The OLLU Vision Statement reads:
"Inspired by Catholic values and the heritage of the founding Congregation of Divine Providence, Our Lady of the Lake University is a community called to transform individuals as they discover their purpose in life. We aspire to be nationally recognized for our distinctive programs, our expertise in Mexican American culture, and our diverse graduates who lead and serve with faith and wisdom to improve the world."
On October 25, 2012, we were informed that President Pollack had made the decision to "phase out" 12 Majors programs at OLLU over the next four years. Her decision refuses to allow any new students to declare into these majors. She did not solicit input from the students in regards to these decisions. The Board of Trustees Bylaws affirm that the faculty “has a primary role in the fundamental areas of curriculum and instruction…” The Faculty Bylaws state that any “major policy changes in curriculum and instruction and faculty status” requires a 2/3rds majority vote of approval by the Faculty Assembly. (Faculty Assembly Bylaws, Article VII, Section 4, Sub-section b.) Dr. Pollack's decision to cut the 12 Majors (and place the others on probation) was never approved by, or presented to, the Faculty Assembly.
These majors include:
Human Sciences (Graduate program)
Mexican American Studies
Organizational Leadership (Undergraduate)
The following Liberal Arts Majors were placed on probation:
As members of the OLLU community, we now ask:
How can we be a University "inspired by Catholic values" if our administration has cancelled the Theology/ Religious Studies Major?
How can we be a University inspired by the "heritage of the founding Congregation of Divine Providence" if their influence has been increasingly diminished over the years, and have been pigeon holed into a nominal role at the university? The only remaining CDP teachers on our campus belong to the Majors affected by Dr. Pollack's decision (History and Mexican American Studies)--seriously putting at risk their ability to continue to teach here at OLLU.
How can we be a University nationally recognized and respected for our "expertise in Mexican American culture" if our administration has cancelled the Mexican American Studies Major? and When the Spanish Major has been cancelled? This Major was a unique part of our heritage at OLLU. We are nationally recognized for our Mexican American Studies program, why cut it?
The OLLU Drama department has recently gained national acclaim, with one of its Majors winning an Emmy Award. If Drama continues to be nationally acclaimed at OLLU, why cut it? (Marissa Villa, "Perseverance Pays Off for Artist," The San Antonio Express News, November 14, 2012)
Important Facts about OLLU President Tessa Martinez Pollack that cannot be divorced from her leadership of OLLU from 2002-present:
• President Tessa Martinez Pollack was given a “vote of no confidence” by the Faculty Senate of the last college she presided over. She came under criticism from the president of the governing board while at Glendale. To be fair, the next year the vote of no confidence was rescinded. However, it is important to note that President Pollack was criticized for her "autocratic style" of management. Pollack presided over a campus where one faculty member admitted, "They fear if they speak out, they might lose their jobs." (“Controversial Glendale President Moves On,” Community College Week; 4/1/2002, Vol. 14 Issue 17, p10) (Angela Gonzales, "Faculty: 'no confidence' in Glendale chief. [Glendale Community College president Tessa Martinez-Pollack]" The Business Journal-Serving Phoenix & the Valley of the Sun, November 7, 1997)
• In 2007 President Pollack was given a “vote of no confidence” by OLLUʼs student body and again by the OLLU Faculty Assembly, BOTH of which are still in effect today. Students protested her tuition fee hikes in 2007. (“No- Confidence Vote for President of Our Lady of the Lake U.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/29/2007)
• At the time of the 1st OLLU Faculty Assembly vote of no confidence in Dr. Pollack's leadership, enrollment at OLLU was at an all time low during Pollack's presidency, according to OLLU Institutional Research: http://www.ollusa.edu/s/1190/images/editor_documents/Institutional%20Research/2011-2012_fact_book/10._12-year_enrollment_trends-overall.pdf.
• According to OLLU Institutional Research, over the last 8 years of Pollack's presidency, Undergraduate enrollment has decreased significantly by 23%. Under Pollack's leadership, 3 of the last 4 years show declines in undergraduate enrollment: http://www.ollusa.edu/s/1190/images/editor_documents/Institutional%20Research/2011-2012_fact_book/15._8-year_enrollment_by_c-s__major-_undergraduate.pdf
• Under President Pollack's leadership, the average yearly growth of Bachelor's Degrees awarded at OLLU between 2004-2010 has decreased by -0.3%, while most other university’s Bachelor’s awards have grown. (Chmura Economics & Analytics, "OLLU Phase 1 Chmura Labor Market Analysis Final Report," January 27, 2012. pg. 31, Figure 5.2: Statewide Market Share among Select Universities 2010). (National Center for Education Statistics).
