Ask The People Who Know…And Who Have the Most to Lose

It dawned on me, again, yesterday that our enrollment and recruitment conundrum could be readily solved if administration would ask the people who know and who have the most to loose.

Faculty are afraid…and administrative professional staff are afraid…and civil service staff are afraid…of a continuing loss of students.

We have built our life around Southern Illinois University…we have purchased homes and our children are in the local schools and we are members of the local churches and volunteer in the local civic organizations.

We have buy-in!

We are practicing total immersion in the academic and creative world of SIU!

The students speak with us.  They tell us of their fears and hopes and dreams and they, clearly, delineate the strengths and weaknesses of our university.

If university leaders seek, only, the advice of their well paid staff…they have missed the big picture!

If you really want to know what is going on…don’t go to the executive staff…go to the janitor…who sees the human interaction of the organization…at the bedrock level.

I watched the new Michael Moore film, ‘Fahrenheit 11/9′,  yesterday.  It was a revealing portrait of our countries’ current state of dysfunction.

At one point, in the film, a Democratic candidate was admonished by Congressman Steny Hoyer that he should drop out of the congressional race as it had been determined that he could not win.  When the candidate told the Congressman that he thought that the decision should be left up to the voters…Hoyer responded that he had been at, what he was doing, for a long time.

And, so, it is, often, with university leadership…that it is determined that some, elite, individuals…have the answers and solutions to the universities’, knotty and inextricable problems, or that it is, specialized wisdom, to perform the same actions…that have been performed to a failed result…that have been performed, numerous times before, and to expect a different outcome….?

I advised an SIU president…over eight years ago…to conduct a ‘Hail Mary Pass’…and he chose not to.  Our beloved university has lost thousands of students since then…and he is no longer the president.

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