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COMMENTARY: Why We Are Still Watching Adams
December 3, 2016 at 12:06pm I concur with the December 2, 2016 at 3:03 pm post, wholeheartedly.
December 3, 2016 at 8:17am The painful truth at ASU is that doing your job won't earn you an extra cent, if you see your job as being a great teacher, doing scholarship (even with students), and fulfilling the usual service expectations. The things that *will* increase your pay are mostly things that will detract from the quality of your teaching: special assignments (some of them complete boondoggles), sucking up to administration, being administration, and teaching overloads. These are the same outrageous overloads that negatively impacted ASU's reputation (i.e., HLC probation, Mathieu Report, Confessions of a Fixer). No one has ever gotten a bonus or pay raise for *teaching*, which shows exactly how much it is valued. Sure you have to be adequate to be promoted to associate and full professor and those come with raises. Maybe a few people each year used to get a little money for the President's Teaching Award (or whatever), but that went away as well. Nevertheless, there is no merit raise for being a great teacher. As Jeff pointed out in Senate, there is no compensation for going above and beyond as a teacher: service learning, undergraduate research, etc. High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are being promoted, but will they be compensated? Not likely. Either work them into your "normal light teaching load" or suck it up and do them for free. ASU is nothing without faculty, but that's rarely recognized. Instead, administrators pull in much higher salaries in terms of CUPA, and then pad those salaries with many special projects. If you think I'm joking, consider: - Ed Crowther: paid over $5000 for being our World Languages Program Director. Yes, that's right, WORLD LANGUAGES because it takes him hundreds of hours to oversee the work of ONE member of his department? - Frank Novotny: paid over $16,000 in 2015 and 2016 to direct the HLC reaccrediting process. Isn't that his job? And we can all see what a great job he did by the Mathieu Report. - Bill Schlaufman: paid $88,000 as our Controller with time to spare to make another $77,000 teaching online! Sounds like two jobs for a total of $165,000 in a single year. - Liz Hensley: paid over $27,000 to be the Business MBA Program Director, while teaching ridiculous loads on and off campus. - Many chairs (and Hensley) get paid $3000-$6000 to manage their Distance Degree Programs, clearly a heavy burden. So, when Tomlin writes, "It could be that your 'little CUPA' isn't getting bigger for a reason, " he's correct for many of us. It's because we are doing our jobs, jobs that are not valued at ASU.
December 2, 2016 at 3:03pm The overall morale on the campus of Adams State University has grown by leaps and bounds since Dr. Chris Gilmer began his position as Vice President of Academic Affairs. He has cultivated a climate of transparency, equity, cultural duversity, integrity, and listening that has been absent since the mean girls took over Richardson Hall. Dr. Gilmer's leadership is refreshing, to say the least. In only five short months, he has made promising changes at Adams State University, and continues to do so every day. Ask yourself what positive changes Dr. McClure has made in over a year! Yeah, I hear crickets chirping. My only hope is that she might pattern herself after a true, genuine leader like Dr. Chris Gilmer. Cheers to the holiday season, and I, along with the other faculty, staff, and students, toast the future of ASU with a natural-born leader (finally) in Richardson.
December 2, 2016 at 11:31am It has been an interesting year on this site and as it winds down I have reviewed and taken some notes. It is my observation that many contributors here claim to want two things: 1) higher salaries, and 2) to "reform" ASU. Let's look at their strategies. First, higher salaries (in fairness we all want higher salaries), but here is the strategy being used: Step 1. Insult their employer as a loser place to work. Step 2. Insult those who do more work - teach extra classes, consult, speak, run a business., etc - and thus make more money than they. Step 3. Argue with Mike. Step 4. Insult the new crosswalk at the School of Business for making money "everything." Step 5. Argue with Mike. Step 6. Post Mike's salary on this site. Step 7. Argue with Mike. Step 8. Call out Mike for having too large a "CUPA." And post a different salary for Mike on this site. Step 9. Argue with Mike. Step 10. Criticize Mike for being white and male. Step 10. Lather, rinse, repeat. Hopefully at the end of the year readers will receive an update on the salary increases gained by these strategies. Now, for institutional reform. Let's look at their plan. 1. Insult our Trustees and demand resignations. 2. Insult Adams State as a loser organization. 3. Insult the School of Business for understanding business. 4. Argue with Mike. 5. Insult those who administered and taught additional classes as they were asked, and who generated precious revenue for ASU. 6. Argue with Mike. 7. Demonstrate their solidarity by organizing an invisible march. 8. Hide in embarrassment. 9. Blame every career move that people make in leaving Adams on "fear." 10. Argue with Mike. 11. Insult the Nursing Department. 12. Argue with Mike I think that brings us up to date. Again, I am curious to see how well "reform" goes under pressure of the above plan. But even with the compelling strategies outlined above, there are a couple of clarifications that may help the reformers. First, I believe there are positions on campus that are underfunded. I will stand with my colleagues and Faculty Senate and work for higher salaries. But I also understand the concept of "revenue first." Before more money can be paid out more money must come in. The President is working to that end on many fronts, in addition to attempting to increase enrollment, an area where we can all help. Secondly, I do criticize administration when I believe they have erred. I believe we have moved too slow with promised changes regarding Extended Studies. I voiced that directly to an RH exec in a meeting. We should be faster. On the other hand I believe some credence should be given to the comprehensive rebuttal offered to the "Mathieu Report," a document that for some reason has not made it to this site. I am not silent and do not always support the direction of my organization or administration. When I disagree on a matter of importance I tell them. I also tell them when they make decisions that I believe are good. But I do NOT believe that publicly soiling your own nest is a good way to gain changes or reforms. And after all is said and done it is your nest that remains soiled. Let's hope the new year inspires some new strategies. Michael Tomlin
December 1, 2016 at 10:30pm Regarding the December 1, 2016 at 9:06am post: “Did ASU administration consider this when they started their Nursing Program? Did they anticipate this would be a problem for an institution that grossly underpays its faculty and has serious retention problems? Or did they simply act without thinking things through?” You would have to ask Frank Novotny. Establishment of the Nursing program was his big accomplishment. What a big surprise that it is such a poorly performing program.
December 1, 2016 at 9:31pm Tomlin writes: "I am also male, but then only a sexist person would make that an issue." I think this one wins the prize. So anyone who questions sexism or racism or ageism, etc. is sexist, racist, ageist, etc? No wonder you were fired (at least) once and demoted here at ASU. As others have pointed out, we have to give McClure credit for doing the right thing in your case.
December 1, 2016 at 9:23pm Arguments? Indeed. Tomlin's comments sound more like the preachings of a fundamentalist religion than critical thinking. Praise the status quo, don't question authority, all is well. Have faith sinner! Blind faith. Religion? Or marketing himself?
December 1, 2016 at 9:12pm Mike Tomlin knows or should know that CUPA is a reference to national peer group averages of per-position compensation, not one's individual salary ("your CUPA"). Most of his previous comment is incoherent because he consistently misapplies the term. But Tomlin is correct: ASU has been putting "revenue first" - ahead of academic integrity, excellence in online scholarship, financial planning, ethical use of grant funds, and valuing its workforce. For many years, nobody seemed to care about any of those pesky details so long as the dollars kept rolling in. So ASU has been great at streamlining its programs to bring in revenue. Per the Mathieu report: “The conclusion drawn from these observations is that there was often greater interest in remuneration rather than quality teaching and the maintenance of academic standards among many of the faculty teaching online courses for OES.” ASU has indeed put "revenue first" - with the consequences of very poor graduation and retention rates, high staff turnover, low morale, and the tenure of insufferable suck-ups who bloviate, bully, and belittle anyone who would call for pay equity and administrative accountability.
December 1, 2016 at 7:07pm Mia CUPA oh my! I make more money every time I look at this site. Amazing. I guess I should go to HR and ask for what you guys print. I know it is a fool's errand to debate with a racist, sexist person, but it amuses me. I am not white. White is not a race nor an ethnicity. White is a color. I am a U.S. native born citizen, who's bloodline is 88% Brit, and the rest Scotch-Irish with some Scandinavian. I am proud of my culture and heritage as I assume most readers are of theirs. But so what? That doesn't increase "little CUPA's" money and that seems to be the issue. I am also male, but then only a sexist person would make that an issue. I am also tall. But what "little CUPA" doesn't understand is that if I donated my salary back next year it would not create a pay raise for them. Pay doesn't work that way. You cannot make your CUPA bigger by diminishing others. You won't make your CUPA bigger by trashing our Nursing program either. It is interesting that the students who failed their exams sat in the same classes as those who passed, had the same faculty, experienced the same clinical experience. Hmmmm. Yes, we need to strengthen our program but how do you critics do that by insulting it and tearing it down? Your "little CUPA" syndrome is showing. I may not know a lot but I do know that "revenue first" is a rule for any organization. I have lunch every week with many of our donors and they are very proud of our university. What picture do you paint? My wife and I have contributed to the university and its scholarship funds. We are pleased to be able to do so. I also promote the university in the business community, regularly with student prospects and their parents, and anytime I get the opportunity. What picture do you paint? It could be that your "little CUPA" isn't getting bigger for a reason. And it is not because I am male, tall, and of Brit heritage. Michael Tomlin
December 1, 2016 at 6:53pm What an interesting series of incorrect assumptions and spurious arguments Mike makes: motives, happiness, jealousy, and why would anyone care about salaries? Perhaps to investigate injustice, discrimination, nepotisim, cronyism... How else would widespread discrimination against women in the workplace have been exposed? It was one way that the unethical course / student loads of ASU professors were discovered, unethical behavior that resulted in probation by HLC. And then there's Ellen Novotny. Why did she get paid so much more per student than everyone else teaching for OES? Finally, for now, let's not forget that ASU administrators have been giving themselves raises for years that kept them at inordinate CUPA levels in comparison to faculty. Given ASU's history of shady management, I just know we will hear about more of these examples in the near future.
December 1, 2016 at 1:45pm Throwback Thursday - that time ASU Nursing program had a near-perfect NCLEX-RN pass rate. Oh wait, it was the competition. "Regis University’s Accelerated and CHOICE Nursing Programs Celebrate Nearly Perfect Licensure Test Pass Rates" (June 2014) http://www.regis.edu/News-Events-Media/News/2014/May/Accelerated%20Nurse%20NCLEX.aspx
December 1, 2016 at 10:32am Michael Tomlin, making over $94,000 last year as a full time faculty member, wonders aloud as to why anyone would care about their own compensation on a campus where many faculty make half that. He wants to scold people for even researching the peer group average of their position. He seems to believe that equal pay for equal work is a form of "jealousy" and everyone should be excited simply to have a job even if they are being exploited. People are only paid what they're worth, after all, so it's self-evident that Tomlin should be making more than most ASU faculty. And as such, he doesn't care about CUPA data (and neither should anyone else) because he is doing just fine, thank you. Tomlin seems to exemplify the white male worker who makes the rest of white male workers look bad. Apparently, Tomlin is also a business professor who is publicly stating that he wouldn't research similar compensation data relative to his own. I'm just going to leave it there.
December 1, 2016 at 9:49am Dear CUPA Watcher, (Nov. 27 at 8:23pm) Wow, I never knew my CUPA was so much bigger than yours. But really – big whoopa CUPA loofa – who cares, other than you? So many numbers and dollars and percentages, and what do they get you? I actually didn’t know what CUPA was but quick research shows it is an HR group of just over 50% of bachelors granting colleges and universities that maintains data on average salaries. I take it from your post that our salaries at Adams are below average. I would have guessed that. What I would not have done was research others’ salaries and compare them with mine or with CUPA data. I suspect there is value in our HR Department tracking these numbers but I cannot imagine the benefit of me doing it, or you. We applied for jobs, we were excited to accept the job and salary. The salary is higher than it was when we came. The story kind of ends there… Whatever does it say about a person and their self-worth when they spend their time looking at and measuring someone else’s CUPA, and then jealously comparing it with their own? I will wager that if I had signed a contract for your CUPA, and you had signed one for mine, that I would still be happy, and you would not. I wish you well but I think you are measuring the wrong things for your happiness. A gentle suggestion would be to focus on your work (not your CUPA), your service, your contributions to Adams and the community, and your family. If you need more revenue then go generate it. I don't know much but I have learned that life is mostly a do-it-to-yourself program. Michael Tomlin
December 1, 2016 at 9:06am Just a small selection of articles on a common theme: Nursing Faculty Shortage: The Nursing Faculty Shortage: A Crisis for Health Care http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2006/04/the-nursing-faculty-shortage.html Nursing Faculty Shortage http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-faculty-shortage Five Factors Contributing to the Nursing Faculty Shortage http://online.stmary.edu/msn/resources/five-factors-contributing-nursing-faculty-shortage A Continuing Challenge: The Shortage of Educationally Prepared Nursing Faculty http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/workforce/NursingShortage/Resources/ShortageofEducationalFaculty.html Nursing Schools Face Faculty Shortages https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/22/nursing-schools-face-faculty-shortages Did ASU administration consider this when they started their Nursing Program? Did they anticipate this would be a problem for an institution that grossly underpays its faculty and has serious retention problems? Or did they simply act without thinking things through? If any department at ASU can justify paying its faculty more, it's Nursing. The program needs to be saved or euthanized, but something needs to be done ASAP.
November 30, 2016 at 10:32pm Aaron Miltenberger is throwing a Trumpesque tantrum. He's made a mistake but instead of apologizing, he's beating up someone else for it. Apparently he has lodged a personal grievance complaint, not against one of his bosses, but against one of his own subordinates. Aaron had recently made an ass of himself by inviting people "who identify as white" to a meeting of like-minded people under the guise of "inclusive excellence", thereby outraging a swathe of staff and students. One of his own staff pointed out his email to others, but instead of saying, "Oops, I boobooed", or, "Sorry about that, I made a mistake", he's doubling down. He's not denying the contents. No. Instead, he's on a mission to whack a person who simply passed on his already-widely distributed email to others. A for Aaron, B for Bully, C for CIELO, D for..... DOH!!
November 30, 2016 at 7:36am Ben Waddell accepted a position in Nicaragua. Not sure who else.
November 30, 2016 at 6:37am When it comes to more employees leaving, as usual, there will be some quiet discussion, people find out through social media, passing comments in the hallways, or just the realization that someone else isn't around at the beginning of next semester. It has always been curious to me that there is such fanfare about new hires... but when people leave, it's like some private family dysfunction that nobody talks about - especially if they left because the culture at ASU is so hostile and repressive. Most people just want to move on and try not to think about what it was like at ASU.
November 29, 2016 at 5:58pm RE: November 28 10:15pm. Who is leaving now?
November 28, 2016 at 10:15pm It appears that more good employees are leaving Adams State soon. President McClure recently tried to assure the campus that it was a "safe space" but it certainly doesn't feel that way to many people who work there.
November 28, 2016 at 9:52am New ASU press release suggestion: "ASU Nursing Program in great position to improve, going nowhere but up!"
November 27, 2016 at 10:47pm Just because you make things seem like a secret doesn't mean they are, and just because you think your exposing people, you are not. ----Editor's Reply: This is actually a worthwhile distinction to be made. In a free society, there is a great amount of information that is hidden in plain sight - not because the data is necessarily secret but that it is never retrieved, made publicly available, distributed or analyzed. Many Watching Adams stories aren't about "exposing" secrets or people but simply connecting the dots and raising buried information for public review. And while much is known internally in the halls of Richardson, local press outlets have generally demonstrated no interest or ability in delivering such information to the broader public. So our work is as much a matter of audience as of content.
November 27, 2016 at 8:23pm Now, now, let's be civil. I too am thankful. I'm thankful that Mike is thankful. He shows such grace in dealing with the adversity of being paid $90,000 for several years before being demoted to merely $80,616 and 87.4% of CUPA. I'm sure that makes many of us who get paid about half that, earning 72.5% of CUPA, feel even more grateful. And like Mike: "A little pay raise every few years is appreciated." However, some of us have been here a lot longer and went years being below 72.5% of CUPA and seeing very few "little pay raises" in that entire time. Those facts point to the weakness of Mike's "how can you whine when you signed a contract" argument. Most of us expected our salaries to keep up with inflation, not fall farther and farther behind. We made a commitment when we accepted our positions here, while at the same time expecting a commitment from ASU - reasonable concern about retention. Almost all of us had other expectations, like a competent and ethical administration, not one that would run ASU into dire financial straits while running our reputation into the ground with its OES practices. Yes I'm grateful, grateful my spouse has a job that pays better than mine.
November 27, 2016 at 7:48pm Sure Tomlin you are thankful for being an embarrassment to humanity. This is why you lack the ability to get hired anywhere else but ASU! And for that I am thankful because your corrupt behavior would infect other institutions of higher learning. Go lick yourself for being a good dog!
November 27, 2016 at 11:57am Dear "I've been at this hell hole for 25 years," (Nov. 22, at 11:24 pm). I appreciate your persistence. Keep studying and you may yet graduate! ***** Our National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving has passed and as I review this site not many prayerful or thankful messages have been posted. I will offer one. Of course I am thankful to be born in a great country and for my family and many friends. I have been blessed. But beyond that I am thankful to work at a cool university in a great location and within a great community. I am not certain how some of you arrived at ASU but I actually sought my employment here. I applied and interviewed twice and then moved 1,100 miles to be a part of this unique school in the San Luis Valley. I am thankful to have my little office in the School of Business and colleagues who everyday we discuss the price of oil and gold, the workings of Bitcoin, and the influences on the stock market of our current election. I get paid to discuss that which I really enjoy and I am thankful for that. Then - I get to do the same with college students, I teach nearly 200 every week in my four classes this semester, helping prepare and motivate them for careers in business. I am thankful for such an opportunity and responsibility. Additionally I am trusted to serve the university with committee work and represent it with local government and the business community. I'm not certain how my work world could be better and I am thankful daily for that . I have great colleagues, faculty and staff in every building on campus and I enjoy and appreciate them greatly and for that I am thankful. And every month the university pays me a salary, actually more than what I agreed to when I came here. How sweet is that! A little pay raise every few years is appreciated. In addition to that they contribute money to a retirement fund and buy health insurance for me. I am thankful for all of these things. Life at Adams is good and for that I am thankful. Michael Tomlin Professor of Management School of Business
November 26, 2016 at 8:04am Someone wrote: "Would these nursing percentages be passing grades in ANY course?" No, absolutely not. Think about what this means for these students. They've paid for 4+ years of college, done a ton of work over 4 years, earned their Nursing degrees, but can't get jobs as real nurses because they aren't real nurses until they pass the NCLEX. When you have 5-10% of your students who can't pass, that's probably their fault; if 90% passed why didn't they? But ASU's is a completely different story. When 40%, 50%, 60% fail, you have to ask what's wrong with the program. It's about like Trump University; sure we'll take your money in return for something sub-par. When you take money from so many students, you have an ethical obligation to offer a program of reasonable quality, allowing a reasonable expectation that they'll be able to pass the NCLEX and qualify for jobs.
November 25, 2016 at 5:13pm I really doubt Shawn jumped, more like she had to walk the plank. She had no idea how to run that program. I doubt anyone at ASU will have the resources to recruit a sufficient number of sufficiently qualified nursing faculty.
November 25, 2016 at 12:45pm Would these nursing percentages be passing grades in ANY course?
November 25, 2016 at 11:45am The NCLEX pass rates are horrifying. They are the lowest in the state for both the current year and the aggregate pass rate. I feel so bad for these students who attended, hoping to get a quality nursing education. I feel bad for their patients (assuming they ever pass their exams). What is likely to happen now? Aren't they already on probation status? Looks like Shawn Elliot jumped ship in time to save herself. No doubt she's sleeping well--no conscience to bother her.
November 24, 2016 at 11:38pm Take a look at the 2016 NCLEX pass rate for Adams State on the Colorado Nursing Board website, ASU's pass rate is 40.7%, 11 of 27 students passed the licensing exam.
November 24, 2016 at 2:48pm Danny, you are absolutely correct. My reference was for the commentor who suggested "mind your own business". And that's why I love this website because of it's clarity and authentic nature.
November 23, 2016 at 12:30pm I didn't post the "defensive" response and I'm not being defensive now. I have plenty of issues with administration and I've had dirt tossed my direction, but I truly believe there is no "dirt" in Kim's case. My brother is in the same line of work as Kim's husband, working for the same folks, and my brother's reaction was: "good for him, great gig, beautiful place to work." Kim and her husband were both very excited about his opportunity and the chance to move back to California. - Jeff Elison ----Editor's Reply: To my observation, the accusation of being "defensive" was directed at the 11/22 at 1:24pm comment about "mind your own business", referencing the 11/20 at 11:03pm inquiry into the circumstances of Dr. Kelso's departure. I don't believe the 11/22 at 11:24pm comment asking "why are you so defensive?" was in reference to Jeff Elison's 11/21 at 9:32pm comment.
November 22, 2016 at 11:24pm Why are you so defensive about the question raised regarding Kim Kelso??? Kelso is my business and will continue to inquire about the real reason she left no matter how it makes you feel. Obviously there must be "dirt" surrounding her departure given your apparent paranoid response. I've been at this hell hole for 25 years and have directly witnessed "dirt" being thrown at talented faculty and staff who ultimately leave the institution or forced out!
November 22, 2016 at 1:24pm This is what I hate most about this site, from the comment on Nov 20th, asking if Kim Kelso resigned or was forced out. Mind your own business! You comment seems to want to spark another attack against ASU that is unfounded. I am glad that Jeff cleared this up, but her leaving is no one's business. If she was forced out, then it would have been known, but she left because a wonderful opportunity came up. Kim Kelso has always been a wonderful professor and a great colleague and department chair. If she was forced out, there would have been some noise on campus. Being there there was no noise, just mind your own business and stop trying to build a straw man just to knock it down with attacking ASU. And don't act like you wouldn't have done this; you were fishing for dirt to say how many more people have left this place. And on a related note about minding your own business. Danny, Carol, and others: Why do you even care still? You don't live here anymore? Isn't it time to move and and stop being a nuisance to ASU? ----Editor's Reply: Posing a question and receiving a response with more information is exactly what an open forum is for - for those who choose to use it. And the simplest solution to websites one doesn't like is not to visit them. ASU is a public university whose role in the San Luis Valley is of considerable importance. It is also one example in a larger story about the future of higher education in the United States. There are many reasons one should care about the policies and practices of a school such as Adams State, particularly given the lack of critical journalistic analysis that would otherwise exist in the town of Alamosa. To give one recent example, if not for Watching Adams, it is highly unlikely that the story of the Salazar ranch payment would have been made public. Public education and its transparent governance are of broader interest.
November 21, 2016 at 9:32pm I want to dispel any rumors: Dr. Kim Kelso was a wonderful chair. She was not forced out. Her husband found a fantastic career opportunity. I know she felt mixed emotions about leaving ASU, but my impression is that the decision was clear for Kim. I believe her last day was somewhere around August 1st, not May. - Jeff Elison
November 20, 2016 at 11:40pm I'm not sure about this, if you can prove it, or if you want to publish, and you may already possibly know information about it but in reference to the Valley Courier not wanting to print your op ed. I think when your case first came out there was a newly hired reporter for the Courier. That reporter wrote the story in a way that wasn't biased against you or in favor of ASU. He quickly disappeared from being the staff writer very shortly thereafter. That might be something else for you to try to look into. These small town papers, and I would argue around here specifically and possibly only the Courier need to be held accountable. I don't know who wrote the "rag" comment but if it was a reader and not you then just show's an appalling misunderstanding by the Courier publisher, or an excuse. ----Editor's Reply: This is in reference to Valley Courier Refused to Publish Critical Op-Ed, Other Publications Did and three articles written by David Gilbert, former staff writer at the Valley Courier, in November 2015 (found on the Press page). To the best of our knowledge, Gilbert left the Valley Courier to pursue better-paying endeavors with another employer in the Denver area. The October 18, 2016 "rag" comment was not written by Watching Adams publisher Danny Ledonne; those are signed with "Editor's Reply" or "Editor's Note." Given that the Valley Courier has close financial ties with Adams State University, it is not particularly surprising that its coverage of the university has been largely uncritical and often dutifully reprints ASU press releases, even with serious errors, without due diligence in journalism. Disappointing but not surprising.
