Rocket Nation Recovery Part 44 – A Question of Ethics

The UToledo Provost search is about to end. Faculty, staff, students, and trustees are meeting with the final two candidates.

There seems to be a consensus that both candidates are nice people with solid academic experience. But do they have the crisis management experience to immediately stop the enrollment, financial, and morale crisis?

But there is a bigger question for UT leaders and trustees to address before hiring either Provost candidate.

Since 2006 UT has been caught in a do loop. They hire a Provost. They last 1-2 years and either quit or get fired. An Interim Provost is brought in for 12-18 months. A new Provost is hired. They last 1-2 years and either quit or get fired. UT has repeated this cycle for 18-years.

With no changes to UT’s top leader or trustees, what are the statistical odds of either Provost candidate surviving more than 1-2 years – – and the cycle repeating itself? Does UT have the financial wherewithal to repeat this cycle?

What has changed with UT leaders and trustees that leads anyone to believe that “this time” they will break this vicious 18-year cycle?

Is it selfish and self-serving for UT leaders and trustees to ask an outsider to come in, who knows nothing about UT, without crisis management experience to do their dirty work? If current leadership can’t make and support these tough decisions now, how is it possible that either candidate could do so?

Would it be more prudent and ethical for UT leaders and trustees to stop the search? Take personal ownership to make the tough decisions and execute immediate change to stop the crisis? And then recruit a new President, Provost and VP Enrollment to reignite The Rocket Nation?

The more concerning problem is that UT leaders and trustees are not on the same page about the magnitude of the problem.

Can a problem be solved if you do not admit there is a problem? If you admit there is a small problem then you look for small solutions. If you admit there is large problem then you look for large solutions. Is it safe to conclude that UT is facing a magnitude 10 on the Richter scale problem with:

  • The pace of key faculty leaving accelerating?
  • Enrollment down by nearly 50% over the past 10-years with no plan in place and end in sight?
  • Financial reserves drained, cash flow strained, and another large budget cut on the way?

Is it time for UT leaders and trustees to look for large changes? Is time for them to either make the big, tough decisions to immediately stop the enrollment, financial, and morale crisis – – or selflessly and courageously step down?

If you were a trustee what would you do?

It’s ok to feel uncomfortable in a crisis. Please pray for thoughtful, compassionate accountability and urgent actions to revitalize The Rocket Nation.

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