Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year In Review

So, like many in the popular culture, this is the time of year to do a year in review. This has been a year, “not without incident.” Where should we begin?
January brought us the Computer Usage Policy. I am sure we all remember that monstrosity of a policy, one that didn’t just infringe on that inconvenient detail called the First Amendment but obliterated it. After much shuffling about and some clearly post facto negotiation the Computer Usage Policy was re-written, or was it.
In February we learned that sick days at the Chicago City Colleges are far more valuable than here at CSU. For example, the former chancellor, amongst others, cashed out $300K for sick days accrued during his service there. It’s great work if you can get it.
March brought us all the delight of the university’s  Communications and Media Relations Policy. That completely incompetent and abhorrent statement actually garnered the university some publicity which resulted in it being rescinded shortly thereafter. It became evident to your humble narrator by the Spring that the university was incapable as currently manned, of creating policy that was Constitutional much less functional. This institutional inability would continue unabated through the rest of the year.
Maybe April would be brighter, but alas it was revealed that 34 audit findings would be reported for the previous fiscal year, bringing the President’s two year total to 75. It took his predecessor nine years to reach that level. Work continued in April on preparation for the Higher Learning Commission visit.
May brought the university a major personnel addition, namely a new Athletics Director. After a yeoman’s effort by an attorney for Labor & Legal Affairs, CSU launched itself into a new level of professionalism. May also saw a huge outreach effort to employees to complete the Noel Levitz Employee Satisfaction Survey as participation flagged a bit.
The summer, should have been uneventful but alas, faculty became roiled as several probationary faculty received extra-contractual do overs on retention and a completely illegitimate DAC process was foisted upon the faculty. Of course the administrative spin was that neither of these events happened except for the fact that they did happen and faculty was incensed by clear violations of the faculty contract. We also witnessed many of the lowest paid workers at the university not being paid and the fallout from the Web Time Entry implementation process.
The fall opened in September with word that enrollment was down for the second straight year and there appeared to be no plan in sight for correcting the decline. The community also learned that the hiring process for tenure track faculty was badly flawed and as a result hirings were conducted that had the appearance of cronyism, a charge vigorously denied by the university’s President. The university continued to diligently prepare for the impending HLC visit and congratulations for the preparation effort go out to faculty and staff who contributed countless hours to what should have been a successful accreditation visit.
November welcomed the HLC team but not before the Faculty Senate voted in favor of a motion of No Confidence in the President. Two, rather lengthy documents outlining the faculty’s concern were considered by the Senate and the motion overwhelmingly passed. Much discussion was had with the HLC team about the faculty concerns and lo and behold a new more expansive model of shared governance emerged from the administration. The month also saw the passing of Steven Moore, a faculty member who brought energy, enthusiasm and wisdom to teaching our students.
December ushered in the end of the Fall semester and the calendar year. The university presented the happiest of events, the Fall Commencement Ceremony and received the sad news of the passing of a long serving faculty colleague, Atha Hunt. The university also chose to join the Western Athletic Conference after a brief foray in the Great Western Conference. The Board of Trustees met for the last time in 2012 and faculty spoke about the break down in policy adherence during a faculty search process at the BOT meeting.
Perhaps the most memorable and sobering event was the shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. It reminded me the lesson I learned September 11th, 2001, namely that at the end of the day, the only thing I really have are my relationships. So my commitment is to work on those relationships, personal and professional during 2013.
For your humble narrator, this event chastened me about my critique of the dysfunction of the university and reminds me to keep my eye on the highest ideals of the institution. I invite all in the community to do the same.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Financial Storm Clouds on the Horizon

So now Moody’s has downgraded the credit rating of the eight public universities in Illinois. It cited

"The problems there include lawmakers’ inability to pay for an estimated $96-billion in future pension commitments as well as $9-billion in unpaid obligations to state agencies. The extra cost of borrowing brought on by a downgrade could be a double whammy if the universities are forced to borrow money to cover the state’s delinquent payments."

For those who follow the public universities and their tenuous relationship with the legislature, it is well known that some of the public universities struggle mightily with keeping the doors open when the state withholds money appropriated for higher education. What concerns your humble narrator is the continued absence of fund raising at this institution. The amount of the endowment is decreasing and there appears to be no credible, strategic plan for a capital development campaign. In the face of higher borrowing costs, the potential for sequestration at the federal level and declining student enrollments, projected to be flat for 2013-14, it appears the university has been positioned for a catastrophic financial collapse. I would imagine pro-active leadership would make an announcement to allay fears of students, staff and faculty. A robust, innovative and ambitious capital campaign would be announced for the New Year after all of the ground work was laid by those expert in capital development and the most senior university officials would then spend a significant amount of their time engaged in reaching the target goal. I would imagine that the Provost would continue managing the core activity of the institution as the Chief Academic Officer, the Vice President for Administration and Finance would continue working toward more financial controls and increased accountability while the President and other various and sundry non academic administrators would work toward realizing the university’s capital campaign goal. I would refer you to a post I made here on April 15th, 2012 where I referred to Stanford University and its multi-year campaign which succeeded in raising $6.23 billion. It is possible in an unstable economy to raise a significant amount of money if the will is there, the plan is sound and those able to execute are empowered. If any of those three are absent the project is doomed to failure and the institution will suffer as well from that failure. 

Is this institution up to the task of protecting its 145 year existence for another 150 years? That is what legacy is about, not constructing more buildings or starting more programs. Legacy is about ensuring the institution does more than survive. It is about ensuring it thrives.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Now Here's an Idea: "You can sit around and complain and withdraw from everything, or you can get angry and get active and get motivated...I got angry."

Interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education --what one university did to rectify egregious violations of shared governance on its campus. Perhaps another step is to revive a chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors). CSU had one before it was unionized, but the two institutions are not mutually exclusive. Northeastern University recently started one.

And while I'm wondering about shared governance in universities, I am also wondering what the preliminary report of the HLC said? Will the faculty get a summary?  It was supposedly received this week or last.

Lastly, look for more changes in the new year. There is no word as to whom our new provost may be, but apparently Dr. Westbrooks will be gone...

December 17, 2012

A College Creates a Chair for Shared Governance
By Audrey Williams June

At one point in the 42-year history of Francis Marion University, the public liberal-arts college's shared-governance system was so dysfunctional it drew national attention.

But in recent years the South Carolina institution—whose tense faculty-administration relations had earned it a spot on the American Association of University Professors' sanction list—has shed its image as the poster child for shared governance gone bad. Faculty members, along with the current president and Board of Trustees, have worked to rebuild the university's governance in a way that gives faculty a meaningful voice. And a new endowed chair in shared governance is viewed by many on the campus and elsewhere as a symbol of just how far Francis Marion has come.

"We went through a very torturous period to get where we are today," said Luther F. Carter, president of Francis Marion, who made overhauling shared governance a priority when he arrived, in 1999. "This chair seems like a logical progression of all that we've done to recognize the contributions of faculty in shared governance."

The endowed chair, which officials expect to award at the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year, is reserved for the head of the Faculty Senate, formally known as the chair of the faculty. That person will hold the endowed chair until his or her chairmanship ends. The chair is named after a retired professor of history, E. Lorraine de Montluzin, who was a leader in the faculty's fight to restore shared governance at the institution.

"She worked so hard to save this university back in the 90s," Mr. Carter said.

Ms. de Montluzin, who began her academic career at Francis Marion in 1974, remembers those years well. They were marked by a climate of fear on campus, she said, particularly during the tenure of Mr. Carter's predecessor, Lee A. Vickers. After Mr. Vickers arrived, in 1994, the board shut down the institution's fledgling faculty senate, dissolved elected faculty committees, and set aside the faculty constitution, among other things. Professors protested along the way and ultimately pushed back with an overwhelming vote of no confidence in his leadership in 1996, but the Board of Trustees continued to strongly back the president.

Francis Marion U., whose administration building is shown here, once drew national attention for shared governance gone bad. Now faculty members feel they have a meaningful voice.

"You can sit around and complain and withdraw from everything, or you can get angry and get active and get motivated," Ms. de Montluzin said. "I got angry."

From Sanctioned to Model

The AAUP, after visiting the campus to investigate, voted in 1997 to sanction Francis Marion. The sanction list comprises institutions that the association has found to have violated widely accepted faculty-governance standards. A year later, a South Carolina legislative audit—conducted after Ms. de Montluzin and a small group of Francis Marion professors met secretly with lawmakers to urge them to do so—confirmed that shared governance at the university was broken. It also revealed that scholarship money had been misused, enrollment was dropping sharply, and that Mr. Vickers's house had been remodeled at a cost of more than $235,000 without competitive bidding.

In 1999, following the audit, Mr. Vickers left and took a job as president of Dickinson State University, from which he retired in 2008. Mr. Carter, who succeeded him, made it clear from the outset that he "wanted to get off that sanction list," said Ms. de Montluzin, who organized the AAUP chapter at Francis Marion and served as its first president. "When he came it was just like a big weight had been lifted off of us."

She is credited with working closely with Mr. Carter and the new board early on to restore shared governance at Francis Marion, including rewriting the faculty handbook.

