Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chicago State Hits a New Enrollment Low: Another "Accomplishment" for the Watson Administration

There it is folks, the new benchmark for failure here at Chicago State. The dismal numbers: since 2010, the university under the "leadership" of Watson has lost 2595 students (35.2 percent). The most recent enrollment drop from last spring to this fall is the tenth consecutive semester of enrollment losses at CSU. Spring will undoubtedly be the eleventh straight under Watson. The Board has already decided that the reason for this decline is the absence of a state budget. Obviously, Watson bears no responsibility for this continuing disaster, although for several months, the Board has asked Cheri Sidney and other representatives of Enrollment Management when the enrollment decline will stop. Neither she nor anyone else from that section has an answer other than vague assurances that enrollment will "stabilize" then "increase incrementally," assertions rendered false by our continued free fall. Here's my partial solution to the problem: fire Wayne Watson and root out the incompetent cronies who have orchestrated this failure over the past 5 years. If the Board is unwilling to take decisive action in the best interests of the university, what is the community to think? what are prospective students to think? what are prospective donors to think? In a city of nearly 3 million people--at a school with so many Vice Presidents that they fall all over each other, where six-figure administrators abound--we can't find even 5,000 students who want to come to school here. Pitiful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More Job Shuffling?

So one of the things that has gone unabated in the waning days of the failed Watson regime is the rumor mill. One of the latest rumors have the former Executive Director of TRIO (and FOA) moving to an Assistant Dean of Students position. With fewer students than ever, why the need for so many administrators in that area? Is it to keep people employed as long a possible even when the grant that serviced thousands of students suddenly disappeared? It appears to be a case of lose a grant, get another position. The new AVP of Student Affairs must be flexing some muscle here to get another overpaid administrator in her area. And all of this in the midst of a state budget catastrophe.
In another area, loyal readers wish to know if the ever popular Cheri Sidney is on her way out of Enrollment Management after a disastrous tenure there? Is the directorship of the compliance office awaiting her? Given her stellar service to Watson, it only makes sense she would move from an empty office suite on the second floor of the Cook Building to the tight spaces of compliance on the third floor, an area she knows little about, even after attending conferences in Canada and DC on the taxpayers dime. The employee who lied on her job application and was not fired, in contravention of HR policy will soon be overseeing the compliance enterprise??? You can't make this stuff up.
Stay tuned.

Monday, September 28, 2015

CHI Tribune Commentary --CSU contributes to the list of schools restricting free speech on campus

Check out the commentary section of the Chicago Tribune today to see the august name of CSU on the list of "honor" for abuse of freedom of speech. The article mentions attempts to shut down the CSU blog, but it does not mention the grievous and outrageous silencing of student dissent on campus that has gone on during the reign of Wayne Watson and Anthony Young. I'm not just referring to the chokehold of Jokari Miller at one of the Board of  Trustees meetings. Ask around and students will tell you how they have been told to shut up and conform.

A former colleague alerted me to this article and suggested that whoever the new guy is coming in to take over the presidency here, he might want to heed the message. It's not worth bothering the current lame duck incumbent at this point. A leopard can't change his spots, as they say. 
Chicago Tribune, Monday Sept. 28, 2015
COMMENTARY Restoring Free Speech on Campus