November 20, 2016 at 11:03pm Is the data accurate on Kim Kelso leaving ASU in May? There appears to be some confusion on whether she resigned or was forced out??? ----Editor's Reply: Dr. Kelso is no longer listed in the ASU employee directory and isn't listed as teaching any courses at ASU in the fall 2016 course catalog. However, she is still listed on the Psychology department's faculty page, likely because that page is infrequently updated. Anyone with more information on this topic is encouraged to post a comment here. For a tenured faculty member to be "forced out" would require a formalized process of being stripped of tenure, which also includes an appeals process. This would be highly unlikely in Dr. Kelso's case.
November 20, 2016 at 4:23pm Mike Tomlin's parents taught him, "don't speak ill of people you take money from." Presumably that is why he refuses to be critical of an administration that is by all metrics stuck in quick sand. The lesson seems to be that if you are critical of your employer, you should leave in silence rather than tell them what is wrong. That seems to be a pretty poor character lesson. Does that mean you can only morally justify criticizing an organization once you have left it? Conversely, if you are unable to leave because of financial or family commitments but you think the organization is being run into the ground, it seems Mike's parents would advocate remaining silent even as ASU sinks up to its neck. What a good little loyalist, going down without a murmur. It is clear that Mike's views neatly fit the administration's policy of " shut up and conform, or out yourself so that we may hound you."
November 20, 2016 at 10:31am November 17, 2016 at 6:40pm What is a "twit"? In reference to Tomlin's post about twitter. Genius! Answer: Among those who do not tweet we jokingly use other words to describe the act. Chirp and twit are among the most popular, twerp and tweak are also sometimes used. It is simply just fun. Twitter deniers, as if we don’t really believe it’s there. A non-tweeter conversation might look like this: Did you see the chirp Trump sent out? Chirp? What’s a chirp? You know, from Twitter, that messaging thing with the hashbrown? Those are potatoes! You mean hashtack. It’s called a hashtack because it generally is an attack. Oh, okay. Anyway, it’s a twerp not a chirp when you’re using Twitter. Then what’s a twit? A twit is an anonymous, humorless person who insults people online. Yeah, they could be a twerp too. Michael Tomlin
November 17, 2016 at 6:40pm What is a "twit"? In reference to Tomlin's post about twitter. Genius!
November 17, 2016 at 4:35pm The 3:45 comment from November 13 requires one rebuttal - speaking or writing openly in our country, under the First Amendment is neither heroic, nor an act of valor. If you want to see or hear about those things join us for our annual Veterans Day luncheon hosted each year by the ASU Veterans student organization. Last Friday was a nice luncheon, great sharing of comments and experiences and rubbing of common elbows with those who know valor and heroism. Free speech on the other hand is like a muscle, if you don't use it you will find that it atrophies. It was certainly heroic when Dr. Martin Luther King marched and spoke, and he paid the ultimate price. But his acts made it easier for the next and the next. I was 18 when he was killed, and remain inspired by his words and actions, along with those of Robert F. Kennedy. I saw them both on TV every night and then they were gone. Regarding the recent election few honestly predicted the result. I am a political junkie and campaign consultant and I didn't call it. Some interesting statistics are that Mr. Trump out-flew, out-rallied, out-crowd-sized, out-speeched, and out-evented Ms. Clinton. The media ignored that. He also under-spent her by 50%. The day of the election and election night Twitter broke in his favor 51-49%. The Twitter chatter is interesting since many older Americans don't twit (me for instance), and many blue collar workers don't either. There was his margin, on top of the 51-49 which lead to 35 states for him and 15 states for Ms. Clinton. An Electoral rout. It is also interesting the choices rank and file voters made in the "rust belt" states. Blue collar working class people had to choose between a union friendly pro-labor Democrat, and a NYC Billionaire...and they chose Mr. Trump. I believe that two campaign statements made the ultimate difference: HRC: "Every morning I will wake up in the White House and try to figure out how to make your lives better." DJT: "I will bring jobs back and make America great again." Those were the issues many people voted, which brings us back to the comments on this site from 3:45 on November 13th - yes we should listen and care about those we disagree with. I'm not sure however that Trustee Salazar, President McClure and I are exactly in the same "echo chamber" and I am pretty sure we split our votes in at least two directions. And my comments do reflect my view of the world, a view taught to me by my parents and my public school teachers, and learned over 66 years. One view - don't speak ill of people you take money from. That is a matter of character. If you can no longer work for them then so bet it. But to take their money and trash them anonymously is lower than whatever you might think them guilty of. That view is not designed to gain me favor with Richardson Hall. There is no favor I want or need, and none they will offer. It is simply a guiding principle for maintaining satisfaction and fulfillment in my employment. If doing the opposite of that is working for you and you are content with your position in your life and employment, then good for you. But somehow it seems on this site that such is not the case. Michael Tomlin Professor of Management
November 13, 2016 at 3:45pm I care what Mike Tomlin thinks, and so should you. There is almost nothing Mike says that I agree with, but I applaud his valor in speaking his mind and putting his name to his WA contributions (thought that's not so heroic given that his views no doubt endear him to McClure.) I think he is genuine in what he believes. If we have learned anything from this abysmal election, it surely is to listen to those whose views are different to our own. If we had done so, instead of insulating ourselves in echo chambers with the like-minded, we might have seen Trump's victory coming. Mike's comments are instructive. They tell us how he - and I am sure many of his colleagues in ASU's upper reaches - view the world, and shows why they can't possibly understand opposition to McClure's regime. Yes, he and McClure and Salazar are in their own echo chamber, unable to really hear what we are saying, perplexed by the hubbub. And that may ultimately lead to their downfall.
November 11, 2016 at 6:37pm While everyone understands Tomlin's narcissistic fascination of fancying himself a "king”, we also recognize that he has far too many warts to be the institution's "knight in shining armor”. Of course, Dr. McClure sees this as well--hence his being sent back to the faculty. And, frankly, none of the rest of us care what he thinks, either.
November 10, 2016 at 11:24am Historically, the university was run by the faculty…” Yes, it is a spot-on statement and post from November 8, at 2:28pm. Professors used to rule, and full professors were kings. We can argue if that was good or not, but the evolution of society has majorly changed our universities and with it the professorate. And one by one we have shot ourselves in the foot one toe at a time I first entered academic life as a university instructor in 1983 and have witnessed much of the change as I have been in and out of the “Academy” since. I will offer a few observations that I believe have led to faculty’s reduced role and influence on campuses. These will be brief so understand each point could benefit from a more thorough fleshing out. • The tech explosion – professional workers stopped wearing neckties, and Bill Gates famously told Microsoft employees to “call me Bill.” The familiarization movement invaded much of the professional workplace. • University professors began to call each other by their first names. This especially changed the classics – Literature, Philosophy, etc., as rather than “Dr. Poobah” it became Jane or Jim to other faculty. • Familiarization in language lead to the decline of importance of faculty rank. Today promotions in rank are mostly about a pay raise. Lecturers, instructors and assistant professors would never have challenged full professors in years back, nor called them Jane or Jim. Deans were cautious about challenging full professors. • The internet – what professors once uniquely and solely knew is now available online. Assuredly the “understanding” of the material still lies with faculty, but content that was once mysterious is now there for all. We lost our mystique. • Social justice – Faculty once concerned themselves with Shakespeare, physics experiments, economic theories and historical interpretations. Today faculty invest their time in gender issues, salary disparities, and race. Understand these issues have long been engaged by faculty in their corresponding academic departments – economists would study salary but accountants would not spend their time in gender issues, while sociology and psychology might. • Faculty were fiercely protective of their academic content, and out of respect never challenged that of other departments. • Faculty would never question their own faculty governance, or allow challenges to questions such as retention decisions. • Faculty were especially protective of their faculty line spots and rank, and guarded them closely. Today, much of the above has simply evolved past us. Some of it is probably good. The professorate was historically male dominated and sexist. Some strides have been made. But some of our declining influence is our fault. We don’t make rank important or special, and thus it is neither. We don’t guard our faculty line spots to those of us who are most special but rather look to broaden the base of faculty to masters degreed staff professionals. We don’t respect our own self-government such as our colleagues’ retention decisions, nor guard their academic areas as our own. Rather, we challenge and insult other department’s curriculum or practices not understanding that by doing so we hurt our own. The part of the university we used to run was the academic part. We owned curriculum and programs, and Academy-wide we have lost much of that to “so-called” accrediting agencies and “rubrics.” We probably didn’t have much choice. But it was never the role of faculty to “reform” or (actually) run the institution, that was the work of “clerks” and administrative functionaries. Faculty operated at a far higher level and ruled their unique and special roost. It is today less unique, and we have made it less special. We have “taught” administration to view us more as a “teachers’ union.” We challenge them on things that are beneath us. We give them lists of “concerns” like we are children and it is our Christmas wish list. The professorate seldom (historically) involved itself with central administrative policies because they didn’t matter to us. The university president went to the state capitol to get the money, and we controlled academics. Today, we want to use faculty senate to address every social ill and to micromanage policy and in return have lost control of academics. When and where do we meet regularly as faculty for the purpose of intellectual academic discussion? We have faculty lectures and noon lectures and those are good and important. But in days of old after a faculty lecture those of us there would have opened wine and discussed the issue into the wee hours of the morning. We have time-slotted and “corporatized” those events today and not to our betterment. It is unlikely we will gain much back, but a start would be to govern closely that which is by right ours – academics. We could climb back up on our academic roost and work to regain mutual respect, and rebuild the value of rank and titles and re-strengthen what it means to be a professor. That is there for us. But is not if we use our time and effort trying to broaden our influence domain and continue to lose it as we do. The United States’ foreign policy is a good (bad) example. I hope the reader(s) find these comments useful. Michael Tomlin Professor of Business
November 8, 2016 at 2:28pm Historically, the university was run by the faculty and thus all such reforms came from within the professoriate. Only in recent decades has an increasingly bloated class of administrators abrogated, sometimes forcefully, the responsibilities of faculty to manage the institution. The current role that faculty play in the governance of Adams State is mere tokenism and increasingly timid suggestions about reform. It has also become apparent that faculty who wish to have a significant role in university governance must speak and behave like the very administrators against whom they are supposed to be providing a check. Those who have the most influence tend to support administrative positions much more often than the faculty they are supposed to represent. We already know who comes to mind here...
November 7, 2016 at 5:02pm I see that there is going to be a town hall on November 15th at ASU. This would certainly be a good time to ask about any number of major problems at Adams State that are being created or overseen by the current administration and board of trustees. These include: unconscionable ongoing salary inequities, wasteful spending of grant monies, disregard for free speech and due process, high levels of employee turnover, declining enrollment, financial mismanagement, academic probation due to violations of online coursework standards, the fiscally-unwise decision to choose Guaranteed Tuition, inadequate performance of accredited programs such as Nursing, abuses of authority and retaliatory workplace conduct, unethical transactions and nepotism... just to name a few.
November 7, 2016 at 1:15pm Actually there are many ways to get paid more at ASU, as an earlier comment mentioned: "special project payments, fee-for-service arrangements, and of course the dozens of fly-by-night online courses." Of course, many of these have been exercised in ethically dubious or academically compromised ways, but that hasn't seemed to bother the administration or board whatsoever, even when outside accreditors and audits indicate otherwise.
November 7, 2016 at 11:11am Mike Tomlin hits the nail on the head: “Add value to your work with someone who can pay more for it. My bet…. It won’t be here, ever, for any of us.” Yes, that’s right folks. Add value to your work here, but you won’t get paid for it, so go somewhere else. If he represents how our leadership truly thinks, then no wonder so much talent has left, and will continue to leave. And no wonder we are left with the rest, Mike Tomlin included.
November 7, 2016 at 7:20am There was talk on this website last week about CIELO and whiteness. Then, as if to assure us that white male privilege is still alive and well, Mike Tomlin saunters in and demonstrates exactly what it looks like. Surely it is easy to decry anonymity when you are a tenured full professor spouting congratulatory, establishment views. Notice also how convinced he is that his perception of the on-campus reality must be the only valid one. Speaking of which, Tomlin is either unaware or unwilling to admit that many good faculty and staff have left ASU in recent years – either being forced out, pressured to resign, or simply because they see the sordid state of financial and academic affairs and recognize their careers are better spent elsewhere. Many disillusioned students are leaving for similar reasons. Respectfully, I have no interest in having coffee with such a person - particularly after how the Judge Kuenhold report describes the Business Department as a "good old boys network" while he was chair. That he is no longer chair and instead insists on posting here in such a manner strongly suggests that he may be compensating for previous transgressions.
November 6, 2016 at 11:39am Oh my! My comments must have caused a panic meeting of the Suckers Anonymous executive team... I know it's a fool's errand but it amuses me so I will respond to a couple of your comments. Be advised that you are not required to read what follows. Don't get suckered into it and regret it later. This is on you. Hmmm, I see I am "a disciple of neoliberalism, an economic ideology that insists you are worth the money your boss pays you, and that’s all. He believes that the market’s “invisible hand” infallibly determines your value. " Then the anonymous writer continues with a Wikipedia lecture on economics. Too funny. I am not an economist, not a neoliberalist, and I don't even play one on TV. But I did get a good nights sleep in a Holiday Inn Express...LOL It is like accusing me of being Lutheran (I am not), or a Libertarian (I am not), and then writing Wikipedia lectures about Lutherans or Libertarians. Who suckered you into doing that? I do have two basic laws of economics that I believe in and practice. 1) Do not spend more than you have. 2) If you desire more income then provide more value to someone who can pay more for it. I do not believe that the market determines "your value." The market does set some basic values - engineers earn more than teachers - but my bedrock belief is that YOU determine your value, and then you employ your ambition and talent (and a little luck) to close the gap between your earnings and your self-ascribed value. Then one of you wrote: "Many have resigned themselves to focus on their own career goals rather than trying to reform the institution." That is very good news. Many of us came into the professorate with career goals of being good teachers, able scholars, and engaging communities with service. Actually that is likely what our/your job descriptions call for. So it is what we should be doing. What we get paid to do. Where on your job description does it tell you to "reform the institution?" Who suckered you into that role? Is your name Beverlee McClure? She was hired to reform the institution and is working to do that. She's done some well and made some mistakes. Okay. But if you want to "reform" then lead the movement. Calling people neoliberals hardly reforms. Hiding behind your pathetic anonymity hardly reforms. But I know, you are fearful, in a climate of fear and some of you are "victims" and I recall reading that some of you are grieving. Then you don't have the grit to be reformers. Give it up. Go home and hide and cry. Leave it to men and women who show up for demonstrations, rallies or walks, who sign their names. Or of course you could do the work you get paid for, the work you were hired for, the work your hiring committee believed you could do. That's a thought. And I saw your comments of "see what happens to people who speak out at ASU." Yes, generally nothing. I can list faculty member after faculty member who I have seen take a stand on one position or another, and they are still happily in their jobs and doing their work. Myself included. You write how slow universities move, and I agree. I could not believe how long it took to get the ill-conceived faculty status issue for librarians off the board. We wasted so much time and effort and a decision should have been made immediately - no, we don't have a library science degree or academic department so we're not going to grant faculty status to staff professionals and lower the average salaries of all faculty, dilute the strength or our doctoral core, or otherwise be suckered into a plain bad decision. Yes we moved too slow, and it will likely raise its head again. But the Academy moves slow. And you wrote: "Yes, we are “suckers”, Mike, because we were suckered. And we have every right to be pissed off." I agree with you there. Poor backwoods hill folk suckered and slickered by fast talking Richardson Hall elites with college degrees. Oh, wait. Some of you have college degrees too. You were suckered? Then suck it up and accept it. It happens. Be pissed off at yourself. Want to make up for lost ground? Add value to your work with someone who can pay more for it. My bet...it won't be here, ever, for any of us. If you are still grieving, I recently read that the University of Florida is offering free counseling for students who could not handle the messages of many Halloween costumes. Maybe our counseling professionals will hold some de-suckering therapy sessions for you. Maybe help you recover some of your self-respect, so that you can stand on your own comments, use your name when you write and show the courage to help ASU move forward, not just call names and insult people on this site. My offer still stands on the coffee. We can visit and I'll buy. Michael Tomlin Professor of Management (not an economist, not a neoliberal, not grieving, and not been suckered)
November 5, 2016 at 5:36pm "Many have resigned themselves to focus on their own career goals rather than trying to reform the institution." Truth. Many have also just resigned, period. Both are tragic.
November 5, 2016 at 4:48pm I think the point that Three Reasons Why Service at Adams State is for Suckers makes is a much more narrow one. Dr. Tomlin defends university service in a broad way that almost everyone would agree with, at least in spirit. Yes, there are important aspects to the professoriate supporting their communities and that's fantastic. But what the commentary article argues is that ASU's campus culture is hostile towards anyone who – even in the sincere effort for university service – tries to think outside the box, bring a critical lens to their committee work, or offer up ideas that make administrators or the Board of Trustees uncomfortable. Most people are cautious enough to see what happens to people who speak out at ASU and many have resigned themselves to focus on their own career goals rather than trying to reform the institution – whose problems are now being made obvious and apparently intractable from the mandate to Drink the ASU Kool Aid. That's the issue I see as being problematic at ASU, not the notion of service generally.
November 5, 2016 at 11:11am Mike Tomlin is a disciple of neoliberalism, an economic ideology that insists you are worth the money your boss pays you, and that’s all. He believes that the market’s “invisible hand” infallibly determines your value. The invisible hand metaphor arises from a fleeting mention of it by Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations” published in 1776, and it is clear that most enthusiasts for this ectoplasmic appendage have not actually read the thing themselves. If they had, they would also note that the hand is not entirely independent, but relies on the periodic guidance of men of high standing with a sense of altruism and community benevolence. Indeed, the invisible hand has been working its magic at ASU, guided by our administrators sans altruism to pickpocket faculty and staff. They get more, we get less. Part of the neoliberal agenda is to screw down wages while at the same time demand productivity. We see this theme nakedly in Mike’s plea to be happy. You deserve what we pay you (because that’s all you are worth), you can make more money only if you work longer hours, and we want you to do a whole lot of service work for free. He lists seven things that will prove to him that you are sufficiently supplicant. Of course, to follow his prescription for being a good little professor is that you will have no time to yourself, no time for your family, no time for your own intellectual pursuits, no time for research and professional development, no time to really bond with students and to be a great teacher, and most importantly, no time to cause problems for the administration. Yes the perfect neoliberal panacea, right here at ASU. Ironically, the real “Road to Serfdom.”
November 5, 2016 at 9:52am Dear Mike Tomlin, A respectful response to your respectful response: Yours is a beautifully crafted excuse for the con job that was visited upon us by stealth, but now having been revealed, has rightly outraged its victims. After the 2008 crash and the subsequent cut in education funding, ASU’s fortunes slipped, like so many other institutions. We rallied to the call that we should pull together, make sacrifices for the greater good, for the benefit of our students and the sustainability of our venerable institution. Professors and staff were told for years that the university was virtually destitute and could not even afford cost of living adjustments let alone raises even for outstanding performance. And we went along with it passively because we didn’t know better. That’s because ASU’s state of affairs has been hidden from view. Unbeknownst to us, those very administrators who pleaded ASU’s penury were packing their pockets with more and more money. Salary hikes, special project payments, fee-for-service arrangements, and of course the dozens of fly-by-night online courses they taught - a travesty that brought down the wrath of the HLC and plunged ASU into existential peril. We thought we were helping the university when our leaders were helping themselves. Yes, we are “suckers”, Mike, because we were suckered. And we have every right to be pissed off.
November 4, 2016 at 3:54pm A respectful response to Three Reasons Why Service at Adams State is for Suckers Dear faculty colleague(s), Thank you for a well written column on service and your disillusionment with it. I will accept your perceptions and experiences as you wrote them, and write this response to hopefully bring some different perspectives and opportunities to you and other colleagues. Yes, teaching, research and service are indeed the pillars of the Academy that makes up higher education around the world. We are a unique fraternity (no sexism intended) as professors and it is one of the best professions in the world. I have taught in public schools, worked in and out of private industry, owned my own business, and earned my tenure and rank at a research (R1) institution, the University of Idaho. My experiences there, eight years at the University of Wyoming, and now five years at Adams are markedly different than yours with regard to service. Service at Adams State University is not for “suckers” but rather is part and parcel of our professorship and helps define us as professionals. Before I explain, let me address your concerns over “bureaucracy, low pay, and negative office politics.” First, when you join a bureaucracy it should not surprise you to find it as such. I served years in the Army…believe me, Adams is not a bureaucracy. I have served at two larger universities and in a state system of K-12 education….Adams is not a bureaucracy. We could be better, leaner, faster, as can most institutions, but please don’t fret that it takes time to accomplish things. The Academy is not a tech start-up, it is a glacier and its administration tend to be glacier pilots. Don’t let this spoil your great gig as a professor here or anywhere else. Regarding “low pay,” if it is lower than the contract you agreed to and that you signed then I suggest you see a labor attorney. If they are paying you what you agreed to in the contract that you signed…then by definition your pay is fine. However, if you desire more pay then generate it. We have unique jobs where we can write books, give speeches, consult, create inventions and patents, with no limit on our income potential and do it all as a faculty member. Wow! It is a great gig, unlike most others. Be appreciative and if you have talent and ambition then generate the income you wish for yourself and your family. You mentioned “negative office politics.” I understand, and with some humor note that no one ever complains about positive office politics. Go figure. The key to office politics is to accept that it occurs whenever more than one employee is assigned to an office. The key to your sanity is to offer the solutions you can, appropriately respectful to your academic rank and that of others, and don’t participate nor contribute to the negativity. Be too busy providing good teaching and advisement to your students, conducting your research, providing good service, and enhancing your income. Now, regarding service. You seem to have intertwined service with shared governance and committee work. These are not one and the same. I will agree that at a small school with small departments and sometimes short on senior faculty the committee needs and assignments can be substantial. On the other hand, our research requirements are not as hefty as they might be at a larger or R1 institution so those balance. I have been at both. But true service is so much larger than campus committee assignments. Yes, you need to establish yourself on those and hopefully provide leadership. And of course all service begins with excellent student advisement. But just as an example, in the School of Business, our “Service” rubric for retention and evaluation lists the following as some of the ways to accomplish the service requirement: (In no particular order) • Significant work on departmental and university committees. • Coordination, advisement and/or supervision of student organizations, clubs, or student activities. • Significant participation and/or leadership in institutionally sponsored student support activities. • Contributions as an officer of local, regional, national, or international professional organizations. • Development and organization of special projects, including academic institutes or workshops related to the discipline. • Discipline related service to P-12 education. • Service on boards, commissions, councils, or other similar groups. Those are some, not all, in our rubric. These are accomplished with participation and leadership in Student Scholar Days, our free income tax service to the community, representing the university and School of Business with Chamber of Commerce, SLV marketing boards and organizations, economic development groups, Valley Initiative Partners, serving on school boards, credit union boards, rec boards, etc. For each discipline there are community, regional and state groups where your service is needed and for which should be counted on your CV and in consideration of retention, tenure, and promotion. A faculty member can easily immerse themselves in their students, scholarship, and service and never notice the bureaucracy. Never notice the politics because they do their work, contribute where they can, and enjoy a great job in a great career in a great region and at a really good little school. How cool is that? It is unfortunate that you were not (with respect) mentored better into your professorship. I am thankful every day for the senior faculty member who helped ease me through my “baby assistant professor” years at UI. Understand that at many larger universities senior faculty don’t want to hear much from assistant professors… But we are (mostly) not that way. So my offer is that I will meet with anyone, help discuss or provide ideas on quality service, the service of professional academics (not suckers) and help you gain a good grasp on this all important pillar of your job. I will buy the coffee. Just call me, stop by my office, or send me an email. Service at Adams is not for suckers, it is what productive, committed, professional academics engage in every day – not as an extension of their work but as part and parcel of the work itself. I wish for you better days ahead in your professorship! Michael Tomlin Professor of Management School of Business
November 4, 2016 at 1:14pm "Boards of directors are like subatomic particles - they behave differently when they're observed." - Nell Minow
November 3, 2016 at 10:45pm Yesterday, the editor mentioned that Arnold Salazar's ranch "has applied for a Special Use Permit that would allow them to permanently operate as a "Private Recreation Club or Lodge" . Their first hearing will be before the Alamosa Planning Commission on November 9, 2016. Their second hearing is before the Board of County Commissioners on December 14, 2016. The hearings are open to the public if you are interested in attending." If people are upset about this, we should consider attending these hearings and should also contact these representatives to voice our concerns about Arnold Salazar's ethical violations by profiting from property for an ASU event while serving as Board Chair (and with his sister managing the Title V funds). Tell them you want your concerns to be treated confidentially. Alamosa Planning Commission: http://cityofalamosa.org/departments/boards-commissions/planning-commission-board/ Alamosa County Commissioners: http://www.alamosacounty.org/commissioner-home/8-departments/commissioners/22-commissioners
November 3, 2016 at 8:29pm So many issues have come to light that the majority of the community would be woefully unaware were it not for Watching Adams. Some issues would likely be in the light but one has to wonder the level of awareness that would exist if not for WA. And one must applaud WA's attempt at helping ASU achieve true transparency. One must also applaud Dr. Gilmer's (futile?) attempts to investigate and bring to light the obvious corrupt practices by Svaldi, Novotnys, Roybal, Phillips and others through OES and off the backs of legitimate employees. So one MUST pose the question AGAIN---when will anyone be held accountable? Interesting question considering something I heard the other day... that Mr. Roybal is "not worried.” “He has enough dirt on others that is he is fired others will go down as well...and the administration doesn't want that." Gossip? Probably...but again one has to wonder why nobody has been accountable... The truth? Likely!
