Sunday, 22 November 2015

Chancellor Talk

For some reason, the University of Missouri continues to be in the news.  You'd think by now that they'd burned up most national interest.....but apparently there is still more trouble.

Late Friday.....the university governing body met and had this discussion.  It was over the way that they will handle the decision process of who will become the next chancellor, and the president at the other campus in Columbia.  If you remember the details....both gentlemen handed in their resignations.

This Board met and allowed student input.  So students came forward and said they want input into the decision process.....something that no university in the US has ever allowed.  They weren't finished.....they also wanted improvements on non-white students, and better treatment of graduate students (higher stipends, more affordable housing, paternity and maternity leave, and adequate health care).

The Board?  It's made up of eight members.....two women, six men.  All appointed by the governor.  I looked over their 'resumes' via the university site.  These are all highly educated people.....people with professions, and a long list of accomplishments.

It's hard to imagine that you'd turn a Chancellor-recruitment episode into a very open process where it's more than eight people deciding upon the next guy.  The last thing on Earth you'd do.....is allow thirty-odd thousand college students to be part of the process.  In a matter of weeks, you could turn the university into some large forum of frustrated people who think they "own" the university.

The curious thing that might step up next.....is that the state assembly or legislature wants to be part of the recruitment episode......then the general public of Missouri.

Generally, when you recruit some Chancellor.....you want some individual who has had past experience and demonstrated himself or herself as competent.

Why limit this process to only the Chancellor?  Why not open the door for the football coach, the basketball coach, etc.....to be student-participation as well?  Why not open the door and allow the students to pick professors to be fired or hired?

There's a reason why you want some sixty-year-old people to be on a board and to be responsible for the actions required.  If you turn this process into a circus.....parents will recognize that, and voice concern that their kids are going to a marginal two-star university.  By summer of next year, the new freshman group on the list to attend in the fall might be only seventy-percent of what is expected.  A lot of students don't realize the negativity that can be attached to a university has consequences.

There's been talk since the day that the Chancellor resigned....that the students had this idea over their "insider" (Micheal Middleton), who is now acting as the temporary Chancellor until the board determines the full replacement.  There is a suggestion that the students just want the Board to rubber-stamp Middleton as the permanent guy and avoid any review of outside possibilities.  The issue will be pay structure, and Middleton might come up to ask for a twenty-five percent pay increase over what they paid the last guy, and that won't work......unless of course, the students jerk people around to demand it.

For some reason, I just don't have much faith that this University of Missouri episode will come to a successful conclusion.

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