Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Senate/UPI: Discussion & Vote on No Confidence in President's Performance

In the past 10 days, Chicago State's Faculty Senate and UPI leadership have responded to their membership's call for a vote of no confidence in the performance of President Watson. This is not something that either body has come to easily.
After months of growing displeasure and dissatisfaction over violations of the contract and other decisions that have overstepped the bounds of presidential authority, a Joint Senate/UPI Committee was formed this fall to examine President Watson's performance. This committee has set out two Bills of Particulars, one from the Senate, one from the UPI. The items contained in these summaries reflect the failure of President Watson in five of the seven categories laid out in his contract with the university Board of Trustees. They outline his abrogation of the UPI contract over the past three years including a serious university-wide grievance. This is not a vote of no confidence based on Dr. Watson's personality or management "style." It is based on decisions he has made that have not helped the university improve graduation rates, audit findings, or faculty, staff, and press relations. It is based on his decision to interfere in curriculum matters and matters of departmental hiring. It is based on a wide array of unfair labor practices that have come with his administration of the university. 
The summaries of both bills of particulars are posted below and a link to the more detailed Senate Bill of Particulars (13 pages) will be posted as well.
These are two separate (but coordinated) efforts to evaluate Watson's tenure as CSU president.

Yesterday, Laurie Walter, our UPI President, emailed the UPI membership with the notice of a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1st in SCI 216 to discuss the UPI Bill of Particulars. Her email contained a link to an online voting site (surveymonkey) where members may anonymously vote yes or no on No Confidence in the President. All union members have a right to vote. This voting site will be open until 5 p.m. on Nov. 6th.

At the upcoming Senate meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6th, the Faculty Senate will also discuss and vote on a motion of no confidence in President Watson. Senators should be surveying faculty opinion in their departments to determine their vote on Tuesday. Tenured as well as untenured faculty Senators have a responsibility to the departments they represent.
If you have any questions about the survey itself, please contact the Joint Committee at You may also contact Dr Walter or your Faculty Senate representative.


University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) Local 4100
Chicago State University Chapter
Performance Evaluation of President Wayne Watson and his Administration

Starting from the beginning of his employment at Chicago State University in 2009, President Wayne Watson’s administration has demonstrated very little regard for the CSU-UPI Contract, even as it negotiated a new contract that was approved in the 2011-2012 academic year. In addition, President Watson’s administration has demonstrated negligence in numerous areas that directly affect workers at Chicago State University.

The series of unfair labor practices and grievances filed by UPI on behalf of its members from 2010-2012 demonstrate some of the most serious acts of negligence and harmful actions that have directly affected faculty, academic support professionals, and technical support staff at the University.

Unfair Labor Practices
During the calendar year of 2012 alone, UPI Local 4100 filed four (4) Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB). These ULPs demonstrated numerous violations of the CSU-UPI Contract, violations of Illinois labor law (specifically the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act), and also serious negligence of standard university business operations. These ULPs include:

·       Two (2) ULPs filed February 1, 2012 concerning a wide array of specific instances throughout 2011 and up to the date of filing where the University administration, particularly in the areas of Human Resources and Legal Affairs, demonstrated a pattern of failing to implement the CSU-UPI Contract, failing to respond to legal and legitimate requests from UPI Local 4100, and/or failing to respond in a timely manner;

·       One ULP filed on September 6, 2012 concerning University violations of a grievance settlement concerning the employment of a faculty member; and

·       One ULP filed on October 1, 2012, concerning the University’s failure to deduct union dues at the contractually-mandated start time following the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year.

These first of these ULPs is particularly telling, since the 67-page document filed by UPI with the IELRB details numerous acts by the University administration over a period covering more than a year and includes the following issues:

·       Ongoing failure to respond to Local 4100 and its attorney’s request to schedule arbitration procedures and/or to select an arbitrator in response to layoffs implemented contrary to procedures agreed on in the CSU-UPI Contract;

·       Ongoing failure to respond, in whole or in part, to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests;

·       Failure to schedule appropriate and timely follow-up meetings for the CSU-UPI 403(b) grievance, as well as refusal to provide complete and appropriate documentation for this grievance;

·       The imposition of a new Computer Usage Policy without prior notification or bargaining of the change in working conditions;

·       Other instances of ignoring contractual procedures and timelines as they pertain to evaluations, time reporting, payment of back pay owed, etc.

