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After reading this article, it’s impossible to connect the word competence with the title of high-ranking MnSCU administrator. Here’s why:

According to Sam Nelson, president of Minnesota State College Faculty-Ridgewater, the decision to take the vote followed eight years of efforts to improve communication with Allen. Union members feel Allen has been unresponsive to their concerns.

The vote passed overwhelmingly. About 140 faculty members were eligible to vote, 75 percent cast ballots, and 90 percent voted in favor, Nelson said.

That’s a pretty overwhelming result. Here’s the results of the faculty’s surveys:

This statement startled me:

1. President Allen demonstrates respect for faculty.

2007-08 = 2.22
2008-09 = 2.067
2011-12 = 2.38

This is the other statement that startled me:

3. President Allen demonstrates that he places appropriate value on the input of faculty in addressing college issues.

2007-08 = 1.98
2008-09 = 1.623
2011-12 = 1.86

Part of the collective bargaining agreement between MnSCU and the faculty is shared governance. Whether you agree with that principle or not, it’s part of a negotiated contract. That means these colleges’ presidents are obligated to that. Clearly, the vast majority of faculty at Ridgewater think that President Allen isn’t living up to their agreement.

This isn’t rare within MnSCU. At St. Cloud State, their monthly shared governance meeting is officially called Meet and Confer. For the last 2+ years, the SCSU Faculty Association have nicknamed the meetings Meet and Announce, as in they hold the meeting and President Potter announces the things he’s changed unilaterally.

Considering the fact that St. Cloud State has a $9,542,000 deficit this year that’s predicted to jump to more than $12,000,000 next year, perhaps President Potter should consider the possibility of actually listening to the FA’s ideas.

U of M President Eric Kaler’s new policy on reporting crime on the U of M campus is fairly straightforward:

The University of Minnesota plans to reduce the use of suspect descriptions, including race, in crime alerts sent to the campus community. President Eric Kaler described the new approach in an email sent to students, staff and faculty on Wednesday. Kaler said suspect descriptions will still be included when they help identify a potentially dangerous suspect, but that when the description is too general, the university will “note that only a limited description of the suspect(s) is available.”

If that sounds foolish to you, check this out:

The decision came after a dialogue about the issue on campus, which included a student-led occupation of Kaler’s office earlier this month.

I wouldn’t call it a dialogue as much as it’s President Kaler caving into the demands of some overly PC students:

Thirteen demonstrators were taken into custody Monday night after staging a sit-in at University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler’s Morrill Hall office to complain that the university is not committed enough to diversity.

The protest, organized by a group that calls itself “Whose Diversity?”, ended just before 8 p.m. Monday. A tweet from the Twitter account for Whose Diversity, @WhoseDiv, said all 13 were released by 4:37 a.m. Activist Tanja Andic said protesters believe that the university merely gives lip service to the idea of diversity on campus. “They talk about investment in diversity,” Andic said. “They talk about having it as something that benefits the university rather than something that is about basic ethics, and justice and serving everybody.”

That’s proof that the inmates are running the U of M asylum. It’s also proof that Kaler doesn’t have the spine to stand up for common sense. This tells me that President Kaler doesn’t have much in the way of common sense himself:

“We have heard from many in our community that the use of race in suspect descriptions in our Crime Alerts may unintentionally reinforce racist stereotypes of Black men, and other people of color, as criminals and threats,” Kaler wrote. “That in turn can create an oppressive climate for some members of our community, a climate of suspicion and hostility.”

That isn’t the worst news. This is:

Tori Hong, who helped organize the sit-in Feb. 9, called the decision a good first step. “We do think that it’s not enough, and that the university it still being somewhat superficial about it,” she said. “So we’re going to keep pushing the administration to think harder and keep engaging in these conversations.”

Ms. Hong thinks that this is just the first step. She’s probably right because President Kaler doesn’t seem to have the will to fight for common sense. The thought that the campus shouldn’t include a person’s race “when the description is too general” is foolish. It’s insulting that these student activists pushed President Kaler into this decision based on the thought that suspect descriptions “may unintentionally reinforce racist stereotypes of Black men.”

