Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Short Look Back at the Past Six Years of Cronyism, Patronage, and Failure

In early 2009, the Illinois Reform Commission (an oxymoron?) published a report on political corruption in the state. The report emphasized the deleterious effects of public corruption on ethical behavior and good government in Illinois. Citing the state’s “culture of patronage and cronyism,” and the resulting “cloud of corruption that has hung over the state for long,” as a primary reason for the erosion of “effective government”; the report cited multiple abuses of the patronage hiring system, including: “rewarding well-connected or politically subservient persons with employment”; the expansion of “political” positions and the resultant “expectation of hiring and promotion based upon considerations other than merit.”

We have now arrived at the end of six-plus years of patronage and crony hiring here at Chicago State. How has the school fared? Has the outgoing administration’s propensity for cronyism damaged the university? Here are some numbers to ponder.

First, in fall 2009, Chicago State University employed 227 persons in administrative positions. The salary expenditures for these people totaled nearly $15.7 million, an average of $69,120 per person. By early 2014, the number of administrative employees at Chicago State had risen nearly 28 percent, to 290, while the total salary expenditure stood at nearly $20.1 million, and at a 28 percent increase, mirrored the rise in total positions. Average salary held steady at $69,185. The recent budget woes in the state obviously moved the regime to eliminate some inconsequential lower paying administrative positions, as the most recent data from the university reveals that there are currently 253 administrative positions, with a total salary expenditure of $18.7 million, an average of $73,963. Thus, the average salary increase for our total administrative staff amounts to nearly 7 percent in the past 18 months.

Senior Administrative Positions (Assistant Vice President and above) also rose between April 2014 and October 2015. In Fall 2009, Chicago State employed 11 senior administrators, by April 2014, that number had grown to 12, and to 15 by October 2015, a 36.4 percent increase from 2009. Total salary expenditures grew from $1.6 million in 2014 to over $2.1 million in 2015. All that against the backdrop of the university administration claiming “financial exigency” at every opportunity, trying to eliminate long-established Faculty CUEs for various endeavors, destroying academic advising, and otherwise micro-managing every CUE allocated to Chicago State faculty. The salary increase for senior administrators of around $470,000, much of it in late 2014 and early 2015, represents the equivalent of 587.5 CUEs for faculty. It seems there is money for some things.

Needless to say, these increased salary expenses for administrators come while the university is bleeding students, down 34.1 percent since fall 2009. The enrollment decline is the most graphic evidence of the failure of crony hiring here at Chicago State. Those “well-connected” or “politically subservient” persons were simply not up to the job. In what has admittedly been a challenging environment for Illinois public higher education, the Chicago State administration failed almost completely.

Responsible for this fiasco is a Board of Trustees that has consistently demonstrated its allegiance to the administration, particularly the president, while failing to address the problems caused by that selfsame administration. The Board’s recent actions seem to indicate it is again willing to reward the undeserving, even at the cost of undermining the incoming administration. As the year closes, we look forward with cautious optimism, hoping that—despite our precarious position and virtually non-existent leadership from a complicit and compromised Board—the school can survive, even flourish again.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The New Era Begins on a Snowy Morning

So I was more than pleasantly surprised to see a large moving van blocking the street on Longwood Drive near my local Starbucks. With temperatures not expected above freezing who would be moving today? Yes, loyal readers, Dr. Thomas Calhoun is officially taking up residence at the president's mansion. A long time coming, I would like to welcome the university's next president knowing that it signals a sea change in the management of an institution decimated by incompetence, misconduct and malfeasance. I wish Dr. Calhoun the best and hope to use this humble venue to chronicle the rebuilding of this important educational institution. 
Today's heroes are the movers braving the cold to ensure the new president gets moved in quickly so that he may go about the business of leading an institution devoid of leadership for the past six years.

Happy holidays!!!