Restrictions on free speech on campus are incompatible with the fundamental values of higher education.
Censorship in the academic community is commonplace. Students and faculty are increasingly being investigated and punished for controversial, dissenting or simply discomforting speech. It is time for colleges and universities to take a deep breath, remember who they are and reaffirm their fundamental commitment to freedom of expression.
The past academic year offers a depressing number of examples of institutions of higher education failing to live up to their core mission. At Northwestern University, for example, Professor Laura Kipnis endured a months-long Title IX investigation for publishing an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education in which she discussed a high-profile sexual assault case. Just a few months later, her fellow professor, Alice Dreger, courageously resigned in protest over Northwestern's censorship of a faculty-edited medical journal.
In a similar vein, Louisiana State University fired Professor Teresa Buchanan after nearly two decades of service for her occasional use of profanity, which the university suddenly deemed "sexual harassment," and Chicago State University enacted a new cyberbullying policy to silence a blog that was critical of university leadership.
At Iowa State University, administrators censored T-shirts created by the university's student chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The Regents of the University of California are considering adopting a "Statement of Principles Against Intolerance" that would ban "derogatory language reflecting stereotypes or prejudice." Other institutions are considering banning so-called "microaggressions" or requiring "trigger warnings" to protect students from having to confront potentially upsetting ideas and subjects. Still others have withdrawn invitations to speakers who have taken positions that some members of the community find unpleasant, offensive or wrong-headed — a practice President Barack Obama criticized this month, saying that leaving students "coddled and protected from different points of view" is "not the way we learn."

Restrictions on free expression on college campuses are incompatible with the fundamental values of higher education. At public institutions, they violate the First Amendment; at most private institutions, they break faith with stated commitments to academic freedom. And these restrictions are widespread: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's most recent survey of college and university policies found that more than 55 percent of institutions maintain illiberal speech codes that prohibit what should be protected speech. For students and faculty, the message is clear: Speaking your mind means putting your education or your career at risk.
Enough is enough. Our colleges and universities should redeem the promise of the new academic year by reaffirming their commitments to freedom of expression.
Last year, the University of Chicago convened a Committee on Freedom of Expression to do exactly that. The committee issued a statement identifying the principles that must guide institutions committed to attaining knowledge through free and open discourse. Guaranteeing members of the academic community "the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn," the statement guarantees students and faculty the right "to discuss any problem that presents itself."
How should students and scholars respond when challenged by speech with which they disagree, or that they even loathe? The Chicago statement sets forth the answer: "by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose." Anticipating the push and pull of passionate debate, the statement sets forth important ground rules: "Debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed."
Perhaps most important, the Chicago statement makes clear that "it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive." Laura Kipnis, Alice Dreger and Teresa Buchanan would have benefited from this frank and necessary recognition.
Encouragingly, Princeton University, American University and Purdue University have already adopted the core of the Chicago statement as their own. If colleges and universities nationwide were to follow their example — either by adopting the Chicago statement or forging one of their own — academic censorship would face a powerful new challenge.
Backed by a strong commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom, faculty could challenge one another, their students and the public to consider new possibilities, without fear of reprisal. Students would no longer face punishment for exercising their right to speak out freely about the issues most important to them. Instead of learning that voicing one's opinions invites silencing, students would be taught that spirited debate is a vital necessity for the advancement of knowledge. And they would be taught that the proper response to ideas they oppose is not censorship, but argument on the merits. That, after all, is what a university is for.
Free speech and academic freedom will not protect themselves. With public reaffirmation of the necessity of free speech on campus, the current wave of censorship that threatens the continuing excellence of U.S. higher education can be repudiated, as it should be, as a transitory moment of weakness that disrespects what our institutions of higher learning must represent.
Washington Post
Geoffrey R. Stone is a professor at the University of Chicago and served as chair of the school's Committee on Freedom of Expression. Will Creeley is vice president for legal and public advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Scorched Earth Slashed and Burned