"We got to see Lorraine in a different role as she led the faculty, not in resistance, but in how you rebuild shared governance," said Kenneth Kitts, a former associate provost and professor of political science at Francis Marion who is now provost at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. "She was a very engaged partner with the administration, once she had an administration she could work with."

Rebecca Flannagan, current chair of the faculty, said she could tell right away that Mr. Carter's presidency would be different. When he arrived at Francis Marion, Mr. Carter "spent a lot of time right away learning what the faculty's needs were," said Ms. Flannagan, a professor of English.

"We weren't really used to that," she said. "He always makes the faculty feel important and valued. He wants faculty input on anything that affects faculty."

In 2000, the AAUP removed the institution from its sanction list—making it the first institution to have been sanctioned and then redeemed by the association's governance committee. In 2002, Mr. Carter received a national award from the association in recognition of his efforts to restore the institution's governance system.
"With amazing rapidity, Francis Marion has gone from the AAUP sanctions list to a model of what shared governance ought to be," the AAUP said in a news release about the award.

As chair of the faculty, Ms. Flannagan works closely with Mr. Carter and the Board of Trustees, which is not always the case for faculty leaders at other institutions. Mr. Carter, she said, "makes it attractive to be involved in shared governance."

Ms. Flannagan, who is serving a one-year term as chair of the faculty, plans to run for re-election. If she wins, she would be the first occupant of the endowed chair in shared governance.

Ms. de Montluzin said she is "tremendously honored" by the endowed chair that is named after her.

"So many institutions struggle to find the right type of shared governance," Mr. Carter said. "Now that we have that, there's a certain zeal that we have about protecting it."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Response to My Colleague

This is a response to the most recent post from a colleague.

Having read your post, I must say that I find it a disappointing mix of innuendo, convoluted logic and special pleading. I will respond to each of your points in order.

Your first paragraph seems to suggest that somehow the absence of one candidate's inclusion in the criticism “validates her hiring.” You then assert that “if the criticism is about the process then the publishing record of all the applicants should not matter. The process is the problem and not the candidates, correct?”

I do not see how the material that precedes this statement and subsequent question supports your conclusion. In fact, if the problem is with the process, it seems like an individual’s failure to meet basic qualifications for a position should be particularly relevant to this discussion. Simply put, neither Lew Myers nor Andre Grant met the minimum qualifications as listed in the job announcement. As for the other candidate, she possesses the requisite qualifications. That is why she is not mentioned. Nonetheless, her hiring (through no fault of her own) is associated with a tainted search and its subsequent dubious outcome. As Dr. Thomson noted at yesterday’s board meeting, no one will know what the list of finalists would have looked like had the faculty been involved, since this search proceeded essentially without any faculty participation. No one from the Criminal Justice faculty interviewed the qualified candidate, a disservice to her.

Your next three paragraphs offer a red herring argument in support of the hiring of Lew Myers, with a perfunctory nod toward Andre Grant. You begin by discussing the “recurring criticism” of the two attorneys and its basis in “their publishing record”–which you declared irrelevant in your opening paragraph. You then note that Andre Grant has been criticized for his lack of teaching experience, which your claim in the opening paragraph also renders irrelevant. You then proceed to shower fulsome praise on Lew Myers for his work as an advocate for social justice. Who has questioned his credentials in those areas? To what criticism are you responding?

The special pleading in your final paragraph makes your meaning clearer. You argue that the community and legal activities of these two faculty should substitute for their lack of scholarly accomplishments, seemingly advocating for an “exemption” from the customary professional standards of the social science disciplines for these two faculty. Your stance raises some questions for me: Should we ignore the UPI-CSU contract for these two persons? Should they be retained, promoted, or given tenure in case of their inability to meet minimum requirements for such action? If so, should not other faculty be given special consideration for their work outside the university? Why have standards in research, teaching and service at all, if activities in those areas are interchangeable?

Let me be clear here, this search deserves to be questioned. One administrator involved in the process described it as “dirty.” Unfortunately, it cannot be undone and all the rhetorical contortions in the world cannot make it right. As a result, those three new faculty will always be associated with a search that should not have been. Blaming the faculty for administrative excesses, as a number of administrative apologists did at the yesterday’s board meeting, will not change that fact. Neither will the arguments you make in your post.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From One of Our Colleagues Re: The Criminal Justice Search

I have listened to the criticism of the Criminal Justice hires for some time now and find it interesting that the initial criticism was of three new hires in Criminal Justice. Since one of the candidates ostensibly has a significant publishing record, her name is now not included in the criticism, a retraction I assume that validates her hiring. I raise this point because if the criticism is about the process then the publishing record of all the applicants should not matter. The process is the problem and not the candidates, correct?

This brings me to my larger point. One of the recurring criticism of Lew Myers and Andre Grant is their publishing record and in the case of Mr.Grant, his teaching experience. I will plead ignorance and admit I now absolutely zero about their publishing records (as I now little about most of my colleagues publishing record). However, I know Lew Myers and was familiar with his name for years before actually meeting him. Mr.Myers is a highly regarded Civil Rights Attorney and advocate. Activist and scholars that I know throughout this country think it is quite a coup to have Mr. Myers in our fold. He has taught for years at Kennedy King College and provides a wealth of experience and expertise on the prison industrial complex, civil rights movement, the justice system, and the intercession between race, class, and law.

Dare I say that it is a common practice for universities of all stripes to hire people of note in their field. Black activists across the country know and respect Lew Myers. Advocates for political prisoners and prisoners rights know and respect Lew Myers. One of Wayne Watson's critics a few years ago, Haki Madhabuti, knows and respects Lew Myers. Mr. Myers has been involved in the Black freedom struggle in Chicago for over 30 years and has served as the legal counsel for Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson. In short, he is no lightweight.

Finally, in my role as co-chair of the Chicago Council on Black Studies, Mr. Myers and myself have been organizing to incorporate the prison re-entry program he had at Kennedy King College at CSU. We are working assidously with grassroots organizations and ex-felons. Our goal is for CSU to be the leading advocate for ex-felon voting rights, empolyment rights, and human rights. This is a huge step for CSU and any effort that strentghens our connections to local communities should be applauded.

An applicants publishing record is only one element used to assess the value of a candidate. In fact, I do not think I am the only faculty member that finds the 4/4 load and committee and community responsibilities as an obstacle to publishing vigourously and widely. I have heard my colleagues lament about all we have to do AND publish. Therefore, when taking into account Mr. Myers and Mr. Grant, we should consider what they have accomplished and assess their publishing record with that context in mind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Events As They Happened, Not As You Wish They Had Happened

Since Dr. David Kanis, the interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, desires to “provide some context for my decisions” during the recent Criminal Justice search that has “received much attention,” his recent memorandum deserves a close reading. In particular, the accuracy of the end-justifies-the-means tenor of the memorandum should be scrutinized, as should the Dean’s portrayal of himself as controlling the search.

Going paragraph-by-paragraph, it appears that the first two paragraphs, which provide background for the Dean’s subsequent discussion, are essentially accurate. Much of the material in the second paragraph is included in the recent investigative report submitted to the Faculty Senate. Unfortunately, paragraphs three, four, and five demonstrate sophistry at best, and mendacity at worst. No one acquainted with the trajectory of the Criminal Justice search would find credible the scenario sketched by the Dean in these three paragraphs.

In paragraph three, the Dean details the myriad problems with the Criminal Justice Department and claims that the decision to hire new faculty in August came from President Watson, who “heard my (Kanis’s) deep concerns,” about the program and “told the Provost to hire criminal justice faculty immediately.” This account completely contradicts the comments Dr. Kanis made to at least two Criminal Justice faculty that the search had been ordered by the President and that he essentially “had to do it.” Also in paragraph three, Kanis claims that in "the first week in August," the Criminal Justice “chairperson sent out an email to her three peers notifying them of this opportunity, and that they were invited to participate in the search.” There is no record of this e-mail being received by any faculty in Criminal Justice and none of the faculty have any memory of such an e-mail. Kanis must be referring here to the e-mail of August 14 that went out to Criminal Justice faculty after five interviews had already been conducted. In fact, as the Faculty Senate investigation reveals, not until August 10, when the Dean told one Criminal Justice faculty member about the search, did any of the faculty know anything about the possibility of hiring new faculty. In fact, one of the department’s senior faculty learned about the search after the list of final candidates had been promulgated and interviews scheduled. Dr. Kanis contradicts himself in this paragraph when he acknowledges that “I expressed my concern to the Provost over running a search in such a short time period, particularly with faculty involved in student registration or on vacation.” In any event, the "opportunity" afforded Criminal Justice faculty extended only to participation in interviews that had already been arranged by the administrators conducting the search.

The final sentence in paragraph three seems nothing more than an attempt to spin the improper search by claiming that the applicants’ were so impressive that the Dean “was stunned at [their] quality, with at least twelve having qualifications superior to the candidate recommended by the faculty and rejected by the President.” Without going into the qualifications of all eleven finalists, it seems fair to say that the qualifications (as detailed in the job announcement) of Lewis Myers and Andre Grant hardly deserve to be described as “superior.” In fact, neither of those two candidates possessed any record of publications nor did they list anything resembling a research agenda on their applications. In addition, Andre Grant listed no teaching experience on his application.