16 days

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Lesson in How Not to Leave Gracefully

On Thursday, when one of my colleagues told me about our ridiculous Board granting tenure (apparently in the College of Education) to our outgoing president, I laughed. Can you imagine Watson as a member of the faculty? Can you imagine him serving on a committee? Doing any kind of research? How about teaching? What does the title President Emeritus really mean? What does tenure really mean?

This old guy is one step away from irrelevance. His time in the spotlight is ending and apparently no one is going to give him another chance to damage an institution of higher learning. In a desperate effort to cling to his last institutional affiliation, he likely had the Board in 2014 add a provision to his contract guaranteeing him Emeritus status upon retirement. Thursday, he likely staged the “spontaneous” motion for his tenure by Nikki Zollar, a long-time crony. Pitiful.

On Tuesday, he must be out of the presidential mansion. On January 4, a new president takes over. Rather than bowing out gracefully, with dignity, this modern Gollum will continue the unseemly pursuit of his “precious,” not realizing that it has slipped through his fingers and that the power he so craves is now out of reach.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Zombie President

Just when you think he's gone, he resurrects.

The CSU Board of Trustees today, notably Trustee Nikki Zollar (she of the many City Colleges contracts), nominated Wayne Watson for tenure and the rest of the sheep voted to maintain Wayne. They gave the guy tenure. Tenure, that's right. Emeritus status AND Tenure. This is the most facocked situation this board has put us in since they voted to extend the Watson contract after the previous board had tried to get Wayne out of the presidency--remember Quinn gave Watson the board he wanted.

I have only heard that Watson will take his tenure in the College of Education. In a department? Will he teach? Will he get paid? Since I don't have enough of the specifics at this moment I'll leave it to my more informed colleagues to get the details.  Just remember how the old Wayne Watson harried Haki Madhabuti off the campus for being tenured and not teaching...Will what's good for the the goose be good for the gander? We have a 4/4 teaching load here, Dr. Watson, and you better be able to "make your load."

So much for the hopey changey thing the Board of Trustees promised us in the Fall when they did not bring Angela Henderson in as the anointed successor of Wayne Watson; they lulled us really good into accepting their presidential search with limited faculty input. Remember their phony email, "we heard  you..."

So much for the countdown phrase some of us have endured by our more patient and less vocal  colleagues, "if we only wait just 3 more, 2 more, 1 more year, 6 more months, 3 more months, 1 more month... he will be gone..." Nuh-uh. The zombie president will be with us even after he is gone...

So much for letting the new CSU president Dr Calhoun start fresh. Tell us Anthony Young, Nikki Zollar and the rest of you "overseers" of the university's good--what good is this going to do? You want Wayne out, but you don't want him to leave? Or, maybe you never wanted him out in the first place. Is Dr Calhoun in on this? Is he  supposed to be the front man for the continued shadow presidency of WW? Elnora Daniel did not have to work on the same campus as her predecessor Dolores Cross; Frank Pogue did not have to bump into Elnora Daniel on campus when he was interim president; and Wayne Watson and then Board Chair Leon Finney could not usher Frank Pogue off campus fast enough. Wayne Watson would never have stood for seeing Frank Pogue granted an office or two in the library with an assistant or two ...and yet you expect Dr Thomas Calhoun to try to work with his predecessor across campus. You really do want Dr Calhoun to fail, don't you?

The Trustee's performance today is a great big F-you to the faculty. 

More than this it is a signal to everyone in the state, the IBHE, and especially to the taxpayers of the state of Ill, that Chicago State University will remain unaccountable to them. It exists for the pols of Illinois to play with as they wish. The Board (i.e. the politically-connected) can place whomever they want into a job or a tenured position on this campus. Chicago State University is the ne plus ultra of patronage pits. Our Board might change the president, but not the institution. They are committed to the culture of machine politics and cronyism. They prefer to support a zombie president, one of their own, than a president who might think that the priority of an academic institution is academics not politics. 

Great News for Chicago State's Recreation Education Program.