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According to this article, 11 MnSCU institutions have been ordered to submit a Financial Recovery Plan because they’ve been financially mismanaged. Four out of seven MnSCU universities are on this list, including St. Cloud State. St. Cloud State’s budget deficit for FY2015, the current fiscal year, is $9,542,000. That’s bad news but it isn’t the worst news for St. Cloud State. Next year’s deficit is projected to be approximately $16,000,000.

Given the fact that SCSU’s budget reserves have dropped significantly in the past few years, sound financial judgment would instruct President Potter to start making decisions to cut St. Cloud State’s losses ASAP. That would instruct President Potter to start with cutting things that aren’t central to the University’s mission. Ancillary programs like the Women’s Center should be receive heightened scrutiny.

First, it isn’t that I’m saying the Women’s Center doesn’t serve any useful purposes. Still, there’s a reason why it’s called an ancillary program. One of the events it’s sponsoring is a play called Slut: the play. Here’s the purpose of the play:

to stem the tide of sexual shaming, harassment, and violence by raising awareness and calling for healthier attitudes toward female sexuality.

There’s no questions that this is a subject to be taken seriously. That being said, that doesn’t mean that St. Cloud State has to be the only option for putting on the play or that the University needs a Women’s Center. Since there already is an organization that deals with sexual violence in the St. Cloud area, why can’t that organization take the lead? If the argument is that there isn’t an office for the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center on campus, there’s a simple fix to that. With all of the empty buildings on campus, there’s no reason why one of those buildings can’t offer on-campus space to the organization.

That would offer the best of both worlds. First, there’d be trained professional health workers on St. Cloud State’s campus to deal with this serious issue. Second, it wouldn’t cost St. Cloud State a penny to make this important service available to its students.

Another essential step that St. Cloud State must take is to immediately renegotiate the lease President Potter signed with the J.A. Wedum Foundation. The University lost $7,700,000 in the first 5 years of the lease. This isn’t the comprehensive list of bad financial decisions President Potter has made. They’re just some of the terrible decisions he’s made.

Thanks to President Potter’s bad decisions, St. Cloud State has essentially been given detention. The biggest question remaining is whether anyone with authority will finally demand that he start making better decisions. If President Potter won’t admit that he’s made some rather foolish decision, then it’s safe to say he won’t fix the problems he’s created.

Spring Semester Falloff—A Comparison Of SCSU With Mankato
by Silence Dogood

Spring Semester FYE enrollment is always lower than the preceding Fall semester FYE enrollment. The following plot shows the percent change in FYE enrollment from Fall to the following Spring Semester for SCSU.

Unfortunately, as shown in the figure, for SCSU, the decline from Fall Semester to Spring Semester is increasing.

Frequently, I have compared the performance of SCSU and MSUM—Mankato. These two MnSCU universities have very similar histories, are the two largest universities in MnSCU, and are both of similar size. Recently, it seems that SCSU has come up short in most comparisons.

Just out of curiosity, I wondered what kind of falloff of FYE enrollment from Fall Semester to Spring Semester that Mankato experienced. The following figure shows the data for FY15 as of February 15, 2015 for both SCSU and Mankato.

The data clearly shows that Mankato shows a falloff in FYE enrollment from Fall Semester to Spring Semester. However, while the two were within 1% in FY10, Mankato has been relatively stable while SCSU has gone into a significant decline.

If SCSU’s falloff in FYE enrollment for FY11 through FY15 had been the same as that at MSU—Mankato, SCSU would have a larger FYE enrollment in Spring Semester. The following figure shows the number of additional FYE by fiscal year.