So is it possible for an utterly failed administration to exit gracefully? In the case of CSU, apparently not. With a rumored departure of January 1st, the Watson regime cannot end soon enough. What the university will be faced with unfortunately is a scorched earth departure. Observers have seen evidence of this in recent months as micro layoffs and other superfluous reorganizations have occurred.  The elimination of security positions in the police department, the firing of the Directors of Admissions and Financial Aid, the reassignment of the Director of TRIO, the elimination of the Associate Director of International Programs all speak to an intentional policy of continuing to destroy the university. And all of this comes as the Provost continues to fail at her position and Cheri Sidney occupies an empty office suite doing who knows what besides collecting a six figure salary. The destruction of corporate memory by this administration has been inconceivable. Any person who would defend the actions of this regime is obviously someone who knows nothing about higher education, is a lackey or just plain stupid. Knowing that the run is mercifully coming to an end you might expect that there wouldn’t be a new Vice President for Administration and Finance joining this failed regime. I have it on good authority that the incumbent interim VP was told not to announce his departure or that a successor was being brought in. Given this administration’s history of incompetent hires, one can only imagine what skill set this phantom VP brings and the damage s/he wreak might in the next three months. 
I asked a colleague in a non-academic department how evaluations were conducted and the most insightful observation was that evaluation is impossible if you don’t have the tools to do the job. Watson and his minions have done everything in their power to deprive the faculty and staff of the tools necessary to do their jobs. It’s clear who the losers in this are and also clear who bears responsibility. It is the secretive body currently attempting to hire a successor to Watson. Maybe in another couple of months the Board might have a meeting and vote on the hire and then by January let the university know who will be taking over the reins. And then again maybe not. This Board has demonstrated the same propensities as the president in terms of not effectively communicating with the university.
So none of this Kafkaesque theater surprises me. It just saddens me.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Disgrace of Illinois: Fat-Cat Politicians Grandstand While State Employees Suffer

At a recent departmental meeting, one of my colleagues asked how long other universities would be able to operate without a state budget since our administration has told the state legislators that our school would not be able to continue past January. I came up with an extremely primitive calculus that enabled me to project each school's ability to endure the state-imposed budget impasse. Here's my estimate:

Chicago State through mid-January
Eastern and Western Illinois through mid-March
Northeastern Illinois and Governors State through mid-May, possibly through the end of the school year.

I think it's important to emphasize that the fools in Springfield who have created this crisis are making a choice to do so. A look at Illinois' revenue projections for the 2016 fiscal year indicates a $32 billion income for the state. To be clear, the state's income stream continues unabated: there are billions of dollars in revenue flowing into state coffers. A look at the various categories of revenue reveals that closure of the state universities would result, at a maximum, in the loss of around $1 billion in revenue. While persons employed by the state or its various universities face the possibility of no pay, Illinois legislators have their pay and expenses guaranteed even if the state has no budget. These politicians are putting our livelihoods in jeopardy with their posturing and their sclerotic ideologies. I for one will pay close attention to who does what in this legislature.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our Administrative Ranks Grow Again

For several months, Chicago State administrators have bemoaned the fiscal woes of our school. However, as previous posts have noted, our fiscal exigency seems to disappear where administrative hires/promotions are concerned. So it should come as no surprise that just last month, we added a new administrative position to our pantheon of managers: the Assistant Dean of the College of Health Sciences.

With a sincere apology to the blameless incumbent in this position, I again wonder how the university finds the funds to continually increase its administrative ranks. The Assistant Dean’s position appears nowhere in the 2015 Internal Operating Budget, in fact a 2014 appropriation of $50,000 for an Associate Dean in Health Sciences disappeared in the 2015 budget. Thus, the university apparently had no money allocated for such a hire. Of course, we know from previous administrative budget shenanigans that this is no impediment to hiring more and more administrators. After all, recall that funding for Napoleon Moses’s position came out of the “Internal Improvements” appropriation.

Once again, we are confronted with the contradiction between the administration’s rhetoric and its behavior. I have no doubt that the fiscal crisis in Illinois is real. However, is it not reasonable to expect some kind of restraint from a public institution ostensibly suffering the pangs of financial hunger? To be sure, here at Chicago State, restraint is for the “little people,” the “rubes.” The Watson administration continues to increase its own ranks, heedless of either the public relations consequences (sorry, I know that no one cares) or the financial implications of what seem like an increasingly brazen disregard for fiscal responsibility and the public welfare. Finally, there has been no administrative announcement of this hire that I know of.