• UIW, UTSA, and Trinity University have all "substantially expanded their market share by growing roughly six percent per year over the last seven years." However, under Dr. Pollack's leadership OLLU has "declined by roughly 10% of the last three years." (Chmura Economics & Analytics, "OLLU Phase 1 Chmura Labor Market Analysis Final Report," January 27, 2012. pg. 31-32, Figure. 5.2)
• Under President Pollack's leadership, the number of Bachelor degrees awarded at OLLU have consistently decreased. OLLU awarded 6.6% of bachelor’s degrees in the San Antonio area in 2004, but fewer than 4% in 2010. OLLU’s share of master’s degrees awarded fell from 20.5% in 2004 to less than 15% in 2010. (Chmura Economics & Analytics, "OLLU Phase 1 Chmura Labor Market Analysis Final Report," January 27, 2012. pg. 4)
• In 2012, the Chmura Economics & Analytics consulting firm provided OLLU with a Market Analysis for San Antonio's education and employment trends. According to their high-level analysis report, over the next decade occupational needs in San Antonio include: "Education, Training, and Library," "Community and Social Service," "Life, Physical, and Social Science, "Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media." Despite the fact that these occupations are listed as being in the top 10 high demand job sectors (with an annual supply gap of workers needed) Dr. Pollack decided to "phase out" Major programs of study at OLLU that include Art, Drama, History, Religious Studies, Human Sciences (both graduate and undergraduate degrees), Sociology, Marketing, Philosophy, and others. Clearly these Majors fit the description of OLLU's own Market Analysis and will be in high demand in San Antonio. (Chmura Economics & Analytics, "OLLU Phase 1 Chmura Labor Market Analysis Final Report," January 27, 2012. pg. 21, Figure 3.15 "Projected Annual Average Occupation Gaps, San Antonio MSA, 2011Q3-2021Q3)
• According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010-2020, "The health care and social assistance sector is projected to gain the most jobs (5.6 million), followed by professional and business services (3.8 million)..."; However, among the 12 Majors cut by Dr. Pollack, the Human Sciences, Religious Studies, and Sociology Majors will all be in demand as the social assistance sector expands. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment Predictions Summary 2010-2020, http://bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.nr0.htm)
• According to the Chmura Market Analysis report, over the next seven years “Marketing Managers” are listed as the #1 “high-wage earning occupation with potential for high-growth.” Yet the Marketing Major at OLLU is among the 12 Major programs that Dr. Pollack cut. "Natural Sciences Managers" is also listed as the #9 high-wage, high-growth occupation in demand, yet Dr. Pollack cut the Natural Sciences Major at OLLU. "Social and Community Service Managers" appears at #10 on the list of high-demand high-wage occupations, yet Dr. Pollack also cut the Social Studies and Organizational Leadership Majors as well. (Chmura Economics & Analytics, "OLLU Phase 1 Chmura Labor Market Analysis Final Report," January 27, 2012. pg. 24, Figure 4.2: High-Wage, High-Growth Management, Business, and Financial Operations Occupations)
• The San Antonio Business Journal reported that OLLU “[had] been elevated to the rank of National University by U.S. News & World Report.” This would normally be very good news, however OLLUʼs “dedication to the Mexican American culture” was listed as one of the reasons why it was elevated. The Spanish and Mexican American Studies Majors were among the 12 Majors cancelled by Dr. Pollack. Dr. Pollack's decision to cut these programs may significantly affect our national rankings as a University in a negative way.
• U.S. News & World Report awarded Our Lady of the Lake University with a Tier 1 ranking of universities in the west in 2011. Among “the most popular majors” listed in their report are Marketing and all Liberal Arts and Sciences- both of which were cancelled by Dr. Pollackʼs decision. Dr. Pollack's decision to cut the 12 Majors may significantly affect our national rankings in a negative way.
Dr. Pollack, we respect your role as president of this University, but we no longer have confidence in your ability to lead or uphold the values this university was founded upon. We ask the Board of Trustees to weigh seriously this petition and the comments made by those who signed it. We love this university, and the values it was founded upon, and wish it to thrive and succeed. We do not believe that President Pollack can provide the leadership needed for our university, its students and faculty, to succeed.