So it seems that our university continues to struggle in the area of human resources. No loyal readers, it isn’t the falsified job applications and resumes of administrators. This time it is the management of the Civil Service employees. In accordance with the State Universities Civil Service Act, the university is audited biennially to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act. In the 2009 report, the university had three findings with one repeat finding from the previous audit. The 2011 report, the first under the current administration, revealed nine findings with four repeat findings. This threefold increase mirrored the audit findings for the university at large with audit findings increasing from 13 to 41. A reasonable person might expect some improvement and lo and behold the 2013 audit report revealed an improvement. The most recent audit report, dated October 3rd, 2013, shows the university had only seven findings with five repeat findings. Numbers are just numbers though. Without context, they have no meaning. So let’s put these numbers into a context. Since 2008 University of Illinois at Chicago has received 18 audit findings with 16 repeats. Illinois State University has received 19 audit findings with 12 repeats. Six state universities received single digit total findings over multiple audits. Of the six non-university agencies covered by the State Universities Civil Service Act there were four audit findings with three repeats covering 15 audits since 2008. Four of those six agencies received no findings since 2008. Therefore, I would have to ask how a university with one of the smallest number of employees covered by the civil service laws and regulations could be in the top three of audit findings since 2008. CSU had nearly 20% of the audit findings statewide while only having 3% of the enrollment of state public universities. Clearly, CSU should not have as many findings over time as it has.
What could possibly be the reason for this substandard performance in the area of human resources? Could those reasons be related to the previously documented activities around falsified applications?
And it is official. The attempt to silence this Blog has received international attention. From London (England, not Ontario) Times Higher Education has a brief entry. Is CSU now officially an international laughingstock?
Hmmm, do you think this pattern could be related to another pattern pointed out in July?ReplyDelete
It very well might, Professor Steve. Maybe it isn't just Civil Service but the entire university struggling with Human Resource Department failings.ReplyDelete
Philip, is your thesis "the explosion in audit findings at CSU has been caused by the hiring of incompetents for administrative positions, exemplified by people who falsified their applications because they were unqualified", or is it "the general incompetence of the administration, exemplified by slipshod background checks which allowed people to be hired who had falsified applications, is responsible for the explosion in audit findings at the University"?ReplyDelete
Or both? Or something else? Inquiring minds want to know!
Regarding this blog, I assume you don't want to destroy the university; you want to improve it, right? You might even want more students to attend.ReplyDelete
Sarcasm hurts your cause. The evidence of people being hired without qualifications speaks for itself. When you are wrong (for instance about Yvonne Harris; see the Sept blog and her response) you should publicly say so. Otherwise you are acting just like the administrators you detest.
There are serious problems with the university administration. The president has way too much power. He has forced out the competent people like the former provost Dr. Westbrooks, and promoted incompetent people. The office of Human Resources is the worst run HR office I have ever encountered, and its director was given a huge raise. But perhaps you didn't notice that the Tribune editorial of November 15 was actually mocking this blog for its self-important cleverness.
If I were a student contemplating coming to CSU, I would read this blog. I might conclude that my future teachers are pretty juvenile sometimes. If I were a trustee or a state legislator reading the blog I might conclude that the quality of instruction must be poor, or even that the administration is correct in trying to sideline the faculty.
You are free to write whatever you want, but my suggestion is to lay off the sarcasm. This is just a suggestion from your fellow CSU faculty member (not posting with his real name; I'm not in a position to do that yet.) Otherwise, please keep up the good work in exposing the corruption in the CSU administration. I hope this will lead to an improved administration, and not to further dwindling in enrollment and destruction of the university.
Your post deserves to be addressed point-by-point. First, of course no one is trying to destroy the university. The Watson administration is doing an excellent job of that. Second, again the tone. Sorry you do not like that, but I do not think that disrespect (or sarcasm) is really the issue here. A number of persons are purportedly concerned about the "serious problems" with the university administration, but are apparently put off by the tone of the criticism. Whose interests does that serve? Your fourth paragraph is somewhat attenuated, I am not quite sure how you come to your conclusions.Delete
As for Yvonne Harris, there are some problems with your claims: in the September 24 post, I made no accusations that she was either a close personal friend of Watson or a former employee at the district office. However, she has worked in a high-level administrative position at Chicago State for three-plus years. It is my understanding that she is good at her job, but I made no assertion in the earlier post that she was not. In my estimation, anyone who has worked for Watson for more than three years has paid a price and likely engaged in behavior that cannot be explained away by simple declamations about loyalty to one's superiors. I concede that I made that assumption and see no reason to apologize for it.
As to her salary, Chicago State university reports yearly to the Illinois State Legislature on a variety of operational matters. For fiscal 2012, that report shows Yvonne Harris hired on August 16, at a salary of $103,247. She currently makes (according to the IBHE salary database) $127,308.00. That is a 23.3 percent increase in salary in the past three years.
Perhaps, if you did some research on some of the claims Harris made, you would re-think your characterization of the previous post as "wrong." The factual material in that post all comes from public information, if there are errors, they exist there. If you would like the material supporting my assertions, I would be delighted to send it to you. I can assure you that if I am factually incorrect, I will print a public retraction. That is not the case here.
Finally, I agree with your final paragraph. As to your last sentence, your hope is my hope.
A couple of corrections to the previous post: 1) I wrote the post in question on September 16, not September 24; 2) Yvonne Harris' date of hire was August 16, 2010.ReplyDelete
I think we ought to be concerned that students thinking about attending CSU will talk to other students, and not worry about them reading our blog. During the last week- 3 different students discussed their frustration with payroll, HR, the CSU admin in general. They are quick to say they are very glad to have received support, but apparently the delay in their checks, and even loss of paperwork makes this type of recognition a double- edged sword. A secondary school administrator hoping to hire one of our following his completion of student teaching inquired about whether delayed paperwork might hamper his ability to start in spring. Turns out the student had to take time off to clear up why he was dropped for non payment this semester because his unsolicited ( but welcomed) tuition and stipend paperwork was lost and his tuition was not paid.ReplyDelete
Those offices are terrible--and rude to the students as well, I am told. There is no accountability. When was the last time someone was dismissed from the university for that kind of mistake, or even much bigger ones?ReplyDelete
My point about the tone of the blog is not that it is critical, but that it sometimes tries to be so cute and clever (the Tribune quoted "HRH Watson" etc). I don't think that represents the faculty well. This isn't a high school online flame war over our favorite video game character. The educational futures of thousands of students, as well as the value of the diplomas of many thousands of graduates, are at stake.
Everyone who blogs here knows the stakes. I acknowledge that a considerable number of my colleagues are uncomfortable with the sometimes confrontational style of the posts. However, in my estimation, this administration has demonstrated little more than contempt for the faculty. For example, can there be a bigger insult than to employ and even promote persons with falsified credentials? If we take a nice, respectful tone will that make the administrators listen to us? We've tried to talk to them in various venues for years, you can see the result. I can assure you that the issues raised to this date are only the start, the problems go far deeper. As long as we're not engaging in defamatory personal insults or accusations without substance, I do not particularly care about the tone. Also, since I'm not terribly conversant with contemporary popular culture, I have to ask. What is a "flame war"?Delete
"Cute and clever?" Welcome to the world of how people with Ph.D.s. write and think-- or have a look at op eds across the country. The blog is not a newspaper. It is also not a CSU admissions brochure. Since the faculty have no access to a politician who supports them, nor do we have our own public relations team such as Tom Wogan is to Pres Watston let alone the ability to hire a private p.r. firm such as Watson did last year when he was in danger of being fired, satire, sarcasm, all those things you and some others have complained about in our "tone," others have praised us for using. In fact someone recently suggested to me that we need to be harder hitting with a tougher satirical edge to what we write.Delete
For myself, I prefer an honest discourse delivered in a cute, clever or uncivil tone rather than the cynical "politeness" and political smoothness in which Watson and his cronies are so practiced while they deliver a stab in the back not just to the taxpayers of Illinois, but to the southside students and people they claim to support.
If I were a parent looking at sending my kid to CSU, I'd be more concerned as to why the main page of this university's website is filled with the faces of politicians and bigwigs and celebrities who come to campus to pump up Dr Watson's and other administrators' resumes. The mainpage of the CSU website tells me more about the focus of this university and who and what is most important than the csufacultyvoice tells me about the 3 or 4 regular bloggers. If I were a parent, I would conclude that this place is not about scholarship, academics, and student accomplishment, but of administrative bloat and political connections.
Birobi, in fact the "flame war" term is about 10 years out of date (it means a nasty, personal exchange between anonymous people on the Internet), and I myself was guilty of feeble sarcasm for using it; my apologies.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, administrative bloat is not unique to CSU. My colleague at Wake Forest University told me that the number of administrators there increased by 500% in a half a decade. The book "The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University" by Benjamin Ginsberg has been my bible in understanding this trend. Only the students can stop it, when they realize where their tuition payments are going.