The following is the transcript of the speech given by President Henry Cotton at the National Higher Education Thought Leadership Conference. No portion of this text may be reproduced without the permission of Willard College, LLC.
“Dear Friends, Colleagues, and if I may be frank, Buddies,
Thanks for inviting me to the NHETLC. I’m a lifelong member and I know you all have followed Willard College with great interest. I get a lot of questions from college presidents. How do you manage to raise administrators’ salaries as enrollment and endowments plummet? How do I manage to hire enough faculty, or retain enough of those who already work here, to maintain accreditation? How do keep students happy enough that they rise up and burn the campus down with me in it? How do I keep deferring costly upkeep and repairs while avoiding catastrophic disasters?
Simple. Keep the money moving. Rob Peter to pay Paul. Spend enough to keep everyone just above miserable. Promise. Shift money to solve part of a problem, then shift it back to solve part of a different problem. Cash flow is key. Incoming tuition and federal grant money can stanch most open wounds, at least prevent a bleed out. Never admit a mistake. When confronted with a mistake, accuse the accuser of something worse. Keep your cards close, but play all of them, even the ones you have up your sleeve. Accountability is for suckers. Bend the rules. Write the playbook. Toss out the playbook.
Dear Colleagues, In a new paper published in the journal “Collegiate Studies,” Collegiate Studies Professor Chatie [pronouned ‘che’-ha-tee] McGillicutty argues that professors put in more hours, at greater personal risk to themselves, than the average US underground coal miner. Using advanced statistical models, which allowed for excluding faculty summer vacations, winter breaks, conference travel, and days during the work week when not teaching when making the calculations. “Professors are also exposed to a significant number of environmental hazards, including microwaved pizza, unvacuumed offices, and the emotional labor around working with other people.”
We also wish Dr. McGillicutty a productive sabbatical which she will be spending researching university faculty workloads in southern France.
We have commenced a thorough investigation to determine the source of the ill-founded rumor of money laundering by members of the Board of Trustees. We take accusations against the Board seriously. The person(s) involved in defaming the character of the Board members will face penalties, up to and including termination of employment at Willard College, or in the case of students, immediately expulsion with no tuition refund.
Sincerely, Gustav Kissenbezug, President of the Board of Trustees, Willard College ’95
We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Lester Caraway has been promoted from Interim Assistant Director of Faculty Enhancements to Interim Executive Director of Faculty Enhancements. Prior to serving as Interim Assistant Director, Dr. Caraway, who holds a PhD in Higher Education, held the position of Interim Associate Director Human Resources. Dr. Caraway will be sending out an announcement in the coming weeks about new and renewed initiatives designed to enhance faculty feelings of belonging and performance. Dr. Caraway is also chairing the Credit Reassessment Committee which is studying the possibility of the college offering micro-credit courses, including classes that would earn students anywhere from .1 – .9 credits.
Dear Excited Colleagues, Dr. Unicornia Halloumi has studied the health benefits of kale for her entire career. A fitness and health “freak” (her words not ours!), Dr. Halloumi began experimenting with kale 17 years ago. According to her recent publication, she continued to increase the percentage of calories she took in from kale and kale by-products. She then tracked the correlation between increasing kale intake and her overall sense of well being, emotionally, socially, physically, and gastro-intestinally. Since she was the sole subject of her research, she was also the control group who received placebo kale.
At a time when we are all wondering where higher education is headed, I thought it was a good time to set the course for Willard moving forward. Please keep present during the work day, and when at home relaxing, that “Students are Our Why, Faculty are Our Yes, and Administrators are our Because.” This simple line, a mantra if you will, can keep you centered and focused on our work moving forward as we face another challenging and interesting academic year. Keep the negativity at bay. With this simple yet clear phrase.
This message has been approve by Dr. President Henry Cotton and the Board of Trustees who hold the president in the highest regard.