How many other administrative hirings are in the offing?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Watson Regime Encapsulated: What One Former Administrator Says

We now wait hopefully for the Board to announce the identify of Chicago State's new president. Since Wayne Watson's announced retirement, some persons have articulated the idea that we should look "forward" not "backward," and because Watson is leaving, that some kind of moratorium should exist on criticizing him or his utterly failed regime. Believing that understanding the past is an important component of understanding the present, I reject those propositions. In particular, I want the incoming president to comprehend the toxic atmosphere created by Watson and company over the past six years.

The vast majority of persons on this campus are either unwilling or afraid to speak out on the myriad abuses of the Watson administration. However, when people leave the CSU "family," they are often willing to reveal their feelings about the experience of working under this administration. What follow are excerpts from a document written by a former administrative employee. Judge for yourself if these remarks ring true:

In my estimation, the legacy of the Watson administration will primarily be one of shame and dishonor. Our new president must take this university on a different path.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tell Us What You Think

All the candidates have appeared on campus. Here at the Faculty Voice, we are very interested in your thoughts/impressions. If you attended one or more of the question and answer sessions, please take a moment to send us an e-mail describing your thoughts on the candidate or candidates you saw. We'll publish the responses anonymously and send them to the Board, also anonymously. If you're so moved, please send your response(s) to either:, or to:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Little We Have on Jerry D. Blakemore

Since Jerry Blakemore has not been the chief executive of any university, there is far less data on him than existed for Dennis Fields. Anecdotally, I understand that several persons spoke of his high level of integrity, and that he has on occasion opposed the NIU president when he felt his actions were detrimental to the school. Overall, NIU has seen its enrollment decline by 13.6 percent since 2010, from 23,850 to 20,611 in Fall 2014. However, the General Counsel bears no responsibility for that drop. I am including an e-mail received from one of the NIU faculty. I must emphasize that Jerry Blakemore has not been involved in any of the problems to which the e-mail’s author refers.

“I am afraid that I really don't know anything about Jerry Blakemore. I have never met him or seen him. I assume that he is rarely actually on campus, since he seems to primarily provide legal counsel to the Board of Trustees.

That said, I cannot say much positive about the Board of Trustees or the university administrators at Northern Illinois. Simply search in Google for the news stories about NIU (other than sports) in the past several years, and you will see ample evidence of numerous scandals and administrative problems.”

Objectively, what I do know is that he has been well regarded by Republican leaders, including former Illinois Governors James R. Thompson and James Edgar, as well as Ronald Reagan. He has served as Illinois Deputy Governor and an Assistant Secretary of Labor under Reagan. Blakemore has also been heavily involved with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and has worked as General Counsel for both SIU and NIU. While he has worked in higher education administration as a General Counsel for a number of years, he is tabula rasa as far as presidential qualifications go.

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Minor Thing

So it is usually rare that a university conducts a presidential search. They are labor intensive, often wrenching processes especially when the outcome is not welcomed by the campus community. One of the activities in this already stressful process is the campus visits by the finalists. Each constituency is given time to question the applicants and make determinations about qualifications and suitability. There is a reason that each constituency is divided. They usually have different issues, concerns, needs or observations. I am curious and then angry when I see administrators at the faculty or student sessions and would imagine that administrators would not appreciate faculty attending their sessions. The presence of other groups, especially in a contentious or profoundly dysfunctional environment, can inhibit candid exchanges between the constituency members and the applicant. It shouldn't matter to tenured faculty that administration lackeys are might be hanging about. However, un-tenured faculty might be reluctant to speak candidly if their words are reported back to an already compromised administration. What is worse however is when staff, faculty or administrators attend the student session. Given the clear power differential that exists I am sure that there is an impact on the interactions of students and applicants when university officials are present. Students should be given the space to speak candidly to the applicants without fear of some reaction by the administration. I would expect university professionals to have the self awareness to stay in their lane in this process and not, even inadvertently, compromise an already questionable process.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dennis Shields: Fundraising at UW-Platteville

Some supplemental information about the presidential finalist who will appear on campus tomorrow:

During Dennis Shields' tenure at UW-Platteville, the contributions to the university foundation increased from $1.88 million in fiscal 2011 to $6.6 million in fiscal 2014.
From fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2014, the university foundation's endowment increased from $9 million to $14.8 million.