Here's some good news about the school that is not on our university web site, which is dedicated to bringing the public news about our administrators, particularly the various awards our administrators get from organizations with which they, or some person they know, are politically or socially connected. These awards always seem to surface when one of our high-level administrators becomes the subject of scrutiny or criticism. Our SPERS faculty recently received re-accreditation from their national accrediting body and the Chicago State Recreation program was honored as one of "the best of the best" by the National Recreation and Park Association. Congratulations to the department staff and faculty: Chair Mark Kutame, Business Associate Tia Cooper-Snyder, professors Sarah Buck, Bryon Martin, Michael McNicholas, Debra Nelson, June Price-Shingles, Edward Reed, and Bob Szyman (apologies to anyone I missed). Here's the text of an article that appeared recently in the Beverly Review:

The Chicago State University (CSU) Faculty Senate recently announced that during the recent National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) 50th anniversary national conference held in Las Vegas, Nev., CSU’s recreation education program was honored at the Best of the Best ceremony and re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT). COAPRT accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation and leisure studies within the United States and its territories, Canada, and Mexico.
CSUs’ recreation program serves an urban community traditionally underrepresented in the leisure profession and has been accredited since 2004. The recreation program offers comprehensive and high quality courses of study in general recreation, recreation management, sport studies and therapeutic recreation and provides ample opportunity for interaction with student-centered faculty who have extensive practitioner backgrounds.
The recreation program curriculum encourages students to pursue professional development beyond the required courses and fieldwork by securing certifications, joining professional organizations, attending conferences and volunteering. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for national certifications as certified parks and recreation professionals (CPRP), certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS), Environmental Education Association of Illinois and Project Learning Tree, coaching, mental health, and first aid and in grant writing.
CSU partners with a variety of leisure service providers within the Chicago metropolitan area with the goal of providing agencies with sensitive, knowledgeable and diverse entry-level professionals, who upon graduation, are eligible to take the CPRP and CTRS national examinations. CSU recreation graduates have gone onto successful professional careers throughout the country with a variety of leisure service agencies including park districts, special recreation associations, and in facilities for the elderly and those with disabilities. Some have also pursued post-baccalaureate studies.
For more information about CSU’s bachelor of science in recreation degree program, visit

Here's a shot of the article:

The article is available here:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Only At CSU Redux

So only at CSU would you ask the following questions or make the following observations. Why would a failed fund raiser try to stay at the university on the board of directors of a new foundation? Well, you would have to ask Baldy's gang about that. To wit, the Provost appears to be conducting interviews for the new executive director of the The University Foundation at Chicago State (not to be confused with the CSU Foundation). That's very strange considering there really shouldn't be any hiring with a new president coming on board in just a matter of days. It should be left to Dr. Calhoun to influence this effort, not someone whose fund raising ability is well, nil. 
If this were Denmark, then the expression "something's rotten in Denmark" would be appropriate. As this is CSU, your humble narrator is left to shake his head in disbelief at the clown show that is currently performing. From the ridiculous "President Emeritus" to two resounding votes of no-confidence (one from the union and one from the Faculty Senate) in the Provost in the past two weeks to the personnel shuffles to the sham Foundation, I can conclude Only At CSU do these things happen. 
Instead of attempting to fix the shambles that is Academic Affairs, the Fauxvost is flitting about attempting to convince us to mistake activity for accomplishment. The re-appointment of Cheri Sidney to manage Financial Aid is deja vu all over again. Wasn't it her that led the university to its Provisional Status with the US Department of Education in her first stint in Financial Aid? 
Baldy's Gang is still at work with a mission to diminish if not destroy the university. 
Fortunately, there is only one party that bears responsibility for this fiasco and that is the Board of Trustees. Allowing this failed president to continue to pretend that all is well is unconscionable. For those holding the fiduciary responsibility for this institution what does this continued clown show say to the incoming president? How much more difficult will Dr. Calhoun's job be with these incompetents still on campus? Their continued presence is evidence of an absence of honor. The honorable thing for all of these cronies to do is leave before being fired or facing the wrath of those employees who remain. Without Baldy to protect them what unpleasantness might befall them if they remain?
If I believed in conspiracies, I would say that Baldy's Gang is trying to make the university unmanageable so that maybe the new president won't want to come here or will leave soon after arriving and they will get to stay in place. But since I don't believe in conspiracies I will take this behavior at face value and just say it is ersatz administrators playing at school. 
My fervent wish is that play time will soon be over and the kids sent away so that the grown ups can manage this university.

