Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Recap

So loyal readers, you may have noted the flurry of activity at our fair university this week. It feels like so much has happened I feel compelled to recap the most recent events. If I got this right it goes something like this. 
Angela Henderson applied for the position of Vice President for Enrollment Management in 2011. In the application process she stated she expected to complete her Ph.D. by June of 2011, prior to her July 2011 start date. For those of us who have earned doctorates, we are quite familiar with the inexact nature of completion dates. However, we do know within a reasonable range based on the progress of the work when we might be done. Ms Henderson assumed the position of Vice President for Enrollment Management and by many reports including her statements to your humble narrator she worked in excess of 60 hours per week. Later examination shows that she did not submit her Institutional Review Board application for human subject research, foundational in her work, until January, 2012. That application was approved in February 2012. That means that she could not begin her data collection until February 2012 eight months after she said she would have completed the doctoral degree. That appears to be a deliberate misrepresentation. She was then appointed in July of 2013 to serve as the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. At this time the doctoral degree had still not been conferred, two years after her self-reported completion date. This means that the chief academic officer of a doctoral degree granting institution did not possess the minimum educational requirement for the position. This meant she was ineligible for tenure and for promotion to full professor. These are typically necessary qualifications for such an important university administrator. In August of 2013, six weeks after her appointment the Ph.D. was conferred by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Four months later, a review of her dissertation by one of this blog’s contributors revealed evidence of plagiarism. As an ethical matter, my colleague contacted the Graduate College at UIC and presented his evaluation of her dissertation. Because of the irregularities of her appointment and the gravity of this position, a review of her work was warranted. In my opinion it seemed highly unlikely that someone would be able to complete a doctoral dissertation during this time period. Even with the contributions of her unnamed research assistants, I am dubious about her ability to manage the largest division at the university and produce a doctoral dissertation. I believe my colleague shared my intuitive hit about this thus leading to an examination of her work. Based on my more than 20 years at the university, I believe the examination was warranted because the evidence led me to conclude something was amiss. Lo and behold, something was amiss and now three experts from around the country have agreed with my colleague's assessment. 
The hiring of Ms. Henderson seems, in retrospect, to have been premature as she was not close to finishing her degree and the job for which she was hired could have provided significant impediment to her finishing. That hiring decision rests with Wayne Watson and it was clearly the wrong decision. Serving on her dissertation committee while simultaneously functioning as her supervisor was wrong and unethical. For her part, whatever the circumstances of her life, personal or professional, there is absolutely no justification for academic dishonesty. 
The only question left at this point is when, in the best interest of the university, is she going to resign. And if the answer is that she isn't going to resign, that is the clearest indicator that she doesn't grasp the severity of this situation and must be removed to protect the university from further damage.

1 comment:

  1. As the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man of Chicago State University (see the film Ghostbusters) Wayne Watson seems bent on destroying the school. The increasing number of ethical lapses combined with assaults on the first amendment by Watson and his hired guns truly reveals an administration that in the words of Thomas Wogan "will go to great lengths" to destroy its opposition and stifle free expression on campus (Wogan quoted in the Chicago Tribune article from January 14, 2013). This administration continues to wound this institution, they must be removed before those wounds become mortal.