A notice I saw recently in an office at CSU made reference to the "Conga Line of Retirements" that is taking place this year --many are administrators, faculty, staff, who are hoping to avoid the 8% loss of retirement benefits (or whatever it is that Gov. Quinn is planning) that will take effect in June 2012. Notable losses to expect: the Dean of the Honor's College, Dr. Milo, in December of this year, and our Provost, Dr Westbrooks, in June 2012. The Conga Line began more than a year ago--remember the firings of a lot of staff? Some folks have been harried out (remember Dr. Madhabuti?) or fired (remember Deans McCrank and Lindsey?), others have just said enough of the madness that is CSU and decided to quit/retire while the going is good (too many to list). Someone recently suggested I might like to follow suit--hmmmm...
At any rate the exodus of so many has made for a grand reshuffling of personnel including collapsing and reconfiguring offices, departments, colleges, the whole shootin' match. Wow, one year before our accreditation visit and we are just a hotbed of activity all over campus. But, as one colleague reminds me, "don't mistake activity for productivity." And as another would say, "the Admin just wants to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic." My more earnest colleagues chide such cynicism--yet they cannot seem to point to a grand scheme or master plan that would explain not just the need but the haste and urgency in which all this is being undertaken. But all things will be revealed in time, I suppose--what with the freedom of information act and all.
At any rate, you could be optimistic and say that it is always nice to see some new faces, get some new blood, fresh perspectives. Maybe. Has anyone wondered, however, who are all the new Cook Admin vice presidents, associate vps, interim associates, assistants that are popping up as soon as some new retirement or firing takes place?
If you look through an old copy of CSU's 2006-2008 Undergrad Student Catalogue you will find a directory in the back that lists Administrators, Associate and Assistant Deans, Chairpersons, Academic Programs Directors, and Faculty. It's quite a detailed listing. Each person is listed by name, title or rank, department to which they are associated, the date of their hiring, the titles and places of their final earned degrees. One thing about our former Prez Elnora Daniel was that she was a stickler for having people in academic administration at Chicago State University actually have earned Ph.D.s or at minimum an M.A. of some sort to hold office. Do you remember her emphasis on this? Faculty still have to have the terminal degree in their field to get tenure or promotion now, this is contractural. So what about the new administrators?
Well, it's not Elnora Daniel's campus anymore. The online catalogue which was supposed to be easier to maintain and keep up with changes is woefully out of date (all those mandated thesis requirements last year and program changes must have created quite a backlog of work). I understand the job has recently fallen into the lap of an individual newly reshuffled from another department so good luck to them with all that. BUT, if you check the online catalogue in comparison to the old printed catalogue the out of date listing of administrators does not include their academic credentials (or any credentials for that matter). Why is that? If it is an oversight then I hope the new website manager will rectify this and let us see who and where the new blood at CSU is coming from. Please tell me that Dr Watson is appointing people to these $90,000+ a year jobs under his prerogative who have more than a bachelor's degree.
And interim or not who will be next in line to the provost's job? This is the chief academic officer at a "doctoral-granting" university, one assumes this will be a properly credentialed person ("Ph.D. in hand" as the job ads in academe usually state). Since we know that Dr Westbrooks is leaving, when is the call going out to establish a university-wide provost search committee--hopefully not in April so that it has to run over the summer when the 9-month contractees (i.e. faculty) are not around? In 2003 we got dinged by the HLC accreditation report for shenanigans on that provost search and we will get dinged this accreditation for the shenanigans regarding the prez search of 2009. How many dings can we sustain?
Does anyone see the iceberg on the horizon?