Will the Chicago State Board Rubber Stamp the "President Emeritus?" What Do You Think?

As I await the materials for Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting, I wonder if the Board will legitimize the current president’s previously announced position of “President Emeritus.” At this point, the position now includes along with the fancy new title, at least one (and possibly two) support persons, two refurbished offices on the second floor of the new library, and a parking slot dedicated to the “President Emeritus.”

I have sent two communications to the Board in the past several days: one containing several questions about the “President Emeritus” position, the other notifying them of the results of voting on the No Confidence Resolution on the Provost. I believe I made clear that the vote against the Provost should be considered a vote against the outgoing president. I also emphasized that having the current president remain on campus after the new president assumes his duties would undermine Dr. Calhoun’s presidency. At this point, no one on the Board of Trustees has deigned to reply.

What will happen? Looking at the history of the Board’s governance, there seems to be little doubt. One of the constants over the past six-plus years has been the Board’s stance that whatever the president wants should be provided. Notably, there has never been so much as one vote against any administrative proposal. I expect to see the Board rubber stamp this attempt by the current president to hold on to his power, which will continue to enable him to damage the university. If the Board members want to know who is ultimately responsible for Chicago State’s current precarious position, I suggest they simply look in the mirror.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Orwellian World Inhabited by Our Administrators: Laud a Provost Whose Leadership has been Overwhelmingly Repudiated by Staff and the University Faculty

Take a look at the Chicago State web site. On its front page, you will find a news announcement of an award the Provost and Athletic Director (a new Vice President’s position created by the administration just this year) received from the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. According to the web site, Angela Henderson received her award for “Academic Leadership.” At the tail end of the article, Associate Provost Bernard Rowan makes the following statement: “I think I speak for the entire CSU community when I say we are truly proud of Dr. Henderson and Dr. Hendricks. They are both great leaders and great examples for the University”!

What curious timing. This event occurred on November 21 and the news article appeared either yesterday or today. What has transpired at the university between November 21 and December 4 that makes this “news article” suddenly relevant?

I offer the following: On Tuesday, December 1, I sent an e-mail to the Provost reporting the results of the Union membership’s vote on a No Confidence Resolution on her leadership based on an assessment of her performance. Voting on the resolution demonstrated conclusively that the Provost has virtually no support from the UPI 4100 members of the “CSU community.” Here are the figures to date: Out of 150 total votes cast, 142 UPI members supported the No Confidence Resolution, 4 opposed it and 4 abstained. So, 94.7 percent of the voters expressed no confidence in the Provost’s leadership.

Getting deeper into the results, of the unit A, Clinical, and unit B faculty at Chicago State, the result stands at 127 in support of the resolution, 4 against, and 4 abstentions (94.1 percent). Tenured unit A faculty voted 86-3-3 in favor of the resolution (93.5 percent).

More than 50 percent of the 281 eligible voters participated in the election. The majority of eligible voters, total faculty, and tenured faculty expressed no confidence in the Provost. Notably, 64.7 percent of Chicago State’s total tenured faculty expressed no confidence in Angela Henderson.

In what seems an attempt to mitigate the results of an overwhelming vote of no confidence from Chicago State’s entire faculty and the academic support staff who belong to UPI 4100, the university sees fit to put a celebratory “news article” about the Provost on its web site. The article includes the Orwellian assertion by a senior administrator that the “entire CSU community” is proud of Angela Henderson.

