Tuesday, March 22, 2011

City Colleges shake-up draws fire; was Emanuel in the loop?

This is an old, but interesting, article...Marc Schulman is a highly respected business man.  Pay special attention to his comment - the timing of the action "smells". The decision to fire to Presidents took place in a "special board meeting" the day after the Mayoral Election.  Hmmmmm... - why would someone make such a bold move before her new boss was appointed into his position?  How well do Mr. Daley and Mr. Emanuel know Civic Consulting Alliance employees and the new President at Harold Washington - Don Laackman?

[This article was syndicated via RSS from Greg Hinz. The views represented do not necessarily represent those of the Chicago Daily Observer.]

   In a step that has some political insiders scratching their heads, City Colleges of Chicago is moving to potentially replace presidents at six of its seven colleges by May — just when Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will be taking office.

    The City Colleges Board voted Wednesday — the day after the mayoral election — to spend up to $336,000 on a consulting firm that will conduct a nationwide search for potential college presidents.

   Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman says the goal is to finish the hiring process "by the end of May" — just two weeks after Mr. Emanuel's scheduled May 16 inauguration. "I don't think our students can afford to wait," she says.

   But a businessman who heads the advisory board for one of the seven city colleges says the timing of the action "smells."

   "This is a massive change. Why would you do this the day after the election?" says Marc Schulman, who operates Eli's Cheesecake Co. and chairs the advisory board at Wilbur Wright College on the Northwest Side.

   Neither Mr. Emanuel nor any of the other mayoral candidates was formally briefed in advance of the pending changes, Ms. Hyman says. "It was discussed with my chairman and the board."

  Mr. Emanuel's spokesman isn't commenting — even though, during the campaign, Mr.  Emanuel suggested that he had some ideas as to how to improve the system.

   News that something was afoot was first signaled in a press conference Mayor Richard M. Daley held last fall, when he announced a reinvention effort designed to boost a system in which only 5% of students end up with a bachelor's degree. 

   City Colleges subsequently hired a new president at one of its colleges, who is not affected by Wednesday's vote. 

   Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gerald Roper, who's been involved in the reinvention effort, says it has been "in process for a while" and that the shift in presidents is only a part of that effort.

   But news of Wednesday's vote apparently was unexpected to many.

   According to Ms. Hyman, the presidential slots are open because the system has changed its job description. "We have encouraged the current presidents to reapply," she says.

   Under the new job description, presidents will be judged based on how well they boost student transfers to four-year institutions, improve remediation and high school-equivalency programs and increase "the number of students earning college credentials of economic value."

   Ms. Hyman insists City Colleges is not downplaying vocational education — programs designed to put students directly into jobs rather than prepare them for further education.

   Mr. Schulman says those explanations don't satisfy him. "This is a massive change" that ought not be rushed when a new mayor is coming into office, he said.

    Neither Mr. Schulman nor Eli's Cheesecake Co. donated to Mr. Emanuel's campaign, according to the State Board of Elections.

1 comment:

  1. Ok...so, I get the rewrite of the college presidents' job description but what I don't get, is why not give the current presidents the opportunity to perform to the new standards instead of simply dismissing them and spending $300,000+ on a consulting firm to do a nationwide search.