Hogan’s Rose

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.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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