Let me be clear about this. The members of the Chicago State Chapter of Local 4100 are actually an integral part of the “CSU community.” In fact, our union represents all the faculty at this university. As the Chief Academic Officer of the university, the Provost is charged with providing leadership to that faculty. The faculty and the union have resoundingly expressed no confidence in the Provost’s leadership. Therefore, Dr. Rowan, I suggest that you do not speak for the majority of 4100 members who made clear their disaffection with this administrator. As I said to the Provost in my December 1 e-mail, she should resign her position. No amount of fulsome nonsense will change that reality.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Anatomy of a Disaster: The Provost Ignores a Well-Founded Committee Recommendation and Imposes Her Uninformed Will on the University. Who Can She Blame?

As many of you know, we are currently witnessing the disastrous effects of the Provost’s advising policies. I went to the advising center yesterday and observed a number of students sitting outside, waiting to see an advisor, while the unfortunate advisors in the understaffed advising center worked diligently at their jobs. Clearly, this ill-conceived and ill-executed plan has created problems where none previously existed. How did we get into this position?

Before I answer that question with my interpretation, I think it important to remember that no one in this administration ever takes responsibility for their failures. That said, who will Angela Henderson blame for this unfolding catastrophe? Is it the responsibility of the persons charged with implementing this ridiculous set of procedures? Are the advisors themselves responsible? Are the students at fault? Could it even be me because I have advised our members not to go along with arguably the worst decision made by an administration with a long history of terrible decisions? Of course, the scapegoat remains to be determined, but it seems fair to say the administration will attempt to find one (or several).

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I will turn to the original question I posed as an historian attempting to offer a coherent chronology of the events that led us to this debacle. I make no claims that this interpretation is definitive, but it is certainly supported by some compelling evidence which I will share.

The story apparently begins some time in 2012 when Enrollment Management conducts some sort of advising analysis. In April and May 2013, a committee made up of CSU staff, faculty and administrators titled the “Ad Hoc Academic Advising Model Committee” meets and subsequently produces both a report on the “CSU Academic Advising Model,” and recommendations related to advising at the school. The most pertinent parts of the summary are below. They include these comments: “An analysis of the CSU advising model reveals that most of the problems with the academic advising model are not necessarily structural, organizational, or even resource-related, but rather are the result of systems, policies/processes, internal communication, and technology that do not work as efficiently or effectively as possible.” And this: “The Split Model (faculty/professional advisors) is the dominant one at four year public colleges and universities . . .” The report identifies a total of 111 persons doing advising at Chicago State, including 44 faculty and 34 Professional Advisors.

The committee minutes include a “SWOT Analysis” on the advising model that seems to be specific to professional advisors and unwittingly offers a preview of the present systemic failures. “Weaknesses and threats” include these weaknesses: “General student dissatisfaction, High student to advisor ratio, lack of training as it relates to curriculum, and Low morale. “Threats” include: “Loss of enrollment and low graduation rates, Problems with Drop Session, Communications, Perception of CSU (internal and external), Lack of benefits for professional advisors, Frequent curriculum changes.” Any of this sound familiar?

Ultimately, the committee recommends the continuation of the mixed advising model. In academic years 2013-14 and 2014-15, university students continue to be advised by a mix of faculty and professional advisors.

All this changes in August 2015 when Angela Henderson decrees that the entire advising process will change. In an imperious memorandum dated August 6, 2015, Henderson makes a number of regal proclamations: “Moving forward, the university center for undergraduate advising . . . will be the advising center.” Then, “All faculty and professional advisors will need to vector their Fall advising hours to occur in the Center. I realize that this will involve changes in practice and want you now to initiate the process.” Then, “Prior to my approving finalizing Fall advising assignments, I expect you to discuss with me your plan for aligning advising personnel with this expectation.” The source of this brilliant decision? A discussion “with the Deans at our recent retreat.” What happened to the Ad Hoc Committee’s report? In her infinite wisdom and using her vast university experience, Angela Henderson apparently decides she knows best and ignores the committee’s recommendations.