November 3, 2016 at 2:31pm People in positions of power, like BOT Chair Salazar, are only held accountable if they are made to - it doesn't happen on its own. Here are some resources for anyone to petition their grievances, which should be treated confidentially. So if you are unhappy with how public officials are behaving, file a complaint: Colorado Governor’s Office: https://www.colorado.gov/governor/contact Colorado Dept. of Higher Education: http://highered.colorado.gov/dhe/contact.html Higher Learning Commission: https://www.hlcommission.org/HLC-Institutions/complaints.html US Dept. of Education, Title V: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/idueshsi/contacts.html Salazar says this website is just to "blab and blog" and that "he doesn't care." He has even characterized these comments as "cyberbullying." So no more whining. If you remain silent about something you believe is wrong, you are complicit in it. If you want things to change, it's time to file a complaint and tell your colleagues to do the same.
November 3, 2016 at 7:42am Now with 32 votes, 91% think Salazar acted unethically and it's clear from ASU's guidelines that he did. So what will happen? Nothing. This is ASU; this is the SLV. Another problem swept under the rug. That's the great thing about power, you are rarely held accountable. The same standards just do not apply. Sickening. Hey Arnold, why don't you donate your $12,700 to students?
November 2, 2016 at 6:53pm "You have declared all beardless white heterosexual males as being misogynistic-racists-homophobes by birth. Thanks!" Ummmm...Matt Nehring doesn't have a beard...nor does Robert Kirk, Kevin Daniel, Chris Olance, Ben Waddell, Jeremy Yeats, Brian Zulegar, Bill Lipke, James Doyle, shall we go on? No. Not all white men fit this description. But if you're feeling guilty then perhaps a little self reflection is in order. Shall we reserve a spot for you at this year's Equity Institute?
November 2, 2016 at 11:40am ----Editor's Note: A comment posted on November 1, 2016 at 4:00am asked about the zoning of the Salazar ranch, so we inquired with Alamosa County's Land Use Administrator. Here is the response we received: The property in question is allowed to conduct special events with a Temporary Use Permit which has been obtained for all events meeting the threshold requirements for a "special event". Furthermore, the facility has applied for a Special Use Permit that would allow them to permanently operate as a "Private Recreation Club or Lodge" . Their first hearing will be before the Alamosa Planning Commission on November 9, 2016. Their second hearing is before the Board of County Commissioners on December 14, 2016. The hearings are open to the public if you are interested in attending. Sincerely, Rachel Baird, Land Use Administrator
November 2, 2016 at 11:03am It appears that Adams State “University” (a dubious distinction) is more engaged in social programming than it is interested in engaging in academic programming. The social justice warriors have staged a successful coup in enforcing anti white male heterosexual culture. You have declared all beardless white heterosexual males as being misogynistic-racists-homophobes by birth. Thanks! Cielo is Adams’ “Ministry of Love”. Where anyone who “…identifies as white and is interested in understanding privilege and bias” can be “cured” of their thought-crime. Aaron you have successfully embodied Orwell’s O’Brien as chief deprogrammer. Carol Guerro Murphy you should be ashamed of yourself for entertaining this decidedly fascistic behavioral adjustment programming session. Adams would do better to focus on academics instead of social programming. I wish to attend a university and not a center of deprogramming.
November 2, 2016 at 10:22am Aaron, if you really want to challenge your notion of your whiteness and your privilege, then you need to invite a few more people than just “anyone who identifies as white.” Instead of cloistering yourself with a bunch of other Aarons, how about getting together with a few people of color to tell you what it is like to be on the receiving end of white privilege? Or would that be too uncomfortable for you?
November 1, 2016 at 8:07pm Two annotations to my 10/23 comment: 1. My comment was a very heartfelt reaction to someone else's post, based on my professional history. My experience at huge, successful companies (Intel, Hewlett-Packard) has been very different from my experience at small regional universities. Nevertheless, it would be remiss of me not to mention the great work Chris Gilmer is doing. I've been thoroughly impressed. I think his attitude exemplifies the type of culture described in the original post: "build trust and eliminate fear" and "problems can be lifted up, discussed and fixed to drive real improvement". I really hope that's our future. 2. I certainly did not have in mind the fact that the very next day WatchingAdams would report on ASU paying Arnold Salazar for use of his facilities. So, I was not referring to that particular bit of news, no matter how disturbing it may or may not be. - Jeff Elison
November 1, 2016 at 7:53pm I see in the current poll there are currently 26 people who say Salazar certainly violated ethical guidelines and 2 who say possibly. That's over 90%. But there are no "real" problems at ASU; it's just 5 or 6 complainers. Right, back to work, insert head in... sand or wherever. ----Editor's Reply: We only allow one vote per IP address to try and limit repeat voting as much as possible for an anonymous online poll. The results aren't intended to be scientifically valid but at least generate discussion and reflection as well as encourage reader participation in our publications.
November 1, 2016 at 4:19pm “This group is open to anyone who identifies as white and is interested in understanding privilege and bias." Holy crap Batman. Anyone who is white or has the balls to identify as white would be stupid and on a death wish to enter that den of witches. It would be like the German Nazi concentration camp guard saying "Come over here, come over here to this house that is warm. Come inside, see it is nice and warm. You stay here where it is warm and I will go." Snowflakes are bullies when they are in packs.
November 1, 2016 at 3:46pm Mr Miltenberger, what about the rest of us? Or is Cielo now practicing Exclusive Excellence? Only the right kind of people need apply, right?
November 1, 2016 at 8:43am From Three Reasons Why Service at Adams State is for Suckers: "doing so at ASU raises institutional alarms and instantly subjects any faculty or staff member to ongoing harassment, shunning, bullying, and a generally hostile workplace. " This hits very hard because I have had the privilege of going through this for years now. Mcclure recently said in a staff meeting that the campus does, "arbitrary things to weed people out", which is probably a big part for her plan to "not" fire people. It'll be through attrition. Make them miserable until they quit. Of course I'm staying anonymous because of the university's track record of blatant retaliation and the common practice of sweeping it under the rug while covering for eachother. Remember to document.
November 1, 2016 at 7:39am Aaron Miltenberger just sent out an invitation for “anyone who identifies as white” to attend a Cielo session. In full, he says: “This group is open to anyone who identifies as white and is interested in understanding privilege and bias.” Look in mirror, dude, and think before you hit Send.
November 1, 2016 at 4:00am Just wondering... Arnold Salazar's land is zoned rural, not commercial. Despite being unethical, I wonder if he is flaunting the county land use/zoning regulations? Does anyone know? Also, with an expenditure of that size, is there no requirement to put it out to bid? As this a recurring event, there should have been ample time to get competitive bids. Surely one of the hotel venues in town could have charged much less.
October 31, 2016 at 9:35am Larga vida a las hembras de la familia e Chicanas en el poder! (Long live the women of Chicano families in power!) - rough translation ----Editor's Reply: Watching Adams believes that everyone should be held to high ethical standards regardless of gender, ethnicity, or other demographic factors. Power should only be long lived if it is used responsibly.
October 31, 2016 at 7:43am Did Arnold Salazar violate ethics? Huh? How is this even a question. It's black and white: ASU Purchasing Manual, under Code of Ethics: "Refrain from any private or professional activity that would create a conflict between personal interests and the interests of Adams State University." End of story. Period. I hope this gets investigated at appropriate levels, state, federal, Title V.
October 28, 2016 at 7:08am Like Jeff, the John Dyer quote resonates. Unlike Jeff, I and other individuals don’t have the courage to identify ourselves. This in itself speaks to which of the two described cultures currently prevails at Adams State. “Trust, leadership, and teamwork” - it’s not rocket science, right? But the culture has to be genuine to its core, not just a gauzy veneer. Many seem to be placing their faith in the new VPAA to introduce a new era of trust, caring, and collective action. But ask yourself a few questions: 1. Who does the new VPAA hang out with? The exclusive clubbiness of ASU’s administrative “elite” continues unabated. How can our culture change if the power structure hasn’t? 2. Why do these same clubby individuals continue to enjoy fancy multiday off-site retreats to talk and eat and talk endlessly in an exclusive environment about - of all things - inclusivity and diversity? 3. Why has there been no removal of program heads yet following the Mathieu report? The scathing report came out over a month ago. At what other organization would administrators not be held immediately, individually accountable for the “egregious, diverse, and arguably unethical nature of the findings”? Is the answer possibly that those administrators know too much about unethical practices of other administrators, so the system just protects and preserves itself as systems tend to do? Some found the Mathieu report admirable for its unvarnished candor. But perhaps Gilmer is simply astute enough to know that getting off probation cannot happen without at least a solid appearance of a mea culpa. 4. Why do good people continue to flee? Who’s next to leave? Who will be left in another year or two but the clubhouse members? So discouraging. Higher education should foster diversity of opinion, but ASU forces out all independent thought. 5. Why is Adams State being discussed in an upcoming 60 Minutes piece? I am guessing it’s probably not a fluff piece? There are plenty more questions to pose. Some may say these questions are part of the problem (“complainers”) rather than the solution, but as Jeff notes from his corporate experience, “hiding problems was unproductive and completely counter to our mission.” To requote the John Dyer quote: "In a culture built on trust, problems can be lifted up, discussed and fixed to drive real improvement." The “complainers” are only trying to identify and discuss problems; the fact that they pay a heavy price for it is proof of which culture is in solid control at ASU. When you’ve spent years building up an institutional culture of fear that is “all about fire-fighting, back stabbing and finger pointing”, you can’t begin to even think about constructing a new culture of “trust, leadership and teamwork” until you first expose the current culture for what it is and identify its maintainers for who they are. I for one don’t yet see anyone with the character and will to stand up and do so for the rest of us who can’t.
October 27, 2016 at 11:49am The Salazar ranch scandal confirms what many of us have long suspected: Title V and similar monies are treated as "slush funds" to be burned through in capricious, even unethical ways. After all, nobody has gotten caught before. The standard operating procedure at Adams State is mutually-assured corruption - with everyone in on the take or intimidated into silence. Sometimes, it's hard to know which whistle to blow first around here.
October 27, 2016 at 7:11am Looking at the list of 10 names in the last message is eye-opening, enough for a chain gang. Arnold may be the leader of the chain gang, but please don't forget the biggest criminal of them all: Bill Mansheim. Oh to see this bunch breaking rocks in the hot sun in their orange jumpsuits! ASU: Great Corruption Begins Here.
October 26, 2016 at 7:32pm The more watchingadams digs the more corruption that seems to be found. And, yet, nobody has ever been held accountable--Frank Novotny, Ellen Novotny, Dave Svaldi, Walter Ruybal, Judy Phillips, Ed Crowther, Liz Thomas, Linda Reed, Bill Schlaufman, etc. And NOW Board Chair Salazar. Can this place become anymore laughable, unbelievable, sickening?
October 25, 2016 at 6:02pm Not to worry. I'm sure Arnold Salazar will announce that "not one dime" of the Title V Funds went to him. Remember, people can "blab and blog," he doesn't care!
October 25, 2016 at 3:35pm I just don't know why anyone would be the least suspicious about having the retreat at Arnold's place for a mere 2k a day. After all Arnold is Lillian's brother, might as well keep this shit in the family. Hell, I have a barn, kitties, dogs, horses and I'd even turn the garden hose on so there is plenty to drink. I'd do all that for a cool 1k a day and save Adams a bunch of money.
October 25, 2016 at 2:47pm Hats off to Mr. Ledonne for exposing the University leadership for what it truly is. Salazar should be ashamed of himself and resign immediately.
October 24, 2016 at 10:16pm So let me get this straight: ASU Board President Arnold Salazar is lining his pockets with Title V funds? Is there no other SLV ranch available for a retreat at two grand per day? Any hotels with conference centers around Alamosa? Sounds like business as usual at ASU. I wonder if the Feds know how these funds are being spent. Paying off your own Board president probably isn't what they meant by "Hispanic Serving Institution" - more like "Self-Serving Institution."
October 23, 2016 at 8:03pm That last comment certainly hits home. "In a culture built on trust, problems can be lifted up, discussed and fixed to drive real improvement." I worked as a software engineer at Intel and Hewlett-Packard for 16 years. The focus of our jobs was to find problems and fix them before they went out the door. Having customers or outsiders find your problems was a disaster. So, hiding problems was unproductive and completely counter to our mission. The real tension was with schedules (time-to-market), not stepping on people's toes. Everything was discussed by the team. In fact, larger projects consisted of two teams: those writing the software and those trying their hardest to break it every single day. Can you imagine that level of scrutiny in higher education? And we pulled it off without animosity, nothing more than a little friendly competitiveness. Different worlds. -Jeff Elison
October 23, 2016 at 2:34am "Business leaders must constantly look for ways to build trust and eliminate fear if they want to see improvement and teamwork thrive. In a culture built on fear, employees will try to interpret every comment and gesture in order to guess what the leaders really want. In a culture built on trust, problems can be lifted up, discussed and fixed to drive real improvement. I have worked in both environments, and the ones built on fear were all about fire-fighting, back stabbing and finger pointing. The ones built on trust, leadership and teamwork not only accomplished significant improvement and customer satisfaction (with revenues and profits far greater than any cost-cutting initiative) but were also great places to thrive as an employee." - John Dyer, Industry Week
October 20, 2016 at 8:47pm I believe, the “Valley Courier Headline: ASU Financials Looking Positive” is appropriately called, putting lipstick on a pig. Perhaps instead of the grizzly bear being the ASU mascot, it should be replaced with Porky Pig. Go Pigglies! “In their styes with all their backing They don't care what goes on around In their eyes there's something lacking What they need's a damn good whacking”, George Harrison
October 18, 2016 at 8:23pm Valley Courier Headline: ASU Financials Looking Positive Reality Headline: Valley Courier a joke, a rag, run by editors devoid of ethics Reality Headline: True journalism is dead Byline: Julie Waechter Taxpayers already pay Julie to write this crap. I'm not about to buy the Valley Courier and pay Julie twice. Financials must be just great when enrollment is down for the fifth straight year. Who needs students when you can market your land? And "rightsize" your way out of failure.
October 18, 2016 at 1:48pm ASU will be on 60 Minutes? Excellent. I can already imagine how that will go... Steve Kroft: So according to multiple investigations, Adams State was engaging in egregious practices with its online program. The Office of Extended Studies allowed hundreds of students to be taught in online courses – even by faculty already teaching full time on campus. There were minimal instructor interactions as required by the US Department of Education and these courses were treated as open enrollment even though they were semester based. About 72% of students were allowed to take an Incomplete. And this was known and approved by the administration for years and years. So you've now been placed on academic probation by your accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission. How do you respond? President McClure: That sanction was politically motivated because Adams State has been targeted as the HLC's the whipping boy. Those problems had already been addressed and it was only a few sections online. Steve Kroft: But according to this investigation by Dr. Mathieu, many courses he randomly audited failed to meet the standards necessary for semester-based courses and it became clear that the OES was focused on the remuneration of faculty and the university over delivering quality education online. President McClure: See, that's just more “negativity” at ASU from a few unhappy people who are holding us back. We are an excellent university and if people would just stop harassing and terrorizing me, we could focus on being even better. This is only happening because I'm the first female president and there are so many sexist male colleagues out there trying to bring down this institution, which serves so many first generation and Hispanic students. Also, we recently won a case against the ACLU in which the judge ruled in favor of Adams State. Steve Kroft: Uh, thank you for your time today. President McClure: Nailed it! Go Grizzlies!
October 18, 2016 at 10:52am Adams State will be on 60 Minutes regarding the issues with Extended Studies. Not sure when. ----Editor's Reply: This comment has been verified as coming from a source with firsthand knowledge of this information.
October 17, 2016 at 8:16am Okay Arnold, time for some backbone and some tough decisions. Despite McClure’s promises to turn ASU around, we now find that things are actually getting worse every semester. Latest figures show that 60 fewer students will “Begin Great Stories” at ASU. That’s a 3.1 per cent decline. That’s a loss of about $1.6 million in revenue. That’s a disaster! And where are you and McClure? You are wrapped in each other’s arms at the bow of the Titanic, as McClure coos, “I’m flying” while you nibble her ear. No Arnold, you’re falling. Are you waiting until we hit the ocean floor before you do anything? Do you have some romantic notion of going down with your ship? Wake up, Arnold!! This is not a movie! Please, do us a favor. Jump ship now. And take your captain with you.
October 12, 2016 at 5:56pm I went to see Danny's presentation about Peru and photographing landscapes last night. It was excellent! Thanks to the Art Department for hosting. It was great to see Danny back on ASU's campus doing what he loves to do, helping and teaching others. However, it was depressing when it made me think how ASU likes to chase away talent. And I never felt threatened, except for that photo of the crazy monkey. I'm guessing others felt safe judging by the good attendance. Props to faculty for showing up. Thanks Danny! You will be missed around here.
October 9, 2016 at 1:34pm I voted for Liz Hensley for city council, but I certainly won't do it again. Given her lack of professional ethics in teaching outrageous loads and showing favoritism to athletes, I don't want her representing my interests in Alamosa. Yes Liz, athletes SHOULD attend classes - and earn their grades just like everyone else.
October 7, 2016 at 11:14am Dr. Gilmer is the best thing that has ever happened to Adams State University! He is a visionary who inspires us as students. I passed him in the halls yesterday and he didn't nod or simply address me vaguely with a hurried greeting, no, instead he stopped, asked my name, my major, and genuinely expressed concern for my day. Others can learn a thing or two from the kindness Dr. Gilmer shows to staff, faculty, and especially the students. He doesn't just wear the ASU sweatshirt, he doesn't just sit above us all in an office in Richardson Hall, and he doesn't just walk past us on campus. He wears the hopes, dreams, and future of each student in his heart. His door is always open. He is not just our VP, he is our best advocate, who just happens to know who I am, and for that I am proud to be an Adams State University student. - Angela
October 7, 2016 at 7:28am Want to understand why there’s been such a flight of faculty at Adams? This article has a few suggestions: “The factors that Maslach and Leiter say cause burnout — an overloaded schedule, lack of control, insufficient reward, breakdown of community, absence of fairness, and conflicting values — are characteristics of workplaces, not individuals. Some of those factors certainly shaped my experience. Academic culture fosters burnout when it encourages overwork, promotes a model of professors as isolated entrepreneurs, and offers little recognition for good teaching or mentoring. The persistent financial stress on colleges and universities only exacerbates the problem, because, as Maslach and Leiter put it, "individual employees become the ‘shock absorbers’ for organizational strains," including financial ones. The response to faculty burnout should, therefore, not be to shrug and say that academic work is a labor of love, and some people just aren’t cut out for it. Instead, the response should be to find ways to give these highly skilled workers the rest, respect, and reward they need to stay healthy and effective. Institutions cause burnout, and only a whole effort of an institution can deal with it. A good start would be for colleges and universities to support and reward the things they say they value — like, for example, teaching. That would be more useful than drafting another strategic plan that will be ignored a year later.” There you have it - institutions cause burnout, not individuals. Until ASU recognizes and abandons the "If you don't like it, leave" mentality, the gushing drain of talent will only continue. Anyone else out there feeling like an ASU “shock absorber”?
October 2, 2016 at 8:39pm Mike Tomlin speaks both anonymously and not. Be very careful of this chameleon. He has an agenda and is not to be trusted. Tomlin is the very epitome of everything wrong at ASU. He is anonymous in his posts when the administration would not like what he has to say and yet signs his name when he thinks it will behoove him. He is a snake. A worthless fence sitter. And he is a man with an agenda that would be far more harmful to ASU than anything McClure or Salazar could ever do. That is the simple truth.
October 2, 2016 at 6:55pm And also like Donald Trump, I think McClure should be "graded on a curve" as a leader; she should be praised for showing "restraint" in not immediately condemning Dr. Mathieu for issuing the OES report as a "political statement" and using ASU as his "whipping boy" as she did with the HLC. Recall that McClure also proclaimed that ASU would prevail in the ACLU lawsuit just hours after being sued and before her lawyers even looked at the case. That didn't go so well for her, either. So perhaps silence from Richardson Hall is a good sign for a change given that their usual response is an impulsive, embarrassing blunder.
October 2, 2016 at 6:34pm Just like Donald Trump, it seems that Beverly McClure and Arnold Salazar are using a surrogate to do their talking. Both have been conspicuously silent since the damning OES report, and instead, the demoted former chair of the Business School is mansplaining in their stead. Mike Tomlin speaks because his leaders are conspicuously silent; he shows courage when his bosses show appalling pusillanimity, blatant dereliction of responsibility, a total failure of leadership.
October 1, 2016 at 10:49am A comment on September 29, 2016 at 7:54pm was left by someone claiming to be from a former employee of Extended Studies. This reminded me that what ASU needs in order to be truly reformed are people on the inside with information about institutional wrong-doing. Here is a good article about the importance of whistleblowers in the banking industry, not unlike higher education: Policing the Banks Is an Inside Job "Studies like the National Business Ethics Survey consistently show that a significant percentage of employees are aware of wrongdoing in the workplace. In the case of Wells Fargo, several employees raised concerns about these troubling practices within the bank and suffered retaliation for doing so. Unfortunately, these employees had little incentive and no way of safely alerting regulators without risking their careers. Unlike other financial police, banking regulators either have no whistle-blower programs that provide incentives and protections for individuals to break their silence about wrongdoing they witness, or these regulators have little-known programs with comically small awards."
October 1, 2016 at 10:01am I for one am not so sanguine with the notion of Gilmer being the white knight on horseback saving ASU from those misguided evildoers intent on dismembering our fine upstanding institution. Gilmer preempted more bad news by delivering it himself. That was a very smart move. It pre desensitizes negative revelations from other outside sources yet to be revealed. In spite of Gilmer’s wise actions, is clear to me, and others, he has entered the inner circle of the cabal and will protect all of those in that circle. McClure will never bear any guilt or be challenged in any way for her misdeeds and ineptitudes. Neither will Margaret have to fall on her sword for her abuses or others also ensconced within that upper echelon. Instead, the whistleblowers will consistently bear the brunt of blame and ridicule for pointing out that their house is on fire. The rot and stench comes from the very top. This includes the BOT as MANY, MANY others have remarked in this forum previously. But in spite of outside institutional authorities levying sanctions and penalties you will have deniers such as Tomlin declaring that the assessments made by the HLC, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the AAUP, the ACLU, the Colorado Office of the State Auditor, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), etc, et al., are utterly baseless and ultimately unfair. These denials and actions or rather inactions will not save the institution from its systemic rot.
October 1, 2016 at 8:15am I don't mind stealing bread From the mouths of decadence But I can't feed on the powerless When my cup's already overfilled, yeah But it's on the table, the fire's cooking And they're farming babies while slaves are all working Blood is on the table and their mouths are choking But I'm going hungry - Chris Cornell
September 30, 2016 at 9:38pm From Tomlin's link: “it became painfully evident with the recent closure of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech, which were both still accredited at bankruptcy, that the failure of our quality assurance system hurts students and costs the government billions of dollars.” And where is ASU headed if the school doesn't get its shit together? ASU students should be thankful for what the HLC and Gilmer are doing.
September 30, 2016 at 10:50am The HLC should also consider that ASU was recently sued by the ACLU and is being reviewed by the CO State Auditor for many years of operating losses. The latter is of particular significance given the profit-driven excesses of its Extended Studies program.