Both the extent of the issues covered by the ULPs filed in 2012 (as shown by the one discussed above) and total number (4) of the ULPs filed during this year is striking.

In addition to these four ULPs filed in 2012, several ULPs were filed within the first year of Wayne Watson’s administration, including:

·       One ULP filed on April 15, 2010 concerning the removal of employees from Unit C (technical support staff) of the CSU-UPI Chapter;

·       One ULP filed on September 29, 2010 concerning the unfair layoffs of employees in Units B and C (academic support professionals and technical support staff).

Both of these ULPs deal with serious attacks by Wayne Watson’s administration on the UPI and the workers represented by this union.

 Grievances Filed
The volume of grievances filed by the UPI during President Watson’s Administration at Chicago State University has been particularly heavy. Some of the more serious grievances have dealt with the following matters:

·       The removal of specific employees from Unit C of the CSU Chapter of UPI Local 4100 due to faulty claims that such employees should be classified as “confidential employees” in January 2010;

·       The laying off/termination of several employees in Units B & C of the CSU Chapter of UPI Local 4100 in March-April 2010 without following procedures outlined in the CSU-UPI Contract;

·       The shutting down of faculty websites in the middle of the Fall 2010 semester with no advance notice or discussion with faculty who regularly used such websites for teaching and research;

·       The removal of TIAA-CREF, VALIC, and Fidelity as 403(b) providers for University employees due to the University’s employment of a Third Party Administrator, causing serious financial hardship to University employees starting in February 2011;

·       President Watson’s decision to modify the tenure-track faculty retention decision process in May 2012 by deciding that some faculty can be “retained” but would repeat their previous probationary year, essentially having these faculty members do that probationary year over;

·       President Watson’s inability to follow the contractual process for approving Departmental Applications of Criteria (DACs) by encouraging deans, chairs, and other administrators to write DACs in June 2012 without the direct participation of faculty.

Though there has been some progress made towards a resolution of some of these grievances, the fact that UPI has had to file grievances about such serious violations of the CSU-UPI Contract demonstrates President Watson’s and his administration’s minimal regard for the CSU-UPI Contract.

Other Employment Matters
In addition to the instances documented in grievances and ULPs filed by UPI Local 4100, President Watson’s Administration has engaged in the following additional acts harmful to University employees:

·       Failure to pay raises to Academic Support Professionals at the contractually-mandated time;

·       Late payment of Unit B (temporary and part-time) faculty;

·       Inaccurate calculation of contractually-mandated raises for several faculty members;

·       Late deduction of union dues from UPI members’ paychecks.

There are two things that are particularly striking about these harmful actions. First, these actions have had direct impacts on University employees’ livelihoods. Second, all of these acts were avoidable if the University had followed standard business operations. Payment of salary, pay raises, and deduction of union dues are all predictable events that the University should be prepared to deal with each year. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Based on the harmful and negligent actions taken by Wayne Watson and his administration, including many actions documented in grievances and ULPs filed by UPI Local 4100, the CSU Chapter of the UPI concludes that Wayne Watson’s tenure as President of Chicago State University has been harmful to the University and its workers. As such, Wayne Watson’s performance as President of Chicago State University has been inadequate.

Performance Evaluation of Chicago State University President Wayne Watson
Prepared by The Shared Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate

Wayne Watson’s contract with the Chicago State University Board of Trustees specifies that his performance will be judged on seven criteria. Based on our evaluation, the Shared Governance Committee finds that he has performed unsatisfactorily in five of the seven:

Criterion 1: the Board charges the President with “improving the performance of the University with respect to annual financial and compliance audits [of] the University.”

·        Audit exceptions increase from 13 in 2008-09 to 41 in 2009-10, decreased to 34 in 2010-11.

·        9 additional Civil Service Audit exceptions

Criterion 3: the Board charges the President with “increasing the enrollment at the university.”