In paragraph four, Dr. Kanis again presents a narrative that contradicts the sequence of events established by the Faculty Senate investigation. In particular, his assertion that an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates included faculty input is ludicrous. According the documentary evidence, the only conversation about the candidates between Dr. Yan Searcy, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Douglas Thomson, a senior faculty member in the Criminal Justice Department, occurred after the three successful candidates had already likely been selected. There was clearly no “consultation with faculty,” as the Dean claims.

Paragraph five contains what appears to be a completely fabricated account of the Criminal Justice faculty being afforded the opportunity of “weigh[ing] in” on whether or not to halt the search, which the Dean claims he was considering. He describes the department as containing “four . . . faculty,” a complete distortion of the facts. At the time of the search, the department included Drs. Mohammad Salahuddin, Douglas Thomson, and Professor Marc Cooper. The Department Chair, Professor Marian Perkins, is not faculty, as the Dean obviously should know. In any event, none of the faculty received a request to “weigh in” on whether the search should continue. In fact, Dr. Thomson has protested the irregularity and impropriety of the process from August 14 until the present day.

The remainder of the memorandum is mainly meaningless verbiage about how the university and the Dean plan to protect the integrity of future searches, spiced with another reminder that faculty have limited authority in this area. After all, the Dean will decide who the best candidate is for a particular job, and “it doesn’t have to be the candidate chosen by the faculty.” Given that search committees for faculty hires do not rank candidates and in essence to not make a choice, the Dean’s comment here seems somewhat disingenuous.

While I have no desire to speculate on Dr. Kanis’s motives in sending out this memorandum, I will make several observations based on its contents.

First, nothing in the memorandum ameliorates the completely improper nature of the Criminal Justice search of 2012. No rationalization or obfuscation can change the fact that Criminal Justice faculty were not involved in the selection of finalists for the positions, those selections were made by administrators. The complete control of the search by university administrators violated a number of university policies and professional “best practices.” In addition, the improper search likely violated a number of accreditation standards.

Second, there was extremely limited faculty participation in the interviews, with Dr. Salahuddin apparently attending one and Dr. Thomson three. Thus, in seven of the eleven interviews, there were no Criminal Justice faculty present.

Third, none of the administrators who participated in the search operated in the best interests of either the program or the university. The claim that the search produced stellar candidates is disputed by at least one of the Criminal Justice faculty. Had any faculty input on the candidates been considered, two of the eventual hires would not have been on a list of finalists.

Fourth, perhaps most important, Dr. Kanis had an opportunity to go on the record during the Faculty Senate investigation and chose not to do so.

There are others who can speak to caliber of two of the new hires' teaching, and whether their hiring has been a great boon to the Criminal Justice Department, but I would invite anyone who is interested to revisit the investigative report on the Faculty Senate website and determine for yourself which narrative seems more credible.

CJ Search Apologia--received this morning

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cafeteria workers' one-day strike

     Cafeteria workers, employees of Thompson Hospitality, were on strike on Thursday, protesting Thompson's unfair labor practices. This was the first strike of university cafeteria workers in the history of Chicago, according to the UNITE website: I was giving make-up finals in my office, which looks out on the student union building when I heard, "I don't know but I've been told...," the sing-song military cadence. I figured it was an ROTC drill, but when I looked out I saw a group of workers with signs saying "On Strike." When the last student was gone, I went over to join the pickets and show support.
     Union organizers soon greeted me as I joined the chanting workers. I was asked to accompany a worker and a student in going to meet with university president Wayne Watson. The workers had received a letter three days earlier informing them that, because the university was in arrears in payments to Thompson, the food service at Chicago State would shut down and all workers would be terminated. We went to the president's office and were soon ushered into a room to meet with university lawyer Patrick Cage, vice president Angela Henderson, and a third man whose name I did not fully catch (but his first name was Lawrence, I believe). The cafeteria worker took the lead, stressing Thompson's unfair labor practices and the hardship of having her hours cut by Thompson so that she could not receive employment benefits. It was hard for her to support herself and her child, and Thompson was offering them $8.25/hr. Now they were being told that they would lose their jobs because the university had not paid Thompson. Cage responded that the university was only $50,000 in arrears for catering services (a small fraction of the university's $2,000,000 contract with Thompson) and that the bill would be paid within 24 hours. He insisted that the university believes that all workers should receive a living wage.
     Our worker-leader pressed him on how this was possible given the conditions under which she and other cafeteria workers were working. It was impossible for her to provide for her family on the pay Thompson was offering. When asked what he meant by "living wage," Cage responded a wage comparable to what other workers doing the same work receive at universities in the Chicago area. We asked him to make a statement that this was the university's moral stance, that all workers at CSU, including contract workers, should receive a fair wage in that sense. He said he "would have to consult with the ethics officer" before articulating such an ideal on behalf of the university!!
     We soon left and reported what had happened to the picketers. As background, readers should know that the cafeteria workers voted 39-2 in the spring to be represented by UNITE. Thompson is trying to punish these workers for insisting that they be treated with respect and dignity.
     It turns out that Thompson is a black-led firm allied with Compass food services, specifically to served historically black and predominately minority campuses. It seems that black capitalist bosses specialize in racist oppression and exploitation of black food service workers! On Wednesday they had brought in four scabs at $14.40/hr. to intimidate the union workers, workers whom they refuse to pay such a wage.
     I hope that Professor Pancho and others will supplement this post with more information about the history of this struggle.
     In January there is likely to be further action, even a strike. Whatever happens I encourage faculty, staff and students to support our brothers and sisters who work for Thompson. We are all part of one class, the working class.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

No Confidence???

So it is pretty widely known that the CSU Faculty Senate recently debated and voted on a motion of No Confidence brought against the President. This was not an action taken in a fit of pique. Rather it was the result of a sober, incisive analysis of a failed administration that has stumbled since a failed search yielded two ill-suited presidential candidates in 2009.Whether it was the mishandling of the Senior Thesis, declining enrollment, 75 audit findings in two years, or academic hirings that are being characterized as scandalous, the faculty, sans the regime apologists, have had enough.
One of the ways that faculty communicate their displeasure is through a vote of No Confidence. Though not binding on the governing body of the institution, in the Academy, it is a strong statement of the faculty in the behavior and/or performance of the administrator in question. Some faculties have voted no confidence in both the Provost and the President. No suggestion was ever raised in the debate about including the sitting Provost in this motion.
It is likely that the first vote of No Confidence in the British Parliament occurred in 1782 after news of the British defeat at Yorktown reached London. Dozens of college and university faculties have used the no confidence vote to communicate to the institution’s governing body that as a body it has lost confidence in the ability of the President to continue to manage the affairs of the university. In an academic context, there is no requirement to provide a reason for the vote. The instruments of faculty governance can simply vote. Faculty tend not to behave impulsively, especially in a matter as serious as a No Confidence vote.  There appears to be no standard procedure on how these votes are conducted. I can assure you that the Faculty Senate performed its due diligence in having verifiable evidence as its basis for action. Using the institutional mechanisms of its committee structure, the Senate conducted a performance evaluation of the President based on (and not limited to) criteria in his contract with the Board of Trustees. The full report is available at Subsequently, when a Senator raised concerns about the hiring process used to fill tenure track lines in an academic department, the Senate conducted a thorough investigation. There must have been irregularities in the hiring process because the Human Resources Department conducted its own investigation. Though the Senate report is publicly available in its entirety, the administration report has yet to be released. After both reports were made available to the Senate, the body voted to empower the Senate Executive Committee to draft a No Confidence motion for presentation to the body for debate and a vote. That debate was held at a regularly scheduled meeting. With 32 Senators voting, 28 voted in favor, 2 against with 2 abstentions. Part of the debate revolved around the timing of the vote, just prior to the arrival of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation team. A visit to the HLC website will provide a plethora of information on institutions whose faculty voted No Confidence and the institution was re-accredited. A university is highly unlikely to lose its accreditation due to a faculty No Confidence vote. It is likely to raise questions though. It may also lead to increased scrutiny through monitoring. Those questions deserve answers and if the faculty is not given the answers maybe the accrediting body can prompt some action on the part of the Board.
After the vote was conducted the Senate informed the administration of the vote and provided copies of the reports used by the Senate in its debate. The HLC accreditation team was also contacted so as not to blind side them should the issue have come up during the faculty session with the evaluators. Other external entities were contacted as dictated by the debate had by the Senate.
On a final note, there seems to be a belief held by a few that ‘dirty laundry’ shouldn’t be aired publicly. It is a ridiculous assertion as dirty laundry in private is still dirty laundry. Sometimes clean air and sunshine can cleanse dirty laundry. Keeping it in the dark only keeps it in need of laundering. Some uninformed faculty may be curious about what the ‘end game’ of the Senate action is. Sometimes, even in the Academy, or because it is the Academy, faculty do principled things, simply because it is the right thing to do. It may be difficult to understand if one is not experienced or is uninformed about the workings of a university.
Contrary to the want of some that CSU remain equivalent to a local high school, it is not. Thus its faculty behaved in the way that faculty at many universities behave.
And so the journey continues.......

