Monday, October 27, 2014

La Confession Part Deux

So now that our nefarious plan has been revealed, I feel compelled to expand on our confession by explaining why we would want to destroy the university. I have spent a total of 12 years pursuing three college degrees and have taught at Chicago State University, Governors State and UIC during the past 23 years. I am obviously not a fan of higher education and clearly not higher education in public institutions. The dozen or so of my former students who have completed terminal degrees and are in the world are the reason that I continue my destructive pursuits. Corrupting their minds and convincing them of the importance of higher education is all but one element of this complex plan. How could it have been me who helped inspire them to pursue degrees beyond the baccalaureate level? Those students were just unwitting pawns in my game to destroy the university to point that "they" would take over CSU. 
Yes, loyal readers, I have secretly been in "their" employ. "They" recruited me long ago, knowing that I would position myself at CSU in such a way that the power to do "their" bidding would eventually be mine. As a lowly associate professor, I could hide within the folds of the university corrupting the minds of both my students and unsuspecting colleagues. Some of these colleagues I even convinced to participate in our plan for CSU domination. "They" never told me why "they" wanted CSU. I believe it was to thwart the exponentially increasing political, social and economic power of the African-American community in Chicago and in Illinois. This priceless gem of higher education excellence was obviously producing too many graduates and with the addition of the College of Pharmacy, it was decided that the time was right for them to control the incredible power that is CSU.
Our power to influence our weak minded colleagues has been documented extensively by the Watson administration at our direction. Our manipulation of multiple media outlets has been remarkably successful though the recent shooting of a civilian by the police chief did go unreported at our direction. The public need not see all of our evil machinations.
To my faculty colleagues, the time is right to join us in destroying the university. Forget the hours of instruction given, personal time sacrificed, students inspired, institutions and communities served. Forget your research agenda, grantsmanship, publication. Forgo the service to your departments, colleges and university. Join Bionaz and me as we continue to drive the university into irrelevance.
I feel relieved to have shared this confession. It's freeing knowing that even though you, loyal readers, know that Bionaz and I are actually controlling events at CSU, it won't matter because in the end, "they" will have the university.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Utter Failure of the Watson Presidency: Cannot Keep Students, Cannot Raise Money

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the penurious nature of our ridiculous board members, I will detail the giving by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. I will also be discussing some extremely troubling trends in the financial contributions to the Foundation under the Watson administration.

First, a bit of additional information on yesterday’s post. The amounts listed for our board members reflect personal contributions to Chicago State. In the case of former Board Chair Gary Rozier, his company, Ariel Capital, contributed $31,400 to the Foundation between 2008 and 2014. In addition, Macy Rozier, Gary’s wife, contributed $1,000 and her company, Grosvenor Investiments gave an additional $2,000 to the school. Although that does not change the total of personal contributions, the Rozier family and their respective companies contributed $34,400 since 2008.

Before I begin this analysis, I think it is important to note that Wayne Watson never takes responsibility for any of his numerous administrative failures. Although I do not know this, I suspect the well-documented fund-raising inability of this president will be treated similarly. Watson, who has an excuse for virtually everything, although he is always quick to take credit for successes in which he played no part, will probably blame the Board of Directors or the unlucky personnel in the Foundation office for his administration’s woeful performance.In fact, it is the responsibility of the Foundation to find prospective donors and for the president of the school to secure those donations through personal contact with people and companies. Imagine yourself being courted by the Foundation then experiencing our president in all his glory. Would you give money to the school? Judging from the results, the answer seems to be a resounding no.

Compared with the $15,295 dollars personally donated by our sixteen members of the Board of Trustees since 2008, the Foundation’s twenty-three directors have contributed $177,481.60 in that same time period. Although six members of the Board of Directors contributed nothing (compared with three members of the Board of Trustees), one Director contributed more than $67,000, two others more than $24,000, and another more than $19,000. Altogether, the average contribution of the 23 Directors since 2008 is $1286. Slightly more than the $159 averaged by the Board of Trustees.

Since 2010, Watson’s first year at the helm of the Titanic, the Board of Trustees has contributed the magnificent sum of $9,460, or $1892/year. The top year was 2012 when the board members pried open their wallets and coughed up $2050. In comparison, the average yearly contribution from the Board of Directors during the Watson era stands at $26,944.40. Given the contributions of the Board of Directors in comparison to Watson and the Board of Trustees, it seems unimaginable that Watson would try to blame anyone but himself and those fawning trustees who fall all over themselves proclaiming their adherence to his “vision.”

One interesting aspect of the Board of Directors contributions is that they fell to just over $13,000 in 2014. Is this a commentary on the leadership at Chicago State? After all, the Directors lack of enthusiasm for Watson’s clown show mirrors the decline in contributions to the Foundation since 2011. That year, thanks to the $1 million windfall from Julian Scheinbuks, the Foundation received more than $1.37 million in contributions. That followed a $1.12 million fund-raising year in 2010. Since 2011, contributions declined each year, culminating in the 2014 total of $508,901.30.

The decrease in contributions occurs across a wide spectrum of categories: giving by charitable institutions, giving by businesses and corporations, giving by other donors including private individuals. The numbers are, frankly alarming.

Although these numbers are imprecise, they give a clear picture of the trends, particularly in corporate and business giving and individual contributions. In 2008, the Foundation received contributions from at least 69 businesses and corporations. That number rose to 87 in 2009. In fiscal 2010, the first year under Watson, the number dropped to 70, declined further to 59 in 2011, 57 in 2012, then to 31 in 2013 and 36 in 2014. Thus, the number of businesses and corporations donating to the school stood at 41.3 percent of its pre-Watson level. Of the total of 36 donors, 22 had previously contributed, indicating that the people in the Foundation were doing their best to keep existing contributors as well as finding new sources of money. However, that represents a drop of 65 businesses and corporations from the pre-Watson high of 87 in 2009. What changed? Perhaps it was Chicago State’s new leadership. The drop in other and individual contributions has been even more pronounced. From a pre-Watson high of 1262 in 2009, those donations have declined to 418 in 2014, or 33.1 percent of the 2009 figure.

Some notable companies who used to contribute but who have not donated any money in the past year or two include AT&T, ComEd, Northern Trust, and of course, Ariel Investments. Looking at 2014, the Foundation received $508,901.30 in contributions, $294,451.10 from business/corporate sources, $13,118.75 from the Foundation’s Directors, $1825 from Watson and Board of Trustees and at least $61,595 from other foundations/charitable organizations. That means that Watson could have raised a maximum of $137,911.45 over and above those contrbutions. The man cannot even raise his own salary.

I have put together this little chart to visually demonstrate the unmitigated disaster this president has visited upon this university. The bars represent the percentage in each category compared to the 2010 starting point (100). As you can see, save for a brief uptick in contributions (money) in 2011, and slight increases in contributions (individual, total and corporate) in 2014, the remainder of the bars all register declines.