FYE translates into revenue. There is a two-year lag in the state appropriation so while enrollment is going down, the funding does not go down as fast as the enrollment. The idea behind this is that, as enrollment is going down, you have some time to adjust before the appropriation is cut. Based on $11,500 per student, this additional FYE enrollment would generate additional revenue shown in the following figure:

In FY15, the figure shows that if SCSU had the same percentage falloff in FYE enrollment as Mankato, it would bring in an additional $3,700,000 in revenue (tuition and state appropriation) in just that year. Considering that for FY16 SCSU is looking at a deficit of $12,000,000 – $16,000,000, this might not seem to be enough to solve the budget crisis. However, you need to recognize that each student retained means that the following term you start with a higher number, which directly translates into additional revenue. As a result, the additional revenue from FY11 would actually compound and grow. Certainly, not all of those 301 FYE in Spring 2011 would have been back for Fall 2011 but if 75% of them came back, it would an additional $2,590,000 in revenue in Fall 2011. Additionally, this then gives you a higher starting number for retention for the following semester as well, which means even more revenue going forward and so on.

Using SCSU’s own spring to fall historical retention numbers, I’m pretty confident that the additional revenue in FY11 would have grown substantially—perhaps even to the point of completely covering SCSU’s $9,542,000 deficit for FY15.

Unfortunately, when you couple the poor retention numbers with declining numbers of New Entering Freshmen (NEF) and New Entering Transfer (NET) students as shown in the following figure, you have a “perfect storm” as described by President Potter in SCSU’s FY15 Financial Recovery Plan:

The 30.0% decline in NEF/NET numbers from Fall 2007 to Fall 2014 happened on President Potter’s watch. It is also relevant to note that the steepest decline came in Fall 2011 on the heels of his reorganization of the university to make it “more efficient” and better able to respond to change. From Fall 2010 to Fall 2015, NEF/NET enrollment dropped by an amazing 25.6%! It seems that the only efficiency gained by reorganization was in dramatically reducing the number of NEF and NET students enrolling at SCSU.

Clearly, SCSU’s “perfect storm” is of its own making and has created a deep financial hole. The first step to get out of that hole is to understand how you got there in the first place. That means you have to accept responsibility and stop blaming others or other things. It is not possible to move forward in any positive way if you keep thinking that things were just done to you and that you were in no way responsible.

As a start, let’s stop calling the loss of $7,700,000 on the Coborn’s Plaza Apartments in the first five years of operation “a success.” Clearly, it isn’t. Based on the lease with the Wedum foundation, SCSU is likely to lose over $6,000,000 in the next five years before it can get out of the contact and it might cost another $6,000,000 if we do not get out of the lease. While that failed project is not the only cause of SCSU’s financial hole, it certainly has contributed over a million a year in spending.

When coupled with all of the other expenses SCSU now has to cover—the operating costs and debt service for ISELF, losses on the parking ramp, loan repayment and debt service on the Brooks Center, police officers on campus, the Confucius Institute, and the list goes on—SCSU is in a much poorer financial condition as reflected in a 0.07 CFI for FY14. Given the current financial situation, a 5.1% enrollment decline in FY15 plus an additional 3.3% decline in enrollment for FY16, the CFI for SCSU will likely go negative for FY15.

It has been said that:

“The darkest hour is just before the dawn.”

The meaning of this is that there is hope, even in the worst of circumstances. Unfortunately, unless you know when the dawn is, it is hard to know if you have reached the darkest hour. For SCSU, it probably isn’t possible to answer that question with certainty because of the number of moving and interconnected parts. At best, all that can be said is the sun will eventually rise. How bad it will get at SCSU before then is anybody’s guess.

Spring Semester Is Wasting Away! Part 2
by Silence Dogood

The enrollment decline at SCSU for the past five years has been well documented. From the website of the Office of Strategy, Planning and Research you can find the following figure:

For Summer 2014, the enrollment was 918 FYE. For Fall 2014, the enrollment was 5,815 FYE. For Spring 2015, the enrollment is currently 5,025 FYE. That gives a total of 11,758 FYE for FY 2015. There is some enrollment still to occur from high schools students, which may bring the enrollment to the administration’s spring projection of 5,033 or even slightly higher. Being charitable, I expect the final FY15 enrollment to settle just under 11,800 FYE. Using a final enrollment of 11,800 FYE for FY15, the enrollment drop from FY10 is 3,296 FYE and represents a five-year decline of 21.8%.