September 30, 2016 at 10:17am Good find, Dr. Tomlin! The Washington Monthly article referenced in the previous link discusses efforts to reform accreditation for universities by strengthening the expectations involved and holding institutions accountable: "Accrediting agencies are supposed to make sure students get a good education and ensure colleges aren’t cheating students while sucking down taxpayer money,” Warren said in a statement to Politico. “But right now the accreditation system is broken.” The Accreditation Reform and Enhanced Accountability Act (AREAA) would address some of those issues by strengthening accreditation standards, and requiring accrediting agencies to be more responsive to allegations of wrongdoing. Under the act, the Department of Education would be empowered to require that accreditors to consider a variety of student success metrics — including “retention rate, graduation and payment rate, transfer rate, student earnings after graduation, and job placement rates” — when determining eligibility. The Department is currently prohibited from setting such standards. Accreditors would also be required to more quickly respond when colleges they’ve certified come under federal or state investigation or face lawsuits of “fraud or abuse, deceptive practices, or material harm to students enrolled.” ... This all sounds very good! Imagine if the HLC also reviewed ASU's 21% graduation rate (which is among the lowest nationally) as well as the abnormally high number of students who drop out or transfer, there might be some accountability around ASU. And "allegations of wrongdoing?" There are certainly many of those at ASU... but according to the administration, they never do anything wrong! But it certainly seems like Adams State is too often "cheating students while sucking down taxpayer money."
September 30, 2016 at 8:40am To the editor, This link regards current efforts for national accreditation reform. Offered without comment or opinion. Thank you. Dr. Michael Tomlin Professor of Business
September 29, 2016 at 7:54pm As a former employee of ES, the independent investigator's findings come as no surprise. The grade mill practice has been occurring since the mid-nineties, at least. One of the biggest culprits was Dr. Koos (Jacoba) Daley. I see she is still at it. I encourage the HLC to do further investigation, which will reveal further damning information.
September 29, 2016 at 4:45pm Write to the HLC or Dr. Mathieu and ask your hypothetical "if" because I think many people would want to know. In talking to faculty who have taught online at ASU and other institutions, they have told me that ASU's interface and interactive components are minimal to non-existent. I've also talked with faculty who acknowledge that their online teaching isn't nearly as engaging or high quality as their on-campus teaching. I think that online environments can instill false confidence - in an instructor and in an institution - about how well they are able to teach. That's why external evaluation is valuable and necessary, not "bullying" or unwarranted. ----Editor's Note: in the interest of moving this topic along, we are going to limit further discussion on "online classroom sizes vs. quality" unless commentators introduce new information about the data, not analogies, hypothetical or rhetorical questions.
September 29, 2016 at 4:24pm Oh, oh, you may not have noticed it was meant as a hypothetical, hence the "if." I apologize for interrupting your grieving cycle.
September 29, 2016 at 3:58pm If I taught 1,000,000 students online, earned $225,000,000, and assured the institution that the rigor, engagement, and standards were high and assured the HLC that by all metrics quality was high and the HLC should accept that, would you believe me? For those of us who teach, there is a point at which we know within our profession what realistic limits are. At some point, surely everyone has a bullshit detector. For many, reviewing those course overloads - like teaching 15 courses at once or teaching 615 students at a time - raised serious alarms. This isn't X-Men and we aren't superhuman. Higher education is a bit of an honor system. We hire some of the most specialized and advance labor force with extensive credentials. As such, we expect them to comport themselves with the utmost academic integrity. That didn't happen with ASU Extended Studies, according to interviews, random audits and detailed quantitative and qualitative data. Faculty have been misrepresenting or outright violating US Dept. of Education standards for online accreditation, most notably financial aid and instructor contact criteria. ASU as an institution has been clearly dishonored in the public eye as a result. Remember, this was only flagged as an issue because "Mr. White" had been perpetrating academic fraud for student athletes by taking advantage of ASU's lax security and totally unacceptable open enrollment policies. Then the investigations began, now the results are coming out, and they aren't pretty. Moreover, an independent expert looked at the same situation in more detail and reached identical - if not more severe - conclusions about ASU's "egregious" and "dysfunctional" Extended Studies program. This isn't some abstraction about the human limits of mass-producing individualized education. This is a set of circumstances in which ASU was cleary in the wrong in flagrant, knowing, ongoing ways. "Fraud" is a word that easily applies.
September 29, 2016 at 3:19pm Some agreement. I had heard we are 1-18 faculty/student ratio, but no quibble there. We still have faculty teaching 50's in a room but if the quality is there that may not be a problem. So there is no number, fair enough. Let's all agree that quality is paramount and if quality was lacking then shame on us and let's fix it. However, "if" one faculty taught 1,000 students online, earned $225,000, and rigor was high, engagement was high, standards were high, and by all metrics quality was high, then HLC was accept that, and we would applaud our colleague rather than tearing them down. Right?
September 29, 2016 at 1:58pm The Mathieu report makes any number of recommendations to improve ASU's online program and related departments in preparation for the HLC's comprehensive review. Not overloading faculty with hundreds of students at a university that advertises small class size would be a worthwhile practice for individualized education and branding consistency. ASU's average on-campus student – teacher ratio is 15:1 according to National Center for Education Statistics.
September 29, 2016 at 1:32pm The question of class sizes alone is too simple for the complex situation it seeks to answer. When a driver is drunk, they perform poorly behind the wheel. They are a bad driver not because of the specific number of drinks that they had – which has many variables - but because they are drunk. Asking the officer how many beers they are allowed to have before they drive fails to recognize what the real problem is. When ASU was put on probation, it was because their online program failed to deliver quality standards in education. Standards were violated not because of the specific number of students in online coursework – which has many variables – but because quality standards were not met. Asking the HLC how many students they are allowed to have in one class fails to recognize what the real problem is. Please read the multiple reports available, contact the HLC with further questions or request that Dr. Gilmer do so on your behalf.
September 29, 2016 at 12:45pm Watching this is becoming funny. Someones asks for the current temperature and they get a lecture on the history and philosophy of climatology. The questions seem fairly simple. Shouldn't we have the same online course and student limits as CSU Pueblo, Mesa, or Western? What is the HLC limit? How does HLC view on-campus class sizes for a 4 x 4 faculty of 200 students per year, 400 students per year (we have those), or 600 students per year (we may not have those?)? Is there a limit, or not? Of course we want to be in financial aid compliance. Let's do it today. Not even a question. Someone needs to publish the limits so people who organize and plan those classes know them. And the limits should be the same as other similar colleges. Or, are we on "holistic" probation rather than "By God" probation? Will we lose our "holistic" accreditation or will we lose our "By God" accreditation? I believe the answer is clear. Please don't give another grievous lecture on grieving or quote the report which we've read. Numbers please. They either exist or they do not, for both on-campus and online. And if nobody knows that is fine too. I sure don't.
September 29, 2016 at 10:12am Large class size is only one of the issues with Extended Studies, and probably not the most egregious one. ASU has allowed open enrollment while other universities do not, making it an easy mark for anyone wanting to abuse the system. From the OES audit report: "The continued use of Open Enrollment courses has additionally encouraged abuse of academic integrity, student engagement, and the maintenance of academic standards. OES staff and the Registrar frequently noted the ability of students to enroll in an independent study course very close to the end of the semester in order to meet athletic eligibility requirements and other needs. ASU staff reported that ASU’s open enrollment policies have attracted students from other institutions who need the open enrollment access to credit-bearing, degree program eligible courses for similar reasons, but academic policy at their own home institution prevented such abuse. It is clear that the academic reputation of ASU among peer institutions has been compromised via open enrollment." This practice has also violated federal financial aid requirements: "since the introduction of online courses and the regulatory changes to financial aid-relevant fixed- term starts and endings as well as the need to track and report federal Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria has occurred. Additionally, fixed term starts are necessary to report Last Day of Attendance of aid-receiving students in order for the institution to avoid having to pay back distributed federal grant aid awarded to students who did not complete one or more courses where aid has been applied. At ASU, the continued use of Open Enrollment courses has frustrated attempts to remain in compliance with federal financial aid regulations."
September 29, 2016 at 9:31am The HLC investigators and Dr. Mathieu evaluated how the university was handling these class sizes and student interactions and found them lacking in significant ways, numerically and qualitatively. If you haven't yet, I would encourage you to read the report and share your thoughts or questions with Dr. Gilmer as he has requested. Large research institutions generally supplement lecture hall coursework with smaller break-out sections supported by graduate assistants, who are also paid. The same is true for grading since one faculty member cannot effectively grade hundreds of essays or research papers in a few days time. This is not the practice at Adams State, on campus or online. Given that anyone can openly enroll in a Massive Open Online Course for free, what student pay for in an online course for credit is the instructor's individualized attention. HLC investigators who reviewed ASU's online coursework found that these interactions were insufficient for US Department of Education guidelines. The design for good education generally influences the design of an educational space and not the other way around. Course caps are not set by room size because ASU was incapable of designing larger rooms but rather the design of ASU's educational model influenced the size of the rooms in which classes are taught. If the intent was simply to have the most students in one place, ASU could hold all classes at Rex Stadium.
September 29, 2016 at 7:52am Thanks for the long lecture at 9:53 pm. It didn't answer any of the questions many of us have. Of course quality and numbers can be related. While small classes can be badly taught and large classes can be well-taught I will still bet on smaller. And yes, Adams of course needs to be accredited. Some of you continue to lecture on non-issues that none are disputing, but then I guess you are professors... What about campus professors who teach 4 sections of 50 students each semester? That is 400 students per year, compared to some who teach 200 (or less) per year? The question remains: What are the allowable numbers from HLC? Not what our classrooms will seat - 24, 36, etc. And should our numbers be different than those of CSU Pueblo? Has HLC ever noticed that large universities often teach 300-500 in lecture halls and the students never meet the professor? Just wondering.
September 28, 2016 at 9:53pm Quality and numbers are related. Many students are attracted to colleges with smaller class sizes, including Adams, because it gives them individualized attention. This is especially true for students who require more personalized instruction because they have remedial educational needs, are first generation, or are non-traditional – all of which are more common at Adams State than the national norm. When faculty can teach smaller class sizes, each student gets more overall attention. It's axiomatic that a professor can be more detail-oriented with the needs of a dozen students than a hundred students or five hundred students. This is true in-person and online. This is true around the world. Studies of best practices in educational outcomes show what most of us already sense is true: for every level of education, a small student-teacher ratio means more engagement, retention, and higher performance. The HLC likely knows this and recognizes that for schools to retain quality, they also need to be mindful of class sizes. ASU hasn't been doing this very well, evidently, and probation is the result. Here's the bigger problem. A monetizing of higher education means that quality is always the first to go in favor of profit margins, particularly by those who never really understood what quality education looked like to begin with. It's not a coincidence that with large online class sizes, more students have complained in evaluations about limited contact with their instructors and that instructors often haven't structured courses with firm due dates and sufficient contact hours. These factors create a feedback loop that certainly increases institutional revenue in the short term but at the expense of quality pedagogy overall. If there is truly such skepticism of the notion that quality education means being held to national standards of academic excellence, why hasn't a group of faculty and administrators publicly made a case for why accreditation isn't necessary for ASU? If there is such a predominant mentality that this remote university has a monopoly on best practices for higher education and requires no outside supervision, why not go in alone in the “free market” of for-profit education? Surely most faculty in the School of Business thinks this approach is superior, anyway.
September 28, 2016 at 9:52pm You people are pathetic. You heard two people say they were bullied by Ed? I hope you laughed at them. Ed's old and has a bad back. However he is a stellar academic and a campus leader. Maybe these people feel bullied by others who do the work and are successful. Quick, someone get them into one of the grieving stages... Really, were these adults?
September 28, 2016 at 9:29pm Quality is one thing and numbers are something else. Aren't enrollment caps on Banner often set based upon room size? If you have 24 seat classrooms you enter 24 as the cap. How many faculty get to cap at 24 in a 50 seat classroom? That would break the budget hiring all of the adjuncts needed to reduce by half so many classes. Is that the new rule for face-to-face? I don't believe it. And please don't tell us that HLC reached an absolute number for online enrollment caps based upon our campus classroom seat availability. That would not be holistic study but rather half-ass-tic. Nor should HLC be determining class size for Adams. A good online class is a good online at CU, Adams, or Stanford. What is the HLC numbers they want us to meet? That should not be a hard question and should not be a different number than for any other college.
September 28, 2016 at 9:09pm I will second that comment about Crowther and the esteem he holds for himself. I've heard several of his colleagues refer to him as a bully. That certainly fits what I've seen. I don't think there needs to be a lot of tension between administration and faculty (for example Dr. Gilmer's fine approach), but Crowther maintains and creates it by being "the least faculty-oriented faculty member," always willing to defend administration's poorest decisions.
September 28, 2016 at 5:46pm The comment today at 4:52 refers to Ed Crowther as an "esteemed colleague." They must be a very talented creative writing professor. I had regard for the man once, until I experienced firsthand how he treats colleagues, particularly those who are vulnerable and need help. I have since talked to many faculty and staff on campus who view Crowther as the least faculty-oriented faculty member, quick to throw any fellow professor under the bus to impress administration or just make himself feel better. The only esteem I sense around Crowther is self-esteem, not the esteem of his colleagues.
September 28, 2016 at 5:15pm The question has been asked, "What specific number, quota, limit, amount, count (etc.) did our faculty violate?" Turns out that there is a specific number. Did anyone here bother to actually read the HLC Advisory report? It clearly states on page 9-10 exactly what people have been asking here. I strongly suspect that the person who asked this doesn't actually want the answer though, they just want to continue to play the victim for ASU. But anyway, here it is: "Given this information, the Team attempted to contrast full-time and adjunct on-campus vs. Extended Studies adjunct teaching workloads. A regular FT campus-based faculty teaching load is 12 cr. hrs. for the fall and spring semesters. Review of Fall 2015 courses listed in the Banner enrollment system showed enrollment caps of 24 students in all lower level English courses and caps of 36 for Math 104 and 42 for Math 106. Thus, full-time on-campus English faculty could teach approximately 192 students per year, and math faculty could teach a maximum of either 288 (Math 104) or 336 (Math106) students per year in these lower level courses. These numbers contrast sharply with the much larger volumes seen in Extended Studies open enrollment sections." And more on page 11 that speaks to the poor quality of these Extended Studies courses: "Team reviews of over 60 Extended Studies courses found that some OSB (online semester-based) courses had no set due dates for assignments and allowed or encouraged students to treat the semester based courses as self-paced courses. This finding was substantiated by instructors and students during on-site interviews, and Team members found instructor comments to this effect within the reviewed courses including but not limited to the quote below in which an instructor explicitly states the self-paced nature of the semester-based course in the syllabus: “Essentially, though, this is a self-paced course which you may complete in as few as six weeks from your date of registration.” Coupled with the above observations, the Team noted no visible student-instructor interaction in numerous semester-based courses. This finding calls the classification of these courses into question in relation to the ASU and federal policy definitions. Similarly, the lack of any noticeable instructional or interactional differences between several courses taught both as OE (open enrollment) and OSB courses suggests that instructors are likely using the same instructional methods and materials for both courses with no discernible modifications evident that allow for interaction in the semester-based course sections." There you have it from the HLC. Their investigation, just like Dr. Mathieu's found Extended Studies is VIOLATING ASU'S OWN ENROLLMENT CAPS and also VIOLATING FEDERAL POLICY DEFINITIONS for student-instructor interactions in online coursework. Before you accuse the HLC of "bullying," you might want to do some research and get your facts straight. That's something they must not teach very often at Adams State.
September 28, 2016 at 4:52pm There's no denial of anyone I know that we are on probation and that it is a serious situation that will require serious leadership. Okay. We all knew that on day one of probation. We knew that before we knew we were supposed to be grieving about something. We knew that before people insulted thematic cross walks. We knew that before people used "rat assed bastard" insults to esteemed colleagues. But the question was asked: "What specific number, quota, limit, amount, count (etc.) did our faculty violate? " And the answer that was given is: "...there is no specific number..." Does that not worry some of you academics? It should scare the hell out of you that no number exists and yet we accept punishment for violating a standard that was not there. Given the same (OES, classes, credits, loads, etc.) situation at Michigan or Ohio State this would never happen. I support OES changes and reforms, limits, etc., but HLC clearly did use us as their whipping boy. I appreciate President McClure making that clear to them. The adults among us who are not grieving will do the clean-up, but we will also make our feelings very clear to HLC, and to our "colleagues" on campus who insult those who did the work they were asked to do.
September 28, 2016 at 3:47pm Someone is a little thick in failing to understand the stages of grieving analogy. I think the point is that many academic offenders (and their defenders) appear to be drowning in denial.
September 28, 2016 at 2:25pm To use that sports analogy: how many times can a player fumble before they are pulled from the game? What about personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct? What about when the coach is caught running illegal plays or making illegal substitutions? What about when the team owners ignore and even endorse these practices? Does anyone ever get pulled from the game around ASU? Or just the referrees who blow the whistle?
September 28, 2016 at 2:03pm Oh, there's definitely grief here..." I guess that is good to know, along with the rest, but it is sad. I am not certain how we would know someone is grieving or is angry or is depressed because their employer got sanctioned. This is certainly not something you would tell coworkers. And if you did they would likely look at you with less respect and wonder if you are up to the task. We have indeed become very weak and weak-kneed people. It is why we cannot control our city streets and why we cannot defeat ISIS. A five-step grieving plan? What did people do before the plan? Was there no grieving? No. Better men and better women grieved and then moved on. Grieving because your organization got sanctioned? However do you deal with the pain? Wah, wah, wah! Some of you are wanted back in middle school for an appointment with your counselor. When you are prepared to become men and women come back and join us at Adams. I don't teach OES classes so I didn't create the problem. Neither did many of you. But one player fumbles and the whole team can lose. That is life in the adult lane, although many learn of it in little league. Clearly some of you have not. I guess you can move to step one, it awaits you. But ultimately we will not grieve our way to recovery and out of HLC sanctions. We will not anger our way out. We will not depression our way out. We will not five-step our way out. We simply do the work, and it is better if we stick tight together while doing it. Pointing fingers at coaches who made bad calls or players who fumbled has not been shown to work. Pointing at crosswalks and others' salaries does not keep us tight together. The president we have is the president we will have next year. The faculty who some believe "fumbled" are the same faculty we will have next year. You and they will serve on committees and/or senate together. I am in about half of our buildings everyday and I have not met the grievers and criers so I am confident we have enough people committed to ASU to do the work and move us forward. The rest of you, step one or your middle school counselor awaits.
September 28, 2016 at 1:30pm Yeah, but that's the problem, isn't it? McClure doesn't lean in. She leans ON.
September 28, 2016 at 11:29am Oh, there's definitely grief here because ASU lost something important as an institution, called "credibility," when it was put on probation. The responses are on full display here and on campus - some anger, some denial, some depression, a bit of bargaining, and hopefully also acceptance. Your analogy is broken so let me fix it or you. ASU Extended Studies is initially stopped for stolen vehicle registration (Confessions of a Fixer), then the officer (HLC) concludes that the vehicle is found to be out of compliance for safe operations due to multiple design failures and operator errors, the driver (McClure) yells at the officer for being singled out for profiling but the officer rolls their eyes and writes the driver a warning, so the irate driver's spouse (Gilmer) gets a mechanic's second opinion (Mathieu) who concludes the vehicle is totally dangerous to drive and wonders why the driver kept it on the road with motor oil gushing across the highway, steam rising from under the hood, and the "check engine" light blinking for the past several years. Yet the driver insisted on telling the entire family (ASU community) that the vehicle was fine and it's perfectly normal for all those things to be happening! A warning from the HLC officer was awfully generous given that the driver and car manufacturer should be in jail.
September 28, 2016 at 5:59am Good God we are doomed. Not Adams but America. Five stages of grief? Thanks for the introductory lesson but who's grieving? What a bunch of sissypants, male and female. Grieving over a sanction? They happen, you fix them and move on. We used to be a stronger people, now we are lectured about how to grieve because the inspectors came to town. Here is a more apt analogy than those offered: You are stopped for speeding. You ask the officer what the speed limit is and she says it's not that easy. There is no posted speed limit. They use a holistic study approach to determine speed. But you were traveling with the traffic. It doesn't matter, you should have known and although you were driving safely they will take away your license. So speed limits are not like some Excel Spreadsheet number that can simply be posted on highway signs, but dealing with grief is, in five easy steps. What is this country coming to? No one denies we need to reform OES. No one is complaining about posting speed (course/student) limits. We simply support Adams first and want our leaders, President McClure to "lean in" and not bend over throughout this process. A little bit of support for her and her team would help rather than the constant "we suck" hater approach that has been employed so far.
September 27, 2016 at 9:45pm In this OES controversy, there's plenty of accountability to be shared by faculty, staff, administrators and board members alike who knew about and abused online coursework for institutional and personal profits. College professors and administrators are supposed to be role models for students and experts in their field. The multiple findings of compliance violations by many people within ASU demonstrates that this isn't about any one person's wrong-doing but a workplace that permitted academic fraud. So who is going to be held accountable and when? ASU put three people on administrative leave during the investigation but assured everyone that they did nothing wrong. So now we see that there was broad and systemic wrong-doing, yet Novotny, Roybal, and Phillips still have their jobs. McClure is still president, Salazar is still board chair. How is it possible for this much dysfunction to exist and yet no one is responsible for it? It's awfully convenient to blame people like Svaldi and Mansheim who skipped town before the proverbial shit hit the fan.
September 27, 2016 at 8:17pm Those arguing that someone can teach 7 on-campus courses plus hundreds of online students in a semester and do it well are delusional, as is their claim: "Only a bullying agency like accreditors could get away with this." It's like saying "I'm fine to drive when my blood-alcohol is .15." You may think so, but you are wrong. Just as your blood-alcohol induced impairments put others at risk, your outrageous load negatively affects students. Dr. Mathieu documented this by sampling live classes and witnessing minimal interaction, as well as complaints about minimal interaction in evaluations, and outrageous incomplete rates. To refer to accreditors, who are looking out for students, as bullies is like calling the cop who pulls you over a bully. The analogy continues: you pulling this crap is like driving a huge bus full of people. You are putting all of us sober passengers at risk. When the bus crashes and we lose accreditation, ASU closes. So get over yourself and think about something other than your bank account for a change, like your students and colleagues and quality and ethics.
September 27, 2016 at 3:59pm Keep kicking sand in the face of the HLC. That's a winning strategy. It seems to be working really well for Adams at the moment.
September 27, 2016 at 2:55pm Right. So the honest truth is that our faculty violated no rule, exceeded no limit, broke no regulation and yet they are called out and blamed here for events. Walter Roybal is not a faculty member, he is a bureaucrat who manages work flow. There are only two names that should appear on these pages, Svaldi and Novotny. They could/should have kept the university in compliance. It was their jobs to monitor and understand the non-published holistic criteria of HLC, which is not something to be understood or overseen by every adjunct instructor or professor. ----Editor's Reply: The Higher Learning Commission found that “the University is out of compliance with Criterion Two, Core Component 2.A, 'the institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows policies and processes for fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty, and staff.'” The HLC's purpose is not to assign wrongdoing to individual employees of the university as its role as an accrediting body reviews compliance on an institution-wide basis. As the Mathieu report confirms, the university administration knowingly allowed these online course overloads and insufficient student contact activities to take place. They did so until the Chronicle article “Confessions of a Fixer” brought attention to security verification issues, prompting an HLC review, subsequent sanction, and further findings of compliance violations by an independent audit. According to the metadata on the file, the hr-report.pdf "Extended Studies Faculty Enrollment 2013-2015" was prepared by Judy Philips, Assistant VP for OES Operations on January 21st 2016. We have presented this file for a broader understanding of the HLC's findings and the OES audit with regard to course overloads. If you believe names or information herein appear to be in error, you should contact Judy Philips. However, violations of compliance include many individuals involved and the findings available reflect that. Individuals such as Walter Roybal and William Schlaufman appear here because they taught coursework for Extended Studies, which is the scope and purpose of this document. One can observe an ongoing theme of “it's not my fault” at ASU even as a variety of fiscal, academic, legal and public relations problems plague the university and negatively affect the experience of students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Further, efforts to blame someone else do not exactly persuade accreditors, auditors, or ratings boards. The claim that “our faculty violated no rule, exceeded no limit, broke no regulation and yet they are called out and blamed here for events” is certainly a view you are entitled to hold. Others clearly disagree and this forum is available for everyone's consideration. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross proposed the now widely-accepted theory that grief is processed in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We imagine that many ASU employees are in various stages at this point and your ongoing commentary today exemplifies the stage of denial. We hope that the institution as a whole moves into the stage of acceptance in order to improve the university's standing and academic performance.