This is what total failure looks like.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Want to Know How Much Money Our Board Members and President Contribute to Chicago State? Here's the Answer

The simplest response to the question just posed by my distinguished colleague is that Wayne Watson simply cannot raise money for Chicago State. A look at the overall fundraising since 2008 dramatically underscores that point. Between 2008 and 2011, the university received a modest $1 million a year in contributions, with a high of $1.37 million in 2011, the year Julian Scheinbuks contributed $1 million to the Chicago State Foundation. Subsequent years have seen a steady decline, to $933,000 in 2012, $725,000 in 2013 and $508,900 in 2014. The 2012 figure includes $533,000 from Walgreen’s to the College of Pharmacy, the 2013 amount includes a one-time $200,000 contribution from the liquidation of the Emil Jones, Jr., Youth Foundation, and the 2014 total includes almost $200,000 in corporate donations to the College of Pharmacy. Along with the $1 million 2011 contribution, these one-time contributions for which Wayne Watson likely did little or nothing (except for the Emil Jones contribution, that cost the City Colleges more than $75 million in no-bid contracts for Jones’ nephew and son-in-law) account for $1,733,000 or nearly 50 percent of the 3.5 million in contributions to the CSU Foundation since 2011. That means that in those 4 years, other contributions have totaled around $450,000 per year.

Recently, I noticed on the Chicago State Foundation’s web page a series of files titled “Honor Role of Donors” for fiscal years 2008 through 2014.

The website is here:

This material details all the contributions by corporations and individuals from 2008 through 2014. It paints a disturbing picture of the fund-raising abilities of Wayne Watson and highlights another demonstrable failure in his administration of this university. Here are some of the key findings, based on a cursory examination of the voluminous data:

1) Wayne Watson’s administration has not moved the school’s faculty to contribute. A look at the 2014 information reveals that fewer than twenty Unit A faculty members gave any money to the foundation. As one of the majority of faculty who gave nothing to the school, I can say without hesitation that my reticence to contribute is primarily related to the continued mismanagement and corruption demonstrated by the Watson administration.

2) It appears that somewhere between 30 and 40 administrators contribute, another fairly small percentage of the total number of administrative personnel.

So, the response from the staff and faculty here at the school can hardly even be described as tepid.

Perhaps the most disturbing information contained in these files is the almost complete lack of financial support for the school from Wayne Watson and the members of Chicago State’s Board of Trustees. As you know, these people are currently very busy trying to micro-manage the affairs of the Chicago State Faculty Senate. Perhaps they should concern themselves with the affairs of the university rather than worrying about a faculty governance institution about which they clearly have little or no understanding.

One of the key parts of a university president’s job is fund-raising. Typically, members of university boards of trustees are expected to be high-level donors to the schools they govern. Let’s see how much money our “leaders” have committed to this school since 2008.

Between 2008 and 2014, sixteen different persons have occupied positions on the Chicago State Board of Trustees (not including the student trustee). In seven years, those sixteen persons have contributed a total of $15,295 to the CSU Foundation. Here is the breakdown by individual board member in descending order of largest to smallest contributor:

1) Richard Tolliver (2008-11): $4150
2) Peggy Montes (2008-09): $3815
3) Gary Rozier (2009-13): $2035
4) “Z” Scott (2009-13): $1600
5) Nikki Zollar (2013-): $1150
6) Spencer Leak (2013-): $525
7) Horace Smith (2013-): $520
8) Leon Finney (2008-11): $500
9) Adam Stanley (2011-12): $500
10) Julie Samuels (2009-11): $150
11) Anthony Young (2011-): $150
12) Lisa Butler (2009-13): $100
13) James Joyce (2011-): $100
14) James Reynolds (2008-09): $0
15) Betsy Hill (2008-11): $0
16) Michael Curtin (2011-): $0

As I said above, the total contributions from these sixteen come to $15,295. In contrast, Sandra Westbrooks, Provost from 2008-13 contributed $17,740, or $2500 more than these sixteen Trustees. The six members of the current board, all of whom have expressed their unwavering support for Wayne Watson’s bullshit “vision,” have contributed a grand total of $2445 since 2011, with the Board Chairman, Anthony Young, contributing the generous total of $150 in three years. This is how the Board supports the university that their favorite son is currently in the process of destroying.

Now we come to the great man himself. I understand that when she served as president, Elnora Daniel believed in contributing to the CSU Foundation. I have been told by several more senior faculty members that she saw herself as the leader among contributors as well as for the university. Now, I am hardly pining for the days of Elnora Daniel, but it is notable that in fiscal 2008, when she had been removed as president and was on sabbatical, she contributed $1,000 to the Foundation. Since 2009, Wayne Watson has contributed a total of $3400 to the CSU Foundation, bringing the grand total of contributions from the university president and its board to the princely sum of $18,695 in six years. Watson’s contributions average out to $680 per fiscal year for someone who was making at least $400,000 per year in salary and pension until his overall income was recently reduced. However, that paltry sum is far more generous than the $159.32 per year each board member has averaged since 2008.

Obviously, money is not the only way to demonstrate commitment to Chicago State but for those persons charged with raising funds for the school and for those persons whose service on a university board of trustees should obligate them to financially support the university, their penuriousness makes a statement. Especially for the board members, who do not work here and who consistently demonstrate the grossest ignorance of events at the school, their unwillingness to contribute demonstrates how little they believe in the school they are charged with governing. They most likely would not send their children here and they sure as hell are not giving us any money. These people have done grave damage done to the school by enabling Watson's disastrous leadership. Why are they on the board, exactly?

A question

So I was advising a couple of students recently who were concerned about how many courses they had left to finish their degrees because they have to pay out of pocket. That had me thinking about how much money the university raises to assist our students directly. Does anybody have any ideas about the university's fund raising?

A Confession: How Phil Beverly and I Rule Chicago State

Apparently someone on the Chicago State Board of Trustees refers to Phil Beverly and me as “troublemakers,” implying that most of the problems at Chicago State are our responsibility. Since we’ve obviously been unmasked by that eagle-eyed guardian of Chicago State’s welfare, I suppose it is time to admit what the Chicago State Board already knows: Phil and I (particularly Phil) run Chicago State and have for years. What follows is our confession.

As you have undoubtedly observed, there is a misalignment of power here at Chicago State. Phil and I hold all the governing power, with the administration functioning solely at our command. The proof of that is everywhere, particularly in the various depredations suffered by our poor administrators—those unfortunate blameless victims. Here is what Phil and I have done over the years to create this untenable situation:

When we took over the school in 2009, we were determined to drive it into the ground. To that end, we thought it necessary to hire people who would assist us in that effort. We did not have to look far for likely candidates. Right here in Chicago we found all the ineptitude we needed. First, for our figurehead president, we selected Wayne Watson from the City Colleges. This career political hack and administrative mediocrity (at best) perfectly blended zero academic achievement with a divisive, vindictive and paranoid management style. He would be perfect!

