“Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger”

I fully admit to being a Stephen Colbert fan (can you see my commitment to ‘truthiness’ in this blog?) and with that in mind, I’ll borrow a phrase from him — “tip of the hat, wag of the finger” — for today’s post.

First, a tip of a hat to paranoid who got fired up about the lack of real “vetting” that happened during the initial phases of Saluki Way and linked a few more good examples of news reports from 2006:

Faculty Senate resolution (passed unanimously) against Saluki Way
Some SIUC faculty, students discontented about ‘Saluki Way’ project [The Southern]
Protestors demand Wendler’s answers [Daily Egyptian, PDF]

Reading these reports are not a surprise to me. I started at SIUC in 2007, after the decisions had already been finalized, so I missed my own chance to sign protests, speak at Board of Trustees meetings and march outside Anthony Hall, but it was (and still is) hard to miss the groans and expressions of disgust in the halls of Faner when the words “Saluki Way” are mentioned.

And now our wag to the finger:

SIUC prepares to launch search for new chief fundraiser [The Southern]
Cheng details plans for IA division [Saluki Times]

We lost Rickey N. McCurry, former vice chancellor of institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, and now a national search is going on for his replacement. In the meantime, “[t]hree individuals who hold key roles in the division — Jeff Lorber, Elizabeth Banycky and Michelle Suarez — will continue with their responsibilities and report directly to Cheng” [Saluki Times]. Fundraising is important for the university. It’s important to have someone in the post who is good at it. The wag of the finger here, though, is for yet another administrative search. I’d really like to see the ratio of administration posts that are being filled versus the number of faculty posts being filled. I suspect (though I have no hard facts on this) the ratio is something around 3:1. Every time I see a position announcement make its rounds at SIUC, the announcement seems to be for an administrative position. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the job of the university isn’t to educate students or to perform research but rather to provide a clearing house for administrative types.

Perhaps our newly bought branding will acknowledge that! Think of the new mission statement: “SIUC, Home of the New Higher Education Growth Industry — Administration!” Got slogan suggestions of your own?

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