Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Flim Flam Man as University President--Wayne Watson's Curriculum Vitae

Wayne Watson's Crony Handbook, Chapter 2: Sweet Home Chicago, or how to parlay non-existent scholarly activity and virtually non-existent university teaching experience into a lucrative urban administrative career.

Rule 1: Don't publish anything.
Rule 2: Don't teach very much.
Rule 3: Keep your C.V. a secret.

For his most ardent supporters, Wayne Watson's greatness is indisputable. In early 2010, I overheard Leon Finney call Watson "the finest educator of our time." In March 2013, Watson's attorney compared his client to Jesus of Nazareth and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Just yesterday one of Watson's top administrators rose at the Board of Trustees meeting to bear witness to Wayne Watson's greatness as a "leader." Watson has garnered numerous awards from outside groups with which he has close political connections attesting to his greatness as an "educator" and "leader." This is the narrative that his most fawning acolytes have disseminated through a variety of media outlets. For my part, I would be satisfied with simple competence.

There is also an extant counter-narrative. In this narrative, Watson is portrayed as a petty little dictator, a cowardly bully with a profound ignorance of academic matters and a proven propensity for vindictiveness. In this narrative, Watson, has been a colossal administrative failure at both City Colleges and here at Chicago State. These competing narratives have different types of evidence, much of which has been presented on this blog. However, there is one piece of evidence that has heretofore been missing: the C.V. of the great man himself. According to one member of the 2009 Presidential Advisory Committee, that committee did not see Watson's C.V. during the selection process for Frank Pogue's successor as Chicago State President.

Now, thanks to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, we have the opportunity to examine Wayne Watson's C.V. As you do so, I would ask that you keep in mind what you think are the desired qualifications for a university president then see if they are present in Watson's resume. I would also ask you to consider why this document has been such a closely held secret, after all, the president of Chicago State is a public figure who should be delighted to share his formidable academic credentials with the outside world.

At the PEC meeting on November 6 (the same meeting at which Patrick Cage discovered the existence of the Faculty Voice blog), Watson bemoaned the "incivility" of the posts on the blog and reportedly asked someone (paraphrased) "how would you feel if your resume was on the blog?" After today, Watson will have no need to ask that question, he will know how it feels to have his resume on the blog. This is the C.V. Watson submitted to Chicago State during the search for a new president in 2009.

The first six pages are basically a catalog of Watson's "accomplishments" in various administrative positions at the City Colleges. It begins with Watson as Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago:

On page two he continues his catalog of achievements as City Colleges Chancellor:

The parade of achievements as Chancellor continues on page three:

On page four, Watson finishes his narrative about his Chancellorship and talks about his presidency at Kennedy-King:

On page five, Watson details additional administrative experience:

Page six concludes Watson's narrative about his City College administrative experience:

On page seven, Watson describes his position as Headmaster of Boggs Academy in Georgia and his first job with City Colleges:

At the bottom of page eight, Watson lists his only "scholarly" achievements. They are under the description of "Major Papers" and are presented without reference to any venue and for two of them no dates. This is the sum total of Watson's scholarly production since receiving his Ph.D. in 1972. This page also includes Watson's only full-time teaching experience:

The final page of Watson's C.V. details a variety of materials including his additional adjunct teaching experience. This brings his aggregate teaching experience to three full-time years plus two adjunct courses:

This concludes Wayne Watson's curriculum vitae. In my estimation, it explains much. Based on his various "accomplishments" since receiving his Ph.D. he is not even tenurable at Chicago State, let alone fit to be president. Thus, he has no conception of what it means to be a faculty member much less an administrator at a university. Wayne Watson simply lacks the requisite qualifications for the position he holds, as do many of his top administrators: Angela Henderson, Cheri Sidney and Tyra Austin, all of whom lied on their applications and/or resumes. As is Angela Henderson, Watson may be qualified for an entry-level position as an Assistant Professor. My final questions are these: this guy decides which faculty applicants are worthy of employment at Chicago State? he decides who is worthy of retention, promotion and tenure? What a scam perpetrated on the Chicago State community and the taxpayers of Illinois.