When you look at the enrollment change from Fall Semester to Spring Semester, there has always been a drop off. The following plot shows the percent change in FYE enrollment from Fall to the following Spring Semester:

Overall enrollment has been dropping but this plot shows that even when SCSU enrolls a student in the fall, the rate at which students are not retuning for Spring semester is increasing substantially more than doubling in five years. As a result, bringing in more students in the fall won’t necessarily solve the enrollment problem unless SCSU can’t retain higher percentages of them in future semesters.

In “12-Step Programs,” the first step is to admit there is a problem. For years, as the enrollment was in a nosedive, the administration kept saying that they were “right sizing” the university. After that failed, next came the need to “innovate and grow our programs.” Without saying so, this was an admission that SCSU must have overshot the “right size” whatever it was. The third stage has been to try to blame demographics, part-time students, the economy, the wrong kind of housing or anything that might be used to try to deflect responsibility for the staggering decline relative to the other MnSCU universities.

Unfortunately, the cash that was stashed as a result of the cuts during reorganization is almost gone and without substantial cuts for FY16 (10-12 million) and FY 17 (5-8 million) totaling something between $15,000,000-$20,000,000, SCSU will be going to MnSCU for a loan that must be repaid in FY18 and beyond with excess revenue to expense. Perhaps when the cuts start piling up and it turns out that even more cuts have to be made, people will recognize that there really is trouble in ‘River City’ and that trouble is not pool but it might rhyme with “P”. Apologies to Robert Preston.

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The fake fight that MnSCU has tricked newspapers statewide into playing is insulting to thoughtful people. With virtually every newspaper in the state insisting that the IFO has to return to the bargaining table with MnSCU Chancellor Rosenstone, it’s difficult to a word in edgewise about what’s actually important.

What’s desperately in need of fixing at MnSCU isn’t what’s in Charting the Future, aka CtF. The things in CtF are things that universities are already working with tech and community colleges on. Lots of things in Chancellor Rosenstone’s ‘vision’ are things that’ve been around for years.

That begs another question. If many of these things aren’t new, why haven’t they been implemented yet? That’s a great question, one that points us to what desperately needs fixing. The powers that be, whether we’re talking about Chancellor Rosenstone or others in MnSCU’s Central Office or whether we’re talking about some of the universities’ presidents, aren’t competent.

There isn’t a CEO that would hire a consultant for $2,000,000 to implement CtF. A competent CEO would put together a team of his/her people and tell them their assignment and the timetable to complete their assignment. That CEO wouldn’t hide the consultant’s contract, mostly because it wouldn’t be possible to hide it from the board or directors but also because private companies put a high priority on accountability and profitability.

The MnSCU Board of Trustees haven’t put a high priority on Central Office accountability. If they had, they would’ve insisted that St. Cloud State and the 10 other MnSCU institutions that need to submit recovery plans soon should’ve been called out years ago.

It’s fiction that anyone, whether it’s MnSCU or Nostradamus, can chart the future. MnSCU shouldn’t attempt that because it’s impossible. If they want to set specific goals, then implement them within a specific timeframe, that’s fine. Then, at least, it’s possible to verify whether they’re meeting specific, quantifiable goals. Without that, all that will happen is some bureaucrats putting out a report saying that they’re doing a fine job without a way to measure that statement.

Our students deserve better than that.

The first time I read through this Times Editorial Board editorial, I didn’t catch this bit of flawed thinking by the Times:

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Chancellor Steven Rosenstone has tried to make dramatic changes with his “Charting the Future” proposal. However, with a series of missteps in rolling out the program, the effort was bogged down in harsh words between the chancellor, faculty leaders and some students on many of the MnSCU campuses. Some of that antagonism has spilled out at St. Cloud State. This isn’t the time to have a conflict of personalities. It is time to work together.