September 27, 2016 at 2:25pm I guess I'll ask again. What specific number, quota, limit, amount, count (etc.) did our faculty violate? How did they get overrides or otherwise ignore the HLC or ASU course, section or student count limits? How many students are our faculty allowed to have in a face-to-face class on campus? ----Editor's Reply: You may wish to contact the HLC directly using this link or consult with Dr. Chris Gilmer, Vice President of Academic Affairs. The short answer is that there is no specific number because accreditation is not a linear equation that can fit onto an Excel spreadheet. It is a comprehensive and qualitative assessment of a university's adherence to academic standards in delivering education.
September 27, 2016 at 1:46pm Right. So they took a hocus pocus approach and our faculty violated nothing. Only a bullying agency like accreditors could get away with this. It is time to expose them. ----Editor's Reply: Right. So then ASU sought out a second opinion with an external auditor having extensive credentials in distance education. Dr. Mathieu's report reached similar findings, though even more critical of ASU given increased attention to detail: "The investigation revealed a great deal of information, practices, and anomalies in the administration of the OES that, together, indicated very serious deficiencies and behaviors that more than verified the findings of the HLC Advisory Team visit in 2015. The egregious, diverse, and arguably unethical nature of many of the findings run counter to HLC criteria for reaffirmation of accreditation to the degree that the accreditor felt it was necessary to move directly to an institutional status of probation. Due to the seriousness of the original findings, particularly in a state higher education institution that is part of a state higher education system, it was apparently felt by HLC that violations warranted a very stern warning. From what was learned in the current investigation, the sanction imposed seems justified." There will always be a psychology of denial to protect a culture of corruption, particularly among the most guilty parties involved. If you consider a comprehensive evaluation standard as a "hocus pocus" approach and that imposing consequences for violations to be "a bullying agency," you are free to make such an effort to, um, "expose" the Higher Learning Commission. You may not want to identify your affiliations with ASU while the university is being reviewed for accreditation, unless you also believe that ASU would be better off without accreditation. The HLC should be informed of this conspiratorial attitude during its comprehensive visit to evaluate the university's accreditation in April 2017. In your zealous crusade against academic standard-bearers that impede profiteering off college students, you may also consider that the U.S. Department of Education is also actively conspiring against Adams State University and "exposing" them, as well.
September 27, 2016 at 12:33pm What is the exact limit HLC had imposed that these faculty violated? ----Editor's Reply: The HLC took a holistic approach in their assessment. They considered class sizes, amount of faculty-student interactions, due dates, online credit hour assignments, course sequencing, standards for full time teaching loads, and ASU’s own Hybrid and Online Course Credit Hour Assignment for Undergraduate Courses policy. The HLC concluded, "there is not sufficient faculty-staff interaction for these courses to be classified as distance education courses under the U.S. Department of Education’s Electronic Code of Federal Regulations."
September 27, 2016 at 11:42am "Teaching an online course the first time can take up to 40 percent more time than teaching a face-to-face course. Subsequent offerings take less time, but on average teaching a course online will take as much time as teaching face-to-face." - Source: "Myths and Realities of Teaching Online" - U. Illinois - Urbana/Champaign
September 27, 2016 at 11:26am This is not about jealousy. This is about favoritism, nepotism and fraud.
September 27, 2016 at 11:25am The OES audit noted major pay disparities between online and on-campus faculty. When a workplace is filled with pay inequality and institutional privilege, calling for equity means that some people will perceive it as "jealousy." At ASU, the people who benefit from unfair systems want to maintain them and discredit those who call for fairness. Improving quality education online means being able to focus individual attention on students, which is simply not possible with huge class sizes. It is ironic because ASU advertises a personal connection with professors in small classes on campus yet does the complete opposite online. If we know that individual attention is what produces quality education on campus, why would the institution allow for a completely different set of values in Extended Studies? Oh wait, we already know the answer and it is painted on the new crosswalk to the School of Business.
September 27, 2016 at 11:11am Then let's focus on improving the quality and not who made how much money or who taught how many sections. If they taught for free 90% of the comments on these pages would not apply - the trolls have made it about their jealously, other people's money, and dislike for productive people. Improve quality checks and standards and let that determine who can teach what and how many. If it is determined that a particular professor can meet high quality standards and effectively teach 60, 600 or 1,600 students why would we care? What is the exact limit HLC had imposed that these faculty violated?
September 27, 2016 at 10:56am Ellen Novotny for 2013-2014 had 303 Extended Studies online students. If you multiply 250, the fee OES instructors receive per ES student, by 303 (the number of students), the result is 75,750. This is the total fee that Ms. Novotny should have received for her “service” to Adams. INSTEAD, she received $141,750. For 2014-2015 she had 180 students. She should have made $45,000. INSTEAD, she raked in $127,575. Shouldn’t the fact that Ms. Novotny is the wife of former VPAA for Adams? Why else would she receive such a sweet heart deal while the majority of the faculty at Adams are so far under CUPA standards?
September 27, 2016 at 10:36am Yes, it is possible to mass produce the minimal level of instruction for an online course to 600 students with enough keyboard and mouse clicks. But this does not make a quality educational experience and the HLC knows it, even if some in the ASU School of Business don't. The purpose of an accrediting body is to ensure that academic standards are maintained and quality assurance is provided to students enrolling in coursework at that institution. ASU has failed to maintain those standards in the Office of Extended Studies as faculty disregarded quality instruction in exchange for higher pay while the administration managed and oversaw the entire operation, attempting to assure everyone that nothing was wrong. Yet indeed many people knew or should have known that Extended Studies was engaging in blatant wrongdoing. Imagine if this practice were allowed to continue unchecked and Adams State persisted in cutting corners for higher revenue. There is apparently no end to greed at the expense of a quality education for students. "Great swindles begin here." It is a very good thing that the Chronicle of Higher Education uncovered the abuse that the HLC investigated and sanctioned ASU when it did!
September 27, 2016 at 7:37am It is my suspicion that the picture is not an ASU professor teaching hundreds of online students. Somebody lied. If it is, much of the technology is wasted and one good motivated professor with a computer could do it. It is interesting how many of you are sounding like a cross between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton - very low energy, not the stamina to get real work done. The Bistro Rialto has one location, Buffalo Wild Wings has 800. The difference is one person and their motivation. The car will never replace the horse. ATM's will never be more reliable than a vending machine and people will not use them. Denver won't be 3-0 with a baby quarterback. One professor cannot teach 600 students. We hear it all the time. Jeb or Hillary cannot, and I believe that those of you who say it cannot be done can't do it. Fair enough, people should know their limitations.
September 26, 2016 at 9:40pm
September 26, 2016 at 9:32pm This weekend I had the unpleasant experience of having a long talk with two professors, one from an exclusive private college and one from a for-profit online "university." Both ends of the spectrum, right? By the end of the conversation, it was clear that Adams represented the low end when it came to our OES. Of course the prof from the rich private school was appalled by the whole conversation. Much more hurtful was the perspective from the for-profit prof. She expressed doubts about what she was doing and the quality of the education they were providing. She justified it by saying she needed to feed her kids. However, it became clear that their academic, professional, and ethical standards were well above what has been going on in OES. It was one thing for the CC prof to be appalled by ASU, but it really hit home when the for-profit prof was appalled. Corruption is the only word to describe the status quo at ASU.
September 26, 2016 at 8:26pm I checked in to see what was new on WA and to let recent writers know they should save their neoliberal bullshit arguments for the HLC. It's not us you need to convince. HLC holds the cards. And then I read this hilarious statement "Maybe it's time to ask President McClure to stand up for us and push back against the bullying of our "accrediting" agency." How ironic. Made my night. Still can't stop laughing. Yeah, sic McClure on them. After all, she told everyone (including parents) that we had no problems. Unfortunately, HLC, Mathieu, and Gilmer aren't stupid enough to believe that. There's a difference between being a "business person" and an "academic." A few people here may be both, but the folks rationalizing low academic quality are neither in the long run. Just deluded.
September 26, 2016 at 6:41pm To the person who made the comment on 9/26/16 at 9:37 a.m. You simply don’t get it. Please, I IMPLORE YOU, do the math. It’s simply NOT HUMANLY POSSIBLE to teach the sections (at least not effectively) that some of these professors received compensation for. PERIOD. Even working 16 hours a day for 6-7 days a week. It. Is. Not. Possible. Add to that outside commitments (City Council, attending most sporting events) and the possibility of providing quality COLLEGE-LEVEL education to over 600 students is unattainable. THAT IS AN ISSUE. Students receive poor instruction, which they pay for AGAIN later when they take a class from someone who is not teaching 600 STUDENTS! If all they take are classes from these instructors, the degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on and they find that out very quickly when they try to get a job with their unaccredited online degree from ASU. But maybe that’s all part of the plan. They can re-take classes they failed after getting inadequate instruction the first time around (cha-ching), they are unemployable because ASU is unaccredited so we admit them into the MBA program (cha-ching-cha-ching) and when it’s all said and done – we’ve taken a student for over $50,000 with nothing to show for it! Makes you proud to be a GRIZZLY! This isn’t about additional income from the sale of books, completing taxes, or other NON-ASU related supplemental income. This is about lining your pockets with ASU money for work that isn’t humanly possible to complete – no matter how productive you are. This is about greed and fraud. This is about answering to students that paid for access to an instructor and did not receive what they paid for. We are an institution of higher education and we are held to higher standards than most – as well we should be. The Office of Extended Studies is the equivalent of a sweatshop. One professor teaching over 600 students! Don’t wash that garment! It’s going to fall apart – just like your online ASU degree.
September 26, 2016 at 6:22pm "Sissified tenureland"...well there's a real intellectual talking. Listen, Mr. Hensley, there aren't enough hours in the week for your wifey to get everything done that she's paid (or volunteers)to do. She reads her council packets when? 8-5 Monday thru Friday--when she's being paid by the state? Guess what? That's falsification of time records--or--FRAUD! She teaches her overloads when? 8-5 Monday thru Friday? Guess what? FRAUD!! Overload means after regular hours. And with all of her overloads and extracurricular activities, there is NO WAY IN HELL that Liz Thomas Hensley is putting in the time required to meet the FTE much less do it effectively. It is physically impossible! And the OES investigation report SAYS SO. Liz is directly responsible--along with a few others--for our probation. And yet the business faculty and their spouses are just too ignorant to get it! Wow! What ARE those students learning?
September 26, 2016 at 4:34pm And that rat-ass bastard Crowther is allowed to teach online courses and yet he criticized my colleague over there in the music department for wanting to teach "online". No wonder Crowther cannot be trusted. Hell, he too busy stabbing faculty in the back! Shame, shame, shame.
September 26, 2016 at 1:35pm If I told you that my factory could build a car in 2 hours while most factories took 18 hours, would you really want to buy it and drive it off the lot? And when regulators found major problems in the manufacturing process, would you call their findings “bullying?” If an online course is designed and monitored correctly, it wouldn't be possible to teach hundreds of students on top of a full time course load because it would require contact hours and interactions sufficient to satisfy academic standards. ASU's online program does not do that. That's why it's on academic probation – shoddy work that is misleading students and employers into believing an online degree from ASU is worth something when it's probably no longer worth the paper it's printed on after this whole scandal. The suggestion that President McClure “push back against the bullying of our "accrediting" agency” was on full display in her March 2016 response, claiming victimhood for the university as a “whipping boy” who has “obviously been chosen by the HLC to make some sort of political statement.” How has that worked out? The university is still on probation and has become the laughing stock of academic press. And now McClure looks completely out of her depth since the OES audit revealed severe dysfunction. But maybe this whole accreditation thing isn't necessary. Maybe ASU should just forego federal financial aid eligibility and try to run as an unaccredited, for-profit institution like Trump University.
September 26, 2016 at 1:06pm How do you intend to police faculty who teach similar amounts for other universities? So I can teach online for CU, CSU, BYU, and UP, but not for Adams? Seems like a double standard. Maybe it's time to ask President McClure to stand up for us and push back against the bullying of our "accrediting" agency. These should be decisions we make as faculty, not that bureaucrats make.
September 26, 2016 at 12:42pm There is no question that the ASU administration designed and oversaw the systemic abuses in Extended Studies and the OES report confirms this. But no on-campus employee was forced to teach online coursework; they did so to supplement their incomes and the administration had no problem taking two-thirds of the revenue for the institution - even when full-time faculty "taught" hundreds more students online. The administration doesn't even seem to understand or acknowledge that this was wrong.
September 26, 2016 at 10:10am If management abused the overtime policy don't blame the employees who did the work they were asked to do.
September 26, 2016 at 10:03am To the people defending these egregious course overload practices, particularly in the School of Business, does the HLC sanction or OES audit report give you any pause whatsoever? Have you so internalized this culture of corruption that you cannot even recognize it as being wrong? Has your self-serving economic philosophy clouded your sense of ethical responsibility? This rationalization of clear wrongdoing is the pathology of someone who believes in a "me" society rather than a "we" society. There are many people at Adams State and in the broader community who see the practices of Extended Studies and shake their head in disgust. Yet what is remarkable are those who not only defend but actively embrace the notion that education should be mass-produced for the highest profit even at the expense of academic integrity. Ironically, in the quest for being "the most productive," those who have abused Extended Studies are now placing everyone's productivity and livelihood at ASU in harm's way. That is not a fringe view but the factual findings of the HLC and Mathieu report.
September 26, 2016 at 9:37am So now the least productive employees of Adams are picking a fight with the most productive. Only in your sissified tenureland could this happen. Want to know how "Liz" is serving as a City Council member? Go to a meeting. See if she attends (yes she does). See if she has read her packet and is knowledgeable on the issues (she is). The same is true for the other boards and commissions she serves on. Linda Reid? This year she won a national teaching award, co-chaired the department without a reduced teaching load, and continued to provide services to the incarcerated to help them better themselves. Some of you complainers who call these professors out and "expose" their good work and contributions could not carry their bags. To paraphrase, people who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of people doing it. Some people work 16 hours a day 6-7 days a week and some people teach their 12 hours and go play in the outdoors or chase around with another man's wife. Or both. It's all about choices. What should be investigated is those of you who do the least and want the most. You make the loudest case to the Board of Trustees against pay raises. They all work for a living and know the difference between those who produce and those who complain and call out their "colleagues" for their superb efforts. On the other hand it is probably better that some of you work your twelve hour weeks and let others shoulder the load. You simply don't have what it takes to understand or do a real job of work.
September 26, 2016 at 7:52am This post from last night embodies irony: "I am reading comments posted here for the first time today. I hope if those participating in commentary are faculty, that you are putting as much effort into preparing for class and educating our students as you are in preparing your posts and researching matters." The people who are pissed aren't the ones teaching 500 students or 12 courses in a single semester. I'm guessing most faculty who are concerned about these unethical practices are the ones who don't want to lose their jobs. And the ones who teach something like a standard 4-4 load, so they can have time to interact with students 1-on-1, do research (their own and with students), publish (their own and with students), serve on committees (within ASU and beyond), review peer manuscripts for journals, sit on editorial boards, organize conferences, take students to conferences, and on and on. In other words, things academics are supposed to do, many of them with no additional compensation. So, it they take a little time to wake the &*$% up and try to improve things at ASU, I think you should excuse them.
September 26, 2016 at 7:46am To whoever is defending the pay of the scoundrels who taught unrealistic loads, get real. And read this: "Evidence of the negative impact of extreme course load to the quality of online teaching was found through random investigator access to “live” and recently completed online courses of faculty with the largest course load and consequent compensation. In the majority of observations, these was virtually no evidence of student engagement by the faculty in terms of student discussions, regular course announcements, assignment feedback, or answering student email. The majority of courses appeared to be virtually self-taught although this was not the intention when the courses were designed and likely did not match the expectations of students given the information they received in OES promotional materials. Some random checks on student evaluations of faculty in this category confirmed these observations in many cases as they noted the lack of access or availability of their instructor. They also often noted the low degree of difficulty in the course" - OES Audit Report Maybe those issues of poor quality aren't taken seriously in the Business building, but they are by HLC.
September 25, 2016 at 11:42pm As if Liz Hensley weren't busy enough teaching 615 students in 31 courses in a single year, she also had free time left over to run for office and serve as member of Alamosa's City Council. Given her highly questionable academic practices at ASU, one can only wonder how well she is serving the city of Alamosa.
September 25, 2016 at 11:29pm Elizabeth Thomas Hensley: Fall 2015: 218 students, 10 sections, 10 courses Spring 2016: 207 students, 8 sections, 8 courses Summer 2016: 39 students, 5 sections, 5 courses Online: 151 students, 35 sections, 8 courses Total: 615 students, 58 sections, 31 courses This crap just boggles the mind. Ten courses in a single semester, plus 8 online courses is just like the OES audit says, some profs are teaching 4X a normal load. Gosh, they sure do deserve all that money for working so hard! Isn't she the professor referred to in the Kuenhold report for giving away grades to athletes? Clearly, there is nothing unethical going on in the School of Business. Just a whole bunch of really hardworking professors dedicated to the best interests of their students / their own bank accounts.
September 25, 2016 at 10:50pm Let me get this right. Ed Crowther chairs two departments, is a faculty senator, and spends countless hours sucking up to administration. Therefore, he gets course releases and only teaches a very small number of students in one course per semester, one night a week. That enables him to deliver quality online education to: 182 students, in 49 sections, of 8 courses for something like an additional $41,000 per year (assuming he doesn't get the special Ellen Novotny rate). Maybe he doesn't need those course releases. Or maybe he's just a thief.
September 25, 2016 at 10:49pm I am reading comments posted here for the first time today. I hope if those participating in commentary are faculty, that you are putting as much effort into preparing for class and educating our students as you are in preparing your posts and researching matters. Let's get back to the reason we are at Adams State University, to provide a quality educational experience for our students. ----Editor's Reply: The entire point of this discussion is the obvious and urgent conclusion that ASU is very often not providing quality educational experiences to its Extended Studies students. That's not our opinion, that's the HLC's evaluation and confirmed by the Mathieu audit. This comment is a variation of the "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" command by the Wizard of Oz. Clearly, shared governance at ASU is either non-existent or so dysfunctional that it failed to address this calamity before it got so out of hand that the university ended up on academic probation and sustained negative press, further devaluing academic credibility of the institution. Perhaps it's time that ASU employees, students, and regulators pay more attention to the functions of the university, not less.
September 25, 2016 at 10:46pm Yes, some ASU Faculty are teaching on campus full-time and another full-time equivalent (or more) online. But it's not just faculty in on this "egregious" Extended Studies operation. Here's another example. Bill Schlaufman, ASU's Controller in Accounting, is a full time administrator making $85,008. Yet in 2014-2015, he also taught 35 Sections of 5 Courses with a total of 329 students. Assuming the $225/student rate mentioned previously, that's an additional $74,025 for $chlaufman, totaling $159,033! So are these people double-dipping during their day jobs, cutting corners to teach huge student loads on nights and weekends, or both? This kind of behavior casts doubts on academic integrity and performing the basic functions of administrators during their regular duties.
September 25, 2016 at 10:38pm I haven't had time to study the Extended Studies Enrollment file posted here, but let's not forget that many of these folks are supposed to be teaching a full load on campus IN ADDITION to these outrageous numbers of students/sections/courses. For example, someone posted: "Linda Reid: 259 students in 53 sections of an astounding 15 courses!" But she is full-time on-campus, so add in more students, more sections: Fall, 2015: 163 students, 7 sections, 6 courses! Spring, 2016: 154 students, 6 sections, 6 courses! Summer, 2016: 24 students, 3 sections, 3 courses in 3 weeks! Total: 600 students, 69 sections, 30 courses in one year! Super-woman. Students should start a class-action lawsuit. Hey Linda & Frank & Others, thanks for putting all our jobs at risk, as well as the reputation of ASU and our students' degrees.
September 25, 2016 at 8:46am "Uniformed" vs "uninformed" - let's not quibble about an obvious typo, likely due to autocorrect.
September 24, 2016 at 10:30pm As I recall from any number of campus-wide conversations, presentations and Faculty Senate meetings, the issue of faculty status for librarians has much more to do with bringing ASU into academic norms ("uniformed" standards, if you like) for the state of Colorado than related to issues of faculty salaries. But on that matter, according to the 2015 compensation committee's findings, the CUPA data shows that most faculty are underpaid at ASU and that librarians and other staff positions are, also. Well, except for all those administrative positions over 100% of CUPA and the former administrators now making way more than anyone else in their departments, including their own chairs. But sure, restoring faculty status for librarians at ASU (as was the case until the late 1980's), being a strongly-endorsed practice by the American Association of University Professors, would bring more tenured faculty back onto a campus amidst the "adjunctification" of higher education.
September 24, 2016 at 8:27pm A strange day on these pages. Why a commenter would call out someone for being "uniformed" is very strange. Some of us value our police and our military. But how would you tell simply by a comment if a person is uniformed or not? Must be some psycho-socio analysis. Then the apple and orange comment. Of course different retirement and investment plans operate under different rules with different payouts. All the more important to ensure you take maximum advantage of the one you are in. Who is going to call PERA on Monday and inform them that some ASU employees are trying to improve their benefit by working more? And aren't you the same crowd that supported lowering the average faculty salaries by bringing librarians into the faculty fold? Maybe you wanted the librarians to be "uniformed," or something, but somehow we missed your point on that.
September 24, 2016 at 7:07pm Re: the difference between defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. The scariest part is that it's likely a business faculty member as ASU who doesn't know the difference. I'm curious...would our business grads be able to pass a graduation exam if one were required? Probably not.
September 24, 2016 at 4:20pm Apparently the author of the September 24, 2016 at 12:17pm post is “uniformed.” PERA is a defined benefit plan whereas Fidelity, TIAA-CREF and VALIC are defined contribution plans. Apples and oranges.
September 24, 2016 at 3:53pm Re: Scooby Doo, it's unfortunate, but until the administration actually does something, they have gotten away with it. Fraud, deceit, theft and all. It's so sad for the rest of us who work diligently to make this a great campus to have a few undermine our work so badly.
September 24, 2016 at 3:36pm No wonder there has been such antagonism and hostility to this website. It's like an episode of Scooby-Doo: "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for Watching Adams!"
September 24, 2016 at 3:01pm According to the September 24, 2016 at 12:17pm post “Whose profit do we all work for? Generally it is our own. We work for personal profit.” Of course we all work for personal profit. This is not in dispute, notwithstanding the invective “It was a stupid comment from an uninformed person who resents those who work to improve their lives.” This same post asserts “If the people who taught the classes did the work then they did not exploit anything.” This is true - IF and only IF “the people who taught the classes did the work.” The “work” requires providing a legitimate educational experience that does not compromise academic or institutional integrity. Conversely, instructors having outrageous enrollments that clearly preclude academic integrity, simply because it was permitted (or even encouraged) by the administration, certainly constitutes exploitation of an unsavory opportunity to maximize personal profit at the expense of the institution. Dr. Mathieu’s audit of Extended Studies clearly indicated that the enrollment numbers in courses of some instructors has been at the expense of institutional integrity/accreditation, stating: “The leadership of the OES and the Office of the former VPAA did little to correct what should have been obvious issues and problems that would soon seriously impact the University’s reputation and led to an HLC sanction of probation that threatens the accreditation of the University by the regional accreditor.” Dr. Mathieu’s report continues: “The ability of individual faculty to take advantage of additional compensation activities through OES appears egregious” and “The conclusion drawn from these observations is that there was often greater interest in remuneration rather than quality teaching and the maintenance of academic standards among many of the faculty teaching online courses.”
September 24, 2016 at 2:51pm According to someone here, online faculty get paid $225 / student, meaning the person who made over $176K in one year taught 784 students. Now we see that was Jill Coddington teaching Math and Business courses. Great work, good calculations! For actual numbers for all instructors, see: http://adams.edu/extended_studies/img/hr-report.pdf Looks like it was merely 703 students that year. Quality education delivered to 703 students - online - in 21 sections of 4 courses. The next year, Jill taught only 489 students in 30 sections of 6 courses. Linda Reid: 259 students in 53 sections of an astounding 15 courses! Benjamin Longfellow: 569 and 606 students in 21 and 23 sections Kristen Scott: 531 and 542 students. Ellen Novotny "only" taught 303, so why did she make the big bucks of $141,750? That works out to $467 / student. Must be the benefits of being married to the VPAA. Transparency does indeed start at Watching Adams!
