Thursday, February 12, 2015

Here Comes Another Crony Hire: Wayne Watson Creates a New Vice President's Position for one of his Friends

Since 2010, Chicago State’s administration has included a position titled Dean of Student Affairs. Sometime early this year, Wayne Watson apparently upgraded that position to an Associate Vice President of Student Affairs. Although the search is just commencing, the position upgrade, the job announcement, and the prospective hiring date mark this as another sham search, designed to do nothing more than provide a high-paying and fancy-titled job to another Watson crony.

Obviously, Wayne Watson can create any number of Vice Presidents and Associate Vice Presidents for Chicago State. With the addition of this new Vice President’s position, we now have 12, compared to 6 in fiscal 2011.

You might think that the requirements for an Associate Vice President would be far more stringent than the requirements for a Dean, but in the case of this position, that is entirely untrue. In 2011, the university searched for a Dean of Student Affairs. The “minimum” educational requirement was a “Master’s Degree in Adult Education, counseling, higher education administration or related field.” In addition, the 2011 announcement specified that the candidates must have “a minimum of five (5) years of administrative level experience in a two-year or four-year college/university, or student services setting.” For this position, the university’s “preferred” educational qualifications included: “an earned doctorate degree in an academic discipline, curriculum and instruction or higher education administration,” with at least “five (5) years postsecondary experience at the executive level.” Additionally, the university preferred a candidate with “Experience at the four-year college/university level [and] experience at a Dean’s level.”

Now moving forward to 2015, what does the university require for the newly-minted Associate Vice President’s position? Surely, the requirements must be at least as exacting as those for the Dean in 2011. They are not even close. In fact, they are an embarrassment for any four-year university and illustrate perfectly Wayne Watson’s intention to shoehorn another crony into his administration. For “minimum requirements,” the position announcement only asks for “a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent education and experience.” So, someone with a high school diploma, GED or no education of any kind is qualified to apply, provided they have sufficient “education and experience.” As for the “preferred qualifications,” here they are: “Five (5) years administrative level experience in a two-year or four-year college/university, or student services setting, Experience (unspecified) at the four-year college/university level, Experience at a Dean’s level.” Given the minimum qualifications for this position, my eleven-year-old granddaughter looks to be qualified to apply. These are the stringent qualifications for a senior management position at Chicago State? No wonder we are a laughingstock.

Finally, the proposed start date for the successful candidate is April 1, 2015. What kind of an applicant pool will we generate between now and early March, when a list of candidates must be developed to meet the hiring deadline? Like lots of earlier Watson controlled searches, this one will have a short application window with a very small group of applicants, although the pre-chosen candidate will undoubtedly be present. I have an idea. Let’s get the Hollins group to do a “national” search for a candidate and pay them about $100,000. After all, the university seems to be able to use executive search firms for any administrative searches. That way, Wayne Watson could get some cover from his favorite crony search firm. Based on all the warning signs, this search will truly be a scam on the taxpayers and the staff, students and faculty at our school. The only question that remains is the identity of the already annointed candidate. Any ideas?

Here's the 2011 announcement:

Here's the 2015 announcement for the new, improved Vice President's position:


  1. In many institutions the Dean of Students also commonly has the dual role of Associate VP (or Vice Chancellor) for Student Affairs.
    However, in this situation...this is just a clusterfuck.

  2. I agree that this is an important issue, but when we had a qualified and skilled Dean of Students as a result of a national search, I don't really remember the Faculty Voice Blog being very supportive of her.

    1. I'm not sure who you're talking about. Teresa McKinney who resigned shortly after taking the job? That's the only "national search" I'm aware of and she came from the City Colleges of Chicago.

    2. This blog, if you read past entries, has been very supportive of staff and faculty colleagues who strive to do the best that they can for CSU students and I would assume that includes the competent dean of students.

    3. I still don't know which Dean of Students can be considered "competent." In any case, someone's perception of the blog's position on a particular administrator has nothing whatever to do with the standards for an Associate Vice President's position being diluted by the administration to the point of being embarrassing. That's what this is about.

    4. You are, of course, correct. The issue is the ever-growing list of administrators and the downward spiraling requirements for those positions