This information comes from IRS-990 forms filed by the UW-Platteville Foundation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Never-Ending Saga of Enrollment Declines: Will Anyone Ever Take Responsibility?

"Accepting failure takes strength of character, honesty and humility. It provides a building block for future achievements. When we deny culpability, we rob ourselves of the chance to learn from our mistakes. We condemn ourselves to a lifetime pattern of avoidance and deception. Like Marley's ghost, dragging his chains of missed humanitarian opportunities behind him, we crawl forward pulling our chains of pathetic excuses behind us--never fully maturing, never fully reaching our true potential. This stale baggage is far more character eroding than any of our individual failures could ever be."

From the website of a faculty member at Ryerson University in Toronto:

Chicago State's enrollment ten days into the fall semester stood at 4756, 62 fewer than spring 2015 and 455 fewer than last fall. Because the university is going to offer a handful of courses in a special session, the final fall enrollment (reported on September 24) may climb above last spring's anemic total of 4818. While that would break the streak of nine consecutive semesters of enrollment declines here at Chicago State, it is no cause for celebration. Since spring 2005, the average enrollment decline from fall to spring has been 357 students. Thus, just an average enrollment drop next spring will bring the school's enrollment tumbling down to fewer than 4500 students.

The current figure represents a drop of 2606 students from fall 2010, or a percentage decrease of 35.4 percent. Think of that. In just five years, this school has lost better than one-third of its student population. All these dismal figures scream colossal failure. However, here at Chicago State, the persons most responsible for this failure are allowed to continue in their positions (sinecures?) as the university continues to swirl around the drain. We've detailed the reasons on this blog but no one in the state seems to give a damn about this school or its future. I've puzzled over this for a number of years and have yet to understand the hands-off attitude toward this school. A number of questions come to mind:

Would the head of a corporation with nine consecutive years of losses and a 35 percent decrease in revenues keep her/his job?
Would the head of a sports team with nine consecutive years of losing seasons keep her/his job?
Would a score of 64.6 be a "C" grade in an most academic contexts?
Would a student at Chicago State who completed 64.6 percent of her/his courses be making satisfactory academic progress?

I think we all know the answers to those rhetorical questions. Here's another one: why do we tolerate this kind of failure here at the top of the Chicago State administration? Even more important, what does this legacy of failure mean as we move (hopefully) into a new era?

Just yesterday, I spoke with one of our mid-level administrators about what kinds of challenges we faced in attempting to repair the damage done by five-plus years of this regime. One of the person's observations had to do with the necessity of changing the "work culture." How do you do that when the model is failure? How do you do that when accountability for failure is selectively apportioned? How do you do that when those most responsible for failure devise strategies and create scapegoats to blame for their own ineptitude? How do you do that when the people who work at Chicago State see failure consistently rewarded? That mountain will be a difficult one to climb.

I do have a modest proposal as to where to start. Since the person at the top is ultimately responsible for the things that occur on her/his watch, I think it is time for a number of our senior administrators to acknowledge that even though they may have tried, they've failed; miserably and completely. That is no disgrace but it is clearly time for someone else to step in and attempt to salvage what can be saved here at Chicago State. It is time for some of these people to move on, it is time for some serious house-cleaning at this school. Or as Leo Durocher used to say: it is time to "back up the truck."

Saturday, September 5, 2015

This is what passes for transparency???

