So as the end of the academic year draws close, many long suffering CSU community members are cautiously optimistic about the direction the University is headed in the next 12-15 months. I join them in guarded optimism and am mindful that the institution has been on the brink of removing failed administrators before and couldn't execute. To bring you, loyal readers, up to date, several things of note have occurred in the past three weeks.
First the Board of Trustees appointed a highly qualified and experienced academic to the position of Interim President. Dr. Rachel Lindsey has been retired for nearly six years and has been spared bearing witness to the epic incompetence the University has been subjected to. Her more than 20 years as an administrator has born fruit immediately. She has returned advising responsibility to the academic departments and restored department chair terms to three years. Those are two concerns faculty have voiced for several years. I am sure there will be more to follow.
Second, two vacancies have opened on the Board of Trustees with the resignations of Paul Vallas and Nikki Zollar. Governor Rauner now has two more appointments and it is my fervent wish that he be as perceptive in his appointments of the next two as he was of the remaining three new trustees. They have been of remarkable service to the University in a very short time.
Third, like the Beatles, the Gang of Four (#CSUclowncar) is being dismantled. One has resigned from the University; one is rumored to have resigned; one has been reassigned and the last????? Everything that has a beginning has an end according to the Oracle from the movie The Matrix. Mercifully, the end of this period of institutional madness is coming to an end. Onward to the forensic audit and all of the fruit that it will bear. And by the way, having shredding parties doesn't always destroy all of the evidence of misconduct.
Fourth, there are rumors that the 24 pay period option is to be restored for faculty beginning August 2017. For some unknown reason, the provost thought it would be a good idea to inconvenience the 90% of faculty who used the 12 month option to spread their salary over. The administration doubled down on this ridiculous decision with the now relieved interim president telling your humble narrator, that she was looking out for faculty, even though faculty leadership was vehemently opposed to the decision. This is another example of rewarding failure.
One of the consequences of this change is that faculty will now have to pay out of pocket the Central Management Services, for the cost of their health care during the summer. Just another way to inconvenience faculty and demonstrate the provost's contempt us. The one upside is an opportunity to review and change benefits during the Benefits Choice change period which runs from May 1st through May 31st. Faculty can go online www.Mybenefits.illlinois.gov and make changes. If you don't have a PIN for your account, please call toll free 1-844-251-1777 Monday - Friday 8AM-6PM CT. Additionally, the Office of Human Resources will be hosting a Benefits Fair May 4th from 9AM - 4PM. Direct questions to Ms. Kim Bandy at email@example.com.
Finally, in our campaign (#MakeCSUGreatAgain), it is the responsibility of employees to assist in the compliance function of the University. To that end, all employees are Mandated Reporters and as such must complete the online DCFS training and submit the completion certificate to the Compliance Office by April 28th. Like the annual Ethics Training, there are possible consequences for employees not completing the training. And no, the University cannot download the database file from DCFS of its employees who have completed the training. Remember, we are in Illinois after all.
And finally, (really), thanks to my loyal colleagues who have persevered through circumstances that are truly incredible. Our students have the benefit of some of the best teachers in the academy. It humbles me to think what we could do with some real academic leadership.