·        Enrollment down across Illinois, largest drop reported (CSU did not report this information) this past year, 6.8 percent.

·        Chicago State’s enrollment down 11.05 percent over the same period. The largest decline reported by any other public Illinois university was 6.8 percent at Illinois-Charleston.

·        Chicago State’s enrollment has declined 18.6 percent in past two years, from 7362 to 5989.

Criterion 5: the Board charges the President with “improving relationships with the University’s faculty.”

·        Incursions into curriculum matters, Senior Thesis, Master’s Thesis

·        Public dispute with Haki Madhubuti, Madhubuti’s eventual resignation

·        Reorganization of Colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences

·        Reorganization of Graduate School

·        Hiring unqualified persons, primarily from City Colleges of Chicago, for key administrative positions

·        2012 Computer Usage Policy

·        2012 Communications Policy

·        2012 DAC fiasco

·        2012 Criminal Justice search in violation of university rules, subsequent questionable hires

Criterion 6: the Board charges the President with “enhancing the University’s fund-raising capacities.”
·        University’s endowment down

 Criterion 7: the Board charges the President with “improving the University’s media relations and public image.”

·        Numerous public relations disasters: audit findings, communications policy, adversarial relationship with press, consistent negative publicity for the university

 Additional information and links to sources may be found in the full Shared Governance Committee Report.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Building a Better Faculty Senate--AAUP

This article was sent today by a colleague on campus. Seemed appropriate to post.
Building a Better Faculty Senate
October 29, 2012 - 3:00am
WASHINGTON – Faculty senate leaders know they’re often viewed as the “naysayers and feet-draggers,” as they said Friday, but many think they could combat that perception by taking proactive steps in university planning and more effectively communicating the results of their work.
A group of faculty senate members from a variety of institutions met here Friday to discuss how to make faculty senates more effective as part of the American Association of University Professors’ Shared Governance Conference.

Larry Gerber, chair of AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance and a history professor at Auburn University, said faculty members have a responsibility as the academic experts on campus to play a role in colleges’ academic decisions, like those about the curriculum, graduation requirements or hiring. “No one is better equipped to make these decisions,” Gerber said in his opening address. “They’re not always the right decisions, but at least they will be based on expertise.”

As part of the three-day conference, some participants attended a workshop on making senates effective. Gerber began the workshop by describing principles for effective faculty senates. He suggested using deadlines to ensure work gets done, gaining support from the university, rewarding senate service, and being proactive.

There are too many senates where the only thing they do is respond to administrative initiatives,” Gerber said.

Taking proactive steps was a common theme in the workshop’s discussion groups, too. After Gerber introduced the issues at hand, participants split into three groups – small liberal arts colleges, universities with collective bargaining agreements, and universities without collective bargaining agreements – to discuss problems that are unique to each type of institution and to brainstorm potential solutions.

The collective bargaining group included representatives from a number of college and university systems in the midst of significant transitions, including California State University, the California Community College system, City University of New York, and Connecticut State University. They discussed issues such as universities’ increased reliance on adjuncts – and whether adjuncts should have a place on the faculty senate, a subject on which there was no consensus – the role of the faculty in determining curricular changes (there are major ones going on at a number of those colleges), and the increasing tension between faculty and administrators and legislators.

Understanding the university’s budget is crucial to beginning to address these issues, attendees agreed, and many recommended finding an expert, whether from within or outside the senate, to analyze and interpret the budget.

Tight budgets have forced many of the states whose institutions were represented at Friday’s conference to cut back on funding for higher ed, which has led to consolidations, a focus on completion and transfer rates, and significant legislative and administrative involvement in curriculum changes. At Connecticut State, for example, the system was recently consolidated with the state’s community college system; at CUNY, the chancellor earlier this year approved the “Pathways to Degree Completion Initiative,” which is designed to ease the transfer of students from community colleges to four-year institutions, but which has angered many faculty members, who object to its specifics.

Faculty leaders were interested in discussing ways to resist those changes, something that they said their senates had not done successfully.