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Criminal Justice Faculty Search of 2012

That Wayne Watson would write a response to the Shared Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate in which he finds the well-documented claims of the “Performance Evaluation of Chicago State University President Wayne Watson” baseless is disingenuous as the evaluation is based on widely available documents. Readers are invited to read the Performance Evaluation and “Investigative Report on the Criminal Justice Search and Subsequent Hiring of Tenure-Track Faculty” at Both reports are hyperlinked to relevant documentation. In this blog post, I summarize the relevant facts concerning the investigation into the August 2012 Criminal Justice “search” and present the conclusions to the report.

The Facts

1) As of the Fall 2012 semester we have three new faculty in the Criminal Justice program. One, April Bernard, seems to possess the requisite experience in the field as scholar and professor as designated in the employment advertisement. The other two, Andre Grant and Lewis Meyers, are practicing attorneys. Neither meet the minimum job requirements which include holding a relevant terminal degree, university teaching experience and a scholarly agenda. Yet, Meyers is being paid $95,004 and Grant, $69,003. Given these facts, one wonders if the CSU administration had our students, our university and the Criminal Justice program in mind when it appointed unqualified people to fill crucial faculty positions. The fact that Wayne Watson knows Myers well and is acquainted with Grant raises additional ethical issues regarding nepotism or ‘crony’ hiring.

2) The search that resulted in the two new tenure-track assistant professors and one new associate professor of Criminal Justice did not follow mandated procedures as outlined in the Labor and Legal Affairs memorandum date June 2011 and the Faculty Handbook dated August 16, 2012. According to both documents faculty searches begin at the Departmental Personnel Committee made up of tenure and tenure-track faculty. Administrators, including chairpersons and Deans, are not to be involved. The August 2012 ‘search’ in Criminal Justice involved no meaningful faculty participation. Senior faculty in the department were ignored, misled and left-out of the process at almost every level.

3) The Criminal Justice ‘search’ conducted by chairperson, Marian Perkins and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences began on August 9 and ended on August 16. This impossibly short period of time for a search goes against past practices, logic, common sense and Contract Administrator, Dr. Debrah Jefferson’s September 1, 2009 memorandum to “Deans, Chairs and Directors” that establishes that the hiring process should be wrapped up more than two months in advance of the faculty member’s start date. The ‘search’ committee of administrators reviewed more than 100 applications in a few days in the second week of August when the Fall 2012 semester would begin a week later.

4) Well-established scholars and professors were available to fill needed positions in the Criminal Justice program but were ignored in favor of the two lawyers who lacked relevant experience and Dr. Bernard. Initially, the Criminal Justice program conducted a search for one tenure-track position. This search in the 2011 Spring semester resulted in a strong applicant pool and the decision to hire a seasoned CSU faculty member and experienced researcher, Professor Tracy Crump. At all levels Professor Crump was seen as the ideal candidate. The Chairperson, the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Provost indicated that she would be hired. Without explanation and going against all informed suggestion, Wayne Watson refused to hire her.


We believe that the President of the university, Wayne Watson, as the ultimate hiring authority violated a number of university policies and, perhaps, state law as making decisions in one’s position as an employee of the State of Illinois that serve to benefit oneself, one’s family or one’s associates and not the institution or the people of Illinois is a violation of the Ethics Act. Subsequent investigations by the appropriate institutional parties, e.g. the Board of Trustees and Ethics Office, and the appropriate state agencies should be commenced.

In addition, the behavior of all parties involved must be examined and the proper remedies should be employed. In the very least, faculty should demand that Professor Perkins and the Office of the Dean account for their participation in this process. Moreover, Professor Tracy Crump who has been denied a job that almost all in the department agreed she was best suited should be offered a tenure-track position at a salary commensurate with that of Lewis Myers whose experience suggests he possesses none of the skills that Crump has employed at CSU for a number of years.

Wayne’s Endgame?

The ill-conceived, poorly executed, sham faculty ‘search’ illustrates a disregard for and disrespect toward faculty, a lack of concern for our university and the continuation of mismanagement of this university. That the administrative committee chose two candidates that are clearly unqualified makes me wonder why they would select them. It couldn’t possibly be for the good of the program or our students since Professor Perkins has asked non-tenured faculty including Professor Crump to teach additional classes since the two lawyers could not. Why would the committee choose two unqualified Friends of Wayne (FOWs) to fill crucial positions in spite of the wishes of faculty who obviously know the needs of its program better than Wayne?

A partial answer might lay in Wayne’s desires to build institutions such as the West Side Campus and a Law School at CSU paving the way for blunders here that were previously experienced by the City Colleges including the cost overruns involved in constructing the new Kennedy-King Campus. Instead of leaving the management of academic affairs with the academics, i.e., faculty and other academic professionals, and focusing on fundraising and improving the image of CSU Wayne chooses to micromanage in order to sneak through ill-conceived plans. According to interviews Lewis Myers has been working on a committee with Miriam Perkins to discuss the establishment of a Law School. At the same departmental meeting in which this was revealed Wayne asked Perkins about the progress of the law school and stated that the law school is the reason that they made “the personnel decisions that [they] did.” I leave it to my informed readers to draw their own conclusions about this process.

There is no doubt that faculty, students, staff and others are doing important things on this campus and these things need to be highlighted. The President’s Office should be focused on laying the foundation for this excellence to develop even further and fixing the administrative problems (which, according to Watson in a rare moment of truth-telling two years ago at one of his famous ‘town hall’ meetings with faculty, are 80% of the problems on campus) that render the educational and employment experience challenging.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The No Confidence Vote, Make Your Own Decision

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the Chicago State University Faculty Senate, acting, in part, on the information contained in a report on President Watson’s performance, overwhelmingly passed a motion of “no confidence” in the president’s ability to lead the university. The Senate withheld publication of this action in order to avoid creating a distraction, and to give the president an opportunity to respond. The accrediting team and Chicago State’s Board of Trustees were both notified immediately–the Trustees, as is their policy, by communicating the motion through the Provost’s office and the Chicago State administration. The full report by the Senate’s Shared Governance Committee is available here:

While the Higher Learning Commission accreditation team indicated during their visit that they were aware of the “no confidence” vote, they told the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee that they had heard nothing about the motion from the Board of Trustees, and that the Board had made no comment about existing tensions between faculty and the administration.

On November 13, 2012, the president sent a response to a number of faculty and students, although the list was not inclusive. Frankly, the caliber of the response validates many of the concerns raised in the Senate’s report. The response ignored the substantive issues raised in the report as well as the evidence used to demonstrate the document’s claims. Predictably, the response bemoaned the criticism of individuals and attempted to deflect the discussion from the president’s performance to the behavior of his critics. Some notable highlights include:

The president writes: “I want to thank those senators who voted not to support the Senate’s action.”

The Faculty Senate voted 28-2 with 2 abstentions in favor of a no confidence motion.

In the next paragraph, the president writes: “Both the “evaluation” and “summary of findings” contain overreaching statements of opinion, but fall woefully short of presenting substantiated facts and context in support thereof.”

Please refer to the linked document and judge for yourself whether it contains “overreaching statements of opinion” and is bereft of “substantiated facts and context.”

Finally, later in his reponse the president writes:

"On a personal level, I am disappointed that the Shared Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate would engage in public discourse about any of our colleagues. Those individuals mentioned in your document are professionals who command respect in the higher education marketplace because of their experience and documented capabilities. As higher education leaders and managers, their qualifications are unimpeachable.

Unfortunately, these types of opinionated, personal attacks, which lack facts and context, have been made too easily accessible to persons outside of the University—families, friends, neighbors, professional associates, and future employer—and can be damaging on both a personal and professional level. We are one institution with a shared goal of educating students."

Again, please refer to the linked document and judge for yourself whether its comments regarding various administrators are defamatory.

Unfortunately, the president and his supporters are not able to have the conversation they wish. The Orwellian response of this administration changes nothing. Wayne Watson’s tenure has been a failure. In concordance with the Faculty Senate’s motion, he should be removed from his position as president of Chicago State University.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

From HLC Steering Committee

I would like to thank all the members of the CSU Community who came out to meet with the HLC Team. Nearly 200 students attended the student meeting; the faculty, staff and community members meetings were also well-attended. The HLC Team was very impressed with the dedication and energy of all those who expressed their views. They saw that we are student-focused.

Dr Paul Musial
Associate Professor of Mathematics and co-chair of the HLC Steering Committee

Sunday, November 11, 2012

They're Here...

The HLC Comprehensive Team Visit is taking place November 11-14th and as I write this they already have begun their business.

We received the final itinerary for the visit this weekend.

Monday seems mostly taken up with meetings with various administrators and directors including the UPI leadership. Tuesday is heavy with meeting various campus constituencies. Some of the team will be split up to meet in concurrent sessions with campus groups. These might be meetings of interest:

12.45 - 1.45 p.m. FACULTY meet with the accreditation team in the LIBRARY AUDITORIUM
STUDENTS will meet at the same time in the LIBRARY ATRIUM

2-2.45 p.m. FACULTY SENATE LEADERSHIP will meet with the accreditation team in LIB 454

2. 245 p.m. ASSESSMENT COORDINATORS will meet with the accreditation team in LIBRARY AUDITORIUM
3-3.45 p.m. STAFF MEMBERS will meet with accreditation team in LIBRARY AUDITORIUM

So, are we on message? On Friday there was a very interesting and --from what I could see-- productive meeting with the Noel Levitz consultants on the Satisfaction Survey of May 2012. The largely negative results of this survey brought up some important topics and even better questions that the university needs to continue to discuss. This accreditation visit should be the beginning of a serious discussion that has been skipped over since Elnora Daniel left office--Quo vadis Chicago State? Someone (not me, not the usual cadre of suspects) raised this at the meeting with the consultants--"Chicago State, where are you going?"
And words passed on from deans to chairs to us this weekend remind us that "it's very important that you try to participate in the accreditation meetings if you can. A full house at the faculty meeting would be impressive to the team. Assessment coordinators are expected to be there as part of their duties."

Advice "for this extremely important visit is to speak truthfully, don't be afraid to admit lack of knowledge about something, and remember the passion that I know we all have for the educational endeavor and for our students."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Does "anonymous" Speak for the President's Supporters?

For the past three days, I have waited for any of Wayne Watson’s supporters to disavow the patently false, defamatory and even libelous remarks made by the coward (or cowards) who anonymously authored “An Open Communiqué to Faculty Colleagues at CSU.” Having seen no repudiation of the document’s assertions, should I conclude that Wayne Watson’s supporters endorse them? That their defense of the president rests on outright lies, sophomoric pedantry, uninformed commentary and ad hominem attacks? It seems so based on the caliber of the only extant written defense of the president.

Although my previous post catalogued some of the erroneous or mendacious statements made by “anonymous,” an additional piece of misinformation requires correction. At least one of the new Criminal Justice faculty, Dr. April Bernard, is not a suspected “crony” hire as she comes to Chicago State with more than the requisite academic credentials for her position.

Again, I would invite any supporters of the president to contribute their perspective to this or any other forum. Or do you prefer to allow "anonymous" to speak for you?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Response to the Anonymous Letter

Is this the way President Watson’s supporters respond? Rather than engaging the substantive issues raised in the Bill of Particulars from the Senate and Union, they try to change the conversation to one about the character of Phil Beverly?.

Much of the introductory material consists only of a rehash of personal grievances and a recycling of the contents of the scurrilous and anonymous flier distributed on campus during a Senate meeting last year. The use of evidence like this hardly does credit to the writer of this anti-Beverly screed. Otherwise, the letter is a subjective statement of personal belief, underpinned by several complete lies and/or partial truths.

The claim that “seven to ten members of the Senate shouted-down anyone who even quietly raised concern about these allegations . . .” is an outright lie. No such occurrence ever took place.

Similarly, the claim that the president expressed to Dr. Beverly his disappointment at how “he (Dr. Beverly) is constantly at odds with him rather than engaging in a sincere, shared-governance effort,” is a complete fabrication. The subsequent commentary about the president claiming that Beverly supported his candidacy is true, however, the remainder of that paragraph represents a lie by omission. Dr. Beverly took offense at this outright lie by the president and left the meeting after telling the president that if he wanted to lie about him, “he should do it behind my back.”

The entire commentary about the DAC process is subjective. The writer evidently feels that her interpretation is the only proper way to think about that incident. Simply put, the entire process was a violation of the contract, something the administration obviously realizes since they have abandoned their attempt to impose DACs on the university’s departments. I would suggest that the anonymous writer familiarize herself with both the contract and Board policies before making any claims that the entire process was “silliness.”

The writer takes pains to point out the “correct” way for faculty to think. Her critical thinking disquisition leads to a number of generalizations about how faculty have unfairly criticized Wayne Watson. The allegations include the following: “They have made public and private statements suggesting that he is mentally shallow; that he wants to hire only blacks; that he is an autocrat; that the Board of Trustees had no right to hire him; that he hates shared governance; that he hires cronies; that he is arrogant to a fault and never listens.” The first allegation is essentially true–this is simply a subjective belief that is every bit as valid as the anonymous writer’s succession of subjective assertions. As to the second, I have been personally told by at least two administrators that Watson told them to send him candidates from a specific racial demographic. I am not aware of this allegation being made in any kind of public forum, and I have no recollection of it ever appearing on the faculty blog. In my estimation, Watson’s autocratic tendencies have been on display for three years now, if the anonymous writer is still unconvinced, so be it. Watson’s lack of commitment, or even understanding of shared governance is undeniable. In a recent department meeting, he made clear he feels that it is an “unattainable” goal. His behavior in this regard has matched his rhetoric, as both Senate and UPI bill of particulars have documented. As for the final allegation, that is derived from numerous conversations with administrative and other personnel who have described him in those ways. Indeed, in his recent “listening tour,” he spoke excessively (nearly thirty-five minutes in our meeting). Nonetheless, nothing in the bill or particulars is specifically related to his unwillingness to listen.

As for the hiring in Criminal Justice, I can state unequivocally that there was no faculty involvement in the search process, which clearly contravenes the university’s own policies. The president claims that he instructed the provost to ensure “faculty involvement,” in the process but took that to mean faculty participation in the interviews. University policy requires that only unit A faculty be involved in faculty searches. In the Criminal Justice search, only the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, an Associate Dean of the same College, and the Department Chair were on the search committee. This is indisputable. The search, which included the applications of 119 candidates, took only four days–beginning on August 10 and ending on August 13, so those candidates could hardly have been vetted by anyone, let alone the Criminal Justice Faculty. Finally, the anonymous writer accuses Beverly and others of “smearing these new faculty members’ reputation.” I would ask the writer to provide evidence of this claim. The bill of particulars only makes reference to their lack of qualifications based on the preferred qualifications for the job. Again, this is indisputable. Neither Lewis Myers nor Andre Grant have any publication record, a criterion for the position. In addition, Andre Grant has no teaching experience (a fact confirmed by at least one top administrator), another minimum qualification. How are those smears? This commentary by the anonymous author is disingenuous at best.

Now we get to the threat of litigation. To that, I can only say this: If anyone feels they have grounds to sue, let them do that. Otherwise, discontinue making this entirely predictable and ham-handed threat.

This entire letter is unfortunate. It is unfortunate that the writer did not feel safe enough to identify her (or himself). In fact, during the most recent faculty senate meeting, one senator expressed his objections to the no confidence motion quite forcefully and eloquently. He was treated with respect, although many disagreed with his arguments. This kind of anonymous communication does little but cloud the important issues we are attempting to discuss. In fact, this is not an affirmative defense of Wayne Watson. Rather, it is an attempt to defend Wayne Watson by attacking Phil Beverly. This mix of lies, half-truths, odious conjecture and subjective analysis does not mitigate the substantive issues raised in the two bill of particulars. I would invite the writer to share her/his objections to the points raised in those two documents.

And Anonymous writes...

In case some of you missed the email received and distributed from an Anonymous source this morning I am posting it here.
REMINDER:  there is a UPI meeting this afternoon in SCI 216 at 2 p.m. to discuss the matter of Presidential Performance and a vote of no confidence.
ON Tuesday, Nov. 6th there will be a Senate meeting from 12.30-2 p. m.

An Open Communiqué to Faculty Colleagues at CSU

First, I thank my daughter for the tedious task of cutting a pasting each email address from the CSU employee directory. While she likely missed some I suspect; she did her best. Next, I am grateful to my husband for encouraging me to speak out as part of the too silent majority of faculty at CSU. Note: You have received this email as a “blind copy” to not disclose to anyone that you are a recipient.

I wanted to post this statement on the CSU Faculty Blog since I have been reading it for a long time. However, to my surprise I learned that unless a faculty member at CSU is approved by a few key faculty leaders, one cannot post one’s ideas or opinions. This may be fine for excluding the Administration from posting on the Faculty Voice Blog, but not for faculty—so much for academic free speech between the faculty members.

I Have Been In Bad Company

We are known by the company we keep. I have decided as a Bargaining Unit-A faculty member to disassociate myself with the university politics of Dr. Phillip Beverly and anyone who keeps him in the Faculty Senate. I will tell my department's senators that they are not to cast a single vote for anything that Dr. Beverly proposes before, first, vetting the matter fully with each member of my department's faculty, regardless of whether they are tenure-track or not. In addition, I and several of my departmental colleagues will wait in the tall grass for the next Faculty Senate election to elect peers to replace that extremist gang who currently control our Senate and who represent only themselves and their personalized concerns. We need senators who truly want to engage President Watson and his administration to make CSU what we envision rather than a constant war of words against the President and smears of the reputation of the people that he recruited to help.

I have not come to this place in my mind without thoughtful reflection. I recall the flier that was distributed a few years ago about Dr. Beverly's conduct on and off the campus. I saved my copy and the key concerns raised against him then were:

· Dr. Beverly personally benefited from his relationship with former CSU presidents Drs. Daniel and Cross and never spoke out about the unjustified if not criminal mis-spending during their tenure.

· Dr. Beverly has never fully explained his role regarding the sex tape of former convicted Rep. Mel Reynolds and his role in orchestrating the fake assassination attempt on Mr. Reynolds to avoid prosecution for solicitation of child pornography, among other crimes.

· Who paid Dr. Beverly to attack CSU’s current leadership in this manner? Who are his backers and what is their interest in gaining control over the Institution?

· Has Dr. Beverly (and his supporters) disclosed that they were not able to scare the Board of Trustees into hiring their presidential candidate whose sole management experience was having served on the Faculty Senate? Is this the reason that he and his supporters constantly attack the current CSU president?

