This is a missive that went out to deans, associate deans, chairs, and directors yesterday from John Nicklow, our new Provost and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (you can read the full text of the memorandum in the linked PDF file). Now deans, chairs, and directors have been forwarding the message on to faculty and staff. Essentially, this is a gag order that calls “direct communication” with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Higher Learning Commission “inappropriate.” The IBHE is responsible for coordinating universities and colleges throughout the state of Illinois and the HLC is part of an accreditation agency; this makes both these agencies fairly important to the operation of SIUC. Nicklow orders people not to contact or communicate with either agency so that the university can “speak with one voice to the State.”
Apparently that one voice should be his — never mind that many of the faculty and staff interact daily with agencies as part of their jobs (particularly the IBHE, which is a grant funding organization). It also poses the question of what the administration is trying to hide by attempting to cut communications and further deprive the faculty and staff at SIUC of their voice, not only within the university itself but within the state.
This sort of missive from on high is exactly the sort off climate we do not want at SIUC. This is yet another example of an administration that seems to enjoy power plays, rather than cooperation, and prefers to speak with “one voice” — theirs.