Part of the problem, a representative from a CUNY community college said, is that faculty sometimes end up pitted against each other. As an example, a faculty member from Cal State Fullerton said that as the state’s general education and major requirements change, engineering faculty fight to expel the arts and humanities requirements from the engineering major, and so members of those departments end up battling each other.

A recommended solution was improved communication and education. Faculty senates, participants agreed, need to do better public relations for themselves and need to educate both administrators and faculty on their role, and on what’s at stake.

Educating faculty is particularly important, many agreed, because it is a way to get more faculty engaged in senate service. Faculty senates often have a tough time recruiting new blood, and better explaining to faculty why shared governance is important could help address that, participants said.
Another way to engage faculty in senate service is to demonstrate that the senate can engage with the university effectively and proactively.

“We need to find a way to let faculty get their ideas out there,” said Diana Guerin, chair of the Cal State Statewide Academic Senate. “We need to say this is what a quality education looks like and force them to respond.”

Senate leaders also need to follow up on senate work and show faculty they impact all of the committee meetings and reports can have, attendees said.

The other break-out groups – from universities without collective bargaining and from small liberal arts colleges – presented many of the same questions and potential solutions. They suggested engaging junior faculty, allowing faculty members to submit agenda items for faculty senate meetings, and not “waiting for the president to come to us.”

“Faculty often wait until there’s a real emergency – then we’re pretty effective,” one faculty member said. “That means we can be effective before the emergency.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Shocking Discovery

So loyal readers, I was recently informed that your humble narrator supported the Board of Trustees hiring of the university president by no less a figure than the President himself. Imagine my shock in being told this. I would appreciate that if someone is going to lie about something I said or did, they would extend me the courtesy of lying about me behind my back. 
So for the record that can't be erased, let me state unequivocally I have opposed the hiring, installation and continued appointment of the current president. I trust, you my loyal readers recall numerous blog posts outlining the frequent and continuing missteps of this President and his CCREP  sycophants. I also trust that those present in April 2009 will remember a blistering inquiry of then applicant Watson including questions about his experience at doctoral degree granting institutions, experience as a faculty member, publication record and fund raising experience. So for your humble narrator to be so blatantly misrepresented was to say in a word, curious.
I have the sense there is a degree of consternation within the regime about the impending HLC visit. Fears of faculty “going rogue”, “dirty laundry” being aired (instead of cleaned) and words presented to the team that don't present the institution in the best light, yet are true, seem to be troubling the regime as the “Listening Tour” visits academic departments to scare, intimidate or otherwise influence faculty to maintain the party line. I am unconvinced that the regime's propaganda will carry the day. Rather, what is true about this institution will be conveyed. The first truth is that our faculty does remarkable work in an environment that is often hostile to academic productivity. The second truth is that our students work through many obstacles created by this administration to reach matriculation. The third truth is that students and faculty succeed in spite of this administration, not because of it. I believe that when the HLC team visits they will see who does a good job here and who doesn't. I also believe that our accreditation is safe if the critical factor is academic performance. Our accreditation is clearly at risk if the critical factor is administrative performance.
And for the record, my continuing critique of this administration does not mean I am attempting to harm the university. Rather, I believe as a long serving tenured faculty member, I am trying my very best to protect the university from the vagaries of the transients known as administrators. I, like my long serving/suffering colleagues, are trying to protect the reputation of an institution that continues to have its management shoot itself in the foot and then wonder why the university is limping along.
The jobs we have at a university are hard. Of that there is no doubt. There is no dishonor in the admission of being over-matched. There is dishonor in being over-matched and denying that when there is evidence to the contrary. And that first piece of evidence may be the working conditions that faculty and staff find themselves in when the HLC team arrives. After years of "right-sizing", layoffs, ill-conceived reorganizations, threats, complaints, lawsuits and numerous memos threatening termination if there is no compliance, the Visitation Team may just see what most of us have experienced since July 2009. The Team might draw the same conclusions most of us have already, that the university is in a dive and its future is in jeopardy if we continue with this regime. I would hope they would see who is over-matched and demand they be gone in that genteel, academic way we say things. 
And so our inexorable journey continues....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mirror, mirror...

