Monday, April 27, 2015

The Rigged Presidential Search. Do You Want Angela Henderson as Chicago State's Next President? An Open Letter to the Chicago State Community

Do You Want Angela Henderson to be Chicago State’s Next President?

This morning I sent e-mails to Chicago State's unit A and unit B full-time faculty (to those persons for whom I have addresses). Since I do not have an e-mail list that includes other members of the Chicago State community, I want to give you a chance to weigh in on this issue by sending me a simple e-mail. If you are so inclined, please read the following and respond. Thank you in advance for expressing your opinion on this topic.

Bob Bionaz

As most of you are aware, the CSU Board of Trustees is currently engaged in the search for a new president. Without going into great detail, I believe the outcome of this search is already determined and will yield Angela Henderson as Wayne Watson’s successor. In my estimation, this result would signal “business as usual” at our school, with attendant consequences.

What kind of president does Chicago State deserve? Here is a snapshot of the qualifications of the leaders of six other Illinois universities: Governors State, Northeastern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, Illinois State and UI-Springfield.

Education: five of the six other chancellors/presidents have PhD’s, one has an EdD. The most recent terminal degree earned by these persons came in 1990.

University Teaching: five of the six other chancellors/presidents have ten-plus years of university teaching experience, those same five attained the rank of full professor.

University Administrative Experience: All six university leaders have between 11 and 30-plus years of university administrative experience, most of it at the rank of Dean or higher. The president with no apparent university teaching experience has spent 31 years in university administration, all at the Assistant Vice President level or higher.

None of this suggests that these people are necessarily “good” leaders, simply that the majority are senior scholars who achieved professional success at a university prior to becoming university administrators.

Compare these qualifications with Angela Henderson’s.

Education: PhD granted by UIC in 2013.

University Teaching: none, four years of teaching experience at Olive-Harvey College. Based on her education, she might be qualified for an Assistant Professor’s position at Chicago State.

University Administrative Experience: four years as Vice President of Enrollment Management then Provost. Prior to 2011, one and one-half years as a Dean at Olive-Harvey then eight years of administrative experience at the City Colleges District Office.

Is that good enough for us? Is that all we are entitled to?

I do not believe that Angela Henderson is someone who is even remotely qualified to be president of any post-secondary institution. I am asking you to let me know if you agree. Please take the time to to respond to a simple comment by sending an e-mail to This is it:

I WANT ANGELA HENDERSON TO BE CHICAGO STATE’S NEXT PRESIDENT. A simple one word e-mail reply (yes or no) will be sufficient.

Please take a moment to do this. As always, I promise strict confidentiality. In the beginning, I plan to tally these results and present them to members of the search committee. I do not know if we can stop Henderson’s selection but I think the future of our school depends on making the effort.

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