Reopen the hiring process
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 11:09
Candidate forums for a new president of Palo Alto College were Aug. 30-31 for Dr. Michael Flores, interim vice president of academic affairs at Palo Alto and Dr. Ernst Roberts, faculty member and interim president at El Paso Community College.
Simple receptions for vice chancellor of academic success candidates Dr. Stephanie Hawley, associate vice president of college access programs at Austin Community College, and Dr. Jimmie Bruce, vice president of academics at Northwest Vista College, were Sept. 6-7.
About 300 people attended each candidate forums at Palo Alto while only 60 people — mostly administrators, or about one-fifth the number of people, attended the district receptions.
Why no forums for the vice chancellor candidates, just an opportunity for them to schmooze potential colleagues?
The vice chancellor will be responsible for overseeing districtwide initiatives, including Achieving the Dream and Completion by Design.
According to the online news outlet Texas Tribune, the vice chancellor’s position pays $181,030 annually, while a college president’s position pays $186,186.
A vice chancellor is technically a subordinate at the district level while a president is the titular head of a college, though in practice, authority seems be constantly sucked vacuum-like from the colleges to district offices.
Although the difference in salary is slight, logic dictates that a district second-tier candidate should be exposed to audiences across the district.
Under the last two chancellors, the hiring process for district-level administrators has been closed. No access, no identification, no background, no questions. Sometimes, the membership of a hiring committee is hidden.
A finalist is introduced publicly through the board agenda minute-order to approve hiring.
We are told how wonderful the new hire is and how perfectly suited to a position.
The explanation for a closed process has usually been to protect candidate whose employers do not know they are in the job market.
In reality, a large portion of highly paid administrators are always on the market.
The loyal, invested employees in much-less well paid positions, who are concerned about the quality, ideology, experience and history of their new supervisors are excluded from input, from assessing a candidate’s ability to truly serve the needs of the colleges.
Don’t worry, this approach announces: These are the administrators you are looking for.