Installing Watson as our figurehead was easy, we just got his pal Leon Finney to ramrod his appointment through the Board while our colleagues who were not in on the fix wailed at the unfairness of the whole process. We got a good laugh out of that one, imagine those fools thinking they had any input into the process for selecting a president. After all, we had jobs and contracts for our pals at stake. We needed a local empty suit to provide cover for our schemes.

Next, we proceeded to hire some top-level administrators who had little or no experience in four-year universities, or in any academic setting for that matter. Always working through our stooge Wayne Watson, we orchestrated the hiring of a new chief legal mind, a new Human Resources Director, a new police chief, two from the City Colleges, all with no experience in four-year schools. As a reward for a good beginning, we let Watson hire his girlfriend into a shiny new senior administrative position we created just for her. We also made sure she falsified her degree credentials and work experience so she looked like a viable candidate when, in fact, she possessed no qualifications for such a lofty position. Her performance in a variety of administrative positions has long since validated our assessment of her worth. More on her later.

Getting a good start in the administrative ranks was only one strategy we employed. In 2010, we gave Watson his head and allowed him to arbitrarily decide that the “standards” at Chicago State needed raising. As a result, Watson mandated two curriculum and degree changes without going through the appropriate curriculum process. Even though he had no data suggesting the necessity of such changes, his intuition told him that both changes would be useful.

Also in 2010, we determined that Watson needed to fire one of the university’s legal counsels, James (Jim) Crowley. We knew that Jim was causing a lot of trouble with his insistence that Watson release records under the Freedom of Information Act. Full disclosure of this information might threaten Watson’s pension and jeopardize the contracts we were already starting to award to our cronies. Although Watson agreed with Crowley that the university should release the relevant records, we forced him to take a hard line, threaten Crowley, fire him and ultimately try to destroy him through spurious ethical complaints. We were not going to allow this guy to jeopardize what we were building—we squashed him like a bug.

Also in 2010, we moved Watson’s girlfriend into another, higher-paying administrative job in which she could do even more damage, this one in Enrollment Management. We gave her a nice raise after only a few months at Chicago State and watched in admiration as she set about her task. Of course, we created this position just for her and eliminated her previous position; after all, it was no longer necessary. Finally, in our crowning achievement, we forced Watson to fire Chicago State’s most visible employee, the iconic Haki Madhubuti. He had been critical of Watson’s selection and his academic credentials and Madhubuti's body of work made our president’s meager (read nonexistent) scholarly credentials pale in comparison. We simply could not have that guy shooting off his big mouth and embarrassing Watson. He had to go.

Unfortunately, our strategy for destroying the school had not borne fruit. Our enrollment actually increased in Fall 2010, to 7362. We needed to make some additional moves to insure that we would begin to shed students. In 2011, just to stir up chaos, we made Watson reorganize the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education. Ultimately this spurred the Faculty Senate to take steps to protect faculty governance on campus, a result we were able to use against that body later.

Our key move in 2011 was the hiring of Angela Henderson as the Vice President of Enrollment Management. First, we rigged a search and wrote a job description so tepid that almost anyone with a modicum of administrative experience anywhere would qualify for the position. Unfortunately, Henderson’s qualifications still did not fit, she had no experience in enrollment management and only a limited amount of the kind of upper management experience expected of a person at this level of responsibility in a university. She also had degrees in business and nursing, with the Master’s degree being her highest achievement. We encouraged her to falsify her application by claiming she would receive a Ph.D. (in nursing) in June 2011, even though she had apparently not even begun research on her project. Since we had concerns that members of the search committee might figure our that we were trying to foist another crony hire on the university, we opened the position for only a short time, generating an inadequate list of candidates. In this group, Henderson looked like the best of a bad lot so her application got through and we were ultimately able to force Watson—who to his credit kept insisting that she was not qualified for the job—to hire her even though he argued that she should not be hired because of their long-standing personal relationship and the fact that her husband was Watson’s personal attorney. Despite Watson’s objections, by July 1, 2011, we were able to hire Henderson.

Soon after bringing Henderson into the Chicago State “family” (for a model, see the Corleones), we had to manage a financial aid scandal. Of course financial aid fell under Enrollment Management, which, until Henderson’s hiring, was run by our old friend Cheri Sidney. This public embarrassment to the university gave us scant pause, however, we just told Watson (who wanted to take full responsibility for the fiasco since it happened nearly two years into his watch) to deny any responsibility and blame the problems on previous administrations. Reluctantly, he did so. When we hired Henderson, we again forced Watson to promote Sidney, this time to a Vice President’s position, which she still holds. When the Fall 2011 enrollment figures came out, we were relieved to see that we had lost 480 students, to 6882. It looked like our strategy was working. Now that we had the major pieces of our destructive “team” in place, we turned to other items, one perceptually important.

At the beginning of 2012, Phil (as Chicago State’s Svengali) and me (as his chief road dog and sidekick) had to make sure people didn’t connect us with all the negative things going on at Chicago State. Some administrators had already noticed Phil’s hold over people and how he managed to attract almost mindless followers. The answer: we would have to be critical of the Watson administration. However, because we knew how attentive people on the Board of Trustees and in Springfield were to the goings-on at Chicago State, we would have to do something to guarantee that our criticisms were blunted.

As a result, we decided on a strategy of infringement of free expression. We had to squash dissent lest it thwart our plans. In quick succession, we forced an unwilling administration to create and disseminate two ridiculous policies: the computer usage and communications policies of 2012. Although both were masterpieces, succinct and elegantly written, they encountered stiff resistance from the faculty. In addition, the communications policy generated national ridicule for its obvious attempt to silence criticism. Secure in our knowledge that we had averted the crisis, we turned to other matters, although it would be necessary to occasionally refresh our dissenting credentials.

In Fall 2012, the enrollment took another plunge, to 6107. Although Wayne Watson frantically urged us to change course before Chicago State suffered further damage, we ordered him to stay the course and continue with the destruction of the school. We also insisted that he interfere in the DAC drafting process across the university, again in the guise of “raising standards.” Regretably, in November, we ramrodded a vote of no-confidence through the Senate which barely passed by a 28-2 margin.

And, of course, we manipulated Watson into taking the heat for what ultimately became our nefarious pride and joy, the rigged Criminal Justice search of 2012—the hiring of two unqualified candidates into full-time tenure-track positions—which took place with virtually no faculty involvement in contravention of university policy.

In March of 2013, that horrible Board of Trustees attempted to victimize Wayne Watson by removing him as president. We could not allow that bunch of crusading morons to ruin what we had carefully built. Thus, we had to mobilize the “community” to support our figurehead and we also had to put pressure on the Illinois Governor not to re-appoint those troublesome naysayers on the Board. Thankfully it all worked out and Watson emerged from the crisis seemingly stronger than ever. The effort to destroy Chicago State could proceed as planned. The governor ultimately appointed a Board that would rubber-stamp anything Watson (and we) wanted.

