In an act of supreme irony TIAA-CREF last week awarded CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed the 2012 TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, “one of the most prestigious honors in academic stewardship” according to a press release from the Chancellor’s Office.
Stephanie Bell-Rose the head of the TIAA-CREF Institute cited Reed for his “remarkable, collaborative leadership styles reinforce the need to build bridges both within an institution and throughout the surrounding community.”
I am not exactly sure with whom they consulted in making this award, but faculty surely were not in the mix. Everything that I have learned about the Chancellor in my five years working in the CSU suggests that his lack of collaboration has failed to build bridges, at least bridges with the faculty and students (two groups often thought to be important in a university).
Indeed, much of this blog has focused on his shortcomings as a leader in an educational institution.
Reed’s inability to deal respectfully and forthrightly with faculty is well documented. The California Faculty Association is headed toward a strike vote that would be completely unnecessary if the Chancellor had vision and leadership skills.
His lack of “concern” for students is illustrated by his treatment of students at a Board of Trustees meeting and repeated tuition and fee increases while failing to address problems of administrative bloat in the CSU. How is it that a university can spend only 35% of its budget on direct instruction and get away with it?
The one thing the Chancellor has been truly good at is advocating (often overly vehemently) for pay increases for campus presidents. Ultimately he got what he wanted: The beginnings of a series of pay increases for his campus presidents (that will ultimately result in a raise for himself–just as his golden parachute opens).
Failure is success. Frankly, it is almost Orwellian.