Friday, December 29, 2006

Running a Software Company on Punch Cards

When I was in college we programmed the computer with punch cards. I had a student work job feeding the cards into the card reader and ripping the results off the printer. It was so cool to work with high technology.

As you analyze SIU and try to figure out why things are going so wrong, imagine if you hadn't changed the way you do business for 30 years. The world was really different 30 years ago, technology was different and our national beliefs were different. When I try to figure out what to write about at SIU for this blog, I often think about what hasn't changed since 1984 when I graduated from college and write about that.

When I think about SIU and try to come up with how poorly managed it has been, what I came up with is running a software company on punch cards. No internet, no PC's and no cell phones mind you, just punch cards. You might be able to do it, but you would never keep up with your competitors.

As we watch Glenn Poshard "replace" administrators, maybe this is what he is doing? Looking at areas where people just don't want to change to run their area like it is part of the modern world?

SIU has been a slow moving and safe place. Nothing ever really changes, no great advances are ever tried, no real failure either. There has been a slow and gradual reduction in quality when you compare SIU with other universities. Is SIU better then it was in 1984? Sure in many ways it is. But if everyone else has improved much more, has SIU improved enough? It doesn't look like it.

Your comments are always welcome.

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