· Why does Dr. Beverly spend his class time talking badly about Dr. Watson? Is that what students are registering to be taught?

Draw your own conclusions, however, these were disturbing allegations distributed from outside community people, some of whom were arrested by the Administration. What is it that these community dwellers know or find so disturbing about Dr. Beverly that motivated them to make these allegations (and they are allegations)? At the time, I was absolutely certain that an ethics committee or similarly constituted committee of the Faculty Senate would be empowered to investigate these charges and that the Administration would make available resources--including an attorney--to aid the Senate’s investigation. Those same seven to ten members of the Senate shouted-down anyone who even quietly raised concern about these allegations and the Administration apparently did not want the confrontation with Dr. Beverly and his supporters. That was a mistake by the Senate and the Administration in my opinion.More troubling, however, is that too many of my students also in courses under Dr. Beverly and some (not all) of his fellow Senate leaders continue to complain that, just as last year and the year before, he spends almost all of the class period railing against Dr. Watson and why the President must be fired. They complained of buying an ungodly number of books that they never use in class. They wanted me to do something about it and for a long time I have remained silent because I need my job and need my departmental peers' support to be promoted, some of who seem awfully close to Dr. Beverly (which is why this is sent anonymously). Then, about a month ago, one of my female students asked for my advice about a very personal matter involving a class taught at CSU. She wept as she told me how she needed that and one additional course only taught by this professor to graduate and if she did not give in to her professor's desires for private favors in return for a very good grade, she was told by him that her grade in the current and future course would be not be passing ones. She said that other female students quietly talk about the same dilemma with this professor. At first she refused to tell me who the professor was, but did agree to go to the Counseling Center. About three weeks later, after insisting that I promise to never tell anyone this came from her, she told me the faculty member’s name and it was that of the male whom I view as the most prominent leader among faculty senators. I became angry for not doing something within my power in the past. This is why I am writing this now. I sent a statement to the Ethic Office who I trust will officially investigate it and in it I named the faculty member.I have truly been in the wrong company at CSU. My place should have been with our students and with all of my colleagues—faculty or administration--who are working their hearts out to help them. I am in the right company now.Is CSU Worse Under President Wayne Watson or Actually Better?Last Friday, a colleague whom I trust told me of a confrontation that had happened the day before between Dr. Beverly and Dr. Wayne Watson during a departmental meeting. While Dr. Watson, it was told, was being besieged with one angrily asked question after another from Dr. Beverly, the President said that he continues to be surprised at how he (Dr. Beverly) is constantly at odds with him rather than engaging in a sincere, shared-governance effort. According to the report, Dr. Watson stated that he recalled how Dr. Beverly and he had shared a conversation immediately following Watson’s presidential job interview in 2009 where Dr. Beverly said to him that, "when I learned that the president's job was open, you were the first person who came to mind to fill it. I really want you as the next CSU president. The questions I raised during your interview were just about failures in the process." I was told that Dr. Beverly, upon hearing this account from Dr. Watson, fled from the room, shouting at the President and slamming the door madly—in what was described as a most disrespectful act.Here is the question that lingered in my mind after hearing this account and believing it is reasonable accurate: Why did Dr. Beverly not remain in the meeting and offer his account of the conversation? But, more important: What are the implications if Dr. Watson's account is the truth? That last question caused me to reflect on what positives changes have actually occurred since Dr. Watson became president compared to the frequent criticisms about him as president. Dr. Watson retired after about 30 years (if my memory is correct about news reports at the time) of working for the City Colleges of Chicago and received his earned pension at 65 years old of about $130,000 annually. In addition, he was allowed to retain his life insurance policy and was paid for his un-used leave days about $500,000. The truth is, I too expect to be paid my full earned pension when I retire as a public employee and to be paid for any leave days that I earned and did not use but went to work all of those days instead. I want my life insurance policy too. I feel bad that I did not think of it that way when this was the talk of CSU in 2009. I see more clearly now.Faculty Teaching, Research, and Service Effectiveness. Dr. Watson also was quoted upon his arrival in the newspaper that he wanted to see the faculty improve their work (I forget the exact quote.) I cannot ever recall why that statement made me a bit upset at the time, except that leaders in the Faculty Senate told us that we should be upset. Yet, after reading our department's revised DAC, if I am able to fulfill the requirements well, indeed my work as a faculty member in teaching, research, and service will have improved. I now feel bad that I got upset when we were asked to revise our DAC to make it more rigorous since that is exactly what I ask my students to do with much of their work—"make it better." What made us initially as faculty insist that our DACs, as submitted in May 2012, were perfect? Even after the President approved our revised DAC, I know that we could improve it even more.

I, like many of my departmental colleagues bought into the silliness at the time that the President has no business involved in teaching and learning at the University. If you think about it, however, that is about the strangest assertion one could make about a university president. Who does the Governor, the Legislature, the Courts, taxpayers, students, parents, and alumni hold first among all as accountable for what students learn, know and are able to do while enrolled and after they graduate from Chicago State University? THE PRESIDENT! If any one of us as faculty had that level of scrutiny, we would insist that we make the faculty evaluation process fair but also of sufficient rigor that translates into desirable student learning outcomes. Aside from keeping everyone safe while at work and in school at CSU, making sure that faculty are at the top of their game seems the most important thing that a president can do. Equal to that, of course, is making sure that the Administration has an efficient operation and sufficient resources to support faculty in their duties. I believe I over-reacted to the whole DAC issue. We are learning as we read the HLC Self-Study that faculty and the Administration share responsibility for achieving effective student learning outcomes. Only a responsible faculty evaluation system and resources from the Administration to meet DAC criteria will make this happen. Dr. Watson’s position of requiring increased rigor forced us as faculty to address this much needed improvement in our DACs and now I believe that faculty and thus the University will be stronger for doing it. Now, the Administration must supply the resources we need to perform.The student who introduced Dr. Watson at Convocation said something of the sort—that she knows that the President is taking hits in the teeth; but, the first guy through the wall always gets bloodied. It is unfortunate that Dr. Watson has to get beaten-up for doing things or taking positions that his predecessors would not—but things that we need to do. I do not mind so much that he has gotten a bit bloodied. He applied for the job and he appears to be the tough-minded person CSU needs at this time in our history. I also hope that he remains healthy because he is over 65, I believe it was reported, and that he will work in a fair-mined way with all of us (employees and students) to improve the Institution. We all should wish him well and he should always have our best welfare uppermost on his mind.Suspending Poor Performing Students. In 2011, at first I did not like the fact that Dr. Watson made a decision to put those 650 or so students out of school. I do not know if I could have made that decision. However, it showed me as a faculty that he expected students to meet our standards. I have worked here almost eleven years and never before had any leader--president, provost, VP, dean, or department chair showed such decisiveness. In fact, I now feel encouraged to know that if any of my students do not meet the standards that I set for the course, I have the President's support if I fail them. In the past, we allowed students to hang out on campus and collect student aid regardless of their academic standing. Those days are over since CSU now adheres to its standards.I listened to Dr. Watson during convocation list the twenty or more things that had been done since he arrived. It is easy to not notice this change, yet it exists and the campus feels like it has a forward momentum—at last. He said that we did these things together, and I suppose he is right; but, I wondered if we would have ever even tried to do any of those things if we had not been pushed to do them by him and by some of the people he brought in to help. My classrooms are cleaner; my building is cleaner; the traffic lines are shorter each morning. I even received a CTRE grant to travel and enhance my research program; and this is the first time that I ever took part in establishing our department's budget and planning. One can feel the forward momentum.

Do I think Dr. Watson is arrogant? Yes, at times; but most leaders are. Do I think he should listen more and talk less—especially during town hall meetings, or just one-on-one? Yes. Do I think the people he brought in make too much money? No, not really as long as they continue to get things done that have been overlooked here for decades and if they are working very long days, nights, and weekends--and if they are truly solving the great problems that have held CSU back since I arrived in 2004 and well-before.

Quite frankly, if someone is earning $125K/yr., that equates to $93.7K/yr. on a nine months scale (which is more than I make). However, if as it appears that typically our top administrators work about 72 hours/week, then at an annual salary of about $125K, one is actually being paid at about $25 per/hour. At that $25/hr. rate, these administrators’ actual earnings are probably diminished by 1/2 due to working long hours. As for me, I just want to earn more too, but I doubt that I could commit to those long hours.

Thinking as a Responsible College Professor Must

What I have decided to do is to apply basic principles of critical thinking and analysis to the case that Dr. Beverly and his followers continue to make to fire Dr. Wayne Watson. We should apply these principles to the case to retain Dr. Beverly and his followers too as faculty senators.As faculty, we should be committed to perfections of thought such that workable standards of analysis are self-evident. It is easy to often find ourselves taking a position without reflectively engaging in dialogue based on critical analysis.

The essential process of critical analysis involves first understanding the other person's basic beliefs. Yet, to understand whether to accept your beliefs, I have to understand what supports them, specifically what reasons, evidence, and experiences you would cite to support them. Thinking about these reasons, evidence and experiences I should look for assumptions you may have made as you thought out your reasons, gathered your evidence, and interpreted your experience. You may have taken something for granted which should have been questioned. You may have assumed when you should have verified or tested. Furthermore, I cannot understand your thoughts unless I know your purposes and goals. What are you trying to accomplish and under what conditions and constraints? How are you conceiving the issue(s) or problem(s)? Are there other ways to conceive them? What ideas or concepts are you using? What are the relationships between them? How do you apply them? Are you applying them appropriately?