"A Song of Vice and Mire"
For fun, I've been reading George R.R. Martin's marvelous fantasy epic, A Song of Ice and Fire, about a medieval-ish kingdom and its wars and intrigues. If you haven't yet encountered the books (five in the series so far), I highly recommend them, as Martin deftly intertwines fantastical elements, such as dragons and wights (medieval zombies), with a quasi-historical storyline to create a kind of J.R.R. Tolkien-meets-Philippa Gregory effect.

What fascinates me most about the narrative, however, is the extent to which it parallels my experiences as a community-college professor and administrator. As I follow the political machinations of the fictional court at King's Landing—the alliances and conspiracies, the jealousies and betrayals, the dalliances and beheadings—I am frequently put in mind of actual people I have known and events I have witnessed over my 27-year career. Sometimes I wonder if George R.R. Martin isn't really just a pen name for some old colleague of mine who has been secretly plugging away all these years at a monstrous roman-à-clef.

I suppose that is an indictment of community colleges, but I believe it is a fair one. Because, truth be told, for all of their many fine points and all the good they do for society, community colleges have historically been rather bad at governance, to say the least. On many two-year campuses, if not most, corruption, cronyism, abuse of power, and fiefdom-building constitute business as usual.

I make that observation as someone who has worked at five two-year colleges and visited dozens more, who corresponds frequently with colleagues around the country, and who reads everything available about community colleges. But the truth of what I'm saying should be obvious to anyone who has followed recent high-profile cases involving alleged corruption and mismanagement at two-year institutions in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. To name a few.

That isn't a new phenomenon. In California's community-college system, the largest in the country, such problems grew so rampant that in the late 1980s the state legislature mandated a shared-governance model, intended to give faculty members and other key stakeholders significant involvement in how those institutions were run. Yet more than a decade later, Linda Collins, then president of the system's Academic Senate, wrote: "We have yet to create structures and cultures that support and nurture the practice of shared governance throughout the state's community colleges."
Her statement seems to still hold true today for most of the country's community colleges. Despite the best efforts of many faculty members, some administrators, and national organizations such as the American Association of University Professors and the National Education Association, true shared governance has still not become the model of choice at most two-year campuses.

Over the years, the two most common forms of governance I have observed are what I would characterize as feudalism and Soviet-style dictatorship.

What the two models have in common, of course, is that both are authoritarian in nature. Both feature relatively small groups of sycophants who place themselves in orbit around the leader, jockeying for position and seeking to consolidate their own power through flattery and zealous support of the official agenda. Neither model is particularly kind to dissidents or independent thinkers.
One difference between the two is that, under the feudal model, shared governance is paid only the barest lip service, if any at all. Some of the organizational bodies necessary to support shared governance, such as a faculty senate, might exist in name but are only window dressing, without any legitimate function.

The Soviet model, on the other hand, tends to have all of the trappings of democracy, or (in this case) shared governance—faculty and staff senates, policy councils, standing committees. Their meetings are often conducted with great fanfare. But in reality they are under the iron-fisted control of the leader and his or her cronies, and every decision made is part of the approved agenda.
Another important difference is that a feudal lord or lady may, on occasion, be relatively benevolent. The dictator is rarely, if ever, that.

For those reasons, the Soviet model, which may on the surface seem to embrace shared governance, is, if anything, even more inimical to it than feudalism is.

It's easy to tell, by the way, if your college has adopted one of those two models:
  • The same people tend to be named to the most important committees, over and over.
  • Those people, instead of more-qualified colleagues, are ultimately rewarded for their "service" with promotions or other key appointments.
  • The committees always seem to reach conclusions or submit reports that are widely praised by the leader.
  • Those who disagree find themselves released or disinvited from future committee service, while known dissidents are never invited to serve in the first place.
  • Anyone who dissents too loudly or too publicly is punished, often in a highly visible way, in order to serve as an object lesson to others.
Does any of this sound familiar?