Despite this ridiculous pronouncement, fall advising goes basically as it always has gone, with most faculty advising students in their offices. However, a number of professional advisors find themselves reassigned to the advising center. The lack of faculty cooperation in this absurd endeavor apparently angers the Provost because she decides to cut faculty out of the process altogether. In a dishonest memorandum dated November 10, 2015, Henderson makes the dubious claim that “all undergraduate programs and departments have professional academic advisors performing duties through the University Advising Center.” The gist of Henderson’s memorandum seems to be that faculty are no longer allowed to advise undergraduate students. Henderson anoints the Dean of the Library as the leader of the Advising Center, although it is not clear what experience or programmatic expertise Dr. Darga possesses.

From the start, the new advising practices create confusion and disaffection among our students. After listening to some student complaints, on November 19, I write to Henderson expressing my concerns and detailing what I view as the major problems for students and advisors in negotiating the new system. These include: long wait times, an inability to get answers to basic questions, insufficient training and staggering workloads for advisors. In my concluding paragraph, I discuss my concerns about the well-being of advisors and the potential consequences of this bad system for our enrollment.

Henderson’s response provides a model of disingenuous bullshit. It elides the issues I raise in my e-mail and reverts to cliches and platitudes about students coming first and how faculty are doing such great work. Despite the vacuity of Henderson’s response, there is data on this issue, let’s do a little fact-checking on her various communications.

CLAIM: “all undergraduate programs and departments have professional academic advisors performing duties through the University Advising Center .”

FACT: The advising assignments are based on workload. On November 10, the undergraduate advisors numbered 9 (one took another position in the university a few days later). Most of their assignments reflected no logic. One advisor handled all of Psychology; another advised Criminal Justice and Political Science; four advisors had responsibilities in two colleges, two advisors had responsibilities in three colleges. On November 19, each advisor was responsible for an average of 362 students. In 2013, 26 professional advisors worked in the various departments/colleges. In late 2015, that number had been reduced to 8; hardly adequate coverage.

CLAIM: “We alrady have a team of advisors who advise the Freshmen and Transfer students.”

FACT: In May 2013, 8 professional advisors worked in the First Year Experience component of the university. By July 2014, that number had dropped to 5 with only 1 remaining in November 2015. Currently, first year advising is being done by six persons, 5 with administrative titles other than advisor, and one person whose job classification is apparently “advising specialist.” In Fall 2013, 78 faculty and professional advisors served Chicago State’s 4340 undergraduate students. In November 2015, only 14 “professional” advisors bore the responsibility for advising more than 3000 undergraduates.

CLAIM: “Regarding your concerns, it has been taking place for 3 years. Dr. Westbrooks organized an ad hoc committee to review advising.” This seems to suggest that somehow the committee bears the responsibility for the new advising processes.

FACT: Henderson obviously ignored the committee’s recommendations. As a result of her ill-conceived and possibly petulant and retaliatory actions, we have this ongoing fiasco.

CLAIM: “We are implementing best practices in the advising center and welcome input.”

FACT: “Best practices,” whatever that may mean, hardly describes the situation in the advising center. Instead, reality there includes widespread disaffection with the job and its benefits, chronic absenteeism, and alarming turnover. Students continue to be upset with long waits and the obvious confusion caused by advisors who are responsible for multiple programs in multiple colleges. The real damage done by this process is likely not to be felt for a number of years, but I think it almost certain that damage will occur.

The Provost’s fingerprints are all over this disaster. Look at the SWOT analysis. The Ad Hoc Committee did a great job of anticipating the major problems this system and the entire idea of an exploited class of "professional advisors" might create for the university. Did Angela Henderson even bother to read it? Even more important, is she capable of understanding its implications? Who will she blame? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Chicago State Administration: Management by Temper Tantrum

As many of our readers know, this administration has provided a number of textbook examples of horrible management. One of the more interesting and one that has thus far escaped discussion on this forum is the tactic I call management by temper tantrum. From available anecdotal evidence, this particular management practice has accelerated somewhat as the end of the year approaches. A few examples should suffice.