The university’s challenges are affected by many things: uncertain funding from the Legislature, reduced state aid for athletics, pressure from some local officials to explain the enrollment decline and budget gap.

That’s antiquated thinking and then some. First, the Times assumes that Dr. Rosenstone and President Potter are willing to listen. Ample proof exists that indicates they aren’t willing. They’re perfectly willing to blame others for their mistakes but they aren’t willing to listen to others’ ideas.

After the Faculty Association’s Budget Advisory Committee representatives suggested saving millions of dollars by renegotiating SCSU’s lease with the J.A. Wedum Foundation, President Potter didn’t waste time considering that as a worthwhile option. Instead, he taped an interview with … the Times’ Editorial Board. There, he told them that the Coborn’s Plaza contract was successful. Of course, the Times Editorial Board didn’t ask President Potter how he defined success.

Considering the fact that SCSU has lost $7,700,000 on the lease thus far and with SCSU facing a $9,542,000 deficit this year, thoughtful, honest people wouldn’t attempt telling a major newspaper that losing millions of dollars represents a success.

Further, the enrollment decline isn’t a recent thing that happened last week. It started in the fall of 2010. That’s the start of FY2011. For much of this time, President Potter and then-Provost Devinder Malhotra insisted that declining enrollment was part of their right-sizing plan. It wasn’t until last year that President Potter admitted that SCSU was in financial trouble.

It’s impossible to work with someone who isn’t willing to tell the truth and admit that there’s a problem. It’s impossible for the faculty to suggest solutions when President Potter insists that everything is fine. That’s what President Potter did for the 3 years prior to SCSU’s financial difficulties became too big to hide.

Until the spring of 2014, President Potter’s recommendation for solving SCSU’s financial difficulties essentially was ‘bury your head in the sand and call me in a week or two.’

Right now, the Times is part of the problem. If they want to be part of the solution, they need to start asking tough questions of President Potter about his solutions. That starts with rejecting President Potter’s insistence that innovation will solve the problem. A part of the problem is insisting that President Potter stop making foolish financial decisions that’ve cost SCSU millions of dollars.

Another part of the solution is the legislature and the Department of Higher Education putting pressure on Dr. Rosenstone and President Potter. If they won’t insist that these so-called leaders be held accountable to the students and to Minnesota’s taxpayers, then this crisis won’t get solved anytime soon.

Finally, this crisis won’t get fixed without the media and some of the faculty stop being apathetic. Taxpayers are being told that they aren’t spending enough money on higher education. That’s BS. A major part of the problem is that President Potter and Chancellor Rosenstone are spending the taxpayers’ money foolishly.

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The Truth About Part-Time Students!
by Silence Dogood

In St. Cloud State University’s FY15 Financial Recovery Plan to the Campus Community dated January 28, 2015, President Potter in his Executive Summary states:

“SCSU’s student population includes more part-time students than many of its peers …”.

Let’s look at this statement, first to see if it is true and, secondly, if it can be blamed for the financial meltdown at SCSU.

If you look at MnSCU’s FY2017-FY2017 Legislative Request to the Minnesota Legislature, each university has a page, which contains data specific to that university. Reproduced below is the page for SCSU.

On each university’s page, the percentage of full-time and part-time students is listed. The percentage of part-time students is shown for each MnSCU University in the following figure:

From the figure, it is clear that there is a wide range in the percentage of part-time students at the various MnSCU Universities. Metro has a very large number of part-time students because of the large number of evening classes and programs designed specifically for part-time students.

For the sake of simplifying this discussion, I’m going to limit our consideration to SCSU, Mankato, Winona and Southwest, which are the three largest universities in MnSCU as well as the smallest.