Of course, authoritarian leadership is not peculiar to two-year campuses. Recent history has shown that even some of the nation's most prestigious research universities are not immune, as presidents, provosts, trustees, and deans (not to mention powerful football coaches) have been known to engage in a fair amount of fiefdom-building. But I believe that community colleges are especially susceptible to the phenomenon, for several reasons.

The first is the growing trend of community-college presidents who have never been full-time faculty members. These days, most chiefs of two-year colleges seem to have backgrounds in other areas: business and industry, law, elementary and secondary education, or student services. Many, in fact, are not even qualified to teach anything offered on their own campuses. They hold graduate degrees in areas like higher-education administration.

There's not necessarily anything wrong with such degrees, but I think it's problematic when too many leaders see a doctorate purely as a credential—as a ticket to a high-paying, upper-level administrative position—and not as a mark of scholarly achievement. The proliferation of online doctoral programs offering those sorts of degrees illustrates the problem. Such degrees tend to be expensive and often do not carry a great deal of prestige, but do technically qualify the recipient for one thing: to be a community-college president.

I also believe that it is potentially a problem when the president of a college has no significant experience as a faculty member and, therefore, cannot even remotely relate to faculty concerns or understand how a college faculty is supposed to function. In my experience, such leaders can even be openly hostile to true shared governance, which, to their way of thinking, gives the faculty far too much power.

Couple that attitude with a natural affinity for the kind of top-down leadership that is standard operating procedure at most companies, and it's easy to see how a president can quickly earn a reputation for being heavy-handed and dictatorial.

Another reason community colleges seem especially susceptible to authoritarian governance models is closely related: the "corporatization" of the American campus. Other academics, including (notably) the former AAUP president Cary Nelson, have commented on this trend at great length, but suffice it to say: The corporate model, while no doubt affecting nearly every institution in the country to some degree, has gained a solid foothold at community colleges, where it has found a group of leaders predisposed to embrace it.

Finally, governance at community colleges tends to flow top-down because of the pervasive nature of what I have called in previous columns the "13th grade" mentality. For some people, community colleges are not "real" colleges but rather occupy a place somewhere between a high school and a university—perhaps closer to the former than to the latter. Plenty of people in government, and even within the two-year institutions themselves, believe that community colleges should be run much like high schools, with strong, autocratic leaders and little or no input from the instructors.

Whatever the reason, it's obvious from the headlines that governance and leadership are especially thorny issues for many two-year colleges. Our failure to embrace true shared governance has, it seems, opened the door to corruption, mismanagement, and abuse of power. The results might not be quite as dramatic as George R.R. Martin's novels, but then again, you can never be too sure. If you don't hear from me again after this column is published, you can assume that I'm probably in a dungeon somewhere, awaiting my execution—figuratively speaking, of course.

Rob Jenkins is an associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College and author of Building a Career in America's Community Colleges. He blogs at
and writes monthly for our community-college column. The opinions expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

Commentary and Comments

Although we've been a little quiet the past few weeks it does not mean that things on campus are. In the next few days we will be posting items concerning recent actions in the Faculty Senate about the investigation into the hiring of tenure-track faculty in Criminal Justice (see recent blogs about this) as well as presidential performance over the past year.

The blog was created by faculty concerned about matters on campus who wanted to offer another forum for dialogue between faculty members. Other interested campus constituencies, however, have always been welcome to follow and join in these discussions. If you notice there is no longer a campus newspaper (imperfect though it may have been) where some of this communication might take place--which raises a question--are students still billed for supporting a newspaper that no longer exists? We are, however, a blog (imperfect though it may be), not a newspaper.

At any rate, a couple of recent comments to a few of the blog posts have asked how they might begin another discussion thread. For those who are not administrators of the site you can only use the comment boxes. If, however, you have a blog post that you would like to see published in the main section of the blog, email us what you would like to post and we will post it for you. We want to encourage as much participation as possible--this goes for students, faculty, staff, as well as administrators.  If you want anonymity, we can provide that. To post a blog send an email to or

More to follow...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fear the HLC?

The administration wants the faculty at Chicago State to get on board with the language in the HLC self study and not jeopardize the school’s accreditation since there are a some forces in the state who want to close the school. Let’s take a look at what they’re asking and try to determine who might be responsible for any consequences that might come out of the impending process.