Then, where is your thinking taking us, what are its implications and consequences? If we accept this or that of what you claim, what else are we committed to accepting? What are some of the practical consequences that follow this acceptance?

Finally, within what point of view or frame of reference are you thinking? Are you looking at the problem from the perspective of a particular academic discipline (biology, psychology, anthropology), or with a special focus (moral, economic, political)? Are you thinking within the perspective of some ideology or overarching system of beliefs (as a Christian, Muslim, Capitalist, Marxist)? Your point of view serves as a screen and selective organizer of thought and information. I should notice how your point of view is structuring your thought. Finally, I should notice how mine is doing the same.As I apply this critical thinking process—a process that each of us as CSU faculty are obligated to follow before reaching conclusions in an intellectually honest way— I have reached this conclusion about Dr. Beverly and his supporters and Dr. Watson: Dr. Beverly and the very small group who supports him do not accept Wayne Watson as a legitimate president of CSU. They have made public and private statements suggesting that he is mentally shallow; that he wants to hire only blacks; that he is an autocrat; that the Board of Trustees had no right to hire him; that he hates shared governance; that he hires cronies; that he is arrogant to a fault and never listens. Let us analyze those key ones among these charges. He completed his degrees, through the PHD, at Northwestern University. To the degree that Northwestern confers PHDs to mentally shallow graduates, Dr. Watson could certainly be among them. What evidence do we have of Dr. Watson’s mental shallowness? Have we studied his dissertation? What are we using to draw these inferences? Is this claim based on any racial or ethnic biases we ourselves my hold, knowingly or unknowingly? As we consider our choices, do we want the President to be a Nobel Prize winner in his discipline or someone who has the political juice to get sufficient money appropriated from the State Legislature to pay our salaries and keep the campus facilities operating? Obviously, we could have both, but that is rarely if ever the case at resource-strained public universities. Has the President hired only blacks since he arrived? I do not know the answer to that, as I do not have access to the evidence. However, the last three hires that serve on the President’s Executive Council are ones that I can recall. He hired a former provost as the chief of staff who is black; a white Irish coach as the athletics director, and as CIO an Indian from the corporate arena. I remember those. He also brought with him from City Colleges the general counsel whom I learned was an established litigator or note; a VP for enrollment management with a long-term tenure as the No.2 leader of an institution with ten times CSU’s budget and staff; and a former judge as our ethics director. I suspect he wanted some people working with him that he knew-as presidents and CEOs tend to do. Yet, what I believe displays most Dr. Watson’s character is that he kept the Provost and most deans and chairs from the previous administration, to the best of my memory. From everything that I have seen, these former City College executives are well-credentialed for their assignments and are tackling many problems here that have been ignored—problems that I have complained about—especially related to more selective admissions standards and practices; increasing graduation rates (the President stated the rate increased by 50% in two years); establishing a brand that is uniquely CSU and marketing it with billboards, radio, and TV; offering interesting activities for students; creating a true climate and culture of ethical behavior; and establishing with our union a new faculty contract.It is never healthy for a collegiate work environment for race-based accusations to be made in the first place; or to smear the reputations of people just to make political points. One thing is obvious from the evidence: CSU serves about 80% black students so I suspect that we need a representative number of capable black employees in every component of the university. I am of Eastern European ancestry and I still believe that this perspective is the rational one.I believe that there is a tendency for all presidents (of colleges, companies, charities, churches, congregations, etc.) to be autocratic to some degree. Since I do not work directly with Dr. Watson, it is not easy to tell his leadership or management style. He does, however, have a specific point of view about how he wants CSU to run. He can talk endlessly about his plans and ambitions for CSU—as we have learned from Town Hall meetings— and does so without giving little time to listen to the ideas of others--at least in meetings that I have attended. Yet, he keeps an open door, I am told. For myself, I have not had a critical issue other than wanting a salary increase that one day may lead me to seek an audience with him. Still, our departmental Faculty Senate representative informed us that Dr. Beverly and other officers now have monthly meetings with the Administration and that the President’s Office reports to them in writing on actions taken to address any concerns raised. This sharing of concerns and follow-up action is new at CSU.The charge that he hired his cronies, I believe, came from the hiring--according to Dr. Beverly and his followers--of three new faculty members to teach in the criminal justice degree program. Dr. Beverly asserts that Dr. Watson arranged to hire two lawyers and one Ph.D holder to teach in the program which, according to what is posted in the online CSU Fact Book has by far the largest enrollment at the institution, doubling its closest rival. Dr. Beverly and others further assert that the Administration did not allow faculty to take part in the search and selection process, according to two colleagues who attended last week's meeting between the Department and Dr. Watson. The Administration stated, according to reports, that it will provide the printed findings to faculty of its investigation conducted by the Human Resources director--once any personnel related data is redacted, if redacting needed to protect privacy of employees. Let us wait to see if the Administration follows through on this commitment. If the Administration hired faculty without giving faculty members the opportunity to take part in the selection process, then Dr. Watson should explain to the Department and the Faculty Senate what was done or planned to make certain that this does not happen again. And it must not happen again.It is important to note that Dr. Beverly and his supporters do not assert that the three faculty members who were hired are without sufficient credentials to be tenure-track faculty members of the criminal justice program. I did a Google search on the two lawyers and one is nationally eminent in criminal and civil rights law; the other is listed among Chicago's top criminal lawyers. The PHD holder, according to colleagues, is equally qualified and well-prepared in the discipline. What is disturbing is that the very public ways in which Dr. Beverly and others are smearing these new faculty members’ reputation is not only placing all faculty members who participate in that exercise at risk of being named in lawsuits, but making it difficult for these new hire colleagues to have a fair tenure and promotion process by their peers. That is unfair and I will not have anything to do with it. Did our Faculty Senate leaders not notice that these new hires are litigators?

Dr. Beverly, in talking to faculty about this maintains that it is not the people hired that his group opposes; it is the process used to hire them. Ironically, this is what Dr. Watson said that Dr. Beverly used as his reason for attacking him during Watson's presidential interview in 2009—“the process,” according to those I spoke to with knowledge about last week's meeting of the criminal justice, philosophy, and political science department.

Finally, under the leadership of the new Faculty Senate President, Dr. Beverly, we are told that because some members of the Faculty Senate assert that Dr. Watson hired three faculty members without faculty involvement in the search process, the faculty should hold a No-Confidence Vote on Dr. Wayne Watson as president of CSU. While this over-reach by the Administration may be found to be factually correct, we cannot reach any credible conclusion until we at least see the findings of the investigations from our Human Resources department--which some may hail as biased towards the Administration's perspective--yet those of us with calmer minds must maintain appropriate restraint since that department gets our paychecks and retirement correct month after month while keeping our personal matters private--including those of Dr. Beverly and his supporters, and Dr. Watson.

NOTE: If anyone has received a copy of the response regarding this matter that I am told that Dr. Kelly Harris wrote to Dr. Beverly and Dr. Walter, please forward it to me for I very much wish to read it. I am told that he wrote something quite remarkable which gave voice to those of us who are often quiet on these matters.What is a bit troubling is that it seems a bit opportunistic on the part of Dr. Beverly and his supporters in the Faculty Senate to intentionally embarrass Dr. Watson at the very moment that HLC is visiting CSU to examine its management, teaching, student learning, and support services against tough new re-accreditation criteria. Far too much is at stake, in my opinion, to be involved in a gamesmanship from anyone—including the Faculty Senate or the Administration. We must also recall that those who asserted to the Faculty time and time again that they never wanted Dr. Watson as president are unrelentingly leading this effort to pressure the Board of Trustees to fire him. Like most who are employed as faculty or staff, I do not have the luxury of taking part in a frivolous power plays that defame newly hired faculty members, as I need my job and I equally like my career at CSU. I like where the campus is headed and, like Dr. Watson stated at Convocation, he has not achieved by himself the progress we now observe. It has taken the efforts of us all.We are all known by the company we keep. I believe that I am in good company with my colleagues in my department who come to work to help give our students the best chance at a college degree and a ticket to a better life. I appreciate the opportunity to work at a campus that would hire such competent and caring faculty, and while--like me--all of them are not perfect, they get their jobs done. I have come to feel the same way, over time, about Dr. Watson—and the people that he brought to CSU to work in his administration. While they too are not perfect, I see them as hard-working and as fellow employees giving their best efforts while responding to the great expectations from us all to make institutional systems and processes more effective. We can work as faculty and administration to resolve our differences though meaningful dialogue driven by critical analysis. While, as faculty we should expect and demand solutions, not excuses from the Administration, we must also continue to be willing to work things out with Dr. Watson and this team through intellectual honesty, integrity, and civility. I believe that, finally, we have forward momentum in this regard at CSU. Because of this, Dr. Watson and his administration still have my confidence and I remain pleased to be in their company as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Senate/UPI: Discussion & Vote on No Confidence in President's Performance

In the past 10 days, Chicago State's Faculty Senate and UPI leadership have responded to their membership's call for a vote of no confidence in the performance of President Watson. This is not something that either body has come to easily.
After months of growing displeasure and dissatisfaction over violations of the contract and other decisions that have overstepped the bounds of presidential authority, a Joint Senate/UPI Committee was formed this fall to examine President Watson's performance. This committee has set out two Bills of Particulars, one from the Senate, one from the UPI. The items contained in these summaries reflect the failure of President Watson in five of the seven categories laid out in his contract with the university Board of Trustees. They outline his abrogation of the UPI contract over the past three years including a serious university-wide grievance. This is not a vote of no confidence based on Dr. Watson's personality or management "style." It is based on decisions he has made that have not helped the university improve graduation rates, audit findings, or faculty, staff, and press relations. It is based on his decision to interfere in curriculum matters and matters of departmental hiring. It is based on a wide array of unfair labor practices that have come with his administration of the university. 
The summaries of both bills of particulars are posted below and a link to the more detailed Senate Bill of Particulars (13 pages) will be posted as well.
These are two separate (but coordinated) efforts to evaluate Watson's tenure as CSU president.

