Saturday, March 5, 2016

An attempt at triage at UA

Well, the next chapter in the Perils of Polytechnic  unfolded this week with the University of Akron's decision to turn to a medical doctor in its house to remedy  the school's communications disaster (among others!).

He's David Gordon, who will continue as dean of the College of Health Professions,while being  on call to put Team  Scarborough and the faculty on speaking terms, sort of.   Although Gordon was described to me as  a likable, outgoing guy, UA's  problems have festered  much too long for triage. All previous attempts at damage control to the school's image have failed.  Besides, the granite wall called the Board of Trustees has shown no inclination in the deathly silence to abandon President Scott Scarborough in his tenure of discontent. After all, it's the same board that anointed  him.

More than once, I've had to wonder how  these adults in the board room brought him to the campus in the first place.  The trustees' connecting tissue to  him remains a secret after they enriched him with a sweetheart contract in mid-2014 that included a new suite of rooms for his in-laws in the president's mansion and guaranteed free education for a daughter  at any campus in Ohio when she reaches that point.

The deal was even more numbing as he brought in  cronies from his  provost's job at  Toledo University, then contracted for $840,000 an inexperienced startup outfit called Trust Navigator to "coach" students  and engage in discussions with a distance learning  company up to its mahogany desktops in legal trouble.

The Faculty Senate's response was a 50-2 vote of no confidence against Scarborough.

What is so troubling  for anyone who cares:  Why does a guy like Scarborough, so blessedly treated by the board,  need a small group of business community advisors and now a  volunteer liaison to show him how to do his half-million dollar job?

Scarborough arrived with a pat plan to rebrand the university.  The board can advance that idea by beginning at the top rather than rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

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