Watching Adams Commentary – 10/26/15
Recently, Adams State University (ASU) President Beverlee McClure was the guest speaker for the San Luis Valley Lean In Lunch Series and for the Adam State’s Women’s Affinity Group luncheon. Both were well attended by campus and community members eager to hear McClure’s thoughts on issues that touched upon leadership, success, and organizational change. Energized and keenly challenged by her rhetoric, many walked away reaffirming their decision to choose her as the new campus president. However, actions, as they say, speak louder than words and there is a contradiction between McClure’s message and her recent actions.
One of her messages was to treat the root cause of a problem and not the symptom. Banning Danny Ledonne – former adjunct instructor and long standing ASU and SLV community member – from campus and introducing Persona Non Grata status to justify this action is an example of treating a symptom, not the problem. In a message to the campus community on October 20th stating that, “Since $200,000 was given to bring faculty and professional staff up to 72.5% of CUPA data, the Human Resources department has been inundated with complaints and has been the target of misinformation and negativity”, is treating the symptom and not the problem. Both of these issues are completely unrelated, yet they have both been answered the same way – with complete disregard. Faculty and staff have questioned the reason behind the decision, yet their question remains unanswered. Faculty and staff have questioned why some administrators who already sat above 72.5% of CUPA received a pay increase, yet their question remains unanswered.
During one of her speaking engagements, McClure said, loosely paraphrased, that “if one person says something to you, it may/may not be true. If two people tell you something, it’s probably worth exploring/considering. If three people tell you something, there’s probably some truth to it.” Faculty and staff may be starting to feel free to air their grievances under a new administration but are being met with disregard and labeled as negative. McClure advised that an important key to success is having vision. But as in any personal or organizational vision, one cannot envision where one will be without recognizing where one has been. Doing so does not make your vision less viable, it makes it stronger.
It would seem that Dr. McClure believes that sheer optimism is the solution to deep and complex problems, as evident in an April 2014 Albuquerque Business First opinion she penned. However, much to McClure’s chagrin, ASU has been seated in a culture of mismanagement and lack of shared governance, financial and personal disparities for nearly a decade now and if a dissenting opinion is raised, retaliation or mistreatment is now feared or inevitable.
“I agree with everything she has to say”, said one event attendee of McClure’s speeches. “I think it’s important to support her leadership. We want to see her succeed.” This seems to be the sentiment campus-wide. The ASU community is ready to work on identifying real problems and offering up real solutions and even more ready for McClure’s actions to follow her rhetoric.