  1. The faculty are in a union. Has there been any talk of going on strike to force Watson out?

    1. I hope that would be a last resort since it has the potential to hurt the students (who are already being damaged by this administration). So far, we simply do what academics do, we post the truth in public for people to see and make their own decisions. Although in my estimation sufficient evidence already exists for his removal, it has been impossible to date to counteract the toxic influence of local politicians (and I include our ethically compromised Board of Trustees in that group). Ultimately I believe there will be enough evidence uncovered to convince even those people that this president and his administration has been and continues to be, a disaster for this school. I can assure you that there is an amazing amount of material that I have not yet published and that the whole picture is far worse than it appears to this point.

    2. He'd probably just go "crony crazy" and flood the campus with every joe schmo he knows from Trinity or Apostolic and make em professors with no credentials. But yeah, I'de support that!

  2. Suppose Watson retires or is forced out. What then? Another "educational leader" with a doctorate in "educational leadership" and an entourage of cronies comes in?

    Who do you think should lead Chicago State University? (A question not just for the original poster but everyone reading this blog.)

    1. We're in Chicago. Let's get someone with a level of distinction, impeccable scholarly credentials and a proven track record of successful teaching and administration. Sort of like Frank Pogue. Give this university, its students, staff, faculty and administrators a chance to show what we can do with excellent leadership. That's my idea.

      Any leader worth his or her salt will actually encourage dissenting viewpoints, I think if we get rid of people who need constant reassurance of their worth and get someone not afraid to be contradicted, who comes in with a desire to learn and with the skills to govern, we’ll see an immediate difference. If you do not need to surround yourself with sycophants, the need for "cronies" diminishes dramatically.

    2. Gaingo Brooks (even though he does not have a Doctorate), Dr. Charles "Chuck" Guengerich, or Dr. Mohamed S. N'Daou.

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  4. On the sham search that brought Wayne Watson to campus, the search advisory committee of students, faculty, administrators, and civil service people was railroaded by the then Board of Trustees headed by Leon Finney. The "search firm" they engaged had us discussing things like, "does a president of our university need to have a Ph.D.? What if we could get someone like Colin Powell as president?" The search firm itself was in the thrall of the Board. I think my tart response at the time was, "get us Colin Powell and then we'll talk." Re-read the earliest posts on this blog from 2009 to get a sense of what we were dealing with then.

    Disaffected CSU asks a good question--how do we ensure we not get a repeat of the situation we are in now? CSU is very much in the clutches of the local politicians, in particular Emil Jones. I'm convinced that there needs to be a reform of the entire ILL state university system at ths point. CSU is the most egregious example of political pillage and plunder. Last week in speaking to another colleague who has been at CSU for a long time, they remarked that we'd had "politically-connected" presidents before, but none who interfered so much in the day to day operations of the university and caused such demoralization among the faculty and none who put so many unqualified people into positions of authority. Watson has been the beneficiary and has taken advantage of a system that allows so much leeway to the boards of trustees (political appointees), of loopholes and weak language in the board's constitutions and by-laws, of a UPI contract that does not embed shared governance language in it, of accrediting bodies that are also weak...the list goes on.

    One thing we should think seriously about is joining in discussions with faculty at our other state universities, particularly those of the former "Board of Governors'" schools--Eastern, Western, Northeastern Illinois, Governor's State and find out what our core and common problems are and begin the slow process of overhauling what is clearly a very corrupt university system.

  5. I personally feel that Watson was hand-picked to lead the University to failure. Had we lost our accreditation, it would have been easy for the State to shutter our University and save many millions in pension obligations. The problem with that scheme was that our faculty are actually quite competent, and we were therefore re-accredited due to their efforts (no thanks to the administration).

    1. Well, that would explain why he speaks so cavalierly and uncaringly about the great decline in enrollment on campus. Get below a certain number of students and then fire faculty--and then use and abuse adjuncts in their place.