September 24, 2016 at 2:17pm I suspect Tomlin was aware and understood the ramifications of the OES audit when he wrote his silly post, which included: "Your fixation on others people's earnings exposes your character more than it exposes anything wrong. It looks like some people did a lot of work and for that they were paid a modest amount of money. So what? The only potential scandal is if Svaldi and Novotny conspired to feather their nests through their spouses work. But those who did the work should not be vilified by you losers who do not. Salary is always determined at the intersection of talent and ambition." "So what?!" This is just a smokescreen to cover up the unethical practices of the School of Business. Don't look at what they've been doing when you should focus on Svaldi and Novotny... Sure. Someone posted here that a Business prof was teaching 9 credits in this year's 3-week May session, equivalent to a 45-credit semester load! And that was after McClure assured us "everything was fixed." Right, no reason to look at Business. They just ignored probation. Other people have addressed the ridiculous nature of Tomlin's post, so I'll just add this point. Salary is NOT "always determined at the intersection of talent and ambition"; sometimes it is determined by who you know and unethical practices. Some of those unethical practices were identified in the report: "The ability of individual faculty to take advantage of additional compensation activities through OES appears egregious and to have been facilitated by “rolling over” course teaching and other activities to the same individuals year after year within OES as the list of names of faculty at the top of the highest levels of compensation appears to be relatively stable year to year." "Review of the Human Resources area of the University website appears to reveal a lack of complete information regarding faculty and staff positions available at the University, particularly regarding adjunct faculty openings." "Solicitation of candidate information contributing to a perpetually robust pool of available adjunct faculty has apparently not been done in recent memory. Human Resources and the OES reported a dwindling pool of adjunct faculty as a partial explanation for faculty course overloads." Their greed went beyond teaching too many students to be able to deliver quality education; their greed extended to unethical hiring practices. The rich get richer and the poor get... to teach ethically. "So what?" So, we lose our accreditation and gain a whole lot of deserved bad press. Deserved by the bad apples, not the rest of us. We don't deserve to lose our jobs due to the greed of a few (few dozen?). Then again, maybe Tomlin didn't understand the ramifications of the OES audit report. With all its talk about ethics and academic standards, it must have been outside his experience.
HSeptember 24, 2016 at 2:01pm You know, if Adams State were a private, for-profit institution these disparities in pay may not matter so much. But Adams State is a public institution, entrusted by the taxpayers to fulfill a common good: the education of students. These business school economic arguments about maximizing personal profits are part of what is ruining education in the United States. ASU has been behaving like a corporate degree mill, intent on maximizing private revenue and compromising on quality education. And if Adams State weren't on academic probation for violations of compliance with common standards of online class size, contact hours, and degree qualifications, the quality of ASU's online instruction may not be such an issue. But it clearly IS an issue which has now jeopardized ASU's accreditation and diminished value of a degree from the institution. Every hard-working student and professor on campus has it worse off because the online program was designed and exploited for private profits. So imputing false motives of "resentment" or "inadequacy" upon those who bring this matter up simply distracts from the real issue. I highly doubt Dr. Mathieu cited structural problems so deep that he recommended closing down Extended Studies because he has resentment or feels inadequate toward ASU online instructors making triple what faculty make on campus. Get real.
September 24, 2016 at 12:17pm The 10:32 poster keeps referring to greedy exploiting for personal profit. That defines their views but not those who did the work. Whose profit do we all work for? Generally it is our own. We work for personal profit. If the people who taught the classes did the work then they did not exploit anything. They simply did more work for more pay. Regarding PERA, the point was made that if you earn more money and pay more into PERA then you will get more back from your investment. Duh... That's not just PERA. Would the commentor be equally unhappy if these "greedy exploiters" were not in PERA, but rather Fidelity, or TIAA-CREF, or VALIC? It was a stupid comment from an uninformed person who resents those who work to improve their lives. If these people did something wrong then report them to PERA, and get laughed at. Or just keep calling them out, insulting them here, to make up for your own inadequacies.
September 24, 2016 at 10:32am It is worth pointing out that for some of the most egregious exploiters of Extended Studies income, shameless profiteering in the short term is not their primary, and most offensive, motivation. For those individuals identified in the September 23, 2016 at 11:34pm post (E. Novotny, L. Reid, E. Crowther, V. Svaldi) who are vested in the public retirement system (PERA) their greed extends into the indefinite future by maximizing Extended Studies income to grossly increase their highest average salary (HAS) that, in turn, determines the annual benefit paid to them upon their retirement. Thus, their greatest and greediest motivation is to grossly inflate the PERA retirement income they will receive - for the rest of their lives! Obviously, paying grossly inflated benefits will ultimately have an adverse effect on the ability of PERA to remain solvent, and therefore potentially on the benefits paid to other PERA members. However, it is doubtful that this is of any concern to these individuals. As observed in a previous post (September 24, 2016 at 7:30am) “The only potential scandal is if Svaldi and Novotny conspired to feather their nests through their spouses work.” Given that the approval of both the former VPAA and former President were required, this clearly applies in both cases. As argued in this same post, “It looks like some people did a lot of work and for that they were paid a modest amount of money. So what?” Indeed, income generated by extracurricular professional activity should be applauded and not vilified - so long as the activity in question is neutral with respect to any potential effect on the institution. However, the concerns being expressed here are in the specific context of greedily exploiting Extended Studies at ASU for personal profit at the obvious expense of academic/institutional integrity and, as it turns out, institutional credibility/accreditation.
September 24, 2016 at 10:16am The previous comment fails to understand or simply isn't aware of the recent Office of Extended Studies audit. This is a major scandal which goes way beyond individual salaries. The OES audit cares about major pay equity issues between some online instructors and standard $50k faculty contracts on campus, noting "there was often greater interest in remuneration rather than quality teaching and the maintenance of academic standards among many of the faculty teaching online courses for OES.” The HLC cares about complying with academic standards such as reasonable class sizes and teaching loads that demonstrate sufficient student contact for accredited programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education cares about a president who goes around saying nothing is wrong and the university is being unfairly targeted as a "whipping boy" when documented evidence of widespread and systemic problems exists to the contrary. And everyone who teaches or is enrolled at Adams State should care about an "egregious" and "dysfunctional" Extended Studies program whose longstanding abuse was designed and officiated at the highest levels of administration and now jeopardizes the university's accreditation while damaging its credibility. Some people care about quality higher education, academic integrity, and accountability from public officials. But some people only care about money and the pure fantasy that it necessarily flows to the most noble and gifted individuals. Maybe they should apply to be the new CEO of Wells Fargo.
September 24, 2016 at 7:30am Wow, this really is a witch hunt. Why do you care how much money other people make if they did the work? Your loser envy is shouting loud. It's a good thing Adams does not have an Engineering or Law school or some of you would be suicidal. Their salaries would be higher than any of yours and they often double or triple their salaries with professional work outside the university. Do you care if a professor owns a farm or ranch and makes $100K there? Do you care if an English prof writes a best selling novel and earns a $100K? Do you care if a science professor registers patents and sells them to ag or pharm companies for $100K? Do you care if an accounting professor picks up a $100K for tax, trust or estate work? Do you care if a counseling professor develops a self-help program and sells a $100K in dvds? Do you care if a political science professor earns $100K advising campaigns during an election year? Do you care if a computer science faculty sells a software program they wrote for $5mil? God help you if you ever take a job at a large university where these things are commonplace and in fact small change. Of course you will never get that job... Your fixation on others people's earnings exposes your character more than it exposes anything wrong. It looks like some people did a lot of work and for that they were paid a modest amount of money. So what? The only potential scandal is if Svaldi and Novotny conspired to feather their nests through their spouses work. But those who did the work should not be vilified by you losers who do not. Salary is always determined at the intersection of talent and ambition. If you want more money simply look internally at those two things, not externally at those who have both.
September 23, 2016 at 11:34pm Very interesting data. Excellent work Danny on finally getting it and sharing--cause ya know--it is public record. What I now would like to see are salary data in the 50k-99k range--not just for adjuncts but also tenure/tenure-track ASU faculty. Yes 100k+ is egregious...but think about the potential for a FT faculty member earning more though OES and overloads than their base. Perhaps another open records request is actual annual earnings of the worst alleged culprits--Linda Reed, Liz Thomas, Ed Crowther, Ellen Novotny, Virginia Svaldi, others ("super-human business faculty" as outlined by a previous commentator). Oh! And let's request those salary data not just from OES but from all university coffers. Let's get a holistic look at the accused, campus-wide. I suspect, there's more eye opening information that would make one absolutely nauseous! One question for Ellen Novotny: how do you show your face on campus without being absolutely embarrassed? What a worthless piece of work you are. Tsk tsk!
September 23, 2016 at 3:53pm Are these culprits E. Novotny, Aldrich, etc. going to be held accountable for their greed and corruption?
September 23, 2016 at 2:55pm ----Editor's Note: The names of faculty making over $100,000 annually through Extended Studies has now been published here.
September 23, 2016 at 9:38am Follow the money trail and you will find the corruption. As tacky as the dollar sign crosswalks are, they certainly are fitting.
September 23, 2016 at 9:28am Under the leadership of Svaldi, McClure and Salazar, Adams State University has been failing the taxpayers of Colorado for years, putting everyone's job at risk and taking advantage of distance education students. People should contact the Colorado Governor's Office and Higher Learning Commission directly. McClure and Salazar should be compelled to testify under oath before the State Legislature about knowingly egregious practices and subsequent efforts to cover up institutional dysfunction with a culture of intimidation at Adams State.
September 23, 2016 at 9:05am Looks like the Assistant Vice Presidents of Extended Studies were rewarded well for being really bad at their jobs and putting the University at risk: Year VP Academics VP Operations Raise 14-15 $66,636 $78,204 0% 15-16 $75,360 $83,148 13.1% and 6.0% 16-17 $76,872 $84,816 2% It looks like Walter got a 13% raise in the year following the Confessions of a Fixer article. Great work team. Rather than fix things, ASU just rewards those who maintain the broken status quo. It is sickening to go to the Extended Studies page and see a link for "Academic Integrity at ASU": "1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty." That certainly describes Roybal, Novotny, Doell, McClure, and Salazar.
September 23, 2016 at 9:02am The School of Business needs to be independently investigated.
September 23, 2016 at 8:41am Per a previous post: "...half the School of Business..." A quick review of Extended Studies web page reveals no less than 44 Business courses offered, the majority of which are either print-based or open enrollment. Business faculty must be superhuman instructors!
September 23, 2016 at 12:49am "Mumper, Crowther, Timothy Goddard and a host..." Wow! What an uninformed individual you are! One for certain has never taught through OES, a second highly unlikely given what he does and what he teaches. The third probably belongs in this basket. But I think my biggest concern is your righteousness that is sooooo uninformed and frankly distracting for those who ARE guilty of theft--Novotnys, Svaldis, half the school of business. Do us all a favor and actually do an open records request. Maybe you will learn something. SMH!
September 22, 2016 at 10:31pm Mumper, Crowther, Timothy Goddard, and a host of other faculty are part of the "8" OES. If not, further probing shoud be conducted to uncover just who are these "8" robbers that got away with a massive "burglary" Madoff scheme. Madoff was convicted and found guilty of intentionally swindling millions of dolloars from investors, especially the most vulnerable population, senior citizens. And why should ASU blink to such criminal behavior without any punishment handed down? Jail time is appropriate!
September 22, 2016 at 8:43pm STOP THE BUS!!! If you look at the "Extended Studies Faculty Making Over $100K" file, notice that the Position number is identical for all entries / all years (OFNC01). Unless I'm mistaken, that means these all refer to one person! I just looked at the salary data for past years and the position numbers appear to be unique. I looked at my own contract, and again, it is unique within those files each year. So, it appears that ONE PERSON made: 2013: $266,175 2014: $303,975 2015: $395,550 Either I'm correct or OES was making up their own procedures. Either way, Administration has some explaining to do. Some folks need to be fired. Some folks should probably go to jail.
September 22, 2016 at 5:43pm Previous post: "Dr. Novotny and ultimately by former President Svaldi (the buck stops here)." I thought Sheila Trice Bell, the consultant that was brought in to talk about shared governance, said the buck ultimately stops with the Board. Salazar and his gang are culpable. Get rid of all of them, McClure first.
September 22, 2016 at 3:16pm At $225 per student (for 3.0 credit hours) the individual who was paid $176,400 would have to have a whopping 784 students!
September 22, 2016 at 2:13pm One can calculate how many students ES instructors were teaching per year by dividing by $225, which is what instructors receive as remuneration per student. For example, in order to earn $100,000 teaching online at ASU one would need to teach 444 students in an academic year. Now, any full-time instructor at ASU would tell you that it is impossible to provide 444 students with the same quality of instruction that is expected of teachers in the classroom. That aside, here’s an arguably more important question. Why didn’t ES farm out these high-enrolled classes to adjunct instructors like they do with so many others? Every time ES advertises an adjunct position for online classes they get several dozen applications back. So, they easily could have spread out these high student loads over several professors had they wanted to. But they didn’t, which reveals their real intent. They just wanted to take home bigger paychecks, and for many years, they did. In doing so they short changed students, many of whom likely went into debt to take their bogus classes, and just as importantly, they drew the university’s accreditation into question. If anyone is to blame for ASU’s current debacle it’s the individuals who supported ES’ diploma mill year after year without saying a word.
September 22, 2016 at 9:54am The report of the recent audit of Extended Studies by Dr. David Mathieu identified issues that cast serious adverse implications on academic, and by extension, institutional integrity stating that “often greater interest in remuneration rather than quality teaching and the maintenance of academic standards among many of the faculty teaching online courses.” The report continues “The ability of individual faculty to take advantage of additional compensation activities through OES appears egregious and to have been facilitated by “rolling over” course teaching and other activities to the same individuals year after year within OES as the list of names of faculty at the top of the highest levels of compensation appears to be relatively stable year to year.” According to salary documents posted on this site, four individuals were paid more than $100,00 per year by Extended Studies. These individuals, all part-time or adjunct instructors, were paid between $124,425 and $176,400, for an average of a whopping $142,537/year - or nominally three times the average starting salary of a full time Assistant Professor with a terminal degree! At $300/student this equates to nearly 500 students per year for each of these instructors. While there are many excellent faculty at Adams State, who among them would dare to suggest that they were able to insure any reasonable semblance of academic integrity with this enrollment in the distance delivery environment? A previous post (September 21, 2016 at 9:05pm) asks “Who are these people?” By their own unwise admission/gloating, one of these prime offenders is the former VPAA’s wife Ellen, who delivered labor-intensive English courses. And who, within the administration, would ultimately approve this blatant greed at the expense of institutional integrity and, as it turns out, institutional credibility/accreditation? The former VPAA, Mr. Big Shot himself, Frank Novotny. Beyond the obvious dereliction and self-serving corruption that this demonstrates, is this not the very definition of nepotism? All the while Novotny quietly, and with Svaldi’s acquiescence, engineered for himself a contract guarantee that insured an outrageous salary should he “decide” to “resign” his administrative position and return to faculty status. Clearly there are others, both regular faculty and adjunct instructors, who are equally culpable in having greedily exploited Extended Studies for personal profit at the ultimate expense of the institution. This shameful conduct was approved, in his capacity as senior academic officer, by Dr. Novotny and ultimately by former President Svaldi (the buck stops here). Some might consider this blatant and egregious compromise of academic and institutional integrity as an acceptable price in order to exploit a revenue stream as it would be known in the vernacular - whoring. Nevertheless, much like the CEOs on Wall Street that engineered through their own despicable greed the financial calamity of 2007/2008, rather than being prosecuted for his conduct Novotny was rewarded with an outrageous Golden Parachute. President McClure indeed deserves due credit for quickly recognizing the bullying incompetence and corruption of Dr. Novotny and the obvious administrative incompetence of Dr. Mumper and taking appropriate action. Similarly, Dr. Gilmer should be applauded for immediately recognizing the shocking abuses of Extended Studies and ordering an external audit by a nationally recognized expert in distance delivery. Nevertheless, let us not be too quick to condemn those who will criticize persistent aspects of the culture at ASU that have resulted from years of unacceptable conduct by the previous administration.
September 22, 2016 at 9:45am Why has our new president Beverlee McClure, a.k.a. Mother Theresa, been continuing and concealing these fraudulent online classes where a single instructor can have a class in excess of 400 to 600 students? It appears that the university has been using this cash cow to supplement the poor cash flow due to the persistent drop in enrollment and retention. It should be clear to most, there is no real learning or student/teacher interaction when the instructor has to administer to hundreds of students in a class. To describe this practice as amoral and unethical would be an understatement. The students who unknowingly signed up for these courses were cheated out of an education experience. They were sold a bill of goods, taken in by hucksters and were most certainly not being educated by educators. If our Mother Theresa, aka Berverlee McClure was aware of these practices, she would certainly be complicit in this fraud perpetrated on the students the university purports to “serve”. Last I checked fraud has a statute or two on the law books against this practice with significant penalties. After a year of her “leadership”, she no longer can use her standby argument of this was done well before she became president. I hope the university continues to pay it’s rising insurance premiums. I’m sure the premium rates have risen due to the Ledonne debacle. Mother Theresa and her gang will most likely need that costly insurance in the days to come.
September 21, 2016 at 9:05pm So now we see from salary documents that at least eight faculty, mostly part time and temporary, made over $100,000 "teaching" Extended Studies coursework in recent fiscal years. One made $176,400 - which would take most ASU full time faculty 3-4 years to make... and jeopardizing ASU's academic standing in the process. Who are these people? When will the full information behind the recent audit be made public? The administration has gone curiously silent lately.
September 21, 2016 at 12:02am Carol took the library to a higher level.
September 20, 2016 at 7:09pm It puzzles me that anyone would celebrate the recent absence of the Colorado Association of Libraries president as their Library Director, one who brought so much positive change and a commitment to ASU students above all. More turnover and bullying. It's telling of ASU's toxic culture that is openly hostile to anyone willing to stand up for what they believe in (Carol, Danny, Jeff, Ben, Meagan, etc.). What a miserable place to work or consider working.
September 20, 2016 at 2:20pm People should read the recent AlterNet article that mentions ASU and Ledonne's experiences. It makes a strong case for why the poor treatment of adjuncts harms academic freedom and the quality of education overall.
September 20, 2016 at 9:35am Apparently Ding Dong Dora hasn’t been in the Neilsen Library in the past 3 years to see the transformation from a plain vanilla collection of books to a vibrant center of student, faculty and community engagement. Perhaps you missed the Library hosting Wes Moore and the many other authors hosted at the library. You certainly missed when Dolores Huerta skyped in during the week long Caesar Chavez week celebration at the library. How about the seed library? You certainly were not present at all of the student outreach hosted at the library. I could go on but what’s the point? The Neilsen Library has never been better. It’s a shame and a loss for Adams. I feel sorry for you Ding Dong Dora that you can’t see the difference. I will certainly feel the difference.
September 20, 2016 at 9:09am The Groucho clip hits the nail on the head. I didn't post it, but I took it to mean defending the status quo and opposing anything that might rock the boat. Crowther's mission is to defend administration at all costs - even if it means letting the ship sink.
September 20, 2016 at 8:58am Ding, dong, the witch is dead! I wonder if Nielsen Library will ever be the same again, hopefully better. Perhaps, one of those ripples Mother Teresa mentioned? #standingstrongforchange
September 20, 2016 at 8:04am Groucho and company do a dramatization of Ed Crowther and the Faculty Senate at ASU. ----Editor's Reply: Always a comical clip - is this in reference to Faculty Senate opposing pay inequities or something else?
September 19, 2016 at 2:46pm Okay, Mother Teresa, here’s a simple game called Reality Check. Get a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the center. On top of the left column, write McClure’s Groundbreaking Changes. Above the right column, write McClure’s Teeth-breaking Changes. Now, the supplementary rule to this game is that entries into the Groundbreaking Changes column must have a positive outcome, because obviously there is no point in having groundbreaking change unless there is a positive outcome, right? Conversely, if changes have had a negative impact, then they must be recorded in the right column. So if you would be so kind, please fill out the columns and let's know how you get on. Oh, by the way, please don’t include the hiring of Gilmer in the Groundbreaking column. We’ve already covered that; McClure had virtually no choice. And don’t put down “initiating the OES inquiry” because Gilmer did that. And don’t bother putting down “Guaranteed Tuition” because if the intention was to boost enrollment, or to improve ASU’s financial position, or to return to our former credit rating, then it has been a flop. While unflagging belief in the Almighty may have qualified Mother Teresa for sainthood, we might need a little more than blind faith in McClure and her disciples for ASU’s transfiguration.
September 19, 2016 at 11:06am That's nice. But I don't share the same cheery-eyed optimism given the circumstances. Ask yourself: "if Beverlee McClure took office in July 2015, why was it over a year before an external audit of Extended Studies took place?" And why would she send a letter to the HLC in March 2016 claiming the issues have all been addressed and academic probation was an unwarranted political statement? How would she know this without a full review, which only took place five months later? Instead, her previous actions make everyone at ASU look foolish because she expressed totally counter-factual statements to ASU's own accreditor, and in a confrontational and brash manner. This is not leadership, this is bullying and ego. McClure shoots from the hip, then inserts ASU's wounded foot into her mouth. So yes, McClure has been "casting stones" alright, but the ripples haven't been very good for anyone at ASU. In one year, she managed to get ASU sued by the ACLU over "terrorism," "Colorado police watch list," and other lies, generated negative PR in academic and popular press outlets on multiple scandals, approved a poorly-considered Guaranteed Tuition plan that lowered ASU's credit rating with Moody's, presided over further salary inequities that have now prompted Faculty Senate to plead with the administration to change course, and tried to bluff her way with the HLC until it became clear she was making fraudulent claims about the Extended Studies office having no major problems. Instead of quoting Mother Teresa, it might be time to read "The Emperor's New Clothes."
September 19, 2016 at 9:33am "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." Mother Teresa Dr. Beverlee McClure and the administration at Adams State University should be commended, applauded, even celebrated, for the positive changes taking place under their watch. We are all "watching Adams". We are watching new leaders like Dr. McClure and Dr. Gilmer breathe life into an institution of higher learning with optimism, courage, integrity, and innovation. The old ideals of the university have held ASU back, and with change in many departments already ongoing, along with more and more groundbreaking change to come...these powerful, mindful leaders will continue to ensure that great stories begin here. Instead of focusing on what a few see as negative, I prefer to focus on the thrilling new future of my ASU! #standingstrong
September 19, 2016 at 9:22am No, the report is GOOD news. It clearly spells out what has been wrong with the place for a long time, and charts a way to fix those issues. That's a POSITIVE thing. Let's have the parade when the mess has been cleaned up.
September 18, 2016 at 10:45am More bad news. Time for another "Standing Strong and Proud" parade.
September 17, 2016 at 5:30pm Quoting large swaths of the audit with bolded typeface and no "emphasis added"? Rookie mistake... ----Editor's Reply: With such exacting taste in font formatting, you should be writing for us! We have revised the article to include "emphasis added" per your suggestion, thank you!
September 16, 2016 at 2:17pm Amen to that last "don't praise McClure" comment! Check out the Paw Print issues that are laying around. The whole story on p. 2 is about why students don't have to worry about accreditation. McClure and especially Margaret Doell go on and on minimizing the problems... just one little part of one little criterion. Just one more thin mint for a bloated administration! More lies and cover ups.
September 16, 2016 at 12:58pm McClure had virtually no choice but to hire Chris Gilmer, regardless of how she felt about him. Frank Novotny, as we all know, did not resign as VPAA for health reasons - after all, he is still working at ASU full time - but he leapt before being pushed. He was facing a vote of no-confidence by the Faculty Senate, and McClure knew that if he remained, she would lose more support among professors. The finalists for Frank’s replacement were Chris Gilmer and Margaret Doell. During the candidate meetings, Gilmer shone. Not one of my colleagues had a negative thing to say about him. Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - I spoke to after his presentations thought he was by far the best candidate. Margaret, having stood alongside Frank and assumed - rightly or wrongly - to be party to his nefarious ways, was tarred with the same brush. She never in the running. There was near-universal suspicion that she would simply follow in Frank’s cloddish footsteps. If Margaret was hired over Chris, McClure would have faced a faculty uprising. And she knew it. Having been ignominiously faced down Le Donne, she could not afford another confrontation. So, McClure indeed does not deserve praise for hiring Gilmer. If the Board of Trustees had any sense, it would fire McClure and replace her with Gilmer.
