Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Thursday, January 20, 2005

FSU: Restoring order

Tue, Jan. 18, 2005

Restoring order

Trustees show respect for faculty

Florida State University's Board of Trustees could have sent some clearer smoke signals to the Board of Governors, which will meet in Gainesville on Jan. 28 to make a decision about whether FSU should proceed with developing a chiropractic degree program.

But in coming up with a hybrid suggestion for the BOG to consider, FSU's board did two things: It showed respect for the opinions of its faculty, and it attempted to bring back some order to a process that has been politically motivated from the beginning when two lawmakers, of their own volition, four years ago began pushing to create the first such university-based degree in the United States.

The Legislature not only handed FSU a degree program of dubious academic standing, but also hopscotched over well-respected university traditions regarding what kinds of schools, colleges or degrees a large research institution should offer. Plus, it left FSU with the uncomfortable feeling that to reject such a gift would anger lawmakers.

The Board of Governors could outrightly kill FSU's recommendation - which wasn't to either accept or reject chiropractic education at FSU, as BOG Chairman Carolyn Roberts requested.

Rather, FSU is asking BOG members to send back to FSU's Graduate Policy Committee of distinguished faculty its proposal to include chiropractic in a larger and more ambitious College of Complementary and Integrative Health.

The faculty committee's review should be authorized by BOG, and thereafter considered the critical factor in all decision-making.

If the faculty review finds some academic merit to pursuing an integrated health education program that would include a chiropractic degree and research, then FSU can step up and ask the BOG and Legislature to authorize it.

If the faculty review decides the proposal is not appropriate for a research institution, that the process was politically hijacked and that there is no market for more chiropractors than can't be filled by private training programs, then trustees and the BOG both will find it easy to kill the program and move on.

FSU trustees made a nuanced decision, but one that should ensure that whatever decision is finally reached will have been made on the merits, after a traditional academic review, and with no opinion - political, personal, professional, private or preposterous - left unuttered.