Given the apparent willingness of the Chicago State Board to revisit the Presidential Search Committee's composition, some further discussion might be fruitful. To preface my remarks, I would like to point out to the board that the upcoming presidential search has important ramifications for Chicago State in particular and its responsibilities to the taxpayers of Illinois in general. As a publicly supported institution, anything that affects the institution has the potential to affect the taxpaying public and as such, is a matter of public concern. The search for a new president should be of great interest to the people of Illinois.
The “Presidential Search” component has just appeared on the Board of Trustees portion of the Chicago State web site. At present, it is somewhat devoid of information; including only a brief description of the goals of the search committee and a lengthy encomium to the wonderful leadership of Wayne Watson. As yet, no names grace the page dedicated to search committee membership. It seems reasonable to assume that when the Board announces the names of the non-faculty members of the committee that five (5) administrators will be among those selected. Why?
This administration has been an epic failure. Why allow persons who have demonstrated their inability to govern this institution to participate in the selection of Watson’s replacement? Which one of Watson’s stellar upper administrators seem to you qualified to undertake such an important task? In the search the University of Illinois conducted last year for a new president, only one administrator served on the 19 person committee, the Chancellor of the University of Illinois-Springfield campus. The remainder of the Illinois committee included three (3) members of the Board of Trustees, eight (8) faculty from the three campuses in the system, three (3) students, one from each campus, one (1) academic professional, one (1) civil service employee, one (1) alum, and one (1) person from the Foundation. Rather than load its committee with administrative personnel, the University of Illinois chose to entrust the choice of a new president to a committee composed of a majority of its faculty and staff. You might also note that a faculty member co-chaired the committee. The announcement is here:
The legitimacy of this search is yet to be determined. However, in contrast with the Watson administration's history of excluding faculty from university governance, the comments by Nikki Zollar on the presidential search sound promising. We will soon see how much that actually means. Hopefully, the candidates will not be put off by the glaring, embarrassing and persistent error in the “Search Firm” part of the Presidential Search web site. Why in hell are we unable to find anyone to write copy for the web site who knows the difference between a possessive and a contraction? To the best of my knowledge, we have a functioning English Department on this campus. Perhaps someone might consider having them proof read the material that goes up on the web site so we are not continuously embarrassed by the illiteracy of our public postings.