Thursday, May 21, 2015

Anthony Young and Nikki Zollar listen up: U of I has a new prez-- are you still going to keep CSU the "playpen for Illinois pols and shaky administrators?"

An editorial this morning in the Chicago Tribune is singing the praises of the new president of the University of Illinois, "A Refreshing New President for U of I."

This new president, Timothy Killeen, is described as a "free-thinking outsider." Well, obviously we don't want one of those here at CSU.

But good old CSU is mentioned in the context that maybe this guy can help us. And there is just the hint that maybe a consolidation of public universities in ILL (a la SUNY in NY state) might be in the future.

From the Tribune:
Had our hour not run dry, we'd have liked to hear more from Killeen about his vision of the U. of I. president's role among this state's public university presidents, who'll meet as a group Tuesday. Many of their schools perform well. We asked whether the U. of I., perhaps through its Chicago campus, could help salvage one school that has performed abysmally. Chicago State University has functioned better as a playpen for Illinois pols and shaky administrators than it has for its students — a pitifully small share of whom earn degrees.

Killeen has no oversight of Chicago State. But he understood the topic when we raised it. He already had stressed that he wants to help this state optimize its resources and do well by its students. If those are more than platitudes, they could make the difference between past failure and future progress at Chicago State.

We have no idea whether, a decade from now, Illinois will have consolidated its public universities in a system comparable to Wisconsin's or New York's. As state resources shrink, that may make sense, although we can anticipate the objections from those whose chief interest is protecting their fiefdoms.

The new president of the U. of I. has plenty to accomplish on his own three campuses. If he also finds a way to help the young people not only at his school but at the worst-performing of Illinois' public universities, so much the better.

RE: Status of  CSU's Presidential search--"no free-thinking outsiders" need apply
Nikki Zollar's sham presidential search committee has put up a bunch of links on the CSU website and is asking for your opinions on what kind of prez we should have blah blah blah. They ask the same questions they did at the last search and paid no attention to the answers then.  Please Nikki read Hakki Madhabuti's letter from 2009--it's linked here, we've reposted it on this blog that you don't read, we've given you copies--why do you keep asking?

For those of you who still want so desperately to believe in their "hopey changey thing" as another failed politician once said, waste your time on the survey. The presidential search process is already flawed. Young and Zollar's pontifications about transparency and caring what you think do not match what they have already done. They have hand-picked their committee, they have written the job ad, they hired the search firm all with no input from faculty and staff at CSU. It's paving the way for a patronage hire. I can tell you from experience that their search firm will read and summarize the survey comments for the bored board members, but no one will care about any details you send them. It is the board alone who picks the president. They would not share governance on this matter in 2009 and they will not share governance on this issue now. They do, however, need to have a veneer of "asking" or "consulting" what the CSU "constituencies" think so they can wave that in front of some pol or neutered "governing board" like HLC and say they did "consult."

Somewhere in the 1980s I am told, CSU was made a political dropbox for friends of certain politicians. The CSU board members have benefitted from their associations to Wayne Watson and the machine. They are going to keep it all in the family, that's the board's job. Thanks for setting things up this way Emil.

So congrats to U of I. Maybe the state of ILL will consolidate all the public universities and that will be a new beginning for us. It would be nice to see the press boast about CSU as a turnaround success story and be the diamond rather than the diamond in the rough. I'm not holding my breath.

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