Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Closer You Get, the Worse We Look: Only Five Public Non-Research Universities in the U.S. Have Performed More Dismally than We Have

How big a failure is Wayne Watson and his clown show administration? What magnitude of disaster have that pack of fools visited upon Chicago State? Well, if Watson and his minions ran a professional sports team, it would be the Oakland Raiders, if he were a pathogen, he would be the bacteria responsible fot the Black Death. Recently, 2013 enrollment data became available on IPEDS that paints a stark picture of the catastrophe that is Wayne Watson as president of Chicago State.

I collected IPEDS enrollment data comparing 2010 enrollments with 2013 enrollments. I used the following criteria: 1) the college or university had to be a public institution (with the exception of a handful of PBI or HBCU institutions that belong to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund); 2) the institution had to grant at least master’s and bachelor’s degrees, 3) the institution could not be considered a “research institution”. This survey yielded a total of 257 colleges and universities across the United States. Here are the most notable findings:

The total enrollment change for those 257 institutions amounted to a drop of 3217 students out of better than 2.5 million enrolled, for a percentage decline of .013 percent. That’s 13/1000th of a percent folks. Of course, Chicago State’s decline over that period was 22.6 percent. That means that the total 2013 enrollment at those 257 schools was 99.87 percent of what it had been in 2010. In terms of ranking, Chicago State came in at number 252, with only 5 schools losing a larger percentage of their student populations. The other numbers are just as horrible. Chicago State was 1 of only 8 schools to experience an enrollment decline greater than 20 percent and only 8 schools lost a larger number of students than our 1661, but those schools had an average of 19,932 students before their enrollment declines (which averaged 15.4 percent).

I understand that there are a couple of narratives emerging from the Cook Building about our enrollment woes. First, the Enrollment Management people are apparently claiming that projections for Fall 2015 are a 4 percent increase. What data supports that contention? As I pointed out in a previous post on this topic, no school managed by Wayne Watson has ever achieved an enrollment increase greater than 1.76 percent. Thus, any assertion that we will increase our enrollment next year seems like nothing more wishful thinking. Or bullshit.

Second, as is his habit, Watson will most likely blame the faculty for the enrollment decline. In the halcyon days of 2010, before students began fleeing Wayne Watson’s Chicago State, Watson had listened to Leon Finney praise him for being responsible for enrollment increases (albeit modest ones). Watson, who likes to repeat how “proud and humble” he is to receive praise said nothing about anyone else, but Student Trustee Levon James actually interjected that “staff and students also contributed to this progress.” Now, however, there is no progress and hence no credit for Watson to grab so someone must be held responsible. He certainly cannot blame either his girlfriend or the interim provost for the enrollment debacle for which they should be held reponsible so it is the faculty by default. Here is the pertinent portion of the board minutes for March 8, 2010:

Wayne Watson is planning to take Charlie McCarthy with him to a couple of faculty meetings this week. I sincerely hope he does not plan to try to get us to swallow either of those two nonsensical claims. We will see.

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