Minish Fallout Continues
As everyone knows by now, the Southern Illinoisan had an article Monday afternoon announcing that former provost Gary Minish will not be taking a tenured professor position in the College of Agriculture. From the article:
Rod Sievers, SIUC spokesman and assistant to Chancellor Rita Cheng for media relations, said Minish informed the university he no longer wanted any role on campus late Friday.
In my earlier post on the matter, I offered a guess that disagreements with SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng were the cause of Minish’s resignation. It appears the Faculty Senate, or at least its executive council agree. From a Daily Egyptian article, quoting an email sent by the executive council:
We feel that the resignation of Dr. Minish points to serious structural problems in this administration. A basic issue revolves around management style. We believe Gary Minish is a grassroots administrator, skilled at listening to those he leads and bringing their perspective to bear on university decisions. We also believe Chancellor Cheng’s style is characterized by a top-down, heavy handed approach. We concur with what seems to be a widespread belief that she has isolated herself within a small inner circle where all decisions are made.
It’s tough to say how much of this is accurate. The DE article quotes one member of the executive council as disagreeing with the council’s statement. We should remember that the faculty are currently negotiating with the administration over furlough days. Attempts to publicly discredit Cheng should be viewed in that context.
Still, there do seem to be some problems with Cheng’s management style. A university – especially one as unionized as SIUC – is not a private company and cannot be run like one. A dictatorial management style is certain to fail at SIUC. As I’ve said before, the perception that former chancellor Walter Wendler was a tyrant contributed to his downfall. Cheng should learn from his mistakes.
I want Chancellor Cheng to succeed at SIUC. If she wants to succeed, she needs to start building bridges rather than burning them.
Comments are welcome.