So in the spring the Board of Trustees trumpeted how the search process for the next president was going to be different. Now some months later, I can report that it is different just not in a way that has thus far served the university. For a group that has such limited knowledge of universities one would think they might ask subject matter experts within the university (faculty) how to do a search or use an exit strategy and leave the job to someone who might know something about this process and be willing to conduct it in a truly transparent way. Instead this Board blissfully dances the university closer to the edge of closure. 

The first failure was the composition of the search committee. With no senior faculty on the search committee the Board completely dismissed the literally centuries of corporate knowledge available and opted for less experienced faculty, one of whom literally has no skin in the game save to protect the incumbent's cronies. The communication to the campus community has been insufficient and less than timely. A memo dated June 17th, 2015 arrived by email on August 28th. That hardly seems transparent. The search firm is reported to have told search committee members that the search process was "confidential" and to not discuss it. That hardly seems transparent. Not mentioning applicants is absolutely reasonable, nee expected. But not talking about the process??? Two special board meetings were held over two days to conduct airport interviews at the O'Hare Hilton. While those meetings are critical to a search process those meetings literally bordered on violating the Open Meetings Act which requires meetings be held at a time and place that is convenient. A 7AM or 8AM start time is hardly convenient especially at O'Hare airport for members of the university community who might wish to attend. The latest insult to the campus community is the schedule for the candidates visiting the campus starting September 14th. The Board announced officially just before 5PM on the Friday prior to Labor Day who the finalists are and when each is scheduled to visit the university. In the world of politics and the 24 hour news cycle, scheduling a Friday afternoon release of information is usually done to deliver bad news and make that bad news go away over the weekend when fewer people watch the news. The university had the opportunity to have some positive press on Wednesday but chose to deliver it as bad news on Friday. I wonder if Board is about to make a mistake similar to the one made by the University of Iowa board which hired a president roundly condemned by the university community to satisfy some other, as yet undisclosed, agenda. 

Given the criticality of the selection of the next president, I am also dismayed that the Board was beaten to the punch on the announcement of the finalists. Yes, loyal readers, this blog published the names of the finalists two days prior to the Board making its official announcement. For an event of this magnitude that should never happen. (And I am glad we were able to inform you loyal readers)

Finally, the compressed time scheduled allows for limited interaction between applicants and the community. I guess I should be happy that faculty get 40 minutes to 'meet and greet', whatever that means. It's unclear whether questions can be asked or whether this is simply the peasants being able to gaze upon the future king. That there wasn't time for the UPI Chapter President and executive board, the Civil Service Council President and officers, the Faculty Senate President and executive committee or the Student Government Association officers to meet with each candidate is symptomatic of the ignorance of the Board in managing a presidential search process. As has been stated in this venue numerous times, "flawed processes lead to flawed outcomes." Unfortunately the Board has now placed each of the candidates in a more difficult position to get the buy in from faculty as it appears the process is and has been a sham.

This whole process gives me pause to wonder what is the real motivation of this Board. Are the aluminum foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists correct that CSU is being prepped for a hostile takeover and those in charge are there for that reason? I would certainly hope not but with the closure of programs like TRIO and another sham search it is hard to imagine another future for this institution.

Friday, September 4, 2015

How Has Dennis Shields Performed at UW-Platteville? Here's One Measure: Enrollment

In an effort to provide the campus community as much information as possible about the three presidential finalists, we will present relevant data when it is available. Since Dennis Shields has served as the Chancellor of Wisconsin Platteville, it is possible to evaluate his performance in the same way we can evaluate Wayne Watson's failure. As we know, Watson bloviates but his "achievements" are virtually nil with the potential destruction of the university perhaps his most enduring legacy. Shields came to Platteville in 2010 so his tenure there closely mirrors Watson's tenure at Chicago State.

