Monday, July 8, 2013

The Crony as Provost

The mystery surrounding Angela Henderson’s education is finally solved. She does not, in fact, “hold a PhD,” as the recent announcement from our administration claims. Official records at the University of Illinois-Chicago indicate that her degree is “pending.” Thus, she is not entitled to use the title “Doctor” until the university actually awards her the degree. It seems interesting that faculty have to provide verification of their degree status prior to employment but administrators apparently do not. Any references to Angela Henderson as “Doctor Henderson,” are dishonest and even fraudulent. Her appointment as interim Provost represents another slap in the face to the students, administrators, faculty, staff and alumni at Chicago State and continues the patronage awards that have marked the Watson administration. She is not fit for this position either by educational qualifications or by administrative experience, particularly since her tenure as the Vice President of Enrollment Management has been disastrous: a precipitous decline in the university’s enrollment.

Thus, Chicago State remains the laughing stock of Illinois higher education. We are the only one of the five Illinois public institutions: Eastern, Northeastern, Western Illinois, Governor’s State and Illinois State (no need to discuss the University of Illinois System) to have an appointed provost with only a master’s degree, as Ms. Henderson received an MBA and a Master’s in Nursing from UIC in 1992. The provosts of the other four institutions all have extensive university administrative experience, a significant record of scholarly achievement, and PhD’s earned in the 1980s or 1990s. As a university’s senior administrative position, the provost is typically expected to meet requirements for full professorship, not so at Chicago State. Here, someone without a terminal degree, with no publication record, and with a proven track record of administrative failure can parlay a personal relationship with Wayne Watson into a lucrative job as the University’s Senior Academic Officer. Of course, given the nonexistent scholarly production of our president, it seems perfectly consistent for him to disregard the basic tenets of the academy in making his most important appointments. Awarding Angela Henderson this plum is simply a disgrace.

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