This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 25, 2008 2:49 PM. The previous post in this blog was The only way Oregon can get rid of Gordon Smith. The next post in this blog is Have a great weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Lonely at the top

Another triumph for the Scone.

Comments (7)

Crazy idea - There is absolutely no one at PSU who could become the president? I mean like someone who knows PSU and can help continue what has been accomplished instead of accting like the new sherriff and pissing everyone off?

Every time we go on these searches, its like checking out bad renters, you always find out too late why they came to your place.

I bet there are a few in the administration that might want to be the new president, but can you blame them for wanting to sit this one out?

The only reason the faculty aren't on strike right now is due to a slight technicality with their collective bargaining agreement, buildings are literally falling apart (Lincoln Hall), budgets are getting cut left and right(unless you're the Athletics department of course), state funding is drying up, and the administration can't decide if it wants PSU to be a university like OSU or UO catering to 18-25yr olds or a commuter school and Intel's training grounds for international workers.

Frankly, PSU has been underfunded for so many years, been treated like a second-class citizen by OUS, and generally ignored that anyone seeking to be President either has to have a death wish, or simply doesn't care that PSU is doomed to second-class citizenship. I say this after teaching (and administering) there for almost 35 years. I've worked with every President since Greg Wolfe, and none have been particularly successful. You can comment on the successes of individual Presidents, but none has had the stature, stamina, and personality to take on the entrenched establishment in the Legislature and OUS that openly favor OSU and UO. In what other state would you permit another public institution to openly compete with the city's major University by setting up satellite campuses? We need satellites of OSU and UO in Portland ..... why?

PSU is also a bit of a governance mess. The faculty are unionized, although the union is pretty powerless when it comes to negotiating anything meaningful. Nevertheless, the administration has to deal with the union on many personnel issues that don't affect non-unionized campuses. Morale of the faculty is lower than at anytime in the past. Salaries at PSU (as well as others in the OUS) are in the bottom 10% nationally and in the bottom 20% of comparator institutions. Faculty turnover is particularly high. Faculty members with any kind of successful research programs that attract federal or foundation dollars often leave to go to schools where the infrastructure for supporting research is far better.

In short, it is a wonder that PSU can attract any decent candidates for President, given the obstacles that confront the school. Those of us who have been at the party for a very long time know full well why we've had the Presidents we've had. We also know why they all leave, if they aren't asked to leave first. Dan "where's waldo" Bernstine may have brought in some external funds, but to faculty and students he was the missing man. Judith Ramaley tried to micromanage the campus and fought with faculty regularly. Nat Sicuro had a way with money that made it more often appear in his budget than in the places it was supposed to be. The various presidents before were basically place-holders.

I was kind of surprised when candidates of the caliber mentioned made it to the short list of finalists for PSU's President. I am *not* surprised that two of them have withdrawn after their campus visit. The cancer that eats at the campus community cannot be hidden when you show up and visit in person and get a close look at the books and talk to students, faculty, and administrators.

Wait a sec, we spent all that money on the tram and streetcar and building condos and that is not enough to put PSU in good shape?

I agree with you and local govt has got their priorites so screwed up that if you don't live in a $750K and can ride your bike to work every day or work downtown, you are screwed.

Wim Wiewel? Wow.

Wim Wiewel? Wow. Wimp.

PSU has fallen into the same mantra that OHSU has-forgetting their mission. The plans that PSU is envisioning around its present campus and deep into Lair Hill and SoWhat is colassal. Far beyond their means, and little of it to do with education.

PSU wants to become DEVELOPER, like OHSU. They want to get deep into housing, commercial spaces for leasing, satellite campus, research space, international student programs, etc. They are forgetting the classroom, the maintenance of their existing buildings, existing programs-just like the City of Portland.

PSU's delusions are expanding and the first two candidates could see that.

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