From 2010 to 2014, Platteville's enrollment increased by nearly 1,000 students. That university's 12.3 percent enrollment increase represented the best performance of any school in the eleven-university system of non-research universities. Overall, the enrollment in that system increase by less than 1 percent, adding 742 students. As the school with the largest increase, Platteville's enrollment increased by 973 students between 2010-14. Clearly, all three candidates have many questions to answer but we at least have one with a track record of enrollment growth. Here are the comparative figures for the system:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Here's What One Member of the UW-Platteville Faculty Thinks About Dennis Shields

Well, I have to admit that I am not happy to hear that Shields is a finalist for any position. On the whole, I've been very happy with him as chancellor here at UW-Platteville, and I would be very sad to see him leave us.

However--that doesn't mean that he's perfect. He has tended to surround himself with 'yes-men', or in one case, with very young and very attractive 'yes-women.' That has pissed many people off a whole lot--including me. I've also heard that he holds grudges, but I have not heard of any cases in which his grudge-holding has hurt an academic program or faculty member. And I have not been aware of much, if any, cronyism on his part. I suppose I should add that the fact that he's a finalist at your university is evidence that he's not afraid to lie when convenient. During his second year at UW-Platteville, he announced at a university-wide convocation that he planned to remain chancellor at UW-Platteville until he retired (in what was then 10 years). So he looked us in the eyes and lied. But maybe that's just standard behavior for people in his position.

On the whole, I would say that Shields is an intelligent, hard-working guy with a friendly and open personality. He has been quite dedicated to increasing the number of students of color on campus and has been very supportive of African American students in particular. In his first few years at UWP, he cleaned out A LOT of dead wood among administrators and academic staff (some of whom were even African American) and brought in some very well-qualified people in their place. That has been wonderful, and I'm grateful to him for that. He has also been very good about hiring highly competent women (and not necessarily just attractive ones) to high-ranking positions on campus. And he's been very supportive of the LGBTQ community on campus and has funneled funds in their direction.

If Shields leaves UWP, in my opinion he will be leaving it in much better shape than it was when he first came. As I said, I will be quite sorry to see him go. It has been very nice not having a privileged white male at the top of our hierarchy. So please don't hire him.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Here Are the Three Finalists for the Chicago State Presidency: Our Clueless Board Completely Misses the Mark?

OK Folks, here are the three finalists for the president's job at Chicago State. We haven't been told yet by that "transparent" bunch conducting the search, but apparently the Civil Service Employees know. Drum roll please:

Jerry D. Blakemore, J.D., Currently the General Counsel at Northern Illinois University. No experience on the academic side of the university, no teaching experience. Here's a brief biography:

Blakemore earned his bachelor's degree in political science in 1976 from Princeton University. He went on to study law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. As the deputy governor and legal counsel to former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, Blakemore became the youngest person, at the age of 30, and the first African American to hold that title. Blakemore served as a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education for 12 years and was appointed to chair the board in 1992. Blakemore's experience also includes heading the Regulatory and Governmental Affairs Practice group and managing the Chicago office of Sales, Goodloe, Golden, & Blakemore law firm, where he also served as a managing partner. Blakemore was also an assistant secretary within the US Department of Labor for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Blakemore held the position of general counsel to a manufacturing company in St. Louis and worked with the Chicago-based law firm, Carney & Brothers.

Immediately before taking on the position of vice president and general counsel with Southern Illinois University, Blakemore served as CEO and general counsel to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. He is a current member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and participates in regulatory work with the Illinois Commerce Commission. In the past, Blakemore served as chair of the Midwest Higher Education Compact and still serves as a member.

Thomas J. Calhoun, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in 2008. Former High School Principal in Chicago. No teaching experience, three years administrative experience on the academic side of the University of North Alabama (Provost). Google Thomas J. Calhoun, redacted resume for a c.v.

Dennis J. Shields, J.D. Currently the Chancellor of Wisconsin-Plateville. Primary experience in various law schools. Google his linkedin page for more information.