In July 2013, we forced Watson—again contrary to his wishes as he pointed out how ludicrous the appointment of a Provost without even entry-level qualifications would look—to make Angela Henderson the Interim Provost. We were gratified to see the Enrollment plunge again for Fall 2013, this time to 5701, a testimonial to the performance of the two top persons in that unit—Angela Henderson and Cheri Sidney.

As the 2013-14 school year began, it became apparent that we would have to do something about that pesky Faculty Senate. There were several troublesome individuals in that body who obviously opposed the Watson regime and the direction in which it was taking the school. In order to avoid suspicion, we had to go along with their complaints. The only solution: get rid of the Senate. We started out innocuously enough with informal conversations between the executive committee and university officials. At the end of October, we told Henderson to send a memorandum threatening the Senate with irrelavence if it did not adhere to its 2011 constitution. However, in January 2014, things went horribly wrong, which forced us to escalate our attack on the Senate.

When Henderson came to work for Chicago State, it was our intention to eventually make her provost, then even possibly president (once Watson had reached the end of his usefulness). Needless to say, having someone with an M.B.A. or M.S. in Nursing would simply not do, she needed a Ph.D. Fortunately, she was languishing in a Ph.D. program at UIC. We determined that all she needed to complete the degree was a dissertation, which Phil and I wrote for her. Unfortunately, we were not particularly conversant with academic standards in nursing so we missed a few quotation marks and references here and there. This created no problem during the process at UIC since we had created a completely ridiculous committee including Watson and the other primary researcher in Henderson’s project. However, some anonymous person discovered the obvious plagiarism and reported it to UIC, while claiming to be one of us.

While this was an embarrassment, we were not worried about the consequences since we had ordered Watson to take no action (he wanted to fire Henderson because of the obvious discredit her plagiarism brought to the university) and we knew that the Board would stand up for cheating and academic fraud by one of the school’s top administrators. Nonetheless, because we believed the source of the plagiarism report to be a member of the Faculty Senate, we redoubled our efforts to destroy that body. By early 2014, we had forced the Senate into holding an election that we immediately discredited. As it stands today, the Senate is not recognized as the Board stepped up and did our bidding. Hopefully, we have heard the last of that bunch of malcontents.

In February 2014, we achieved the pinnacle of success with the jury verdict in favor of James Crowley. While the original decision cost the school over $3 million, the total is quickly approaching $4 million. During the proceedings, we ordered both Watson and Patrick Cage to be dishonest under oath and Watson took the blame for our vindictive and retaliatory firing of Crowley in 2010. Of course, even though the case is a loser, we will not permit acknowledgement of that fact, we are continuing to force the university to throw good money after bad in a purported appeal attempt. Even though we were unable to destroy Crowley’s life, the final, albeit unintended, result exceeded our wildest dreams.

As another school year starts, we look back with pride at our efforts to destroy this school. Enrollment has dropped to 5211 with no signs that the decrease will be stopped. The administration is riven by our cronies and we are still forcing Watson to do our bidding in terms of interference in places he simply does not belong. We have used our considerable political and media influence to plant unflattering stories about Chicago State in local and national outlets, further discrediting the school and damaging its reputation. Most assuredly, we will continue to use our powerful positions to take the school down the road to perdition. That is our confession.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More Inexplicable Reorganizations, This Time at the Top

As always, Chicago State’s Internal Operating Budget offers interesting insights into the operation of our university. While the fiscal information is, as usual, enlightening, I want to focus on the various reorganizations that have taken place since last fiscal year. Two things immediately stand out: 1) The administration has apparently acknowledged the various Enrollment Management failures by removing a number of functions from the control of that kingdom. 2) Not surprisingly, the President has increased the size and scope of his office’s operations. Here are the details:

In my September 26, 2014, post, I noted that Angela Henderson said at the September 19 Board meeting that “Retention is not Enrollment Management.” Since the 2011 establishment of the budget sub-unit of “Improve Retention and Graduation Rates (Org. Code 434 in your budget book), that office has resided in Enrollment Management. Suddenly in 2015, it appears under Academic Affairs. Possibly cognizant of this fact, Henderson went on to blame the Faculty, Chairs and Deans for Chicago State’s never-ending enrollment decline. As she told the Board: “We have metrics and we have goals, and some programs met their goals, and some programs did not.” So, beginning in July 2014, the administration will be able to pass the blame for enrollment losses on to the academic side of the university. After all, we are the people who are unable to (or unwilling to) recognize the honor Wayne Watson has bestowed upon us by “raising standards.” Additionally, the administration has removed the Offices of Academic Support and Graduate Admissions from the Enrollment Management unit and placed them into the university’s Academic Affairs component. So Enrollment Management now washes its hands of the graduate programs, academic support, and most important, student retention—at least in terms of culpability for the additional enrollment declines sure to come.

In one of the highlights of the the September 19 meeting, Watson, as usual, blew smoke up the Board’s collective behinds. Here’s what he said in his president’s report about the enrollment decline (Watson’s comments begin at the 9 minute mark of the first recorded segment):

Since we are at the start of the academic year, I’d like to take a moment to address enrollment. Institutions across the country are experiencing a deline in enrollment, including CSU, however, CSU has set enrollment goals and implemented strategies to increase its enrollment. We will have a more in-depth report later. What you’re going to hear is that we exceeded our new Freshman goals, ah, but you’re also going to hear that there’s certain areas, HSI and male goals that we have achieved, but overall, we have had a decline in enrollment, and that is a reality, and we are disaggregating it, studying it, and try to make sure that we understand what is happening. Um, we’re coming up with strategies, ah, we, ah, we’re working with our faculty, our staff . . .” What does any of that mean except that this man has no idea what to do? Even more important, he is incapable of acknowledging that the major problems currently plaguing Chicago State reside side-by-side in offices 313 and 314 in the Cook Building.

Nonetheless, Watson and the president’s office have reorganized a number of other components out of Enrollment Management. The Latino and African American Male Resource Centers are now under the presidential umbrella, along with the Counseling Center and the Abilities Office. Finally, the president’s office has assumed control of the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Student Affairs. While the first four moves seem somewhat baffling, the last two make perfect sense given the administration’s propensity to meddle in student affairs and rig their elections. Wayne Watson also now has is own personal spokesperson. Tom Wogan no longer works in Marketing, he works directly for the president.

