The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Minish Out as Provost, Resigns After One Month On Job

with 2 comments

The big news of the day is Gary Minish’s resignation from his position as SIUC’s new Provost. Minish was appointed Provost on November 18 and took office on December 15, 2010. Minish is said to have resigned over opposition to unspecified changes under way at SIUC.

Chancellor Cheng confirmed Minish’s resignation in an email to SIUC employees:

Dear Colleagues:

SIUC Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Gary L. Minish submitted his resignation to me this morning. He has requested to be reassigned to a tenured faculty position within the College of Agricultural Sciences.

While words cannot express how deeply disappointed I am that Dr. Minish’s service as provost was so short lived, I respect his decision.

In just the past few days, I learned that Dr. Minish is concerned about the direction in which the University is moving.

It is clear that he has misgivings about the changes that have been implemented over the past several months and the initiatives that are planned for the future.

An interim provost will be named in the near future.

Sincerely,

Rita Cheng, Chancellor

This is very strange. Consider the timeline. On November 18, 2010, SIUC publicly announced that Minish had been selected and had accepted the job. Presumably, whatever changes were being planned at that time were discussed in the interviews. If Minish opposed the changes, why would he take the job? Considering the slow pace of change at SIUC, could any new changes have been initiated between Minish’s accepting the position and today? Unlikely.

The announcement on the Saluki Times contained this quote from SIUC President Glenn Poshard:

“Dr. Minish’s administrative experience made him well qualified to serve as provost; however, he has only recently expressed strong disagreement in the Chancellor’s implementation of the university’s goals and objectives, which are established by the Board of Trustees, the President and the Chancellor. Given the short amount of time Gary has served as provost I would have preferred that he would have given us more time for his concerns to be addressed. The board and I strongly support the direction that Chancellor Cheng is taking the university. Fundamental change at any large institution is never easy and can only be accomplished through teamwork and a shared vision.”

This is interesting too. Poshard voices “support [for] the direction that Chancellor Cheng is taking the university.” I have made it a general policy not to post rumors on this blog, but I’m going to violate that rule in this case. I have heard rumors that Poshard and Cheng have had fairly heated discussions since Cheng took office. I have heard that voices may have been raised during these discussions. In his statement, Poshard supports the changes Cheng is making, but does not specifically support Cheng herself.

Obviously, there is no way to know exactly what disagreements prompted Minish to resign, unless he publicly announces his reasons. This seems unlikely. Since we are left to speculate, I’ll offer my best guess. I’m betting that Minish did not like Cheng’s management style. If Minish disagreed so strongly with the direction SIUC is taking, he wouldn’t have taken the Provost position in the first place. Of course, I have no idea if this explanation is correct.

I was initially optimistic about Chancellor Cheng. I haven’t fully abandoned that optimism, but I am having some doubts. That’s another post for another day.

Comments are welcome.

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Written by The Carbondale Observer

January 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

2 Responses

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  1. There is only one reason someone quits like this, he must have a deep ethical disagreement about what the administration plans to do. Have you given him a call and asked him?

    My guess, plans for a 15 or 20% layoff of people who aren’t tenured? That is what is needed at SIU, but I can see it not sitting well.

    PtG

    January 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

  2. […] my earlier post on the matter, I offered a guess that disagreements with SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng were the cause […]


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