Wright State’s incompetence is Governor DeWine’s fault

Wright State- Wrong Leadership. No one got fired for the $130M that went missing from 2012-2017. No one got prosecuted for theft. No one went to jail. A few people left with fat buyouts and agreements to keep their mouths shut. The “Board of Trustees” who were complicit, remained mostly intact. And the same lack of a vision still plagues the university. The fact that the engineer of “Double Bowler” – Greg Sample, didn’t go to prison, but got promoted is the first problem that aches to be solved. For a “Chief Operating Officer” he seems absolutely incompetent by any standard- in that revenue and customers are both leaving by the boatload.

President Sue Edwards, who can’t even remember who pissed her off by sending an email to her personal email – after she refused to respond or meet with people trying to help her- drank the Greg Sample Kool-aide and is doing her best to take the university down, now hiring a henchman to do her dirty work as an interim provost (key in on “interim”) because she’s already lost the confidence to do much more than beg the Board to let her fire a fifth of the staff.

While Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin has navigated the Covid crisis with grace and class- every single message out of Edwards has been of gloom, doom and “retrenchment” and “failure” blaming everyone but herself and the board for going along with it. There was no better time to just cut athletics out entirely at Wright State, or at least put them on hiatus. Wright State’s mission isn’t to be an athletic powerhouse- it’s mission is to prepare kids to get an education that prepares them for lifelong success. I’m not saying athletics isn’t good for character building- but- division 2 works just as well and costs a lot less.

Edwards hasn’t done a thing to make the university stand out- except being the place where a strike embarrassed the school- and lost the trust of the students. I had lunch with someone working on their MPA at UD yesterday- she had started at WSU- but after the strike screwed up her schedule, she switched over to UD and never looked back. Actions have consequences. I gave up trying to present a real plan for re-launching Wright State to anyone there (they all act like knowledge is dangerous, and so am I) so I published it for free (of course, it takes more than reading a few thousand words to really understand how to implement it properly).

Here Edwards goes again, making sure there is NO reason for anyone to reserve their tickets on the Titanic’s maiden cruise- ie- enroll at Wright State.

Wright State University President Susan Edwards is expected to recommend the university eliminate up to 113 faculty positions in the school’s retrenchment efforts, according to a letter she wrote to the Board of Trustees.

The recommendations will be presented to the Board of Trustees on Friday. The Board will then make a final decision based on Edward’s recommendations.

“With the board’s approval of this recommendation, I will immediately engage the new interim provost to work with our deans to finalize a list of 113 specific faculty positions identified to be eliminated/retrenched,” Edwards wrote in the letter.

Affected faculty members will receive up to 18 months of notice and workforce displacement support, according to documents examined by the Dayton Daily News. The university has provided similar support to employees who were previously laid off, according to university documents. The institution cut 50 positions last summer, in addition to 30 employees who agreed to retire early.

More than 600 people currently teach at the university, but not all of them are faculty members. Notice was sent to the AAUP-WSU executive committee and the Faculty Senate on Wednesday, the university said.

In her letter to the board, Edwards said she was provided separate detailed recommendations.

One set was submitted by Interim Provost Douglas W. Leaman and the others were provided by the Joint Committee on Retrenchment.

Wright State has seen enrollment decrease over the last few years that has led to large revenue losses.

In his report to Edwards, Leaman, who is leaving the university on Feb. 21, said “the recent declines in firstyear enrollment make it virtually certain that our overall enrollment will continue to decline through at least 2023. At that point, multiple forecast models indicate that enrollment will be approximately 8,000 to 10,000. Peer institutions with enrollment in that range employ circa 375 faculty; Wright State currently employs 489. Simply put: the size of our academic workforce is greater than what is necessary (or even customary, among our peers) based on our current and expected enrollment.

The university must adapt.” The school’s enrollment in 2017 was around 17,000 students. Enrollment has declined by more than 30% in the last five years, according to the university.

Oliver H. Evans was named the new interim provost Wednesday. Evans has more than 30 years of administrative experience in higher education, including through major organizational changes, faculty and staff reductions, academic reorganizations and issues with enrollment, a Wright State press release said.

Source: Wright State may cut over 100 jobs – Dayton Daily News

At this point, there is only one solution for Wright State, DeWine should remove the entire Board of Trustees, and establish a turnaround board. My recommendation would be to get the presidents of all the other local State run educational establishments to either sit on the board or send a trusted proxy. That board would be Dr. Jo Alice Blondin from Clark State, Dr. Doreen Larson from Edison State, Dr Steve Johnson from Sinclair, Dr. Gregory P. Crawford of Miami of Ohio, Dr. Jack Thomas of Central State. For an interim president, to help right the Wright State ship, and someone who knows the area players well, I’d tap Dr. Daniel Curran. The goal would be to quickly restore faith in the leadership and faculty- ensuring stability in transition to a new leadership group that’s hand picked by these proven professionals.

We don’t have time for any more landscaping company owners to decide on the fate of a university that’s failing miserably, nor can we expect the current board including people like Michael Bridges and Douglas Fecher to be able to even comprehend the mess they made without incriminating themselves.

Of course, DeWine picked a majority of these people and has stood by them as the ship sank- so, ultimately, the buck stops with him. Time to act Mr. DeWine- before it’s too late.

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