September 16, 2016 at 10:02am Oh, I wouldn't give McClure any praise for the OES audit, though I'm sure she will claim it was her great leadership. Recall that for six months now, she's been telling the campus, community, and HLC that academic probation was unwarranted, that ASU was a political target and a whipping boy, and demanding ASU be removed from probation. This OES investigation found the complete opposite. If you read the report, including faculty members making huge sums and outright ignoring academic standards as well as completely made up interdisciplinary degrees, probation seems too kind. The HLC could very well have revoked ASU's accreditation on the spot! Yet McClure released statements and even a video insisting that everything was fine and academic probation was no big deal. Credit where it is due - and Dr. Chris Gilmer deserves all of it.
September 16, 2016 at 9:39am Dr Beverly McClure should be commended for hiring Chris Gilmer. Without his insight, his without-fear-or-favor scrutiny, his loyalty to ASU rather than to the vested interests within, we would not have had such an honest and open report on our university's real situation. It is a breath of fresh air. Hopefully we can now start growing a culture of openness and honesty that will not only prevent corrupt practices in the future, but will stimulate a much more progressive, creative, inclusive and transparent institution that will attract more students and faculty, and encourage them to stay.
September 16, 2016 at 9:29am Speaking of the departed Bill Mansheim, I have heard a rumor that there is a financial audit taking place. Does anyone know anything about this? Is the rumor true? And if so, when do we hear the results? ----Editor's Reply: See ASU Audits Reveal Deteriorating Financial Conditions for more detail on this. The State Auditor's final report is due in January 2017 for presentation to the Colorado State Legislative Audit Committee hearing.
September 16, 2016 at 1:08am Adjuncts earning more than 150k per year. So WHO would Walter, Frank and Dave allow and look the other way to "earn" (more like steal) that much money per year...hmmm...Ellen Novotny? Virginia Svaldi? And HOW MUCH more than 150k per year did these anonymous adjuncts "earn/steal"? Was it 10k? 20k? More? Must have been quite a sum that the actual range wasn't even reported in the cleaned, public report. Regardless of who it was, a president and VPAA allowing anybody to profit like this and effectively hide it (by not requiring proper reporting via banner) should be indicted. It's sorta like racketeering...
September 16, 2016 at 12:10am And where was Adams State's chief money man, Bill Mansheim, during all this flagrant profiteering in Extended Studies? Repeatedly assuring everyone at campus roundtables that these parlor tricks were keeping the ASU coffers full and the payroll flush with funds. Recall that it was a "we know what's best, don't ask questions" tone after the Chronicle article. And much like Svaldi, Mansheim has fled the scene of the crime and left the rest of us to foot the bill instead of footing the Bill.
September 15, 2016 at 10:52pm Anyone: What are the yearly revenues, expenditures, profit pertaining to the Office of Extended Studies (OES)? What is the percentage of OES budget when compared to ASU's budget? What is the yearly total OES payroll cost?
September 15, 2016 at 10:42pm Seems like criminal behavior on the part of both Novotny's. Wasn't her name just listed among our new employees in the English Department? Oh great. They should both be fired for putting the entire university at risk.
September 15, 2016 at 10:40pm From the report: "The egregious, diverse, and arguably unethical nature of many of the findings run counter to HLC criteria for reaffirmation of accreditation to the degree that the accreditor felt it was necessary to move directly to an institutional status of probation. Due to the seriousness of the original findings, particularly in a state higher education institution that is part of a state higher education system, it was apparently felt by HLC that violations warranted a very stern warning. From what was learned in the current investigation, the sanction imposed seems justified." Contrast that to McClure's petulant response to the HLC. Now we have evidence she was out of line and digging us a deeper hole. Was she clueless or lying again? Either way, she is incompetent as a leader. She and so many others kept saying "we've fixed everything. Everything is fine now. Students don't worry." More bullshit. Thank god for Gilmer. Thank you for requesting this audit!
September 15, 2016 at 10:19pm ASU Admin: (courtesy of KC Green)
September 15, 2016 at 7:23pm The report is compelling. We knew Svaldi was incompetent. Few liked Novotny but I was convinced he was competent and keeping us in compliance academically. It is clear he was not. I never cared about his girlfriend, and I don't care how much money others make if they do the work. But he put us at risk and should have known better. Now Dr. McClure needs to move quickly and accept the findings of the report, fire Novotny and others and reorganize OES as recommended. She does get credit for demoting Novotny and hiring a new VPAA well, it seems. Admin also gets credit for commissioning the report. Now they can show some leadership with action.
September 15, 2016 at 4:05pm Well, well, well! Seems Frankie boy has finally been caught with his hand in the cookie jar! If I had three guesses and the first two didn't count, I'd say that one of those adjuncts making more than $150,000 per year is his wifey ELLEN! Shame on the two of you! I hope Ellen is immediately relieved of her duties and Frank is stripped of tenure and fired! Fitting for the years of nepotism, bullying, and general incompetence!
September 15, 2016 at 3:48pm I encourage everyone to read the 11 page report summarizing the external audit of ASU Extended Studies. It is blistering and reveals just how badly the entire Office of Extended Studies has been managed for years and recommends shutting it down entirely because it is apparently beyond saving. The report found broad organizational dysfunction, a blatant disregard for academic integrity, egregious uses of incomplete grades, the obscene personal enrichment of faculty teaching in OES over the quality of the programs, a lack of understanding or oversight of these courses, incomplete position data on the HR website, and graduate programs that are running without proper institutional certification. This has been going on for many years under the Svaldi administration and it's clear that many, many people knew what was going on and did nothing to fix it, all while collecting paychecks and telling everyone that things at ASU were fantastic. The report concludes: "The investigation revealed a great deal of information, practices, and anomalies in the administration of the OES that, together, indicated very serious deficiencies and behaviors that more than verified the findings of the HLC Advisory Team visit in 2015. The egregious, diverse, and arguably unethical nature of many of the findings run counter to HLC criteria for reaffirmation of accreditation to the degree that the accreditor felt it was necessary to move directly to an institutional status of probation. Due to the seriousness of the original findings, particularly in a state higher education institution that is part of a state higher education system, it was apparently felt by HLC that violations warranted a very stern warning. From what was learned in the current investigation, the sanction imposed seems justified. Although the locus of concern was the OES and its leadership, it is clear that the questionable practices of the OES were directly and indirectly supported by the former senior University administration as well as a variety of organizationally questionable practices of many kinds in other academic areas of the campus. There is, indeed, a culture of questionable academic practice that appears to have been in place for many years; a culture that further compounded the actions of the OES such that, for many, it became standard operating procedure that was rarely questioned. The recommendations presented in this report are many and most amount to huge tasks that are much easier to suggest than they are to accomplish. This is understood and the size and nature of the tasks is appreciated. The recommendations themselves do not remedy all of the campus issues, but their launch will necessarily bring about changes in these other areas. It is strongly felt that the institutional and service area aspirations of the new executive, academic, and financial administration clearly require attention to the matters listed in the findings. Having met the new senior administration as well as experiencing the sincerity of their supporting staff, the institution is in very capable hands and prepared to bring about rapid positive change to the University, a situation that will also be appreciated by the HLC 2017 site visit team as well as the HLC leadership." I find the last sentence to be highly questionable given that President McClure has repeatedly insulted the HLC and told them that there's nothing wrong at ASU. This report clearly states otherwise.
September 15, 2016 at 1:56pm When I look at this website for acts of "bullying," what I see are people being verbally abusive and resorting to name-calling to those who maintain and publish on this website. If they don't like it so much, why do they keep coming here?
September 15, 2016 at 12:45pm The comment from September 14, 2016 at 2:39PM is laughable. It is apparent that you do not know Dr. Novotny very well. I worked with him for 9 years as the Administrative Assistant III/Program Assistant II in the Office of Academic Affairs and have great respect for Dr. Novotny. He would never "fire" someone because they hired me. The real people in the "know" know exactly why I left the Office of Academic Affairs and I left on good terms. - Dodie Day
September 15, 2016 at 12:36pm I have been recently informed of this website and I find it pretty unfair. First, Dr. Tomlin seems to be the only one who has written something of value and not attacked others. I don't know about his past jobs but we learn in class that if you go into management you will likely butt heads and probably be fired a time or two in your career. We learn that is leadership. Probably like this website, it is unfair but goes with the territory of those who lead the college. We recently learned in an ethics lesson from class and from our textbook the "Actions Associated with Bullies." Bullies spread rumors to damage others, they use emails and websites to demean others, they insult, they discredit others. Those are just a few but they seem to be a lot of what I read on this website. Many of you are the bullies. I would leave my name but i am truly afraid of my professor in McDaniel who will hurt my grade if I do. ----Editor's Reply: From the outset, the purpose of Watching Adams has been to highlight and examine many issues of inequity on the ASU campus – from the poor treatment of adjunct faculty, the low salaries for all faculty, the administration's disregard for due process and free speech, reckless financial mismanagement, violations of academic integrity, prioritization of athletics over academics, treating college students like children, and a campus culture of retaliation and intimidation. When a campus is run this way, even to call out such inequity can appear to be “bullying” when in fact it is a dis-empowered group's way of calling attention to the transgressions of authority figures. Many people writing anonymously here, who have also reached out to us personally with gratitude for maintaining this forum for discussion, do so because they have a very rational basis for not speaking out more publicly given their status as “at will” employees and the many previous ASU critics who have been censured or reprimanded for making their grievances public. The mere fact that the founder of this website was banned from campus without due process for almost a year over patently false claims, resulting in a lawsuit from the ACLU, is self-evident proof of the repressive campus culture at Adams State - officiated from the very top down.
September 15, 2016 at 7:33am "Most of us in the knowing circles on campus..." It sounds like you are either a pitifully misinformed Tomlin supporter or Tomlin himself trying to deflect the real reason for his termination as chair. It doesn't require a rocket scientist to go back to the judge's report and the excerpt re: good old boy mentality and treatment of women. Then all you have to do is watch his behavior.
September 14, 2016 at 5:05pm Certainly factual that Tomlin was fired from his position as superintendent of Garden Valley Schools in Idaho. Several of the newspaper reports mentioned bullying his employees. Thus, as he wrote here: his actions brought him to where he is today. I guess the hiring committee didn't care or saw bullying as an asset.
September 14, 2016 at 2:39pm Most of us in the knowing circles on campus know that Dr. Tomlin was fired as chair because he hired Dr. Novotny's secretary away from him. One came right after the other and there's been too much talk from people who might know, and it would be exactly like Novotny to do it. Another good reason he's gone.
September 14, 2016 at 1:26pm Dr. Tomlin did not mention or explain why he is no longer the Chair. Nor is he under any obligation to do so. Yes, it may have very well been as a result of the Kuenhold report or it may have been something totally unrelated. I do agree that there, and still is, a "good ole boy club" management style. In my opinion it was Horrible during the Svaldi era and Tomlin could have been part of or was instructed to give special treatment towards the student athletes. It's an obvious fact, per the Kuenhold Report, that the School of Business showed favoritism towards the student athletes. We all know for a fact that the Svaldi administration favored athletics. I don't even know Dr. Tomlin, wouldn't know him if I ran in to him, nor am I a fan of this Administration. Just saying that some of your comments are factual and some are pure speculation.
September 14, 2016 at 11:05am Speaking of censorship, who tore down all the posters for the Standing Strong March? No wonder students didn't show up - they were denied the opportunity to hear about it on campus. Yes, insults are petty. But notice how Dr. Tomlin did not explain why he is no longer chair of the School of Business? Could it have anything to do with the findings of the Kuenhold report from last year? From page 92: "The Business School was also mentioned to me by a number of people in both flattering and unflattering ways. Several members of the faculty suggested the Department caters to student athletes. A student suggested that student athletes were favored in class and given breaks, particularly by one professor... Finally, the Department was cited by a number of campus individuals as a bastion of a “good old boy” mentality with several thirdparty and one firstparty examples given to me... I recommend both internal discussions within the Business school around the allegations of perceived preferences and gender issues as well as continuing review of these by the administration.I did not interview or survey all the employees or students and so I look at what I was told and observed and conclude that more thorough review is prudent. Any department receiving the kind of criticisms voiced to me should take a hard look at how people perceive it and why, and act to change things that are causing these perceptions." Coming from a retired judge, this is hardly the endorsement of business ethics. Clearly the McClure administration did take a hard look at the School of Business and did something about Dr. Tomlin's leadership in the department.
September 14, 2016 at 11:47am I am glad that the editors of this site do not censor any comments that fall within the lawful guidelines. We are seeing way to many instances of that censorship in the media today, and it is done in the name of political correctness. It's quite alright to censor this person because "I" deem his speech to be hateful. Bull manure! I for one appreciated Mr. Tomlin's comments and clarification on the $$$ crosswalk. I also think the commentator about Mr. Tomlin's ethics does nothing to sustain good, constructive discussion on this site. Mr. Tomlin, you did the correct thing to come back on and refute the commentator's accusations.
September 14, 2016 at 10:12am To the Editor, The writer at 8:18pm makes my point about this site. I will agree that it is an unfortunate point, but the site will fail to become a vehicle for open dialogue for the obvious reason shown by this commentor. Anonymous attacks keep many people from making serious comments. I made such comments yesterday, providing good faith insight on a topic, and today you allow the posting of a simple insult. If the commentor was accurate then he or she violated both HR law and ethical standards by divulging my private HR packet contents. They are not correct so it becomes a discussion of libel, necessitating your decision (either way) to post or not. Regardless, shouts of "liar, " or "unethical" etc provide no thoughtful dialogue. And of course when it is anonymous it hits the lowest standard. Each such comment sets back other serious persons considering a contribution to the site. On another note, it is clear the commentor has no understanding of basic human psychology or self-determining behavior or they would know that no one "finds himself" somewhere. We are where we are due to decisions we have made in life. So it is with me and I am very comfortable with that. I am not insulted by the commentor since you can only be insulted by those you respect, others are just cowardly jerks shouting names. If they wish to discuss the issue with me my office and phone number are easily found. You may print this or not. You may remove the libelous assertion or not. Either way the hope for honest and open dialogue on the page is damaged. I wish your site could be more. Dr. Michael Tomlin Professor of Business Management ----Editor's Reply: Thank you for your response. As anyone who peruses these comments can see, insults are acceptable as long as they do not clearly violate libel laws. We may find such comments tasteless and a fair number of people have been repeatedly insulted on this site including Ledonne, who evidently has provided a platform for others to berate him over and over. Nonetheless, we maintain an absolute commitment to free expression whenever possible. We also and especially believe that when someone is insulted, they deserve an opportunity to respond. If President Beverlee McClure, Board Chair Arnold Salazar, or anyone else wishes to comment here and sign their name as such, they may do so. Similarly, whomever has criticized Dr. Michael Tomlin may choose to sign their name as such if they wish. Watching Adams isn't here to suppress speech nor to compel it. To those who “wish this site could be more,” we are always open for suggestions, for your own thoughts and ideas, and for the open discourse that we believe every university campus needs. Watching Adams exists outside the official purview or influence of Adams State University in an effort to provide independent coverage and conversations. Anyone is welcome to join in these conversations and the quality of their contributions is reflective of their own authorship.
September 13, 2016 at 8:18pm Dr. Tomlin has no business preaching about ethics. It's understood by many, that this very topic is the reason why he no longer finds himself as chair of the School of Business. The audacity of some people.
September 13, 2016 at 11:28am I like the $$$ crosswalk. I know lots of ASU students who have loads of student debt, sometimes with no degree, and ASU even sends their unpaid bills to collections agencies when they aren't able to pay. By overspending on capital construction projects and administrator salaries, ASU is showing how they believe in walking all over students tuition dollars.
September 13, 2016 at 9:53am I can answer your questions. 1) which faculty? The School of Business faculty. About a year ago the Alamosa City Public Works Director called me and pitched the idea. They were working with the Music Department about their crosswalk too. The dollar signs were discussed, as was stock ticker symbols. I took the idea to a School of Business faculty meeting and we discussed it. We considered international currency symbols - Euro, Yen, etc., but overall we all liked the idea and communicated that to the Public Works Director. 2) Which administrators? The School of Business department Chairs, and I believe it then went to VP Kurt Cary as he is VP of Administration. You don't recall discussion? It may be that you are not invited to all School of Business faculty meetings. Please contact our Chair and see if you can attend. It may be that you are not invited to all Alamosa Public Works staff meetings, again, contact the director if you want to attend. You may have overlooked City Council meetings where they are briefed on projects. It is "outmoded." No, it is increasingly contemporary and appearing in cities like Seattle and NYC. Kudo's to little Alamosa for having some fun. Regarding your lecture to us about business ethics, know that last Friday the School of Business faculty held a half-day work session and the teaching of ethics was reinforced. Our standard is that all business faculty infuse ethics into each and every business class. We also have several stand alone and content specific ethics classes. I regret that you were not invited to our work session, but we don't know who to invite since you hide behind your anonymity when you insult and criticize our department and faculty. I am proud of our crosswalks that lead into the School of Business and proud of our students, graduates, and alums as they head out into the world of business knowing that profit when ethically earned is the fuel that sustains our economy and secures our way of life. Dr. Michael Tomlin Professor of Business Management ----Editor's Reply: Though Dr. Tomlin had previously declared, "Just as Mark's site was not successful in generating ideas and good discussion, neither is this one nor will it be," we are pleased to see that he of all people is showing us that Watching Adams' comments page can be a useful way to discuss and clarify any number of issues for broader public consideration. For that we thank you!
September 13, 2016 at 8:52am Wow! "Yawn" is a genius. What wit! What repartee! Such incisive analysis. And moral courage too. Which elementary school do you go to, sonny?
September 13, 2016 at 8:02am Yesterday's comment about "weapons" and the ASU Student Handbook said: "Steppin on Peoples rights is what we do best!" Yes, it sure is. The same Handbook contains a revised Persona Non Grata policy. Unfortunately, administration didn't feel it was necessary to revise it to be in line with the U.S. Constitution. Just as they banned Ledonne without a hearing, the revised policy makes no mention of a hearing before imposition of a PNG. Wake up folks. This is asking for another lawsuit. McClure and Salazar already swamped us with bad press and wasted tons of money and hours on their anti-Danny crusade. Now they've reaffirmed their disregard for civil rights in writing. "Due process" has meant nothing at ASU for years and these two power-mongers continue that tradition of bullying.
September 13, 2016 at 12:40am A few pointers on awareness and self-awareness for the Yawner: • "Yawn": Your vitriol belies and nullifies your opening yawn. First they (pretend) to ignore you. • “Ledummy”: An infantile and pathetic case of attacking the messenger when the message cannot be addressed. Then they (try to) laugh at you. • “Move on down the road!”: Then they (try to) fight you. • “Nobody liked you”: The last time I checked, higher education wasn’t a popularity contest. “Always stand on principle….even if you stand alone.” – John Adams • The “dummies” you reference aren’t following the “narcissistic rhetoric” of any individual. They are upholding the Constitution of the United States of America. Read it. • You think you are defending ASU, but you are actually the one damaging it. Such immature rants reflect a complete lack of understanding of the value and purpose of higher education, and reflect poorly on the institution. “It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant.” – John Henry Newman
September 12, 2016 at 11:57pm The $$$ crosswalk is crass, reductionist, and outmoded. A wholesale focus on the almighty dollar is what led to the global financial crisis and economic meltdown. Progressive business programs today emphasize corporate ethics, environmental sustainability, and socially responsible leadership. There is no universally recognized symbol for these values, unfortunately. But it doesn’t mean we should splash the lowest common denominator in business all over the asphalt. “The City of Alamosa proposed the idea over a year ago and faculty and administration have worked to make it so. Many of us are proud of it.” Which faculty? Which administrators? I don’t recall any campus or community discussion.
September 12, 2016 at 4:35pm Bravo to the author of the 7:56am comment about Arnold Salazar's metamorphosis! When I noticed the posters for Moral Compass today, I wondered if it was starring Salazar and McClure. The poster asks: "Will they find the way back if theirs is broken?" The answer is obviously no. They learned nothing from the ACLU lawsuit. They couldn't even bring themselves to acknowledge a single mistake, much less apologize to students and employees. Instead, they issued more lies and expressed confusion at why people were upset. They are leaders without a moral compass, which makes them no leaders at all. Please replace these fakes with leaders that students can emulate (without violating others' civil rights).
September 12, 2016 at 4:08pm I have recently just reviewed the Adams State Student Handbook for 2016-2020 and came across the section addressing firearms, fireworks, sharp instruments etc. and have some real concerns about Adams Admin overstepping their authority once again. The section I'm referring to is on page 8, number 17 . I love how they contradict themselves within the same policy and then say they don't have a policy on concealed carry. That's because the State of Colorado already has a policy on concealed firearms ASU administration. It's called 100% legal on any State University or College. Being a new student, avid outdoors man and hunter I've read about the problems this school is going through and now I read this. Steppin on Peoples rights is what we do best!
September 12, 2016 at 12:26am Five years ago, when ASU had money, there were ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new facilities and renovations. Now that ASU is out of money and those construction bills are due, they throw marches for being put on academic probation and ribbon-cutting ceremonies for fancy crosswalks. Its a dog and pony show but only with enough money for mutts and runts.
September 12, 2016 at 10:15am Yawn. You getting tired yet, Ledummy, and all the dummies who follow your narcissistic rhetoric? You worked at ASU, nobody liked you, your contract was not renewed...move on down the road! You are brilliant, a brilliant disaster who thrives on negativity, pessimism, and selfish revenge. We are growing very tired of your arrogance, ridiculous claims, and repetitious child's play at unwarranted, invalid, asinine allegations towards ASU. I repeat, please go away now. We are so over your pompous ass. Bye, Felicia! ----Editor's Reply: Petulant invective would make anybody’s Monday! Takes me back to middle school. But the many problems ASU faces, as documented by any number of press outlets and public documents, are by no means a creation of any one individual. Notice how the responses to such criticism of a public institution are belligerent insults at anyone who would raise these issues, rather than the issues themselves? This is the hallmark of an organization in deep cultural trouble.
September 12, 2016 at 7:56am Arnold Salazar was once part of the local Chicano movement, Americans who in the ‘60s and ‘70s stood up against institutional racism, and for the right to free speech and the right to assemble. Many of his colleagues were arrested for protesting on campus against Adams State College administrative overreach and disregard for Hispanic students’ constitutional rights. Once a tough, vocal, dedicated advocate of American ideals, Arnold is no longer the defender of those ideals-as-practice. Now the stereotype of a small-town patriarch, he has become The Man, the very thing that he fought against in his youth. If, as a Chicano student, he could have peered through the looking glass to his future, what would he have thought of himself? Arnold has followed Winston Churchill’s prescribed arc to maturity: “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart; if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.” He has position, power, property, and political prominence. He has used his brain - and family influence - to get all these things for his benefit. But Arnold seems to have interpreted Churchill’s adage to mean swapping one for the other - heart for brains - that you must lose your heart to gain a brain. He now supports a documented liar, Beverlee McClure, as ASU’s president. He himself now lies, insisting that LeDonne “didn’t get a dime” from the ACLU settlement. He stood by while McClure threw someone under the bus who he’d known and worked alongside in the community for years. And he says he “can’t understand” those outraged by these deceptions and betrayals. Of course, self-actualized adults don’t replace heart with brain but incorporate both. They don’t throw out altruism, empathy and moral principle for self-interest at the expense of others. But Arnold has. Prefiguring Lord Acton’s famous quote about absolute power corrupting absolutely, our second president, John Adams, said a century earlier: “Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.” While Arnold has indeed risen in station, his standards have not. Every morning as he stands in front of the mirror, as he stretches taut the folds of his face ready for the razor, does he meet the youthful eyes of his former self? Can he hold that gaze and say honestly that he has been true to himself?
September 11, 2016 at 9:48pm When it comes to parades and ribbon-cutting, Adams State certainly knows how to put on a show for the locals. So long as nobody looks at their declining financials, or their violations of academic compliance, or their low graduation rates, or their underpaid staff, or their students in debt and without degrees, or their low national rankings, or their high employee turnover, it's easy to see why ASU is a great place to be. Just don't discuss any of those things and there's high esteem and mutual respect. Simple as that. You know things are getting bad when there's so much empty fanfare for two cross walks. Maybe it's time to pay more attention to what's happening inside the buildings themselves.
