28 April 2010

The California State University System's Chancellor's Office

I spent a third of my work-week during 2008 working on a couple of projects with the Chancellor's Office. I have to give them credit; they're a governing body that came along after more than a few of the 23 campuses they govern had already been governing themselves.

Take us, SDSU. We scoff at the CO. No really; I've seen the President and Provost do it publicly. There are good reasons too, like "unfunded mandates" and directives that do SDSU more harm than good.

The latest one, the Graduation Initiative seems like a good idea. I mean who doesn't want students to graduate, and in a timely matter? It's just not that simple, I learned yesterday at a meeting with a bunch of CSU administrators way higher on the food chain than me. They should know, huh? Apparently improving graduation rates and time to graduation can be translated differently by different people. It could mean getting students through the system as quickly as possible. Quick isn't always good. For example, some people change majors and hang around a couple extra years. Some people are just slow. They have kids at home and other things in life to attend to. And some faculty aren't necessarily interested in graduation but rather education.  I think the bigger issue is that the CO tends to have an idea, go with it, bumble around, waste our time, then tries to fix it, all the while wasting our time. The crux of their infamous leadership style is this: They're a herd of cats, herding herds of cats.

Still, I'd rather work here than at Google.