The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Saturday, December 03, 2005

$300,000 Is a High Price to Pay for the Myth of Shared Governance

Faculty Council Chair Rod Muth has been forced to retract the eminently reasonable suggestion that, since it appears that Hank Brown is likely to become the permanent President of CU, perhaps we could save our institution the $300,000 set aside for the search and spend it somewhere else. Is this the kind of fiscal sensibility that passage of C & D wrought?

CU faculty chief drops idea of halting president search

The leader of the University of Colorado's Faculty Council retreated Thursday from a proposal to suspend the presidential search and stick with interim president Hank Brown. Rod Muth didn't even present his idea to the 39-member council, which voted instead to remind regents not to stray from a search that involves all levels of the campus community.

Faculty were outraged last spring when regents appointed Brown to take over for the resigning Betsy Hoffman without campus input. A 12-member committee that includes administrators, professors and a student is searching for CU's permanent president.

A month ago, Muth told regents the $300,000 presidential search is a charade that will end up with Brown as president. He criticized regents for excluding faculty in the past but said they should save money by postponing the presidential search. He suggested resuming the search after Brown, 65, announces how long he would stay.

I believe in shared governance and in fact I study it for a living. But let's call a spade a spade. It's currently a fiction here so why pay a professional search firm $300,000 (a ridiculous notion to begin with) to find a replacement for Betsy Hoffman?

The Regents do what they want in regards to leadership selection so let's dispense with the notion that our input contributes anything to the process. The only group benefitting from the search process is the consulting firm we will hire and pay a quarter of a million dollars to sift through all the resumes that come in and give us five of the most outstanding ones. That's a line of work I need to get into.

Why such a search should cost more than the price of an ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education is completely beyond me. It's not like we need to be secretive about our search. And a search committee could certainly find a way to provide candidates confidentiality. And it is doubtful that we will need to approach candidates because they were not aware the job was open. But given that Muth is right and the outcome seems predetermined, why pretend that spending this money gives any honor to the notion of shared governance? If anything -- it makes even more of a mockery of it. Better to vote a motion of disapproval of the Regent's first actions, dispense with the search firm, evaluate Brown as a permanent candidate and pass along to the Regents a recommendation up or down on the idea of Brown remaining as permanent President rather than merely acting.

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