From the 4pm public forum
Bob Hazard, English faculty:
I had originally wanted to talk about our need for a college president who has a terminal degree in an academic field, but the events that transpired this past weekend have left me feeling that nothing that is said in these forums will have any effect on the final choice for president. This committee has shown by its recent actions that it has no interest in working with and listening to the constituent groups that make up the College of DuPage.
The assignment of Lee Daniels to chair the presidential search committee, without any public discussion and apparently without any discussion within the search committee is troubling. What this college needs is an open transparent and through process. Given the way the previous president was chosen, and the disastrous results of that decision on our college, it is crucial that we have a clean process in which all constituent groups have a fair say if we’re going to start to heal as a community.
I am even more dismayed by the secret choice of Robert Dickeson as a consultant for the presidential search. Mr. Dickeson has been rebuked numerous times over the past 30 years by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for his anti –faculty proposals. We have just lived through an administration that was openly anti faculty. We need collaboration, not confrontation. But if you want confrontation, you will have it.
These events reek of a coup. Faculty fought Breuder for five plus years. We have supported the new board as they have worked to right the ship and institute new, transparent policies. But do not mistake our support of policies for blind support. We will continue to fight for what is best for our college.
I am a Professor of English. I have been teaching here full time since 2003. Thank you for this opportunity.
I wish to make two points that I believe are critical in selecting a new president.
First, if we look at our college historically, COD became known as one of the best community colleges in the nation because of our commitment to quality in the academic mission. Now, as our accreditation is in question, we must have a return to the mission. We must have a president with unassailable academic credentials and a strong background in higher education to lead our faculty and curriculum, as well as our administration. Higher education is a complicated and special enterprise, and it is not like any other kind of business or government entity. We need a president who is qualified to understand the quality and depth of our curriculum, the preparation of our faculty, and the wise stewardship of our institutional resources, focused on excellence in teaching and learning.
Second, our new president must set the tone of listening and learning at the top of our organizational structure. A college is not a place where people come in with their ideas already set and their agendas already decided. A college is a place where people come to open themselves up – to learn the perspectives of others, to find out new ways to solve problems, to learn what history bears on the present, and to bring new information and data to bear on their decision-making. This is what we expect of our students and of ourselves. This is what we also should be expecting of our new president. Our new president must come to us as a learner and as a collaborator, with the aim to learn and serve, as well as to lead.