Editor, The Messenger,
Unlike when Charles Ping arrived as president in 1975 to right (successfully) a sinking ship and serve for 19 years, we now learn that President Nellis, who arrived four years ago to serve at the helm of an apparently seaworthy vessel, is now abandoning a ship in distress. Perhaps this impending change of leadership(?) may not alter the course of the leaking vessel significantly, since it seems that for the past year or so a few highly paid and overly-bonussed upper administrators (wherever they may be in residence) have been at the helm of the university.
I do not want to be unfair to soon-to-be former President Nellis. He may have good and legitimate reasons for wanting “to continue my service to this great University as I return to the work that brought me in to higher education – my passion for working with students through teaching, research and service.” To that end the trustees announced he “will transition to faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.” This is encouraging news that the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) actually has teaching and salary space for a new faculty member, since in the past two years a large number of CAS faculty have been fired (in ADMINTALK that’s “non-renewed”), resulting in the cancellation or diminishment of several academic programs. However, we know from the business world that golden parachutes do not come cheap these days, so a few programs and long-time faculty members are certainly worth the price of a sinecure for a former, short-term, president.
One hopes that any future administration can avoid the dangerous shoals of shortsightedness and strategic clichés that have plagued the present crew.