September 11, 2016 at 9:24pm Dear "just saw the dollar signs." Did you also see the piano keys crosswalk to Leon Memorial and the Music Department? The dollar signs cross to the School of Business. The City of Alamosa proposed the idea over a year ago and faculty and administration have worked to make it so. Many of us are proud of it. Were you also "watching Adams" last Thursday for the ribbon cutting at 3rd and Richardson? Did you hear the Mayor and our President speak, the VP of our Trustees, our student body president? So many people there who support our city, our community, and our university. There is mutual respect among all, and Adams is held in very high esteem. This is really a good place to work and to be.
September 10, 2016 at 12:10pm I just saw the dollar signs painted on the street in the crosswalk on Richardson Ave! WTF? Trashy. Are they supposed to call attention to all the money that ASU has been bleeding the last few years? More great marketing.
September 9, 2016 at 10:24pm On average, how long does it take for Adams Admin to get the minutes for the Board of Trustees meeting posted? ----Editor's Reply: We have repeatedly had to remind ASU HR to update their meeting minutes for various organizational bodies. In general the BOT only updates their meeting minutes once approved at the following meeting. In this case, that is after October 28th, 2016. We find both speed and transparency lacking within ASU's administration.
September 9, 2016 at 8:12am "A deficiency of honesty and transparency," really? You don't need to post that here anonymously when Arnold Salazar, Mr. Truth and Transparency, complained about people using WatchingAdams rather than having open conversations. Gosh, I wonder why anyone would hesitate to talk to him or McClure directly? Arnold is so out of touch with reality. He needs a big mirror. And to be relieved of his "duties." I vote for CSU-Alamosa. Get rid of the bad apples: McClure and the BoT included.
September 8, 2016 at 8:36pm It's bad enough that ASU has been running a large debt for years and years while paying embarrassingly high salaries to the people chiefly responsible for doing so. It's worse still that these poor decisions have been largely kept out of the public eye for just as long. The students and taxpayers pay for this university and the administration has been far from honest with these stakeholders about the dire straights the institution is in. Trust and respect require honesty and transparency, ASU having a deficiency of both.
September 8, 2016 at 7:48am "For FY 2012-13, Adams reflects depreciation of $6.4 million and interest expense on its capital debt of $3.4 million. These two components represent about 18 percent of Adam’s total operating and non-operating expenditures of $54.1 million for the year." Eighteen percent! Severely over-leveraged! How could Salazar and the rest of the trustees let this happen, especially post-2008 housing crash? Did they learn nothing? Even the report says ASU should not have been allowed to continue borrowing money and issuing bonds. I'm sending another letter to the governor.
September 7, 2016 at 6:22pm I for one have no regard for all the minions and bureaucrats of this world who get up in the morning and spend the day compromising whatever conscience they might have for a paycheck. ASU has more than a few of these people, to be sure. How do people look themselves in the mirror when they dutifully serve known bullies, liars, and sycophants? How cheaply one's integrity can be purchased these days. And some people are so poor, all they have is money.
September 7, 2016 at 6:03pm I didn't attend the BoT meeting, so I have no idea what Beth Robison intended with her statements, beyond what has been reported. Nevertheless, the person who defended her got at least three things right: 1) Beth IS a nice, competent person. 2) The Constitution and freedom of speech should be taken seriously and defended, even -- or especially -- when that speech represents dissent. 3) "Beth’s comments ... proudly reported by Julie Waechter, President McClure’s official, state-paid press officer." Sure hit #3 on the nose: PAID, MCCLURE's state servant, PR. What do PR folks get PAID to do? Make shit smell pretty. I don't blame Julie, she's just doing her job and McClure hasn't given her much to work with, just lots of feces to deodorize. Just in the last 6 months, Julie has authored these gems: - "Bring it on! McClure is happy about the ACLU lawsuit because it will allow her to share all the dirt on Ledonne." What, there was no dirt, she was just bluffing? - "Moody's down-rating is really a good thing for ASU." Who are you kidding?! - "ASU won... judge decided in ASU's favor." Now Julie and Bev sound just plain insane, total break from reality. What next? "ASU closes its doors due to financial mismanagement. Entire SLV celebrates the BoT's latest success!"
September 7, 2016 at 2:39pm Having stood idly by while for years ASU’s financial wheels ground down to the axles, Arnold Salazar and his board of trustees then hired a new president with her own dubious record in money matters. No doubt the board, itself without business sense, was highly attracted to presidency-candidate Beverley McClure’s ambition to march on Denver and somehow shake the coinage out of state government pockets. But did they not research her background, to check her credibility? A quick web search finds Adjunct Nation journalist P. D. Lesko revealing that Dr McClure, while head of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (ACI), lost money for the organization over several years. According to Lesko, “Between 2009 and 2012, under McClure’s leadership ACI’s revenue decreased from a high of $537,600 in 2010 to $485,945 in 2012. “Tax records also show that between 2009 and 2012, the ACI ran a negative fund balance: the association’s liabilities exceeded its available assets. “In 2009, when ACI brought in $515,121 in gross revenue, McClure’s organization lost money overall ($12,072), and the ACI’s liabilities exceeded its assets by $177,146.” These are not great amounts of money, but for ASU employees who assumed that her connections to a business advocacy organization and state purse-holders meant she was adept at raising money, Lesko’s revelations are disturbing. If the leader of a business lobby can’t demonstrate how to at least balance the books, why should we have faith that she can do any better in a much larger and more troubled organization? Lesko inadvertently exposes a spending trend we see recurring at ASU. “In 2012 the bulk ($304,633) of the member organization’s $485,945 in gross revenue went to pay salaries, including McClure’s $168,661 compensation package.” McClure is now on a package close to a quarter million dollars, her supporters in Administration have received significantly greater increases in salary than for other employee sectors, and the faithful like Frank Novotny get to keep grossly inflated incomes despite relegation to the ranks. But it is unreasonable to put the blame at McClure’s feet alone. Ultimately, this is another example of Arnold Salazar’s and the trustees’ ineptitude. If the market truly rewards talent and punishes the inept, they must go.
September 7, 2016 at 9:55pm From this week's Associated Press headlines: The for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institute is shutting down all 130 of its U.S. campuses, saying Tuesday it can't survive recent sanctions by the U.S. Department of Education... ITT Educational Services CEO Kevin Modany told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that ITT was the victim of a "regulatory assault" and never had the chance to defend itself. "For what appears to be political reasons, there seemed to be an outcome in mind that was going to be forced here," Modany said. From the March 2016 Chronicle of Higher Education: The president of Adams State University lashed out this week at the institution’s accrediting agency after the agency’s recent decision to put the university on probation. The president, Beverlee J. McClure, said in an open letter to the Higher Learning Commission that the Colorado institution was "left feeling like HLC’s whipping boy, with none of the benefits of HLC membership." ... But Ms. McClure, who began her tenure as president in July, said in her letter that the accreditor’s decision "seems like a calculated move to undermine the university." "We have obviously been chosen by the HLC to make some sort of political statement," Ms. McClure wrote. I see some similarities in how these two leaders respond to scrutiny for poor institutional performance: blame everyone else, play the victim, and hatch some conspiracy about why this is happening to them! McClure and Modany must come from the same school of whiny leadership, and that's not a good thing for ITT Tech or ASU.
September 7, 2016 at 9:41am Not sure how it is possible to “score below zero” , but according to the 2014 State of Colorado Joint Budget Committee, ASU (and Western State) did it. “A more in-depth analysis of these institutions for the period from FY 2008-09 to FY 2012-13 indicates that both institutions are highly leveraged and financially at risk.” Arnold Salazar was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2010, and then promoted to chairman of the board in 2013, his term expiring in 2017. He has participated in, then presided over, an extended period of financial mismanagement. He has been privvy to all the ledgers, all the strategic plans, all the discussions, and at no point did he raise the alarm. In the business world, shareholders would have dumped him and other long-standing members of the board long ago. But because ASU’s finances are opaque, because shareholders - tax payers - have been kept in the dark, this slow motion slide to “below zero” has remained hidden, and Salazar’s competency unchallenged. Now that we know, he must go!!
September 7, 2016 at 9:09am I know Beth Robison well, and I can tell you she is a smart, compassionate, articulate person and a dedicated and highly competent professor. So I want to put the record straight for those derisive of her comments recorded in “Adams State Trustees hears support for University mission 08-25-2016” (https://www.adams.edu/news/aug1614.php). She is quoted as saying; "It involves freedom of speech, and I feel strongly about that,” and then asks, “What are our options for rebutting and closing down this slander and cyberbullying.” ??? I am sure it was a simple slip of the tongue. We all make mistakes, especially under pressure in group situations. Of concern is that her slip was not challenged, but in fact supported, by other senior faculty members, administrators and trustees. Let’s be clear. The Constitution of the United States is not just a theory but a legally mandated practice. As citizens of the first modern democracy, we should be proud to support the notion AND THE PRACTICE of the First Amendment. We don’t have the right to pick and choose whether it applies to people we don’t like. That such highly educated adults - almost all state-paid employees - should even discuss gagging dissenters demonstrates a moral and intellectual failure, a tragedy for a university charged with educating our young folk about their roles and responsibilities as United States citizens. By the way, Beth’s comments weren’t recorded by some sly, anonymous, unauthorized phone recorder, but proudly reported by Julie Waechter, President McClure’s official, state-paid press officer.
September 6, 2016 at 10:36pm Nice list of schools that offer some sort of guaranteed tuition, thanks. But big deal. As a counterpoint, the editor also provided a nice list of references regarding problems with these plans. Look there for lists of schools that tried it and dropped it, or have it and regret it. Guaranteed tuition may indeed work for some schools / populations of students, but I highly doubt that will be the case at ASU. First, we are in a deep financial hole, so GT ties our hands, leaving us to dig our way out one-handed (Moody's concern). Second, I doubt GT rises to be a significant criterion for most of our students when choosing ASU. So, it won't affect recruitment much. Has anyone actually asked first-year students if GT was a major factor in choosing ASU? Oh wait, that would be data-driven decision making. Third, students don't drop out or take breaks lightly, so I doubt GT will affect retention much at all. Fourth, it costs money to implement due to all the tracking. Fifth, it appears to be poorly implemented here; most schools offer GT like insurance companies offer insurance, meaning you pay extra up front (10-15% hike) betting it will pay off over four years. McClure and the BoT didn't do that. Only time will tell, but it sounds like the enrollment numbers are not promising. My bet is with the commentator who characterized it as bone-headed, and their assessment that the BoT has not been doing their jobs. Whether or not GT is successful at ASU, you can't deny the more important point: ASU is hurting financially. Or maybe you can; I never cease to be amazed.
September 6, 2016 at 9:40pm I know many of the staff who directly interact with students and parents at ASU regarding Guaranteed Tuition. It is proving to be a major headache, a source of confusion, and a drain on the already limited resources of these offices. There are so many exceptions and loopholes that many students conclude the whole marketing scheme is more trouble than its worth.
September 6, 2016 at 8:59pm Here is a list of schools with guaranteed tuition that preceded McClure's "boneheaded" decision. As some of you are (thankfully) leaving our flock be sure to NOT apply at any of these schools, they too are lead by "boneheads" and you won't be happy there. Alaska Pacific University – Anchorage, AK The Guaranteed Consolidated Tuition Plan Angelo State University – San Angelo, TX Fixed Tuition Plan Andrews University – Berrien Springs, MI Tuition Guarantee Plan Austin State University – Austin, TX Fixed-Rate Tuition Plan Baylor University – Waco, TX Guaranteed Tuition Option Berkeley College – NY and NJ locations Tuition Freeze Policy Capitol Technology University – Laurel, MD Tuition Lock Chicago State University – Chicago, IL Four-Year Guaranteed Tuition Plan Clearwater Christian College – Clearwater, FL Cost Freeze Program Cleary University – Howell and Ann Arbor, MI Tuition Guarantee College of St. Joseph – Rutland, VT Provider Scholarship Columbia College – Columbia, MO Fixed Rate Tuition Program Eastern Illinois University – Charleston, IL Guaranteed Tuition Rate Plan George Washington University – Washington DC GW Fixed Tuition Governors State University – University Park, IL Tuition Guarantee Hardin-Simmons University – Abilene, TX Tuition Guarantee Hiram College – Hiram, OH The Hiram College Tuition Guarantee Huntingdon College – Montgomery, AL Fixed Tuition Illinois State University – Normal, IL Frozen Tuition Rates Immaculata University – Immaculata, PA Fixed Tuition Kettering University – Flint, MI Fixed-Tuition Guarantee Lamar University – Beaumont, TX Guaranteed Price Plan Midwestern State University – Wichita Falls, TX Fixed Rate Designated Tuition Plans New Saint Andrews College – Moscow, ID Tuition Lock Nordland College – Ashland, WI The Nordland Tuition Guarantee Northeastern Illinois University – Chicago, IL Tuition Guarantee Plan Northern Illinois University – DeKalb, IL Guaranteed Tuition Ohio University – Athens, OH Ohio Guarantee Oklahoma City University – Oklahoma City, OK Locked Rate Prairie View A&M University – Prairie View, TX Guaranteed Tuition Plan Sam Houston State University – Huntsville, TX Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan Sewanee – University of the South – Sewanee, TN Four-Year Tuition Guarantee Southern Illinois University Carbondale – Carbondale, IL Guaranteed Tuition Stabilization Plan Southern Illinois University Edwardsville – Edwardsville, IL Guaranteed Tuition Stephen F. Austin State University – Nacogdoches, TX Fixed Rate Tuition Plan St. Johns University – New York, NY Fixed Rate Tuition Plan Sull Ross State University – Eagle Pass, TX Guaranteed Price Plan Tarleton State University – Stephensville, TX Guaranteed Tuition Plan Texas A&M University – College Station, TX Locked-Rate Tuition Policy Texas A&M University, Central Texas – Killeen, TX Guaranteed Tuition and Fee Plan Texas A&M International University – Laredo, TX The Fixed Tuition and Fee Plan Texas A&M University, Commerce – Commerce, TX Guaranteed Tuition Cohort Plan Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi – Corpus Christi, TX Guarantee Tuition and Fee Plans Texas A&M University at Galveston – Galveston, TX Guaranteed Tuition Plan Texas A&M University, Kingsville – Kingsville, TX Guaranteed Tuition and Fees Texas A&M University, Texarkana – Texarkana, TX Guaranteed Tuition and Fee Program Texas Southern University – Houston, TX Fixed Rate Tuition Plan Texas State University – San Marcos, TX Guaranteed Price Plan Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX Fixed Tuition Texas Women’s University – Denton, Dallas, and Houston, TX Fixed Tuition Price Plan Thomas College – Waterville, ME Guaranteed Tuition University of Colorado, Boulder – Boulder, CO Out-of-State Tuition Guarantee University of Dayton – Dayton, OH Four-Year Tuition Plan University of Houston – Houston and Victoria, TX Fixed Tuition Rate Plan University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, IL Guaranteed Tuition Plan University of Illinois at Springfield – Springfield, IL Guaranteed Tuition Program University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign – Champaign, IL Guaranteed Tuition Plan University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS Tuition Compact University of North Texas – Denton, TX Eagle Express Tuition Plan University of North Texas at Dallas – Dallas, TX “Focus” Fixed Tuition Plan University of Texas, Arlington – Arlington, TX Fixed Rate Tuition Plan University of Texas, Austin – Austin, TX Longhorn Fixed Tuition University of Texas, Dallas – Dallas, Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan University of Texas, El Paso – El Paso, TX Guaranteed Tuition Plan University of Texas at the Permian Basin – Odessa, TX Guaranteed Tuition Rate Plan University of Texas, San Antonio – San Antonio, TX Guaranteed Tuition Plan University of Texas, Tyler – Tyler, TX Guaranteed Tuition Rate Plan Western Illinois University – Macomb, IL Cost Guarantee West Texas A&M University – Canyon, TX Guaranteed Tuition & Fee Plan ----Editor's Reply: Listing other schools that engage in financially misleading, dubious, and risky guaranteed tuition policies doesn't do anything to defend ASU's own foray down this ill-advised path. Recall that this policy was designed to attract more students to ASU (preliminary enrollment data doesn't bear this out at all; more students dropped before the fall 2016 semester than in previous years), that it is supposed to help control the cost of college (when in fact tuition represents less than a third of costs for in state, on campus students) and that Moody's cited it as among the reasons for ASU's credit downgrade (because it inhibits the university's ability to offset its debt). We recommend reading recent case studies on how guaranteed tuition plans are harming higher education and the students they serve: “The state needs to kill its prepaid college tuition plan—now” - Chicago Business "Guaranteed-tuition laws inflating college costs, study finds" - Science Daily “Is your state prepaid tuition plan flawed?” - Bankrate "UA stable tuition plan doesn’t solve rising tuition problem" - Inside Tucson Business “Guaranteed Tuition Plans Pose Greater Risk Than Potential Benefit” - Pope Center for Higher Ed Policy
September 6, 2016 at 8:42pm I visit this comments page and see more “negativity” from a few unhappy people at ASU and more “blabbing and blogging” from cyberbullies on the Internet! Oh wait, these are data-driven reports condemning ASU's administration from the Colorado Joint Budget Committee, Moody's, Higher Learning Commission, and the Colorado State Auditor? They are sounding the alarms about ASU's financial mismanagement and violations of academic integrity? More faculty and staff keep leaving ASU every year and enrollment is declining? Well then, they must all be engaging in more “sexism” against ASU's first female president! Danny Ledonne must be manipulating all these agencies as among his cult of followers. Good thing there are professors like Dr. Beth Robison who call for “rebutting and shutting down” the “vitriol of the Watching Adams website.” After all, these deep structural and managerial problems are just “slander and ridiculous rebuttal" which nobody should really pay attention to because there are so many “great stories” at ASU. Here's a great story: some people are awake and some people are sleepwalking off the cliff.
September 6, 2016 at 8:21pm Lately people have been bitching about the Board of Trustees acting irresponsibly by covering McClure's lies, etc. Well the most recent post about the Colorado Joint Budget Committee report is just more evidence that the BoT needs to go. The report says: "Arguably, neither Western nor Adams should have become as leveraged as they currently are." So who is to blame? Sure Mansheim, Svaldi, and Novotny were culprits, but ultimately the BoT approved all the construction projects and associated bonds ASU issued. The report says: "both institutions are highly leveraged and financially at risk." Thanks BoT. ASU's survival is in question because you couldn't take the time to figure out Mansheim was digging us into a hole so deep that we'll probably never be able to dig ourselves out. And then you backed McClure's boneheaded guaranteed tuition scheme, a plan that the much-brighter-than-you folks at Moody's listed as one of the reasons for our most recent down-rating. I think the report is onto a good idea when it recommends investigating the possibility of merging ASU into larger institutions. Then we could get rid of the president and BoT in a single stroke.
September 6, 2016 at 11:35am Of course all is well at ASU, as long as you don't pull your head out of the sand (or wherever). From the 2014 State of Colorado Joint Budget Committee report: "Two small institutions—Adams State University and Western State Colorado University—had scores below 0, indicating a need to 'assess institutional viability to survive'. Both institutions are highly leveraged." "A more in-depth analysis of these institutions for the period from FY 2008-09 to FY 2012-13 indicates that both institutions are highly leveraged and financially at risk." "Both the executive and legislative branches should continue to carefully monitor the financial health of Adams State and Western State." "Both Western and Adams have spent aggressively on cash-funded new construction in recent years." "This represents about $30,000 per Adams State student." "Staff assumes that substantial new plant investments at both institutions were expected to stabilize or build enrollment, but do not appear to have had that effect to-date" "Some of the operating losses within the last few years have been planned. Faced with sharp declines in state support, both institutions recognized that they would rely more on tuition revenue in the future but could only increase tuition revenue so much in a particular year. " Just one more reason guaranteed tuition makes so much sense. Yeah, right! Recommendations: "Continue to Monitor. " "The General Assembly (and CCHE and the Governor) need to watch this situation carefully ... they both appear to be at significant risk." "The JBC Should Pay More Attention to Revenue Bond Intercept Program Requests" "Arguably, neither Western nor Adams should have become as leveraged as they currently are." "to qualify for the Revenue Bond Intercept Program, an institution must have: (1) A credit rating in one of the three highest categories from a nationally recognized statistical rating organization" So, it's no big deal that Moody's downrated ASU to A3, the NINTH highest category. Oh yeah, the PR folks and Valley Courier tell us that the downrating is really an "opportunity." "Explore Whether Small Institutions Can or Should Be Merged Back into Larger Systems" I like how administration shared all of this, so transparent.
September 5, 2016 at 11:02pm Nursing is far from the only program at ASU that is failing many of its students. What makes nursing somewhat unique is that it has a statewide exam to objectively measure the quality of the program. What about the many other degree programs at ASU with high faculty turnover and poor institutional support? What if state standards were applied to many other programs at ASU in which students are inadequately prepared? What if the nursing program is like a canary in a coal mine for ASU? I remember reading an article about Adams State being named one of the Ten Biggest Wastes of Money by tracking how well graduates perform in their field. It seems like ASU is in denial if they think there are only “a few unhappy people” who are ruining the school. Maybe they are unhappy because the school isn't living up to its mission for many of its students and employees.
September 5, 2016 at 9:06pm Is it possible that the employee turnover in the Nursing Department throughout the course of the BSN program be a crucial piece to understanding why Adams State University is ranked next to last in BSN pass rates for NCLEX in Colorado? It is absolutely horrific that Adams State University has allowed this travesty of passing students that are not properly prepared to take and pass the NCLEX test on the first attempt. What does this say about the preparation of the nursing student's in the clinical arena? Is ASU ethical in graduating nursing students that are not prepared and may very well responsible for the lives of those individuals we love? Has anyone looked at the number of students accepted into the program throughout it's course to evaluate the ability to adequately prepare each of these students? How is it possible that clinical requirements are being met? If there are 30 or more students admitted yearly does that not articulate to over 60 nursing students during any semester working to complete clinical requirements, sometimes these students are working to complete more than one clinical course each semester? Where are these practicum hours being completed? Are these students cramped into our local medical facilities, if so how much experience does this lend to the students? Furthermore, are the clinical instructors thoroughly prepared to instruct these courses? Does anyone even know who will be teaching courses more than a week prior to classes starting? It is a bit worriesome that there is only one faculty and one staff that have been a consistent part of the Nursing Department for more than two years. Has anyone looked into how this information adds into the equation of faculty/staff/ adjunct turnover? Does ASU only calculate increased tuition from the large number of nursing students admitted? What about the increased cost of adjunct/staff/faculty turnover, increased costs to nursing students for tuition, books, supplies... etc for a profession that they seem ill prepared for? How many ASU Nursing Graduates are working in their profession to pay back the costs of attending ASU, it seems that with the reported pass rates indicated there are not many. Nurses are important to the lives of so many individuals, will ASU step up and be ethical and address the real issues at hand?
September 4, 2016 at 3:10pm I have an idea for a TV show called "Whose Lie is It, Anyway?" It takes place at Adams State University: - Where the policies are made up and the facts don't matter - Where "school shootings" and "terrorism" can be casually thrown around to justify banning people without due process - Where people are placed on police watch lists that don't exist - Where "threats of violence" later becomes "cause for concern" once there is no evidence to substantiate this claim - Where press releases claim to "win" lawsuits by paying out settlements and undoing the previous actions that got them sued to begin with - Where free speech is acceptable unless you have something critical to say - Where administrators say the most ridiculous things yet recording them is an unforgivable act - Where "inclusive excellence" actually means a culture of bullying, shaming, retaliation, and deceit - Where there's always money for new athletics facilities and charter buses for away games, but students and faculty can't afford to attend conference - Where having your credit downgraded is actually a great opportunity to improve your credit - Where are you are reprimanded by your accreditor and investigated by the state auditor for absolutely, positively no reason at all - Where any other school pays more for the same job - Where any other in-state school has higher graduation rates - Where your students, faculty and staff keep leaving every year because things are just so fantastic I realize this sounds like a absurdist comedy, but sometimes there is nothing more hilarious than the truth.
September 1, 2016 at 8:25pm Three full time nursing faculty members in addition to Dr. Shawn Elliott have resigned their positions in the Spring or Summer of 2016. The newly hired RN to BSN coordinator (she only lasted a couple of months) and two other faculty members. ----Editor's Reply: Thank you, we've updated this article to include your comment.
September 1, 2016 at 8:03pm Wow! Almost 24 hours and the post "I have been working with adolescent children..."just brought this to a halt. Are those partaking in middle school behavior feeling a little uncomfortable??
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