave up statements of positive views by students and alumni that were made when RESD, the department, still controlled the website, and sought to build, as we always had done, a bigger and better program. Many of these students and alumni have subsequently written letters of protest to the Meehan Administration concerning the damage that has been done to their program. The Meehan Administration could at least have the decency to ask them for permission to use them as marketing tools for a program that has been badly damaged and remains under attack.
July 7, 2010
Michael Carter, as VP of the Faculty Senate, defends his July 5th letter as “cooperation not collusion”.
Emily Vidrine, to whom the Carter-Abdelal letter had originally been sent, observes:
|Once again I am disappointed at the unprofessional manner in which this problem is being handled. This letter and its previous email correspondence makes it clear that there are some personal and political agendas beneath the decision to dismantle the RESD department. If this is true, the future of the RESD program and the quality of education provided to the students is without a doubt at risk. It feels as though RESD students and faculty are guilty (of what I don’t know) by association, as if RESD were a swear word. All we want to do is study the dynamics between economies and societies. We are all people that want to make the world a better place. But it comes to this… We are being bound, forced to walk the plank, and are destined to become some angry man’s lunch.|
John Wooding sends an email to UMass Lowell faculty in which he notes that Ahmed Abdelal, UMass Lowell Provost, and Michael Carter, UMass Lowell VP of the Faculty Senate, have colluded in writing a letter to RESD students, but that the letter is only signed by Carter. Wooding states that Carter’s “collusion with provost Abdelal in this email, and the lack of transparency this represents, calls into serious question his ability to fairly – and without compromise – represent the interests of this faculty. This is of particular concern as Carter is the Vice-President of the Faculty Senate – the very body charged with representing the interests of all faculty.
July 5, 2010
In response to RESD student Emily Vidrine’s July 3rd letter of concern with the way in which the Meehan Administratuion continues to ignore students’ interests in the destruction of RESD, Michael Carter sends a letter to assure her that all is just fine. Carter asks Vidrine to forward this letter to all current RESD students. A problem with this letter is that it is sent as a Microsoft document with “Track Changes” retained, so that the reader can see that significant portions of the letter that Carter originally wrote have been deleted, while whole new sections have been added. We see that these deletions and changes(shown in red on the attached pdf) have almost all been done by Provost Ahmed Abdelal, even though Carter signs the letter as his own in his capacity as Vice-President of the Faculty Senate.
July 3, 2010
RESD graduate students Matt Hopkins and Emily Vidrine make known their views about the lack of openness and transparency of the Meehan Administration in the process of ridding UMass Lowell of RESD, and about the uncertain and diminished future facing students in the regional development program.
|We respect your right to make decisions that affect the entire university. But we do not respect your right to do so with so many facts and stakeholders extant unanswered. We certainly feel that continued questioning is necessary given that the success of RESD may not be replicated within the framework, nor will it continue to attract the outstanding and diverse student base it does today. It is never too late to make a different decision. Please show us the same dedication to excellence that our faculty does. And please remember that these discussions and decisions are not solely about departments, or university roles, or whatever else it is that motivates you. It is about the future of a group of students, and each student to come after them.|
Vidrine, who was also an undergraduate at UMass Lowell, laments:
|RESD students have voiced their concerns. Again, please see www.restoreresd.org. That these eager, hard-working, and high-achieving human beings have been ignored and brushed aside is a great injustice.The messiness and non-transparency that the administration has shown make me sad to have invested so much time and money into an educational institution that does not value its own foundation, the students.|
July 2, 2010
John Wooding sends the Meehan Administration a memo that once again rebuts the allegations that they have continued to make against RESD, while ignoring the factual evidence in the “Charges & Rebuttals” document. As Wooding states: “A university has a particular obligation to the truth. Constantly repeating unsubstantiated and false claims undermines the integrity of this institution. Please stop doing it.”
Provost Abdelal immediately responds that the Meehan Administration has “debated very one of these arguments”. Perhaps they have debated these arguments among themselves. The Meehan Administration has not responded to our “Charges & Rebuttals” document.
