BY WATCHING ADAMS STAFF – 8/21/17
Over 40 full-time employees departed Adams State University (ASU) during the 2016-2017 academic year, including faculty members, staff, and administrators. This is in addition to at least 17 faculty departing during the 2015-2016 academic year. Taken together, these and other relevant data points suggest that the university has entered a period of precariously high employee turnover.
Watching Adams collaborated with dozens of current and former employees to compile a list of recently resigned, retired, fired, or dis-employed members of the ASU workforce. Adams State does not currently conduct exit interviews and most employee terminations or resignations are not widely announced. The university’s large number of departing employees is often withheld from the general public and many trustees appear to be unaware of their eroding workforce.
PUBLIC CONTROVERSIES, NOTABLE DEPARTURES
The resignation of ASU Police Chief Paul Grohowski was quietly announced in August 2016 after the university settled a court case with the ACLU for banning a former employee from the university campus without due process.
Grohowski has also since resigned a second time from Allan Hancock College (AHC) in Santa Maria, CA. Grohowski served less than two years at ASU and less than one year at AHC.
The purported “resignation“of Dr. Chris Gilmer, VP for Academic Affairs, was announced to the ASU campus in February 2017. Dr. Gilmer had served just over 6 months in his position at the time. He commissioned an external investigation of the university’s online program which revealed that it was “largely dysfunctional” with “very serious deficiencies” and “a culture of questionable academic practice that appears to have been in place for many years.” The findings contradicted President McClure’s previous claims that the problems were not widespread.
The public explanation for Dr. Gilmer’s resignation indicated that his friendship with President McClure “dissolved.” However, the mediation agreement which stipulated that Dr. Gilmer was prohibited from discussing the circumstances of “the complaint he filed against the president.” If violated, President McClure reserved “the right to exercise any legal recourse under the law against him that includes the disclosure of information in her possession.”
Resignations also included Walter Roybal, AVP of Extended Studies – Academics in June 2017. Roybal oversaw the university’s distance learning program as the university was placed on academic probation.
The Higher Learning Commission sanctioned ASU after finding “a lack of interaction or set due dates for their online courses and no visible student-instructor interaction in numerous semester-based courses” as well as “course enrollments ranging from 450-600 students in individual online sections… often taught by faculty already teaching a full load.” Subsequent investigations by Watching Adams uncovered intentionally high course overloads and some faculty more than doubling their salaries from online coursework.
No one at ASU – including Walter Roybal, retired President David Svaldi, retired VP for Finance and Governmental Relations Bill Mansheim, or then-VP for Academic Affairs Dr. Frank Novotny – was publicly condemned, professional censured, or otherwise punished for these systemic failures.
Several ASU employees who attempted to raise these concerns reported being bullied, confronted with hostility, and retaliated against for questioning the practices of Extended Studies.
Prominent examples of recent employee turnover also include the July 2017 resignation of Eric Carpio, Assistant Vice President of Student Services. Carpio resigned amidst years of declining enrollment and despite a guaranteed tuition program touted by President Beverlee McClure.
Fall 2017 enrollment is reported to be even lower than previous projections and this story will be updated after census data is available.
THE HIDDEN COSTS OF HIGH TURNOVER
As previously reported, any professional organization incurs high costs for employee turnover. As reported in March 2016 by Inside Higher Education, Why They Stay and Why They Go: “A conservative, decade-old calculation from Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) provosts’ advisory board on the cost of replacing a faculty member was $96,000.”
Harvard’s Graduate School of Education’s Faculty Retention and Exit Survey explains the many hidden costs of high turnover: “The investment includes search and hiring costs such as advertising, search committee staff, travel for three candidates, relocation, and the start-up package. There may also be costs associated with spousal/partner hiring, especially of dual-academic couples. Once in place, professors generate direct and indirect costs for orientation and training, release time, and teaching and learning support.”
One former ASU employee stated, “So many programs shutting down apace, so many people jumping ship. At this point, is it a Chronicle of Decline or a Chronicle of Demise?”
A GROWING LIST OF DEPARTED ASU EMPLOYEES
Upon information and belief as compiled during July and August 2017, the following 46 full-time employees departed ASU during the previous academic year:
Traci Bishop (Extended Studies)
Leslie Boutillette (Porter Hall Administration)
Sonya Brockman (Visiting English Faculty)
Eric Carpio (Assistant Vice President of Student Services)
Lia Carpio (Higher Education Administration & Leadership Director)
Jessica Chacon (Rex Activity Center)
Marietta Clark (College Assistance Migrant Program)
Lynn Crowder (Teacher Education Department)
Dan France (Swimming Coach)
Javier Gonzales (Teacher Education Department)
Chris Gilmer (VP for Academic Affairs)
Paul Grohowski (ASU Police Department Chief)
Geoff Johnson (Learning & Engagement Librarian)
Robert Kirk (Psychology Faculty)
Chris Klaiber (Assistant Lacrosse Coach)
Meagan Long (Admissions)
Ed Lyell (Business Faculty)
Stacy Madrid (Records Office)
John Manning (Computing Services)
Kristy Manning (ASU Police Department)
Michael Martin (Sociology Faculty)
Bea Martinez (Student Business Services)
Amy McKinley (Payroll Manager)
Samuel Olsen (ASU Police Department)
Linda Pacheco-Demski (Teacher Education Department)
Alicia Palmer (Assistant Volleyball Coach)
Alexandra Pipitone (Student Support Services)
Nate Pipitone (Psychology Faculty)
Linda Reid (Business Faculty)
Regina Rice (Music Administrative Assistant)
Beth Apodaca Roybal (Extended Studies)
Walter Roybal (AVP Extended Studies)
Michael Skinner (ASU Sports Information Director)
Carol Smith (Library Director)
Meagan Smith (Admissions)
Christine Streeter (Computing Services)
Matt Stephenson (Biology Faculty)
Jen Stoughton (Enrollment Management)
Michael Tomlin (Business Faculty)
Daisy Valdez (One Stop Students Center Coordinator)
Belinda Vargas (Extended Studies)
Benjamin Waddell (Sociology Faculty)
Nakayla Werner (Career Services)
Paul Wertz (Nursing Faculty)
Carlos Wiggan (Career Services)
David Wreford (English Faculty)
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