The majority of these organizational changes defy logic, something hardly new to the Watson administration. In addition, they are consistent with previous arbitrary administrative practices and possess the character of moves made out of desperation, or downright panic. As perhaps even some members of Watson’s inner circle are beginning to realize, the great man is simply not up to the task of being a university president, frankly he never was. We have a president who is drowning—although neither our Board or any Illinois power brokers seem to want to acknowledg his situation—our challenge is to avoid being pulled under the water with him.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It is Past Time to FOIA the Administration's Case Against the Faculty Senate

Because I am sure the administration's attack on the Faculty Senate results from a thorough investigation of the alleged improprieties in the Senate's election of February 10-18, 2014, I am today filing this FOIA request. Clearly a step as consequential as withdrawal of recognition from the Faculty Senate must be supported by documentary evidence of wrongdoing. Since the administration has not yet shared any of that evidence with the Senate, it seems appropriate to find out what they have. Since the Senate's Executive Committee demonstrated its commitment to a resolution of this current difficulty, I think it is time for the administration to demonstrate its commitment to the same outcome. I feel confident that when we know exactly what the administration's allegations entail, we will be able to address their concerns. The only goal of the Executive Committee is a resumption of normal faculty governance processes. This is my humble contribution to that effort:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More thoughts on the Administration's Survey to Dismantle the Faculty Senate: "I will not be completing this survey without more information..."

The survey many (apparently not all) faculty have received this weekend has elicited more than a few discussions online here and among faculty and I believe it will continue at the UPI membership meeting tomorrow. 

This survey illustrates the Administration and Board of Trustees' naked desire to take over the CSU Faculty Senate and turn it into its own rubber stamp, a body that will not trouble it when the Administration tries to do things like mandate curriculum (senior/M.A. theses), institute your department's DAC, or impose faculty members in your department (Criminal Justice hirings) in trumped up searches --the only kind they know how to run. They've already neutered the SGA (invalidating their elections last year). Now the Faculty Senate is targeted with the same excuse to shut it down. Who's left then? Look out UPI. 

At any rate, our colleague, Dr Arthur Redman, offers this assessment of the administration's attempt at surveying the faculty. He is allowing me to print his comments here: 

"One of the advantages (or disadvantages, depending on your perspective) of teaching social research methods is the development of a very critical eye regarding surveys.

If one of my students submitted this in class he or she would receive a D (for effort only). Not only is it poorly developed, it has the worst type of research design possible in surveys (10 open-ended questions). Moreover, it fails completely in one key element. To wit, every survey should have a clear introduction which identifies the survey-writer/s, the intended purpose of the survey, and how its results will be used. This survey does none of those things. It merely says that it is gathering information for an "ongoing conversation," and that we should send it to our chair, who will send it to the Dean's Office, which will forward it to "the administration."

I will not be completing this survey without more information. I want to know who sent it and what they intend to do with it. I further recommend that all of us exercise great caution with this survey. I am cc'ing Dr. Jones in hopes that we can get clarification on this survey."

Thanks Art. 

Random Thoughts on the Recent Survey

The recently circulated Senate survey is the predictable outcome of the Watson administration’s utter failure at Chicago State University. This sophomoric attempt at data collection would be laughable of its implications were not so serious.

It is an ironic piece of work don’t you think? The ethically bankrupt members of this administration, those cheaters, plagiarizers, academic nonentities, liars under oath and their army of incompetents who have brought Chicago State to the brink of disaster presume to pass judgment on the probity of the faculty’s governing body.

The allegation of improprieties in the February Senate election is not supported by a single shred of evidence. Based on the complete lack of evidence, I say they are simply lies, fabricated for the sole purpose of providing cover for this most recent assault on the faculty at Chicago State. A number of persons at this school can attest to the myriad ways this administration decides on an outcome then shapes the facts to suit that preordained result. They do it in academic affairs matters, personnel investigations and disciplinary findings. They did it to the Student Government Association and now they are trying to do it to the Faculty Senate.

Now, Wayne Watson and his minions have arrogated to themselves powers that are not permissible for the administration to exercise, based on the university’s governing documents. Given their proven ability to perform disastrously, it is impossible to imagine anything worthwhile emerging from this recent fiasco. The combination of ignorance and arrogance is always dangerous and this administration possesses a seemingly unending supply of both. Conversely, the members of this administration have no capacity for shame. You would think that after their abominable performance at this school that simple decency would dictate that they resign their positions. You would think that after being exposed as liars and frauds, they would be embarrassed enough to remove themselves from the university environment. Of course, you would be incorrect, instead they prance around and play university administrator.

The daily debacle that defines the Watson administration harms us all: the considerable number of competent administrators striving to do their best under difficult circumstances—victims of arbitrary and vindictive practices and inconsistent application of policies, the faculty who teach in deplorable conditions and with ever shrinking resources, the staff who work under a constant shadow of fear, whose daily experience often includes unreliable but highly-paid supervisors failing to competently perform their jobs, and most important, our students who make prodigous sacrifices to go to school and who have a right to a degree that means something.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Administration Takes a Giant Step Toward Total Control of Chicago State's Faculty: What Will We Do About It?

Today, you should have received in your e-mail something from the administration titled "Questionnaire About Faculty Senate." This is ostensibly a survey designed partly to assess the faculty's feelings about the current controversy between the Faculty Senate and the administration. Of course, that controversy has not yet been resolved as we are awaiting the Board's response to our recent communication and the Attorney General's Office has not yet made a determination as to the validity of the administration's FOIA request.

That does not prevent our administration from moving preemptively to establish a new faculty governance structure at Chicago State, one likely to be more amenable to Watson's failed administration. There are a number of problems with this survey, not the least of which is the Chicago State Board of Trustees own Governing Policy. This policy states that the structures of campus organizations "shall be determined by the constituencies they represent." Thus, any discussion of the structure of a faculty governance body must be faculty driven. In this case, the administration is asking the faculty to give their opinion on ten different items, submit that document to their respective Department Chairs who will submit it to the College Deans who will then tally the results and submit them to the administration "for their consideration." Is there any doubt about the outcome?

Look at the first bullet point. This is "part of an ongoing conversation"? Between who and who? The administration has certainly not spoken to the Faculty Senate, except to issue ultimatums. Have they talked with anyone else? Are these people even capable of telling the truth? Then take a look at the ten questions. Most revealing, I think are numbers 2, 6 and 8. Question 1 asks whether mediation is a viable option then question 2 makes clear that the Faculty Senate will be “suspended.” Question 6 asks faculty members to weigh in on whether non-unit A faculty should be included in the Senate and whether their right to vote should be subject to yet-to-be determined “prescribed limitations.” Finally, question 8 asks faculty to decide whether each college should have equally represented, which would result in colleges with 6 percent of the faculty possessing 20 percent of the Senate seats or a college with 53 percent of the faculty also possessing 20 percent of the Senate seats. What about the Library and Counseling? Will they also be part of the equal representation scheme?

All of these possibilities raise the specter of administrative interference (again) in legitimate faculty functions. Obviously, a Senate configured with a large number of non-tenured faculty would be in a highly vulnerable position. Similarly, equal representation would allow the administration to potentially exercise a great deal of influence over that “representative” body. This reminds me of the “company unions” of the 1920s, where the company’s administrators selected the leaders and shaped the agenda of what they cynically refered to as unions.