On the troubling issue of shared governance, Wayne Watson and his administration have demonstrated no commitment to this ideal. They sometimes spout the rhetoric, but in the most insincere and cynical way possible. Witness the recent DAC process and the search for Criminal Justice faculty as examples; many more could be cited. The University’s Strategic Plan, or ACCESS, succinctly demonstrates the problem. Its definition of shared governance reads: “Shared Governance - The relationship between the administration, faculty, staff and students in which all constituents participate in giving direction and advice to the university on important policy decisions. “

Compare this to the 1966 AAUP definition: “The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. On these matters the power of review or final decision lodged in the governing board or delegated by it to the president should be exercised adversely only in exceptional circumstances, and for reasons communicated to the faculty.”

The AAUP definition continues: “Faculty status and related matters are primarily a faculty responsibility; this area includes appointments, reappointments, decisions not to reappoint, promotions, the granting of tenure, and dismissal. The primary responsibility of the faculty for such matters is based upon the fact that its judgment is central to general educational policy. Furthermore, scholars in a particular field or activity have the chief competence for judging the work of their colleagues; in such competence it is implicit that responsibility exists for both adverse and favorable judgments.”

Throughout the tenure of Wayne Watson and his minions, our administration has consistently ignored or minimized the role of faculty in areas in which we should have primacy. Chicago State’s faculty are not simply advisory. We are trained professionals with expertise in higher education generally and our disciplines in particular. Simply put, in curricular and academic matters, the administration’s lack of knowledge should give way to faculty expertise.

This, of course, does not happen here. Faculty are constantly admonished that they are simply acting in an “advisory role.” Our input is not sought, except in the most perfunctory and insincere ways. In hiring, we are not permitted to rank candidates, but Department Chairs and Deans who may have no knowledge about our disciplines are. In the most recent search policy written by Labor and Legal Affairs, even the Department Chairs and Deans are now cut out of the process. Simply put, this administration has largely done what it pleased and has often run roughshod over faculty for three years now. We’ve achieved some victories by resisting the most egregious attempts at administrative control, but recent events demonstrate that the administration is apparently redoubling its efforts to destroy what little power faculty retain at this institution.

Perhaps I am being hyperbolic here, or even hysterical, but I contend that whatever your position on the effectiveness of Wayne Watson’s administration, you must concede that there are unresolved problems relative to the notion of shared governance.

The University’s recent Self-Study somewhat obliquely acknowledges these problems. This passage appears on page 59: “In some situations, faculty have expressed a concern about the level of faculty input in academic matters at CSU. Some of these concerns (such as the revision of general education outcomes) have been resolved through consultation and collaboration with the Faculty Senate, while others remain contentious. Both faculty and administrators recognize that some tension within the process of shared governance can be productive as it creates an environment of creative engagement.” This watered-down nod to the significant problems created by administrative overreach hardly does justice to the contention some administrative actions have created. This is in no way a criticism of the authors of the original document, who labored diligently to produce a quality product. Rather it recognizes the hand of the administration in spinning the issue to the point they actually turn it into a positive. In any event, it is an improvement on the Orwellian contention in earlier iterations of this document that included this outright lie: “Faculty has responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. The faculty exercised this role in the development of a capstone/thesis requirement for undergraduates and the general education assessment outcomes. Emergent issues are resolved through collaborations that strengthen CSU’s curriculum, communications and shared governance (Response to HLC Criterion 1, downloaded from CSU website, September 22, 2012).”

Now, the administration needs our help. Our president fears that during the HLC visit that some faculty will “go rogue,” apparently defined as “airing our dirty linen in public.” To prevent this, the administration urges us to close ranks and protect the garrison (university), with no indication that they accept any responsibility for or are even aware of faculty discontent. We are warned that there are powerful persons in the state who bear Chicago State ill will and want it closed down. I wonder why the president did not think of this when he–almost gratuitously it seems–created the furor over the recent DAC submissions? When he acted in a manner that clearly violated the CSU-UPI contract? I wonder why the president did not think of this when he injected himself into the recent Criminal Justice search that resulted in crony hires making outlandish salaries for entry-level faculty?

