Juxtaposition is a wonderful thing and, sometimes, hints at something interesting. Here’s a set of fruitful contrasts. First is the story about the beleaguered U.I. president, Michael J. Hogan, confessing to what he calls a “communication shortfall” (“U. of Illinois President Acknowledges Communication Shortfall“). Among other things, these “shortfalls” may include asking his personal assistant, Lisa Troyer, to send faked anonymous emails “designed to sway a faculty governing body’s decisions on enrollment management.”
That’s seems a little beyond “communication problems.” Once the emails were discovered Troyer resigned and Hogan rewarded her for falling on her sword with a tenured faculty appointment. Meanwhile, over in the “Administration” section there’s a piece about proprietary school’s ongoing effort to buff up their image by changing their vocabulary (“By Any Other Name: For-Profit Colleges Watch Their Language“). Project Rose, as its called, is essentially a shift from corporate terms to traditional university terminology. It’s professional truthiness.
One helpful comment in the Hogan story points to a study called, “Narcissistic Leaders and Group Performance,” which suggests a link between an “arrogant and overly dominant” leader who’s perceived strengths actually result in communication problems. Maybe. I’m thinking this is one of those “moral hazard” problems. Hogan and his ilk know that there is no price on failure, beyond a temporary embarrassment. We’ll see how much he’s paid if he has to resign and who hires him next.