Yesterday, Laurie Walter, our UPI President, emailed the UPI membership with the notice of a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1st in SCI 216 to discuss the UPI Bill of Particulars. Her email contained a link to an online voting site (surveymonkey) where members may anonymously vote yes or no on No Confidence in the President. All union members have a right to vote. This voting site will be open until 5 p.m. on Nov. 6th.

At the upcoming Senate meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6th, the Faculty Senate will also discuss and vote on a motion of no confidence in President Watson. Senators should be surveying faculty opinion in their departments to determine their vote on Tuesday. Tenured as well as untenured faculty Senators have a responsibility to the departments they represent.
If you have any questions about the survey itself, please contact the Joint Committee at You may also contact Dr Walter or your Faculty Senate representative.


University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) Local 4100
Chicago State University Chapter
Performance Evaluation of President Wayne Watson and his Administration

Starting from the beginning of his employment at Chicago State University in 2009, President Wayne Watson’s administration has demonstrated very little regard for the CSU-UPI Contract, even as it negotiated a new contract that was approved in the 2011-2012 academic year. In addition, President Watson’s administration has demonstrated negligence in numerous areas that directly affect workers at Chicago State University.

The series of unfair labor practices and grievances filed by UPI on behalf of its members from 2010-2012 demonstrate some of the most serious acts of negligence and harmful actions that have directly affected faculty, academic support professionals, and technical support staff at the University.

Unfair Labor Practices
During the calendar year of 2012 alone, UPI Local 4100 filed four (4) Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB). These ULPs demonstrated numerous violations of the CSU-UPI Contract, violations of Illinois labor law (specifically the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act), and also serious negligence of standard university business operations. These ULPs include:

·       Two (2) ULPs filed February 1, 2012 concerning a wide array of specific instances throughout 2011 and up to the date of filing where the University administration, particularly in the areas of Human Resources and Legal Affairs, demonstrated a pattern of failing to implement the CSU-UPI Contract, failing to respond to legal and legitimate requests from UPI Local 4100, and/or failing to respond in a timely manner;

·       One ULP filed on September 6, 2012 concerning University violations of a grievance settlement concerning the employment of a faculty member; and

·       One ULP filed on October 1, 2012, concerning the University’s failure to deduct union dues at the contractually-mandated start time following the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year.

These first of these ULPs is particularly telling, since the 67-page document filed by UPI with the IELRB details numerous acts by the University administration over a period covering more than a year and includes the following issues:

·       Ongoing failure to respond to Local 4100 and its attorney’s request to schedule arbitration procedures and/or to select an arbitrator in response to layoffs implemented contrary to procedures agreed on in the CSU-UPI Contract;

·       Ongoing failure to respond, in whole or in part, to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests;

·       Failure to schedule appropriate and timely follow-up meetings for the CSU-UPI 403(b) grievance, as well as refusal to provide complete and appropriate documentation for this grievance;

·       The imposition of a new Computer Usage Policy without prior notification or bargaining of the change in working conditions;

·       Other instances of ignoring contractual procedures and timelines as they pertain to evaluations, time reporting, payment of back pay owed, etc.

Both the extent of the issues covered by the ULPs filed in 2012 (as shown by the one discussed above) and total number (4) of the ULPs filed during this year is striking.

In addition to these four ULPs filed in 2012, several ULPs were filed within the first year of Wayne Watson’s administration, including:

·       One ULP filed on April 15, 2010 concerning the removal of employees from Unit C (technical support staff) of the CSU-UPI Chapter;

·       One ULP filed on September 29, 2010 concerning the unfair layoffs of employees in Units B and C (academic support professionals and technical support staff).

Both of these ULPs deal with serious attacks by Wayne Watson’s administration on the UPI and the workers represented by this union.

 Grievances Filed
The volume of grievances filed by the UPI during President Watson’s Administration at Chicago State University has been particularly heavy. Some of the more serious grievances have dealt with the following matters:

·       The removal of specific employees from Unit C of the CSU Chapter of UPI Local 4100 due to faulty claims that such employees should be classified as “confidential employees” in January 2010;

·       The laying off/termination of several employees in Units B & C of the CSU Chapter of UPI Local 4100 in March-April 2010 without following procedures outlined in the CSU-UPI Contract;

·       The shutting down of faculty websites in the middle of the Fall 2010 semester with no advance notice or discussion with faculty who regularly used such websites for teaching and research;

·       The removal of TIAA-CREF, VALIC, and Fidelity as 403(b) providers for University employees due to the University’s employment of a Third Party Administrator, causing serious financial hardship to University employees starting in February 2011;

·       President Watson’s decision to modify the tenure-track faculty retention decision process in May 2012 by deciding that some faculty can be “retained” but would repeat their previous probationary year, essentially having these faculty members do that probationary year over;

·       President Watson’s inability to follow the contractual process for approving Departmental Applications of Criteria (DACs) by encouraging deans, chairs, and other administrators to write DACs in June 2012 without the direct participation of faculty.

Though there has been some progress made towards a resolution of some of these grievances, the fact that UPI has had to file grievances about such serious violations of the CSU-UPI Contract demonstrates President Watson’s and his administration’s minimal regard for the CSU-UPI Contract.

Other Employment Matters
In addition to the instances documented in grievances and ULPs filed by UPI Local 4100, President Watson’s Administration has engaged in the following additional acts harmful to University employees:

·       Failure to pay raises to Academic Support Professionals at the contractually-mandated time;

·       Late payment of Unit B (temporary and part-time) faculty;

·       Inaccurate calculation of contractually-mandated raises for several faculty members;

·       Late deduction of union dues from UPI members’ paychecks.

There are two things that are particularly striking about these harmful actions. First, these actions have had direct impacts on University employees’ livelihoods. Second, all of these acts were avoidable if the University had followed standard business operations. Payment of salary, pay raises, and deduction of union dues are all predictable events that the University should be prepared to deal with each year. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Based on the harmful and negligent actions taken by Wayne Watson and his administration, including many actions documented in grievances and ULPs filed by UPI Local 4100, the CSU Chapter of the UPI concludes that Wayne Watson’s tenure as President of Chicago State University has been harmful to the University and its workers. As such, Wayne Watson’s performance as President of Chicago State University has been inadequate.

Performance Evaluation of Chicago State University President Wayne Watson
Prepared by The Shared Governance Committee of the Faculty Senate

Wayne Watson’s contract with the Chicago State University Board of Trustees specifies that his performance will be judged on seven criteria. Based on our evaluation, the Shared Governance Committee finds that he has performed unsatisfactorily in five of the seven:

Criterion 1: the Board charges the President with “improving the performance of the University with respect to annual financial and compliance audits [of] the University.”

·        Audit exceptions increase from 13 in 2008-09 to 41 in 2009-10, decreased to 34 in 2010-11.

·        9 additional Civil Service Audit exceptions

Criterion 3: the Board charges the President with “increasing the enrollment at the university.”

·        Enrollment down across Illinois, largest drop reported (CSU did not report this information) this past year, 6.8 percent.

·        Chicago State’s enrollment down 11.05 percent over the same period. The largest decline reported by any other public Illinois university was 6.8 percent at Illinois-Charleston.

·        Chicago State’s enrollment has declined 18.6 percent in past two years, from 7362 to 5989.

Criterion 5: the Board charges the President with “improving relationships with the University’s faculty.”

·        Incursions into curriculum matters, Senior Thesis, Master’s Thesis

·        Public dispute with Haki Madhubuti, Madhubuti’s eventual resignation

·        Reorganization of Colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences

·        Reorganization of Graduate School

·        Hiring unqualified persons, primarily from City Colleges of Chicago, for key administrative positions

·        2012 Computer Usage Policy

·        2012 Communications Policy

·        2012 DAC fiasco

·        2012 Criminal Justice search in violation of university rules, subsequent questionable hires

Criterion 6: the Board charges the President with “enhancing the University’s fund-raising capacities.”
·        University’s endowment down

 Criterion 7: the Board charges the President with “improving the University’s media relations and public image.”

·        Numerous public relations disasters: audit findings, communications policy, adversarial relationship with press, consistent negative publicity for the university

 Additional information and links to sources may be found in the full Shared Governance Committee Report.