Abdelal goes on to say, with his emphasis, “RESD is now formally closed as a department and the MA program is being administered as a college-wide interdisciplinary program.” That is the Meehan Administration’s decree.
Phil Moss replies to Abdelal, demanding that he publicly prove all of the allegations against RESD that he has made and continues to make. Moss concludes:
|You have the right to eliminate the RESD department, and you have exercised that right. That is a matter of power. We are all moving forward with our careers in new departments and we have openly pledged to our students that we will conduct ourselves so that they can complete the courses and all other requirements necessary for their MA degree.
You do not have the right to make assertions without evidence or that contradict openly available evidence in order to justify your exercise of that power. That is a matter of the truth. We ask that you conduct yourself in the same manner that is demanded of every student and every researcher at this university.
We will continue to demand the open and transparent debate that has yet to occur within the UMass Lowell community and the UMass System over the dissolution of RESD. Through the restoreRESD campaign, we will continue to question the legitimacy of a highly destructive decision that has no sound justification.
On June 22 the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society awarded William Lazonick the 2010 Schumpeter Prize for his book, Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States (Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2009). Also awarded the 2010 Schumpeter Prize was Bart Nooteboom of Tilberg University for his book, A Cognitive Theory of the Firm (Elgar, 2009). The two recipients share the cash reward of €10,000.
The Prize is awarded every two years in recognition of a recent scholarly contribution related to the work of Joseph Schumpeter, a leading economist of the first half of the 20th century whose name has become synonymous with the study of innovation and economic development. This year the theme of the Prize competition was “Innovation, Organization, Sustainability and Crises”.
Lazonick’s book analyzes the transformation of the mode of business organization that characterizes US high-tech industry. He shows how a business model that was an engine of innovation in the 1980s and 1990s has resulted in an inequitable income distribution and unstable employment. Lazonick argues that, with increasing inequity and recurring instability in the 2000s, the engine of innovation has stalled. At the root of the problem is the corporate focus on stock-price performance, manifested in large-scale stock buybacks and the explosion of executive pay. This book is essential for understanding how the “financialization” of US industrial corporations has weakened the US economy and contributed to the current crisis.
Further information on Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? can be found at http://www.upjohninst.org/publications/titles/spne.html.
William Lazonick is Professor in the Department of Regional Economic and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Director of the UMass Lowell Center for Industrial Competitiveness. He is currently directing a project on financial institutions for innovation and development, funded by the Ford Foundation, with a focus on the United States , Japan , and China . He is also affiliated with the University of Bordeaux , where he is engaged in a large-scale research project on finance, innovation, and growth, funded primarily by the European Commission.
Before coming to UMass Lowell to help build the University’s program on regional economic and social development, Lazonick was Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University (1975-1984), and Professor of Economics at Barnard College of Columbia University (1985-1993). He was also on the faculties of University of Toronto (1982-1983) and Harvard Business School (1984-1986), and was a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1989-1990). During his time at UMass Lowell, Lazonick has also been a professor at University of Tokyo (1996-1997), the Norwegian School of Management (2002-2005), and INSEAD, the European Institute of Business Administration in France (1996-2007).
In 1991 Professor Lazonick was the first economist to serve as president of the Business History Conference, the main professional association of business historians in the United States . His work through the early 1990s was the subject of a chapter in the volume, American Economists of the Late Twentieth Century (Elgar, 1996). He was the youngest of 36 economists selected worldwide to write an autobiographical essay in Exemplary Economists (Elgar, 2000).
Professor Lazonick holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto (1968), a Master of Science degree in economics from the London School of Economics (1969), and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics from Harvard University (1975). In 1991 Uppsala University awarded him an honorary doctorate for his work on the theory and history of economic development.
He is the author or editor of twelve books, and has published more than 100 academic articles. Media articles based on his recent research have appeared in The Financial Times, The Observer, BusinessWeek, Globe and Mail, USA Today, and Huffington Post, as well as in many foreign-language newspapers. Lazonick is regularly invited to speak at academic conferences, research institutes, universities, government agencies, and corporate associations throughout the world.