Sunday, August 31, 2014

Is it Time to Be Concerned? Will Our Sclerotic Board Ever Wake Up to What's Going on at Chicago State?

The members of our ridiculous "Board of Trustees," ultimately responsible for Watson's mismanagement of Chicago State, continue to bury their heads in the sand, listening only to Wayne Watson and his stooges. Of course, as those of us who are "disgruntled" already know (and the board might be realizing), there are serious fiscal and public relations consequences for administrative misconduct. In addition, there are serious consequences for administrative ineptitude. While Wayne Watson busies himself micro-managing the university by interviewing job candidates, while he concurrently loses multi-million dollar lawsuits and packs the administration with sycophantic loyalists and cronies, the university continues to see its enrollment suffer. There is currently no one in the Vice President's position in Enrollment Management, although the ever present Cheri Sidney apparently finds herself at least nominally in charge of that unit. Will she be able to come up with a plan to turn the tide on Chicago State's rapidly disappearing student body? What do you think? Unfortunately, recent figures on fall 2014 enrollment (which are now password-protected, for good reason) point to another decline, although the exact numbers are difficult to divine.

The enrollment numbers for Fall 2013 are finally in for a number of schools in the following categories: our recent IBHE peer institutions, public non-research universities in Illinois and the six contiguous states, and 35 of the schools that participate in the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, mostly HBCU's. Altogether, the enrollment figures for these institutions result in data for 94 separate institutions in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Here is what the figures look like, using Fall 2010 and Fall 2013 enrollments as a yardstick:

Of the 60 institutions that are either "peer" institutions or in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri, Chicago State ranks first in the percentage of its enrollment decline between 2010 and 2013. The 59 schools (Chicago State not included) lost an aggregate of 393 students in that period, for an enrollment decrease of .0068 percent. With its loss of 1661 students during the same three-year period, Chicago State (.0098 percent of the total enrollment) suffers by comparison, 423 percent of the loss of the other 59 schools combined. The median enrollment change for these 60 schools between 2010-13 is a decline of .00869 percent. Compared with the average enrollment decline of the other 59 schools, Chicago State lost 22.6 percent of its students between 2010 and 2013. The second-worst enrollment decline is Eastern Illinois' 15.95 percent. Of the five schools (Governors State, Eastern Illinois, Northeastern Illinois, Chicago State and Western Illinois) that constituted the former "Board of Governors" colleges and universities in Illinois, the average enrollment decline during that three-year period is 11.1 percent. Chicago State's enrollment decline is more than double that. Removing Chicago State from the calculation results in a loss of 9.1 percent for the four other former BOG schools. The aggregate loss for the other 4 BOG schools from 2010-13 is 3758 students. Chicago State, with 13 percent of the total enrollment, by comparison has lost 44 percent of the aggregate loss at the other 4 schools.

An examination of the 35 mainly HBCU institutions with available 2013 data that are participants in Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund reveals that compared to 2010, the 2013 average enrollment change is a decline of 5.35 percent for the other 34 schools. There are four schools with enrollment declines greater than Chicago State's 22.6 percent. Overall, the median decline for these 35 schools is 7.3 percent. Chicago State has 3.2 percent of the enrollment for these 35 schools and its loss of 1661 students is 16.9 percent of the loss of the other 34 Thurgood Marshall Schools (9830).

To summarize, of 94 schools in this survey, Chicago State has experienced enrollment losses since 2010 that make it the fifth worst-performing school between 2010 and 2013. Ranked best to worst, Chicago State's enrollment performance comes in at 90 out of 94. Only 20 of these 94 schools have experienced double-digit losses since 2010 and overall, total enrollment of the 93 other schools (Chicago State not included) has declined an insignificant 1.4 percent, compared to our 22.6 percent loss. I think it safe to say that the Chicago State administration is a failure. Will the board ever figure this out?

BREAKING NEWS: Wayne Watson got us accreditation! The HLC says he's doing a great job, bringing "positive educational advances" to Chicago State!

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