“I’m among the top in the nation in terms of higher education.” Wayne Watson talking about Wayne Watson, May 6, 2009.
For those of you who are interested in Watson’s pre-Chicago State tenure at City Colleges, the job that demonstrated his spectacular qualifications for his current position, here are a few more items for your consideration.
As many of you know, our enrollment is down, from a high of 7362 to 5815 (at last unofficial report). That represents a better than 20 percent drop in three years. The folks at Enrollment Management have received a considerable amount of criticism for their inability to do their jobs competently, and the Watson administration has spun the issue as one primarily attributable to his “raising standards,” a favorite canard of his. Let’s look at his City College record and see how he did there.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education reports enrollment figures for students in degree or certificate programs in the community colleges. This results in a large number of students not being counted, but a look at the students IBHE tracks can, nonetheless, provide a useful picture of how a school is doing.
The year before Wayne Watson took over as Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, the system’s total enrollment of degree and certificate students stood at 70,717. By 2007, those student numbers had dropped to 56,903, a decrease of 19.6 percent. The next year, Watson’s last at the City Colleges, enrollment increased to 59,702, an overall 15.6 percent drop in enrollment during his time as Chancellor.
Other interesting tidbits from his time at City Colleges: Between July 1999 and July 2009, Watson reduced full-time faculty by 14.8 percent. Although this seems to mirror the drop in enrollment, the two are not necessarily connected. The fewest number of full-time faculty: 524, occurred in 2004-05, when the enrollment for degree and certificate students stood at 63,811. In addition, the 2004 strike at City Colleges apparently damaged the district’s enrollment as it dropped by more than 5,000 students in 2005-06.
In terms of salary, full-time faculty remaining at City Colleges saw their pay increase 4.7 percent for the ten years from 1999-2000 through 2008-09. That’s an average increase of less than one-half of one percent per year. In contrast, Watson’s top-level administrators decreased by 2 during the same period, dropping from 105 in 1999 to 103 in 2009. Administrators at City Colleges enjoyed a pay increase of 35.6 percent over the same 10-year period in which faculty received a 4.7 percent boost.
I suggest that Watson is “among the top in the nation” in doing significant damage to the educational institutions he ostensibly leads. All the material cited in this post is available on the IBHE website or by consulting the Fiscal Year Salary Reports published by the Illinois Community College Board.