Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Criminal Justice Faculty Search of 2012

That Wayne Watson would write a response to the Shared Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate in which he finds the well-documented claims of the “Performance Evaluation of Chicago State University President Wayne Watson” baseless is disingenuous as the evaluation is based on widely available documents. Readers are invited to read the Performance Evaluation and “Investigative Report on the Criminal Justice Search and Subsequent Hiring of Tenure-Track Faculty” at https://sites.google.com/a/csu.edu/csu-faculty-senate/documents. Both reports are hyperlinked to relevant documentation. In this blog post, I summarize the relevant facts concerning the investigation into the August 2012 Criminal Justice “search” and present the conclusions to the report.

The Facts

1) As of the Fall 2012 semester we have three new faculty in the Criminal Justice program. One, April Bernard, seems to possess the requisite experience in the field as scholar and professor as designated in the employment advertisement. The other two, Andre Grant and Lewis Meyers, are practicing attorneys. Neither meet the minimum job requirements which include holding a relevant terminal degree, university teaching experience and a scholarly agenda. Yet, Meyers is being paid $95,004 and Grant, $69,003. Given these facts, one wonders if the CSU administration had our students, our university and the Criminal Justice program in mind when it appointed unqualified people to fill crucial faculty positions. The fact that Wayne Watson knows Myers well and is acquainted with Grant raises additional ethical issues regarding nepotism or ‘crony’ hiring.

2) The search that resulted in the two new tenure-track assistant professors and one new associate professor of Criminal Justice did not follow mandated procedures as outlined in the Labor and Legal Affairs memorandum date June 2011 and the Faculty Handbook dated August 16, 2012. According to both documents faculty searches begin at the Departmental Personnel Committee made up of tenure and tenure-track faculty. Administrators, including chairpersons and Deans, are not to be involved. The August 2012 ‘search’ in Criminal Justice involved no meaningful faculty participation. Senior faculty in the department were ignored, misled and left-out of the process at almost every level.

3) The Criminal Justice ‘search’ conducted by chairperson, Marian Perkins and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences began on August 9 and ended on August 16. This impossibly short period of time for a search goes against past practices, logic, common sense and Contract Administrator, Dr. Debrah Jefferson’s September 1, 2009 memorandum to “Deans, Chairs and Directors” that establishes that the hiring process should be wrapped up more than two months in advance of the faculty member’s start date. The ‘search’ committee of administrators reviewed more than 100 applications in a few days in the second week of August when the Fall 2012 semester would begin a week later.

4) Well-established scholars and professors were available to fill needed positions in the Criminal Justice program but were ignored in favor of the two lawyers who lacked relevant experience and Dr. Bernard. Initially, the Criminal Justice program conducted a search for one tenure-track position. This search in the 2011 Spring semester resulted in a strong applicant pool and the decision to hire a seasoned CSU faculty member and experienced researcher, Professor Tracy Crump. At all levels Professor Crump was seen as the ideal candidate. The Chairperson, the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Provost indicated that she would be hired. Without explanation and going against all informed suggestion, Wayne Watson refused to hire her.


We believe that the President of the university, Wayne Watson, as the ultimate hiring authority violated a number of university policies and, perhaps, state law as making decisions in one’s position as an employee of the State of Illinois that serve to benefit oneself, one’s family or one’s associates and not the institution or the people of Illinois is a violation of the Ethics Act. Subsequent investigations by the appropriate institutional parties, e.g. the Board of Trustees and Ethics Office, and the appropriate state agencies should be commenced.

In addition, the behavior of all parties involved must be examined and the proper remedies should be employed. In the very least, faculty should demand that Professor Perkins and the Office of the Dean account for their participation in this process. Moreover, Professor Tracy Crump who has been denied a job that almost all in the department agreed she was best suited should be offered a tenure-track position at a salary commensurate with that of Lewis Myers whose experience suggests he possesses none of the skills that Crump has employed at CSU for a number of years.

Wayne’s Endgame?

The ill-conceived, poorly executed, sham faculty ‘search’ illustrates a disregard for and disrespect toward faculty, a lack of concern for our university and the continuation of mismanagement of this university. That the administrative committee chose two candidates that are clearly unqualified makes me wonder why they would select them. It couldn’t possibly be for the good of the program or our students since Professor Perkins has asked non-tenured faculty including Professor Crump to teach additional classes since the two lawyers could not. Why would the committee choose two unqualified Friends of Wayne (FOWs) to fill crucial positions in spite of the wishes of faculty who obviously know the needs of its program better than Wayne?

A partial answer might lay in Wayne’s desires to build institutions such as the West Side Campus and a Law School at CSU paving the way for blunders here that were previously experienced by the City Colleges including the cost overruns involved in constructing the new Kennedy-King Campus. Instead of leaving the management of academic affairs with the academics, i.e., faculty and other academic professionals, and focusing on fundraising and improving the image of CSU Wayne chooses to micromanage in order to sneak through ill-conceived plans. According to interviews Lewis Myers has been working on a committee with Miriam Perkins to discuss the establishment of a Law School. At the same departmental meeting in which this was revealed Wayne asked Perkins about the progress of the law school and stated that the law school is the reason that they made “the personnel decisions that [they] did.” I leave it to my informed readers to draw their own conclusions about this process.

There is no doubt that faculty, students, staff and others are doing important things on this campus and these things need to be highlighted. The President’s Office should be focused on laying the foundation for this excellence to develop even further and fixing the administrative problems (which, according to Watson in a rare moment of truth-telling two years ago at one of his famous ‘town hall’ meetings with faculty, are 80% of the problems on campus) that render the educational and employment experience challenging.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Pancho, for this important report on the search. These facts need to be brought to light as widely as possible.

    I would emphasize two things in reponse to your statement, "The ill-conceived, poorly executed, sham faculty ‘search’ illustrates a disregard for and disrespect toward faculty, a lack of concern for our university and the continuation of mismanagement of this university." First, it also, most importantly, shows disregard for the needs of students-as you later point out-and most of these students are black. Second, in light of that last fact, it seems to me that Watson's action shows a racist disregard for the needs of students: would he dare be so disrespectful of the needs of advantaged white students such as those at the University of Chicago?

    The failure to hire Tracy Crump to a tenure-track position is also very disrespectful to her; none of us should tolerate this.
    So I whole-heartedly endorse Professor Pancho's insistence that she be hired tenure-track.