Monday, June 22, 2015

Some Summer Musings

So it was announced that a new police chief has been hired. Is the successful applicant the same person whose name was bandied about in March by the current police chief? Very curious if it is the same person because the soon to be former chief was the chair of the search committee that led to her hiring. I would take a wild guess that such behavior would be unethical and as this administration has repeatedly demonstrated, ethics ranks high on its list of behaviors not to pursue.

I couldn’t figure out why some academic departments didn’t hold elections for department chair during the Spring Semester. I realize this quaint activity of decades gone by is done in those other universities, like the University of Illinois or Northwestern. But why not here? Then it occurred to me that maybe there was to be no need for department chairs because of an as of yet unannounced departmental reorganization. Given the smashing lack of success from the last reorganization I was breathless with anticipation for the next iteration of incompetence. Apparently though it couldn’t be decided, because like many things here, there is much talk and sharing but no action.

I might represent the minority opinion on this but I am convinced the board is steering the ship towards failure by not hiring an external interim president. The Presidential Search application deadline has already been extended due to the paucity of applicants for this much sought after position. And now without anyone to clean up the toxic waste dump that has become CSU, the board condemns the next president to the job of cleaning up and leading toward the future. With two diametrically opposed tasks, this significantly lowers the over/under of the next president to a whopping 32 months. With the condition of the university I would definitely take the under.

A question that has been directed towards me by several of my colleagues is how did the HIV/AIDS Institute get closed. Since its inception and mention by public law, the institute has been a self sufficient and productive element of the university and then with no consultation, examination or even a dated or verifiable paper trail it was gone. Given that it took federal funds to operate, I would imagine that there must be some paper trail explaining the decision to close an Institute with such a vital mission to community that this university serves.

Does anyone wish to wager whether the university owes or doesn’t owe the US Department of Education $2m? I wouldn’t take that bet either way until a FOIA request submitted to the DoEd is responded to. It is possible because the university has had to return money in the past. Stay tuned!

The university is already a ghost town most week days. I thought I saw a tumbleweed being blown between HWH and Science but it could have been a heat created mirage. Though it does beg the question about why the university is kinda closed on Fridays. The university is open but it isn’t. Some buildings are locked and some open. Some offices are open while others aren’t. On last Friday I ran into a prospective student who could get into two of the buildings she was seeking to conduct business in. When she asked me whether the university was closed on Fridays, I couldn’t really give a good answer. There may be short staffing in preparation for the explosion in enrollment for the fall that is expected. Or maybe because the university is so efficient Monday through Thursday, Fridays become “Work If Want To Fridays.” Who knows with the visionaries trolling around in the Cook Building?

And speaking of enrollment, maybe the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management will report to the Board on Thursday that CSU will henceforth use the wheel of fortune method to project its enrollment. Nothing else under Ms Sidney’s watch seems to have worked.

And speaking of the outgoing Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, is it true that she is to become the new Director of Compliance. With the letters behind her name and her tax payer paid trips to compliance conferences, one is left to wonder if a demotion is in the offing or will a new job title be created as have all of her previous job titles? Funny that one would need a year working in compliance with half of their work being compliance related to be a compliance professional. Maybe there will be a double dip and she will end up as the Ethics Officer as well. Those who lie on their applications can only dream.

Finally, is the regime engaged in the oft played Administrator Shell Game? In this game to avoid detection by the legislature, accrediting bodies or good government types, the regime changes the job titles of highly paid administrators but keeps them at the same salaries. That way they can say they trimmed the administrative fat and pray that our diligent legislators don’t ask the follow up question about how much money was actually saved. Because as we have learned over the past six years, running the institution is not about sound fiscal management or industry standard practices. It’s Illinois politics at its worst, which often ends up in handcuffs.

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