Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why do SIU administrators campaign like politicians?

I received a big envelop from SIU the other day and it contained a 4 page, both sides, fold out, super thick and glossy brochure entitled, "Research Profiles 2007." Postage was over $1 and the brochure must have cost at least $1 each and maybe as much $4 each. Then there was a little specially printed cardboard hanger on the brochure with SIU's logo and these words, "Compliments of John A. Koropchak Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Dean."

I know why SIU sends these sorts of things out, and maybe they data mine and only send these super expensive things to big givers? But, how exactly did I get this tax payer funded document that is "Compliments" of some administrator? Did he pay for it? Why am I getting expensive campaign literature, that claims to be compliments of some pseudo-Vice President type? Is he running for office?

If we ask about this, I bet they will tell us that "we didn't spend tax payer money." But that means they are spending donor money. I think that means they are wasting the money that I send in, by sending me fancy brochures, doesn't it? Why would I give them more?

One of the problems that SIU hasn't begun to address is how to walk the fine line between communicating and wasting money. Brochures like this one feel like waste. A quarterly email list, with fancy HTML email, would feel like communication to me. I guess the 70 year old fat cats, might like paper though. It isn't a clear and easy problem, but SIU should start to think about how they are going to handle this.

The appearance of wasting our money, to make yourself look better, is a place that SIU needs to avoid.

Your comments are welcome.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

All faculty and some staff receive those brochures also.

I spend about 10 seconds glancing at the material, then throw it away.

This is a shame because I think the brochures cost at least $4 (Probably more, given that we print them in-house, and everything done in-house has a 2X to 3X mark-up.)

I am not sure I agree, as you say, that the brochures are used to make us look better because of the large number of these brochures are sent to SIU faculty & staff.

I have to wonder why is the benevolent VC sending these brochures out at all?

Certainly, the faculty and staff do not need the high-priced brochure to tell them what is happening at SIU. We have email, web pages, standard paper copy, etc. to do the same.

Wouldn't this money be better used to upgrade facilities & labs? Could it be used to increase research incentives for faculty? Heaven forfend, give the excess $ back to the source??

Do you think that somehow, someway, the administrators choose to do this to move money to pet projects that would otherwise be unfunded? I pose the following question: what office gets the excess money charged for the printing services? Answer that question and we will know why the brochures are being published.

Anonymous said...

I formerly belonged to the NRA..until they started bombarding me with weekly junk mail asking for more and more money, for this and that..and it seemed like they were spending all of my dues on printing and postage. And that's a poor use of resources. So, I fixed that, didn't renew my membership. It's to bad I can't be as selective about what SIU spends my money on.

Peter in Carbondale said...

So, they have sent this brochure out to everyone?

I'm not so sure that it would be $4 in mass numbers, printing costs are way down. Check out internet sites like VistaPrint.com as an example. SIU can't do work like this in house can they? It is pretty fancy.

You really think someone is skimming money on this deal? Wow, I don't see it, but I'm not into cheating for money.

I assume that JK is sending them out to polish his reputation? Isn't he about to be pushed out by the new Chancellor? Clearly the power grab he executed in the chaos of SIU a few years back can't continue, unless they make him Provost. Think about that one for a while.

Scott said...

This isn't as bad as the silly brochure for the capital campaign they sent out last year that didn't even mention the capital campaign.