Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Problem: The "Fix" is in: Wayne Watson Rigs the Provost Search.

Here are a succession of laughable quotes from a recent article in one of Watson's propaganda rags:

“CSU has come a long way in a short amount of time in terms of enhancing a culture that values accountability, stresses academic excellence,” Wayne Watson.

"Watson has overseen a dramatic shift towards academic integrity at CSU by insisting on higher standards from students and faculty and also has strengthened compliance efforts and infrastructure improvements," CSU spokesperson, Thomas Wogan.

“The Board of Trustees has carefully reviewed the progress made at Chicago State University from the time Dr. Watson arrived until now and has decided unanimously that the students of CSU are best served by extending Dr. Watson’s tenure,” CSU Board Chairman Anthony Young.

All these comments appeared in "Chicago State University Extends President Watson's Tenure," by Deborah Bayliss. Article in Chicago Weekly Citizen, October 30, 2013. Available here:

Although the focus of the most recent scandal at Chicago State is our “provost” Angela Henderson, let us not forget the root of the problem: the continued presidency of Wayne Watson. Nothing at this school will change for the better until he is removed from his position. I wonder when the Board of Trustees will figure that out. I wonder if they will ever have the integrity to admit their mistake in supporting this failed president and finally do what is right for our university. Frankly, I have my doubts.

If further evidence is necessary to prove that Wayne Watson administers this school like his own personal fiefdom, we have it in the form of the job announcement for a permanent provost. Even a cursory look at this document will reveal that the “fix” is in and that Watson and his flunkies are preparing to slide our latest public embarrassment into the most important administrative role at the university.

First, let us take a look at the qualifications for a similar position at another public university: Bridgewater State in Bridgewater, Massachusetts:

You will doubtless note that the Bridgewater State announcement requires a candidate to be able to meet the requirements for full professor. Now, we will turn to the recent announcement for the same position at Chicago State:

In my estimation, the Chicago State announcement is laughable. Most important, is there anyone currently in the upper administration who seems a particularly good "fit" for the job as outlined in the announcement? Going through the qualifications one-by-one paints a clearer picture of the sham nature of this job search. The first qualification asks for only five years of experience in "academic leadership roles . . . in a higher education institution." Although this minimum qualification eliminates virtually no one, we have an on-campus candidate whose previous experience dovetails nicely with the desired qualifications: Angela Henderson. Moving to the second minimum qualification, "familiarity with respect to research/teaching or community service in higher education, in particular; having attained faculty tenure in higher education." This qualification is virtually meaningless. It eliminates almost no one. Nonetheless, there is an on-campus candidate whose previous experience fits nicely: Angela Henderson. The next two qualifications are basic boilerplate, although they at least serve to limit the potential candidate pool. The next qualification pertains only to specific institutions, one of them Chicago State with its unionized faculty. The last qualification is also basically boilerplate although in the case of the current interim provost, the requirement that the "ideal candidate" should possess "Significant experience in, and appreciation for, research and service activities in a higher education setting," could pose problems. For whom do you think the university wrote this job announcement?

Of course, Wayne Watson and his cronies are not going to take any chances that some kind of rogue search committee might gum up the works by trying to exercise independent judgement. In order to ensure that the fixed job search yields the correct candidate, they have entrusted the canvass to our old friends, the Hollins Group. You remember them, the search firm the university paid $75,000 to in 2008-09. The search firm that found the two best candidates right here in our own backyard: Carol Adams and Wayne Watson. They are back and, based on their track record, will certainly serve the interests of their benefactors:

So, anyone out there who wants to apply (and most of you are qualified based on this ridiculous job announcement), make sure to send your applications to the right people.

There are some other notable differences between the two job announcements. Bridgewater State's is remarkably free of meaningless verbiage. Bridgewater State's announcement details the university's goals then tells the applicants in one paragraph:

In contrast, Chicago State's job announcement overflows with meaningless corporate jargon:

You might take particular note of the second sentence in this portion of the job announcement. There is no doubt that the provost will advocate solely for the president. Based on what I see in these documents, I have concluded that we are about to witness another of Wayne Watson's rigged searches. We have seen the process before: a short window for applications, a small pool of basically unqualified candidates, Wayne Watson selecting one of his cronies. Finally, does anyone know of the existence of a search committee for this position? If one exists, does anyone know who is on the committee? What do you think? Are we about to see another incompetent and dishonest administrator permanently ensconced in a critical position? Or am I simply overreacting?

Wayne Watson's response to the Angela Henderson fiasco certainly demonstrates how he really feels about accountability, academic excellence and academic integrity. Will the bunch of fools who constitute our board ever realize that they are fiddling while Chicago State burns?

1 comment:

  1. The qualifications listed in CSU's posting of the Provost's position are nicely suited to an administrator at a two-year college, but woefully inadequate for the Provost of a doctoral degree granting university. Watson should realize that such a job posting opens him to national ridicule beyond what he has experienced in the blog. Every minute Watson remains n the President's office is another nail in the coffin of CSU.