On Friday the City Colleges of Chicago released a special announcement indicating that the replacement for Kennedy-King Colleges departing President John H. Dozier would be none other than Mr. Derrick Harden. While we understand the District’s March 21st appointment of Mr. Donald Laackman at Harold Washington College based on his connection to the Civic Consulting Alliance and other notable high profile connections that would lead to a Presidential appointment with no experience in higher education, all are perplexed at this recent appointment.
When the Chancellor made the decision to require all President’s (except Don Laackman) to reapply for their positions it was clear that she wanted to rid herself of all experienced leadership. The City Colleges allegedly paid a firm over $330,000 to conduct a National Presidential Search.
So why the push for another inexperienced Presidential Seat Filler? Mr. Derrick Harden began his tenure at CCC under former Chancellor Wayne Watson as an Internal Auditor. Receiving vigorous support from Chancellor Hyman’s Chief of Staff Mr. Ron Anderson, Mr. Harden was promoted to Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Staff Development on December 6, 2010. Being woefully ill-prepared for the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources position, on January 12, 2011 Mr. Harden was moved to yet another position, Managing Director of Special Projects (whatever that means).
On April 7, 2011 Mr. Harden was then moved to Kennedy-King College as Interim President. With no higher education administration experience and the very transient nature of Mr. Harden’s work history, it is clear that the Chancellor and her Chief of Staff are working very hard to find a place for Mr. Harden. This appears to be just another case of “Positions for the Friends of Cheryl”. During the recent Presidential search process the committee selected by Chancellor Hyman and charged with selecting candidates to move to the second round of interviews with the Chancellor; did not think very highly of Mr. Harden, in fact of the multiple committee members voting, Mr. Harden only received one vote.
Again to the rescue, the Chancellor’s Chief of Staff Mr. Ron Anderson who insisted that Mr. Harden be sent to the next round interviews despite the fact that he received only one vote.
It is clear that the Presidential search process was merely a sham, a way for the Chancellor to continue her patronage hiring. It is also clear that there have been numerous CCC ethics violations and CCC Board Rule violations. What is not clear is who will throw whom under the bus once the subpoenas and Freedom of Information Act requests are issued. The new Presidents should be announced in June. If this appointment is indicative of what the colleges have to look forward to; we are all in very serious trouble. Stay tuned.