The definition of a part-time student is any student who takes less than 12 credits in an academic term. Additionally, because the number of part-time students is always significantly greater in the summer than during fall and spring semesters, summer will be excluded from consideration so that it will not bias the results.

The following table contains the total number of Full Year Equivalent (FYE) enrollment for FY14 (subtracting summer) as well as the number of FYE generated by Concurrent Enrollment (CE).

When President Potter wants to blame SCSU’s financial difficulties on the increasing number of part-time students, all he has to do is look at the growth of Post Secondary enrollment at his university under his watch. Since President Potter’s arrival in Fall’07 until Fall’13, the CE enrollment has only grown by 120%. From its peak in Fall 2010 to Fall 2013 the overall FYE enrollment during fall semester has dropped by 15.4%, which represents the three-year drop in fall enrollment.

Until now, with President Potter’s blessing, CE grew at an almost exponential rate. The latest financial data released shows that CE accounts for approximately 8% of the FYE generated at SCSU and at the same time generated a total of $400,000 in profit from tuition. The return on investment (ROI) for CE is probably not outstanding but it did make money and generate FYE.

Ultimately, CE students generate a positive cash flow to the university of $400,000 and helped increase the overall FYE by 580 in Fall’13. At 5.9 CE students per FYE, 580 FYE represents approximately 3,422 students. Consequently, with it taking nearly six CE students to equal a traditional on campus student FYE, in growing the CE program, the percentage of part-time students simply has to increase.

The simple question to President Potter: If a higher percentage of part-time students is a problem, in order to lower the percentage of part-time students, do you really want to give up $400,000 and 580 FYE? Unfortunately, the $400,000 is needed to help pay the $1,300,000 being lost this year on the failed Coborn’s Plaza Apartments so the answer is probably no. The other obvious solution is to grow the number of new entering freshmen and new entering transfer students, which would lower the percentage of part-time students AND increase the overall FYE enrollment.

If a proper data analysis is done and the effect of the CE students (and summer) is removed, I’d just about give odds that the percentage of part-time students has not changed significantly over the past ten years. However, as SCSU’s ship is sinking, it seems that it is more important for the administration to find someone or something to blame rather than admit to having run the ship up onto the rocks themselves. The path out of SCSU’s financial meltdown is to recruit and bring in more NEF and NET students to replace the 927 NEF and NET lost between Fall 2010 and Fall 2013. “Innovation” may sound good but it really seems more like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than anything else.

More Weekly Admission Reports Data Questions
by Silence Dogood

As has been previously mentioned, Weekly Admission Progress Reports are typically circulated by the Office of Strategy, Planning & Effectiveness that give a picture about the ongoing admissions of New Entering First-Year Students (NEF) and New Entering Transfer Students (NET). These progress reports contain data about the numbers of applications (complete and incomplete), some demographic data (numbers of students of color and international students), as well as some information that might give an indication about the numbers that might actually enroll (making an advising appointment or completing a housing application). In order for a fair comparison, you need to compare ‘apples with apples.’ As a result, all of these numbers are compared to the data from the same date the prior year, which allows for a valid point of comparison.

The Final Spring 2015 Weekly Admit Report just came out and it reproduced below:

The Final Spring 2014 Weekly Admit Report, which was distributed last spring, is reproduced to the right of the Final Spring 2015 Weekly Admit Report for ease of comparison:

Specifically, compare the data for the Final Spring 2014 numbers with the Spring 2014 numbers in the Final Spring 2015 report. You will notice that there are 12 comparable items and 7 of the twelve have different numbers. I don’t mean to imply that there is some conspiracy going on but that the data just does not match up!

Look at the number of applications in the Spring 2015 report—the number is listed as 376 for Spring 2014. When you look at the Spring 2014 report, you see 390. The difference is only 14. However, it changes the “% Inc/Dec ’15 vs ’14” from -0.8% to -4.6%, which is nearly six times larger!

