Thursday, September 25, 2008

"LQC": Lipstick on a pig

Victoria Valle is the assistant vice Chancellor for enrollment management. I know you were thinking that Victoria Valle is a city in Colombia. And you would be right. But OUR Victoria Valle is a bureaucrat at SIUC, or "Southern" as she hopes to "brand" it.

Ms. Valle began feathering her nest down here in Carbondale last year after having been a short term "enrollment manager" at the San Francisco Art Institute. She also spent time at SIUE, Mudelein College in Chicago, Penn State, UC- San Diego, Spelman College in Atlanta, Loyola University - Chicago, Elmhurst College, and Cal State Sacramento. According to our count thats 10 institutions. One thing about the management geniuses at SIUC, when you find someone like Victoria Valle who has made more pit stops than Kyle Busch, then you just gotta get her on your team.

So our peripatetic Ms. Valle has been studying the enrollment issues. She's got big ideas. For instance, she was quoted in the DE saying that she wanted this place to be called "Southern". "We feel that 'SIUC' kind of puts us in a place we don't want to be". And she has another groundbreaking idea: a full colored brochure extolling the wonders of "Southern".

Ms. Valle, this is called putting lipstick on a pig.

The news you may have missed is that the decline in enrollment happened among students FROM Southern Illinois. In other words the people that already know us. Maybe no one told you but here are some more factors in the enrollment decline that your brochures won't help.

(A) 6 acting/itinerate/interim/fired Chancellors since 1999.

(B) A plagiarism scandal that swooped back and forth between SIUC and SIUE before ensnaring the President of SIU, Glenn Poshard. You probably didn't see it, but the Chicago Tribune (which may be read by potential students and their parents) called for the resignation of President Poshard. Luckily we have expert faculty like Peggy Stockdale, a psychologist and Faculty Senate President, who investigated and came up with the felicitous phrase, "inadvertent plagiarism". We understand that Dr. Stockdale is now listed as an expert on sexual harassment and is advising on the new guidelines. No doubt there will some more English language barriers broken. But I

(C) A bizarre Marxist Dean of the College of Mass Communications, Manjunath Pendakur, who drove off some of the best journalism faculty in the University and replaced them with lunatic deconstructionist/jargonist "theoreticians". Aside from a revolt by alumni who withdrew millions of dollars in donations, the entire network of SIUC journalism was enraged by the actions of this Dean. Which means fewer recommendations to students to attend SIUC.

(D) Most recently there has been the issue of John Simon and Cal Meyers, long time faculty who were driven off campus by the sexual harassment secret police. That has led to the US Grant Association taking its archives elsewhere, many lawsuits, and non-stop, inane comments by the interim Chancellor Sam Goldman. Just today Goldman said that Simon was not fired, even though he received a notice of termination from the university. Goldman's analogy? "You know the line, until the fat lady sings nothing happens". What in God's name goes through Goldman's mind before it passes his lips?.

So you've got a terrific environment to pursue your work at your six figure salary - you can put out all the full colored brochures you want - and the rest of the university will be driving students away. You may have found lifetime employment after all.



Anonymous said...

LQC- It is not Ms. Valle’s job to address personnel or policy issues. It is (part of) her job to increase enrollment. Perhaps I betray my ignorance here but it seems to me one does that better by highlighting the positive rather than rolling in the mire. It may be you have not noticed, but there remain at this university a great many things about which we can be proud – our faculty and our students among them. The brochure which you malign highlights those very things, the faculty and the students. In addition, the brochure – really it’s a booklet – referred to in the chancellor’s speech and highlighted in the Daily Egyptian is a type of publication used by most universities as a recruiting tool. It’s not meant to be a finger in a dyke. It’s not clear to me what you think a vice chancellor of enrollment management should do singlehandedly to address matters of personnel and policy over which she has no control. It seems you suggest simply giving up, saying that the excellent faculty and students are not worth a consideration, that the scandals that make the news constitute the whole of the university. Since you seem fond of quips, here’s one for you. Do you really believe everything you read in the newspapers? Or does it seem within the realm of possibility that there are faculty members here who are brilliant in their fields and, who, despite a lack of recognition in the local and student media, continue to mentor students, who continue to learn? Are there problems at SIUC? Of course. This is not, after all, Utiopia U. But your criticism and disdain cast too wide a net. -- Still a Believer

tnachtrab said...

Original poster said...
"...Valle is a bureaucrat at SIUC..."

FreyaWildRide said...

"It is not Ms. Valle’s job to address personnel or policy issues. It is (part of) her job to increase enrollment."
Yes, Freya's comment adds credence to the original poster. A great example of bureaucratic division of labor . . . and evasion of responsibility.

Original poster said...
"...Valle is a bureaucrat at SIUC..."

Victoria said...

Just a correction for the record:
"Southern" is not a new nickname for the University.

Brochures are simple marketing tools used to attract the attention of prospective students who know little about the politics of a campus. It is true that we face many, many challenges here. But this is still a fine university, and one worth fighting for.

We have great faculty and wonderful student. Our job is to try to get more.

That is not the job of one person. If more people lent their creative energies to telling the positive stories about Southern Illinois University Carbondale, rather than denigrating our efforts, we might do a better job of recruiting and retaining students.

There is a lot about this University that is good and positive, and that is what we must focus on.


James Sulya said...

I live in Bangkok, Thailand and there are two SIUC alumni that are quite high up in the Thai government here ( I can also tell you that the further you get from Carbondale, the better the reputation of school becomes. Three years past I happen to visit and inquire with the Communications School Dean at the University of Florida and he told me that Communications programs at Carbondale had a good reputation in the field in his opinion.

This may be anecdotal but it does say something positive about the school. When looking at Administrators across the country we see similar corruption and ill behavior that however does not mean that the students are receiving a low quality education or that the school is not reputable. It is only one of many aspects of the image. Few students would choose a different school because of the Administrations reputation. It’s the faculty, programs, and alumni accomplishments that matter much more.

So, you negativity is not representative of the whole picture. I have heard more good things than bad since graduating in 2004 from SIUC in Journalism. One more thing to mention, I met Jim Bittermen an Anchor on CNN and was told that a number of SIUC J-School grads work for CNN. So, you need to stop focusing on the administration and look at the achievements of the alumni.