Neither the administration nor the Board has ever responded to any of the numerous policy recommendations and resolutions passed by the Faculty Senate. Now, however, the administration is interested in the structure and activities of that body. This is nothing more than a naked attempt to take even more power (what little remains) from an apathetic and often supine faculty. While the “survey” raises a number of questions for me, I will save them for later. The most important question I have now is this: what should we as a faculty do about this? I await your response.

What’s worthy of honor on the CSU Website?

Posted at the request of our colleague Janet Halpin:

This post has been stewing in my computer for awhile. I’m submitting it now because my dear friend YS is waiting for something entertaining to appear on the blog.

Several weeks ago the CSU home page carried an announcement of the great honor bestowed on our Chief Counsel, Patrick Cage: Top General Counsel, at the August 2014 First Chair Awards Conference and Gala. Wow. I looked at the First Chair Website ( and learned that, at the banquet attended by almost 400, the breakdown of awards was as follows:

Top General Cousel (including our own P. Cage)—56
Top Assistant General Counsel—62
Top Litigation Counsel—24
Top Compliance Counsel—10
Top Real Estate Counsel—11
Top Corporate Counsel—30
Top Intellectual Property Counsel—5
Top Healthcare Counsel—7
Top Legal Department—2
Top Private Equity Counsel—1
Top Employment Counsel—11
Rising Stars—20

Firms and companies included BMO Group, Walgreen’s, The Newport Group, Sunoco, Inc., Sears Holdings Management Corporation, to name just a few. The list of companies was almost exclusively from the private sector. The total number of awards was 239. I kind of feel sorry for the remainder of the almost 400 in attendance, who did not win an award.

While not mentioned on the University webpage, I would like to bring to the University’s attention a recent award received by one of CSU’s English faculty. Dr. Christine Ohale, Professor of English at CSU, was named one of the top 15 professors in art programs in the Chicago area by The Art Career Project. I checked out the website and learned that TheArtCareerProject is a national initiative to attract students to professions in the arts. There are similar lists for San Francisco and New York: a total of 45 honorees nationally. Which institutions were represented in our region?

Discipline: Institution
Architecture: DePaul University
Graphic Design: Columbia College of Chicago
Drawing and Painting: School of the Art Institute
Music: North Park University
Journalism: Northwestern University
Art History: University of Chicago
Theater: Loyola University
Industrial Design: University of Illinois at Chicago
Radio/Television/Film: Northwestern University
English: Christine Ohale, Chicago State University
Graphics: Illinois Institute of Technology
Music: University of Chicago
Fine Arts: Roosevelt University
Art History: School of the Art Institute
Music: Harper College

For each awardee there was a thumbnail sketch of their work and value to student learning. Christine’s spoke to the intersection of her work with art, to her expertise in African literature, and to her strong rapport with students in her classes. Furthermore they stated clearly that, while she was not in an art program, they wished to make an exception in order to honor her accomplishments and sensibility.

Now, why was Mr. Cage’s award so prominently displayed on the University webpage, while Dr. Ohale’s was not? Congratulations, Christine.

Dr. Janet Halpin
Professor of Geography

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Update on the Faculty Senate Controversy

Wayne Watson does not like people who disagree with him. Wayne Watson has a documented history of retaliating against people who disagree with him, sometimes with disastrous results for the school with the misfortune of employing him (see Maria Moore v. District 508 and James Crowley v. Wayne Watson for two prominent examples). Wayne Watson and his administration are not above perverting the democratic process and rigging elections if they do not get the results they want. In May 2013, the administration voided a legitimate student election because the winning candidates were avowed Watson opponents. Now, the Watson administration has set its sights on the Chicago State Faculty Senate. They claim, with no evidence and no specific allegations of wrongdoing, that the Senate’s February 2014 election to amend its Constitution featured “irregularities” and disfranchised eligible voters. Bullshit.

The Board of Trustees does not care about Chicago State’s faculty. In fact, they do not even want to hear from them—save for those faculty in complete agreement with Wayne Watson. As a result, they believe everything Watson tells them. If he claims the Faculty Senate election needs to be investigated, they take that as gospel. After all, Wayne Watson has consistently proven himself to be infallible. Thus, the Board of Trustees declared the Senate to be invisible, no longer recognized by that august body. All because of voting “irregularities” and disfanchised eligible voters. After all, Wayne Watson told them so. More bullshit.

However, after various ultimatums from our administration and the Board, the Faculty Senate finds itself in the position of being not recognized and unwillingly participating in the farce currently playing out at Chicago State. Although the matter of the administrative demands and subsequent FOIA requests is still in the hands of the Illinois Attorney General, neither the administration nor the Board desired to wait for their decision. No worries about due process here, they just went ahead and de-recognized the primary governance body for Chicago State’s faculty.

Why? Perhaps because the Faculty Senate has been unpleasantly disposed to oppose the disastrous Watson regime. Perhaps the two no-confidence votes in Watson and his faux-Provost stung the poor man. The answer? Do away with that troublesome group and put a more amiable bunch in their place.

As previously noted on this forum, the administration seems to believe that more than 350 faculty were eligible to vote in the February election. In fact, just over 200 unit A faculty were eligible. This misunderstanding could have been resolved with a simple request from the administration. Instead, without a shred of evidence or even an allegation of wrongdoing, the administration formulated a list of six demands. Eventually, the list grew to seven, as enumerated in the FOIA request by Patrick Cage and as parroted by the memorandum from the Board of Trustees.

Since the administration is doing nothing and since the Board only seems interested in re-issuing previous ultimatums, it devolves upon the Senate to attempt to solve this brouhaha. Accordingly, this morning the Senate Executive Committee sent the following letter to the Board of Trustees. A copy of this letter also went out to unit A faculty this afternoon:

The Senate election was not a referendum on Watson's leadership but the results were overwhelmingly in favor of all nine proposed amendments. Not a single one of the amendments received more than three negative votes. The Senate Executive Committee believes that this controversy can be resolved and is willing to work toward that end. That is our only goal. We will gauge the good faith of both the administration and the Board by their response to our letter. I for one, am not particularly sanguine about the outcome.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Results of Recent Survey on the Leadership of Wayne Watson and Angela Henderson

Here are the results of the recently conducted survey of tenured faculty. The survey asked respondents to indicate whether they supported (confidence) or did not support (no confidence) Wayne Watson and Angela Henderson. There was also a third option: no opinion or do not care. Altogether, 56 of 128 persons responded to the survey (43.75%).

For Wayne Watson, 2 expressed support, 53 expressed no support, 1 person had no opinion/did not care.
For Angela Henderson, 1 expressed support, 52 expressed no support, 3 persons had no opinion/did not care.