On several occasions, I have called for the firing of this president. I still believe that he should be dismissed; I continue to contend that he has failed in at least five of the seven criteria established by the Board to assess his performance. Will saying this to an outside agency result in Chicago State not being accredited? I highly doubt that. However, the upcoming HLC process enables us, as representatives of our university, to make clear to an accrediting body that a goodly number of students, faculty and staff at Chicago State do not endorse the behavior of our administrators. The lack of good faith shown by this administration on many issues for the past three years has resulted in the need for its representatives to spin falsehoods and fantasies to cover their tracks. We do not have to play this game. We can approach this process with integrity and make clear to the accrediting body that we are only concerned with protecting institutional integrity and the best interests of the University’s faculty, staff, students, and yes, even its administrators. If that is “going rogue,” so be it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


So one of the real joys I have in posting in this forum is to recognize and congratulate faculty colleagues on their accomplishments. When Mary Ann Ryan completed her doctorate I was so very happy to share with you loyal readers her joy on that achievement.  I now get to do that again by informing you that Avis Muhammad is now Dr. Avis Muhammad. Her doctoral journey is complete. Avis, a long serving adjunct faculty member in the English Department successfully defended her dissertation yesterday and now has the relief of the 900 pound gorilla being off of her back. For those of you who can remember the dissertation phase of your doctoral work, you know what I mean. For those of you who know Avis, please pass on your congratulations and best wishes. 
To Dr. Avis Muhammad, well done!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reminder: UPI Meeting on Thursday

With a number of questions remaining regarding the DAC and general unhappiness with Administrative efforts at cutting faculty out of decision making at almost all levels on campus-- DAC, curriculum, organization, and most recently in the flagrant disregard of faculty involvement in hiring of tenure-track faculty, not to mention many concerns from colleagues in Unit B, I'm reminding everyone that UPI President has called another meeting this week.

Pass this message on to others.

UPI Meeting
Thursday Oct. 4
12.30-1.50 pm
SCI 100

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quick Updates

So much going on since the Board of Trustees meeting two weeks ago that it is impossible to get everything out in the open.

A few things here:
1. UPI meeting last Thursday included a visit from one of the CPS union organizers--an interesting perspective on grass-roots organizing that pulled in a lot of teachers--wonder if we will ever have to do that here?
2. DAC grievance is still ongoing. Many Dept. DAC Committees have replied to Dr Watson's comments, but not all. Confusion abounding over the dates again--this time: was it Sept 17th (as various deans were beating us over the head about) or was it October 1st? Turns out it was Oct. 1st.

There will be another UPI meeting on OCT 11th--more details about that forthcoming, lots of stuff besides the DAC to talk about.

3. HLC--remember how the HLC committee was asking and asking faculty to complete the Faculty Satisfaction Survey to substantiate the report? I even posted something here in May on behalf of the HLC leadership--fear of retaliation was what might have been keeping members from completing it, but those fears were supposed to have been allayed by the HLC.

Well, whatever happened to the results of that report? Does anyone besides members of the HLC committee know? It certainly doesn't seem to appear in the penultimate copy of the HLC report that I read on the website. Does anyone know if it is in the new one?  The only info the Senate received was that the results were not very positive and that there was some issue about Noel Levitz (company who seems to handle all our surveys) wanting more money to tabulate the material. Can't we do that ourselves? This is still a university (in spite of organization to the contrary) and many faculty members have experience in statistical analysis. At any rate, we did the survey, why can't we see the results?

And by the way, who was ultimately responsible for the final version of the CSU Self-Study report that was submitted to the HLC last week? I understand that even the HLC Steering Committeee never saw the document in its entirety before being sent to press. Mention has been made of whole-scale revisions of the text (including data) made by members of the kitchen cabinet of the President's office. To quote another member of an HLC committee, "it's all been sugar-coated."

It would be interesting to know what the HLC Steering Committee would say if it were given its own "satisfaction survey."