Not all of the errors that are made make the data for 2015 look better. The number of transfer applications in the Spring 2014 report is listed as 1,028. In the Spring 2015 report, the number listed is 1,058. Using the number from the Spring 2014 report reduces the decline from being down 29 to being up 1. As a result, the percentage changes from being down -2.7% to being up 0.1%. Again, that’s a significantly larger result! Further, it changes from a decline to an increase.

The values of the numbers in the Weekly Admission Progress Reports are small and the errors are even smaller so it really isn’t going to make a significant difference one way or the other. However, when you see errors in things that should be easy to generate with high degree of reliability, it just makes one wonder about other data.

Consider this example. Last summer, at Meet and Confer in July, the administration announced that the deficit for FY15 was going to be $3,600,000. Later in the fall, the administration ‘revised’ their value to a deficit of $9,542,000. With such large differences between large numbers, I guess we shouldn’t be too concerned about a few small differences in the numbers on the Weekly Admission Progress Reports!

It’s apparent that the SC Times editorial board has bought into President Potter’s propaganda. Listen to this BS:

This new world requires bold thinking. It requires a vision for what St. Cloud State will be for the next 10 years and beyond. It requires bold initiatives. It requires all stakeholders to come to the table in good faith. They need to find solutions that may cause pain but the pain has to be shared. The highest priority must be to provide the highest quality education. What better place to spawn innovation than a major university? Put the collective brainpower to work on these challenges.

During the height of the Great Recession, in 2008, one of the community members on the Times Editorial Board said a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. That advice could easily be applied to the situation at St. Cloud State.

First, it’s disgusting that the Times didn’t get the dates of the Great Recession right. It started in late September, 2008. But I digress.

Next, President Potter has spoken for over a year about the need for innovation and creating niche programs. When Silence Dogood wrote this post, Silence wrote briefly about niche programs:

At the same time that the President distributed the data on the aviation majors, he brought up the need of the university to develop “niche” programs. It is almost ironic that the aviation program was already a “niche” program as the only accredited 4-year aviation program in Minnesota. The air traffic control program would have been the only program at a university in Minnesota giving it a “niche” status as well.

It’s frustrating to hear people stating that what’s needed are “bold initiatives.” That’s BS. What’s needed are great academics and solid financial management.

President Potter isn’t interested in “the highest quality education.” His actions have told the story that he’s mostly worried about his image. That’s why he spent $50,000 on becoming a member of the Great Place to Work Institute, aka GPTWI. That’s years after he paid the Earthbound Media Group $400,000 to rebrand the University.

President Potter is mostly interested in his image. EMG’s report to him said that SCSU’s image was getting hurt by “outsiders who control the ‘blogosphere'” because those “negative perceptions” aren’t “grounded in reality.” EMG wrote that because I was reporting the truth about President Potter’s questionable decisions. There isn’t a single thing that EMG or the administration can point to that I wrote that’s inaccurate about SCSU’s declining enrollment, the transcript scandal that the Times hasn’t written about or the money that’s been lost ($7,700,000 in 5 years) by President Potter as a result of the contract President Potter signed with the J.A. Wedum Foundation.

The thing that the Times hasn’t written about and that President Potter won’t admit to is that President Potter’s decisions have imperiled SCSU. As a result of President Potter’s inaction on SCSU’s dropping enrollment, St. Cloud State has lost more than $32,000,000 in tuition revenue and state budget appropriations. As a result of President Potter’s insistence that his contract with the J.A. Wedum Foundation is a success, SCSU has lost another $7,700,000 in the last 5 years.

Those aren’t the only things affecting SCSU’s gloomy financial outlook but they are the biggest items affecting SCSU’s financial and academic health. If President Potter had made these decisions as CEO of a corporation, he would’ve gotten fired at least 3 years ago. Thanks to his being a government employee, though, he’s instead gotten performance bonuses.

Here’s an innovation worth implementing: how about the MnSCU Trustees and/or the legislature requiring university presidents to stop making financially foolish decisions? That thing alone would be a big step in the right direction.

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