One practice favored by a small segment of our administrators is the storm out of the meeting response to any comments viewed as critical. It is sometimes accompanied by unwarranted accusations that you’ve “raised your voice,” a serious faux pas when dealing with some of our thin-skinned upper administrators. After setting the stage by making this ridiculous accusation, the administrator stands up and announces, “we’re done here,” or words to that effect. Sometimes that takes her/his subalterns by surprise and they sit dumbfounded while our offended administrator huffs and puffs until it becomes obvious that her/his inferiors are not going anywhere. S/he then orders the rest of the group to storm out of the meeting in unison. I personally have witnessed this version of management by tantrum on at least two separate occasions.

A second practice is somewhat similar. Again, accompanied by squeaks of indignation and often specious accusations, the administrator announces that “we’re done here” in a meeting over which s/he is not presiding. Apparently in the belief that her/his pronouncement carries considerable authority and should move the other meeting participants to either end the meeting or cease saying things the administrator finds objectionable, this type of tantrum is not usually accompanied by rising from her/his seat to leave the room.

In my estimation, the most interesting mode of management by tantrum is one recently employed by the University Provost, apparently against a group of Department Chairs. My information here is somewhat sketchy and I welcome any additions or corrections to this account, but I present it because I think it speaks volumes about the current state of affairs at our school.

The issue that aroused the Provost’s ire reportedly concerned the expressed belief by several Chairs that the new centralized advising system with faculty being excluded from advising was not working too well. According to the anecdotal accounts reported to me, possibly confusing Chicago State with North Korea, the Provost threatened to replace any Chairs who were not willing to follow her orders. What a splendid example of shared governance and respect for your colleagues!

The Provost’s response seems perfectly consistent with her stance on academic advising. An ad hoc committee on advising convened by Sandra Westbrooks recommended that the existing system of mixed advising (faculty and professional advisors) be continued. As with many recommendations from practitioners, the administration (the Provost) chose to ignore the expertise of the members of the committee and impose this nightmarish procedure on the university, in the process ordering the faculty to cease advising and to force students with whom they had long-standing relationships to endure the long lines at the advising center. Given the Provost’s obvious sensitivity about this issue and her demonstrated lack of management skills, a resort to management by tantrum when questioned about the efficacy of this process seems logical.

All of these anecdotal accounts reflect, I think, the problems that have beset the university since the inception of the current regime. As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, our upper administrative ranks have mushroomed, particularly since 2011-12 when our enrollment began to decline precipitously. In 2011-12, Chicago State spent $1.148 million on the president and 8 senior administrators: 1 Provost, 1 Vice President, 5 Associate Vice Presidents, and 1 Athletic Director. By the beginning of 2015-16, the number of senior administrators had grown to 14 (with a new VP of Development vacant), at an estimated cost of over $1.8 million. We now have a president, 1 Provost and 13 Associate/Assistant Provosts, Vice Presidents, and Associate Vice Presidents. At least two new Associate/Assistant Provost positions have been created since 2011-12, along with new positions for 1 Vice President, and 3 Associate Vice Presidents.

That metastatic growth is bad enough, but the real problem lies in the incapacity of many of these persons to do the jobs in which they reside. One of the major reasons for that incapacity: a woeful lack of qualifications and experience in a university setting. Of the 15 senior administrators at Chicago State at the end of fiscal 2015, 6 were either personally connected with the current president or from the City Colleges of Chicago. This group includes the president, the Provost, the General Counsel, and 3 Associate Vice Presidents. If the Ethics Officer, Chief Information Officer and Chief of Police are included in that calculation, by the end of fiscal 2015, 8 of the 18 fall into the personal acquaintance/City Colleges category, with several being cronies.

Based on the results of 6 years of mismanagement by City College retreads, I think it fair to say that the experiment has been a failure. Perhaps several of these persons can delude themselves into believing they have been successful but the objective evidence says otherwise. I think they know that and are now resorting to the kind of childish, boorish, and ill-tempered management style they know best. Not surprising, after all, look at their role model.