Thus, 94.6 percent of tenured faculty who responded to the survey expressed no support in Wayne Watson while 92.9 percent of that group expressed no support for Angela Henderson. Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Breaking News! The Army War College Rescinds Senator Joe Walsh's Master's Degree for Plagiarism

Thanks to Robin Benny and Dick Milo who sent this:

So, it appears that the Army War College has more stringent academic standards than either Chicago State or the University of Illinois at Chicago. Here's the link:

Literary Excerpt of the Day Contest

Faithful readers,

In tribute to us and the great U.S. literary tradition we offer this contest.  The first to identify and post to the blog the name of the author and title of this literary masterpiece wins either a "Jokari Miller" hat or an "It's only a hat.  Please don't choke" baseball cap to wear at Board of Trustees meetings*.

"You're nobody, son.  You don't exist-can't you see that?  The white folk tell everybody what to think--except men like me.  I tell them;  that's my life telling white folk how to think about the things I know about.  Shocks you, doesn't it?  Well that's the way it is.  It's a nasty deal and I don't always like it myself.  But you listen to me.  I didn't make it and I know I can't change it.  But I've made my place in it and I'll have every Negro in the country hanging on tree limbs by morning if it means staying where I am."

He was looking me in the eye now, his voice charged and sincere, as though uttering a confession, a fantastic revelation which I could neither believe nor deny.  Cold drops of sweat moved at a glacier's pace down my spine...

"A man gets old winning his place, son.  So you go ahead, go tell your story; match your truth against my truth.  The broader truth."

*Please indicate size and preference.  Hats sponsored by the Vigilance Committee in recognition of Officer Mike Jones' serving and protecting the status quo by choking graduating senior, Jokari Miller, at the May 2014 CSU Board of Trustees meeting.  Express your solidarity with Black men and all others attacked, abused and murdered by the police and other State agents by wearing a hat in front of the CSU BOT and Wayne Watson who stood idly by while Mr. Miller was assaulted by CSU police.

If you were wondering what Tom Wogan's email was all about last week--we're on Fox news...

Like more than a few of my fellow disgruntled faculty I was puzzled by Tom Wogan's email to the faculty last week that implied a news story might be forthcoming criticizing "events that took place at the President's house as something that is somehow negative or inappropriate or that they were unworthy of university funds." He mentioned "Jazz on the Hill" and a new faculty reception as events to be criticized. He then castigated the reporters "who engage in typical yellow journalism" and "some who are part of our community..." that is,  "...a select few employees who are grasping for ways to damage our reputation in order to fulfill their own agenda have gone to multiple media outlets trying to convince them to run a story that misrepresents the university, yet again..."

Well Tom, it wasn't us. It may be that there are other more silent factions on campus going to the multiple media outlets, but it was not your usual suspects here at the faculty blog. This story on Fox (and your email) caught all of us completely by surprise. It seems other organizations, to wit, the long-standing Better Government Association has CSU on its radar.

It also appears that you overplayed the extent of the story. The BGA doesn't care about CSU hosting a faculty reception or an administrative retreat at the Presidential Mansion. It does care about the use of taxpayer money throwing a block party in Beverly whether you call it public relations or not. I love the way Alderman O'Shea was quick to say that no city money was used for this event even though he was listed as a co-host.

Frankly, I thought the story would focus on the fact that CSU police blocked protesters at the event. Students and faculty had showed up to protest the treatment of CSU students Willie Preston and Jokari Miller. That would have been a nice addition, but no one talked to us about it... And maybe the BGA's interest in $6,000 spent on the event will encourage it to look at some of the more scandalous wastes of money under Dr Watson's presidency.

Jazz in the grass stuff is of course popular with the public and the "community stakeholders." Of course CSU gets positive press from these events--bread and circuses always are popular. Ask the Roman emperors. Mayor Daley, long-standing emperor of Chicago, was a master at giving out summer freebies to the people of Chicago-concerts, fireworks, nice flowers on the street etc. The point is that someone ultimately has to pay. The BGA doesn't think you should be using taxpayer money to do it.

And, oh yeah, if you want to stop the bad publicity, stop doing stuff that will generate the bad publicity--very simple.

Here's the Fox Story and its link from yesterday.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News & Better Government Assoc.)

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News & Better Government Assoc.)
It's always good to meet the neighbors.
So, when Chicago State University President Wayne Watson wanted to say hi to his neighbors in the South Side Beverly neighborhood, he threw a party using publicfunds.
FOX 32 and the Better Government Association have obtained the bills for the summer social, which the university is defending as a "marketing event."
A historic mansion on Longwood Drive is the property of Chicago State University, about a four mile drive west of campus. For decades it's been used as the residence of the university's president. Chicago State security was patrolling it the day FOX 32 was there.
So, when Watson decided it would be a good idea to meet his neighbors, the university threw a party. The invitation mailed to over 1200 Beverly homes in July for "Jazz On The Hill" promised live music and light refreshments on the front lawn of the president's home.
"It's not a party just to have a party," said CSU spokesman Tom Wogan.
Wogan said the event was also designed to market the university, reach out to alums and recruit Beverly students.
"To put on a good event, sometimes you do spend a little bit of money," Wogan said.
Invoices obtained by FOX 32 and the BGA show the university spent close to $6000 on the neighborhood party, including nearly $2800 on food and refreshments from a local catering company.
Among the six selections of hors d' oeuvres served by tuxedo-clad waiters was oven roasted turkey focaccia panini and beef tenderloin bruschetta with horseradish sauce dollop.
"If you want to hold a good event, a successful event, then you want to make sure people enjoy themselves. So I think it's appropriate that you have some light refreshments," Wogan said.
Then there's entertainment. In addition to Chicago State's jazz band, the university also hired a local singer for $1800.
Those invitations cost over $800 to mail and print, and then there was a total of 24 hours overtime for six university security officers.
"You can split hairs all day long about any dime that any business, any public organization spends that way. I think the more responsible and practical way to look at it is was the event successful and did it achieve the goals that you set out to achieve. And to that end it did," Wogan said.
"It needs to be known that this is a public university that's funded by tax dollars," Patrick Rehkamp of the BGA said.
Rehkamp noted that Chicago State has a long history of issues, including declining enrollment and one of the worst graduation rates in the country.
"Outreach is certainly necessary, especially when a lot of universities around the country, including here in the Chicago area, are hurting for enrollment. But throwing a house party for up to the cost of $5400 is what we know, seems a little excessive," Rehkamp said.
The university said about 300 neighbors attended the event, which was cosponsored by 19th Ward Alderman Matt O'Shea who said no city funds were used.
By the way, that massive home that president Watson is living in was given to the university in the 70's and is occasionally used for university receptions.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Here's What a Provost Search Looks Like at Another University

Here is an internal e-mail from an Illinois school with an on-going Provost search. I have removed the names and identifying information from the communication, but there is still enough left to enable a comparison between these transparent search procedures and the opaque and secretive administrative search practices at Chicago State.

Of course, the search considerations are entirely different at the other Illinois school. Rather than a desire to shoehorn one of its president’s cronies into a position for which she is spectacularly unqualified, this institution seems intent on finding the best possible person for the job. This other school apparently feels no need to rig a search process by hiring a search firm whose previous effort yielded questionable results; no need to waste the time of other potential candidates who are unknowingly participating in a sham search whose final result is pre-determined. The other university also apparently feels no need to consider for the position of Provost someone whose “academic” credentials include a plagiarized dissertation.

