Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Dean's Search (continued)

In response to the most recent post on the search for the Dean of Students, I offer the following:

First, I don’t believe any of the previous posts discussed whether or not a search occurred for this position.
Second, if none of the previous posts talked about the search, it seems difficult to argue that anyone said anything that seemed “unfair to Dr. McKinney and the search committee who worked so hard to bring a solid candidate to campus.”
Third, the post argues that communication with the faculty took place and alludes to “one of the email announcements that were sent to all faculty through the Moodle site” as an example (this e-mail did not come though in the post). Is that how these notifications were handled? I do not recall receiving anything from the administration regarding this search, I also do not recall receiving anything from the Provost. In fact, on October 17, 2011, one faculty member specifically asked the Vice President of Enrollment management about whether or not a search had been conducted. Here is the text of that e-mail message:

“Dear Ms Henderson,

Thank you for the information you forwarded regarding recent appointments. Was there a university-wide academic search for the position of Dean of Students? As per Board of Trustees regulations any search to fill the position of of Dean and above (VPs, Provost, President) must be conducted as a university search with faculty participation. Please advise that this process was followed.”

If the communication regarding the search had been as transparent and inclusive as you assert, why would such a request be necessary? Recently, the administration made the unusual request for faculty input in drafting the job description for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The e-mail request for this input went from the administration to the Chairs who were then supposed to forward it to the faculty. Does not the administration have the ability to send e-mail notifications directly to faculty?

In addition, as we all know, search committees on this campus do not hire candidates, the administration does. Unless the administrative searches operate in a fundamentally different way, no search committee is able to rank candidates. In addition, I am also unaware of any administrative search that has included faculty participation in creating the job description, a function the faculty participates in at a number of universities.

Because the administration does the hiring, faculty have concerns about how these job searches take place. Eventually the people hired for administrative jobs may be moved to positions in which they can affect the choices made for administrators, faculty, and staff. That is why we feel that viable faculty participation in these searches is vital. Does the administration go through the Faculty Senate? Does the administration simply cherry pick faculty they know are acquiescent? Let’s not be too naive here, there are a number of ways the administration could (notice I do not say “has” here) “stack the deck” in favor of a particular candidate.

As pointed out in previous posts, several of our administrators in key posts do not possess qualifications similar to incumbents at comparable institutions. The question remains, why? Why cannot Chicago State attract the kinds of persons that hold these positions in places like Eastern Illinois, Illinois State, Northeastern, and Western Illinois universities? This remains the question for many faculty and we hope that our new administrators' lack of non-academic degrees and/or experience in graduate degree granting or four-year universities does not adversely affect our accreditation efforts.

As for your post’s final paragraph, you imply that faculty are suggesting that Dr. McKinney’s hire represents some kind of political maneuvering on the part of our president and you express your indignation at the fact that this “false information” only serves to “discount the efforts put forth by the committee . . .” I don’t see the accusation anywhere on this blog that these personnel moves are being orchestrated by the president, but there does seem to be a pattern of moving Watson-era persons from the City Colleges directly into key administrative positions here at Chicago State. I hope you are not suggesting here that our president would not make a politically motivated personnel decision because his history proves that false. More on that later.

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