Thursday, September 14, 2006

SIUC's WAG report

Here is a link to a copy of the WAG report someone sent me. I'm assuming that since the tax payers footed the bill I am free to put it on my server and link to it. The interesting thing about this document is that it only covers the technical side of the house, and excludes everyone else. You can read that the Southern at 150 is challenging and all the hype.

I want the report that was done for everyone else that shows how they can improve. If you have it send it over.

After reading this report, I don't think I would have done what the SIUC administration did.

The two groups that have big upside that are getting no external funding are CS and CE (a sub-department of EE). I would have attacked those areas first, looking at their management and how to upgrade results. The great thing about improving CS and CE is that there is student demand and jobs for those students after graduation at every level. Clearly EE is broken too, but fixing the management in CE would kill two birds with one stone.

Instead of going this way, SIUC administration decided to fix chemistry and physics. Rumor has it that John Koropchak has a mission to build chemistry above all other departments and he has been pushing lots of money into that area. The problem is that adding professors to those areas might get you research money, but there is no student demand.

The hard part about management is to look at documents like this report and figure out the right thing to do. For we poor folk in the real world, we don't get reports like this that clearly suggest directions to improve and it can be really hard to figure a direction. It is a lot easier to attack the weakest areas, with the most upside instead of messing with average departments. After the weak areas are fixed up, then move on to the next weakest. That is a receipt for the real world.

When university administrators talking about running their school like a business, it quickly becomes clear that they have no idea how to run a business. Lack of skills, knowledge and experience are just killers in the business world. It might be better if university administrators ran their schools like a school, that way they would be just a little out of their depths.

If you view the world as a place where you only have a limited amount of free money, quickly you figure out you should spend you free money on the areas that can help the most. Clearly, building great research departments that can not attract students is a mistake.

No comments: