Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Another Awful Decision from the Provost.

At this point early in the registration process, students registered for fall 2016 stand 13 percent below our total from this time last year. I don't imagine that last week's layoff debacle combined with the sharp decline in our graduation rates has inspired confidence in the holdover administrator's ability to function effectively during this crisis. Of course, our public problems are not solely responsible for our enrollment issues and graduation rate decline. One of the major issues confronting our students is the horrendous decision last year to have all advising done in an "advising center." At a recent joint meeting with the MAC, the Provost made the comment that "we now have professional advisors." Really? I do not believe many faculty or students consider the advising center anything more than a total disaster. We've cataloged some of its problems in past posts.

Of course, after the layoffs, the number of "professional" advisors available to do academic advising has diminished to either 6 or 7 I believe. These unfortunate souls are responsible for advising all our undergraduate students. Based on last year's student population (optimistic, I know) the current ratio of students to advisors exceeds 500 to 1. I'm sure that anyone handling close to 500 students per semester can dedicate the time needed to do advising well. Given the need for flexibility during these difficult times, I find it disturbing, although not surprising, that our Provost again digs her heels in and insists that all undergraduate advising be done in the advising center. Following on the heels of numerous other bad decisions on her part, this failure to acknowledge the failure of this procedure leads me to draw only two possible conclusions. First, the Provost is ignorant of the damage caused by this continual adherence to terrible policy; second, that she knows full well the scope of the catastrophe but simply does not care. Here is the text of an e-mail that went out yesterday, provided courtesy of one of our colleagues.

"I have confirmed with the Provost that she has not authorized undergraduate advising by faculty during Summer 2016.

You should make sure that your chairs are adhering to the memo of several months ago and directing undergraduate students to the Advising Center location, about which there was a separate email earlier this morning."

I will end this with a question. Why is Wayne Watson on the distribution list for the daily enrollment reports?


  1. At least the administration gave students refunds for mis-advising they received--a few of my students reported that they were compensated. Still, it does not make up for the loss of their time.

  2. Mr. Corday, Can I ask you to expand on your comment a bit? My child's advisor was an UTTER joke. Asking him what he wanted to take - not "advising" him on his path. The advisor actually took a photocopy of MY curriculum plan I made up for my child to stay on path. Last month when he wanted to change tracts within his major it came down to a 1 credit course needed for the degree....a "gym" course. CSU has not offered that course since 2008 (YET it is still required to graduate with that degree). The equivalent at our local junior college is restricted to that college's student athletes only (so reverse transfers are not eligible) & they would not consider the equivalency of a course taken at his previous college. When the CSU Chair of the department was questioned on how was one supposed to fulfill that course requirement the response was (and I quote from the email): "You may want to check other community colleges such as Moraine Valley. I am sure they have several fitness and conditioning classes. I do not know the curricula for those institutions and so you will need to do some research on your own." All we had to say to that was WTF!!! Well, we found that course and all the other courses he will be needing for his bachelor's degree....at ANOTHER college out of state. Prior to this conversation with the Chair, a Petition for Exeption was filed with the registrar (March 31st) to be able to take a science course this summer at the local community college near our home, to stay on schedule to graduate next year (within in 4 years). Called today....no word on what's happening with the petition approval or denial. That summer course being petitioned for starts in less than two weeks - guess no sense of urgency from the Provost on looking at it. Regardless doesn't make a difference, he's not planning on coming back to CSU and the god forsaken incompetence of the administration. Do we see any compensation for that incompetence though? No, the administration decided that paying Wayne Watson had priority over paying my child's $1500 Merit scholarship that was due to him this Spring along with his MAP grants. This school is utterly disgusting on so many levels.

    1. This is not an ordeal anyone deserves to go through and I fear that because of all the Watson department reorganizations and personnel shifts, firings, crony-hirings, and disastrous decision-making, CSU is going to take a long time to right itself, if the state will let it. I am sorry CSU will be losing your child as a student. My student told me in April that she wrote out a petition explaining the situation and her department (chair presumably) moved the petition forward through the dean to the provost's office and a refund was granted. I have not been able to get any more detail than that. While not all situations are exactly the same, you would help other students if you would press your claims.

    2. We received a call/email from the interim associate provost today letting us know that back at the beginning of April they SUPPOSEDLY they sent a response back to both the chair of the department & the registrar that my son's petition was not necessary and a decision could be made by the chair. But in the conversation two days ago with the registrar's office they SUPPOSEDLY looked at my son's account to see if there were any notations regarding the petitions and said there were not and the petition must still be with the provost's office. There has been no communication from the chair of the department since his instructions to go out on our own to find the class he'd need to graduate. Who knows at this point who is telling the truth. Unfortunately mother's instinct lost the decision when we came for an athletic visit in 2014 and now a year has been wasted on classes in a major that wasn't worth pursuing.

      Perhaps the visit by the advisor from the College of Education back in January to the rec classes, letting students know that it is their responsibility to know what they needed to take & advisors were not responsible for errors (basically relinquishing any accountability) was a precursor to knowledge of the predicament that the student you speak of incurred. I do not believe ignorance is an excuse - and all students should be knowledgeable about what is necessary of them...but come on, do your job and take accountability for it.

      I just find it amazing though that CSU can seem to find money when there is none. For all those students who took on extra work, took out extra loans, etc. to pay off their balances for the Spring semester when it was announced that MAP & Merit grants couldn't be covered. Those dedicated students who took responsibility are given the shaft when on April 1st, CSU decides that students who didn't find the means to pay off or pay down their balances now will have them covered by the school. The most horrendous discovery I have found through this whole process though is that there is absolutely NO OVERSIGHT on how CSU allocates the money from the state or ISAC once it's received. Calls to the IBHE and HLC both said they can do as they will with monies once sent. Money left in the hands of the CSU administration with no oversight??

      With my son not coming back to CSU, my only reasoning for staying entangled in this train wreck of an institution is hoping that the budget or some final appropriations pass so that he may get the monies that he was entitled this past Spring to cover loans he had to take out. To leave a school with a 4.0 GPA and not be getting any of the Merit scholarship you were counting on...??

      It is so sad that I have so much negative opinion for an place that my son attended for only one year.

  3. CSU Parent: I think your child's experience sums up why so many students don't come to CSU or return once they do. Rather than having ANYTHING to do with looking at an individual petition, a Provost should be fixing the systemic issues that cause these situations. I'm sorry for your experience.

    On the other hand, scholarships and MAP grants are state funds. There are a lot of people 'owed' a lot of things right now. We saw a few private schools step up and use their own funds to substitute missing MAP grants, but, I'm sorry to say, CSU just doesn't have the money to do so.