In contrast, our president wastes the time of his staff and faculty on searches that will never produce a successful applicant (see the repeated and seemingly endless searches for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences as an example) because there are no candidates with similarly empty academic résumés. Fortunately for Chicago State’s President, the current Interim Provost also has an academic record devoid of accomplishments. To be clear, neither our President nor our Interim Provost would be eligible for tenure at Chicago State University.

As we look at the “Provost Search Update” from the other school, we should be mindful of the administrative hiring practices that obtain at Chicago State. Here are the requirements and qualifications enumerated in Chicago State’s recent job announcement for Provost: “driving new initiatives to create a student-centered and ‘student-first’ (you have to love that kind of meaningless jargon) supportive and nurturing learning environment.” Additionally, Chicago State’s Provost will be expected to “[lead] the university to meet its goal of increasing enrollment and graduation rates.” To qualify for the Provost’s position at Chicago State, it is only necessary to hold “an earned terminal degree,” and to possess “a level of administrative experience that will add value to CSU’s continuous efforts to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the institution’s human, fiscal and technological resources required by its academic and co-curricular programs.” You will note the absence of any reference to scholarly achievements. Did we get any applications from managers at WalMart? What does any of that bullshit mean?

Comparing the other institution’s requirements and qualifications we find its boilerplate to be slightly different: “the provost will strengthen academic quality, teaching excellence, scholarly research, service, and diversity.” The requirements for this school’s chief academic position “include a terminal degree, significant senior managerial experience in higher education,” and the criteria that would eliminate both Wayne Watson and Angela Henderson from serious consideration: “a notable record of scholarly contributions and teaching.”

Compare that straightforward requirement with Chicago State's "minimum qualification" of "significant experience in, and appreciation for, research and service activities in a higher education setting." I wonder how long someone labored over that language before deciding that it would be adequate to prevent from being eliminated for consideration someone with no scholarly activity? And guess who gets to define "significant experience in . . . research . . . activities"?

Looking at the search procedures, we see the obvious differences between the search at this school and what we know to be the search practices at Chicago State. The other school apparently sees no reason to cloak their search in secrecy. For example, the communication lists the search committee members. They include: 5 members of the Board of Trustees; a group of 4 Faculty members, comprising three full professors and one associate professor and including the President of the school’s Faculty Council; two staff members; one Dean; one administrator representing the President’s Office; one administrator representing the Academic Affairs Office and one administrator representing Human Resources. The memorandum also identifies the external search firm, delineates its previous successes and highlights the former academic experience of one of its consultants. At this early point in the search, the position has already attracted “over 30 completed applications” with an additional 140 potential candidates. The search update also encourages “all of you to send in names of potential candidates.” Given the scope of this search, the final pool of candidates is likely to be somewhat larger than the pool created by the Hollins Group for the recent Chicago State Provost search.

Finally, the update clearly defines the trajectory of the search and promises that the level of clarity already established in the process will continue. Sounds just like a Chicago State search.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

And the beat goes on... from Fire: Chicago State University Continues to Squeeze Faculty Free Speech

Besides the post from the Chronicle of Higher Ed, this appeared on the Fire Organization (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) website. At least someone out there cares about what is happening to this university of ours.

Chicago State University Continues to Squeeze Faculty Free Speech
By Akil Alleyne October 6, 2014

Supporters of FIRE’s mission to defend free speech in academia may already be familiar with Chicago State University’s years-long campaign to shut down criticism of its administration. Some of its staunchest critics, however—a group of faculty members who blog at CSU Faculty Voice—refuse to be silenced. CSU has employed a number of methods to try to silence the faculty blog, from making preposterous trademark infringement claims against the bloggers toenacting a broad “cyberbullying” policy with which to silence the Faculty Voice. In response, professors Phillip Beverly and Robert Bionaz joined forces with FIRE this summer to sue CSU for infringing on their First Amendment rights as part of our Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.

One might think that CSU would have learned from its repeated failed attempts to quell internal dissent—but one would be wrong. The latest item in the administration’s long train of abuses is the Board of Trustees’ decision last month to withdraw recognition from the school’s Faculty Senate. CSU seeks to justify this maneuver by citing the Senate’s refusal to give the administration records of a faculty vote earlier this year on changes to the Senate’s constitution. (The administration tried to use Illinois’ open-records law to obtain information about a Faculty Senate election earlier this year, such as ballots from the vote and the identities of the ballot-counters.) Along with its derecognition of the Faculty Senate, the Board of Trustees also declared the new constitutional amendments void—a move that has further strained faculty-administration relations at the university.

Professor Bionaz criticized the administration’s open-records request as “incredible overreach,” and Professor Beverly has denounced CSU’s recent maneuver as an attempt “to dissolve the senate so that they could find a faculty body that was more amenable to its nonsense.” The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has also warned CSU that its move to disband the Faculty Senate violates the principles of academic governance.

We hope that the strong message sent by Stand Up For Speech will get through to CSU, and persuade its trustees and administration to revamp their approach to dealing with dissenting students and faculty along lines consistent with the First Amendment and the principles of academic freedom. The parties in the lawsuit filed July 1 have a status hearing with the magistrate judge on October 7 that might tell us about CSU’s willingness to change course and respect the First Amendment.

Monday, October 6, 2014

An Interpretation of the Narrative

So the spin continues. In the recent Chronicle article about the battle between the administration and the Faculty Senate a senior administration official is going to try to convince readers that the faculty/administration chasm is a result of Watson trying to save the university’s accreditation. That is another example of the tenuous relationship with the truth on the part of some university administrators. 
The university’s accreditation was never at risk! 
It is faculty who carry to bulk of the responsibility for success in accreditation. The administration is really a minor player and presidents who think they play anything but a tangential role overestimate their own importance. Every university has its own set of challenges and it is the rare institution that is so dysfunctional that it loses its accreditation. And that happens only after a lengthy examination of the institution’s deficits.  CSU has not been that dysfunctional. The purpose of the focus visit in 2010 was to clean up enrollment management, an area that has continued to be under-performing, even after the focus visit. On the academic side of the house, the faculty continues to do its best for its students in spite of the clear attacks on faculty by this administration. Having lost more than 2,000 students and not accepting any responsibility for any of it, this regime is trying to convince any who will listen that everyone who critiques the regime is wrong and or disgruntled and they are right. I would agree they are right about the transformation of the university by the administration. CSU is being transformed from a viable institution into one that will cease to be viable in a few short years.  Unfortunately, it is not the type of transformation that students, faculty, and alumni would want.  
So whose narrative is the most accurate? Is it the few disgruntled faculty with their own agenda for destroying the university or a proven, failed regime that has gotten it right? Listen for yourself and decide.