That was apparent to me in the fall of 2007, when their president of 25 years, Julio Leon, stepped down in the second year of a three-year contract, effective immediately, after some disagreements with its Board of Governors. Contrast that with Western where you, Dr. Scanlon, gave the university a year advance notice, ensuring we could take our time finding a replacement and not need an interim president. As a member of the selection committee, I was impressed by the professionalism of the search process, which included members visiting the campuses of finalists and bringing three candidates to Western for interviews. Southern did not employ such rigor and only ended up bringing one candidate to Joplin. That is not to imply MSSU President Bruce Speck was not a qualified candidate—indeed, he was one of our finalists before we chose you, Dr. Vartabedian—but many on campus probably felt like they were not given a choice. The situation has only deteriorated since then:
• Several programs, especially the International Studies program that is central to Southern’s state-mandated mission, have been severely cut.
• Faculty and staff pay has been frozen for two years at Southern.
• Opposition to Speck and long-time Board of Governors member Dwight Douglas was so strong that a blog (which garnered as many as 1,000 hits in one day) focusing on their shortcomings was created.
• Several high level administrators have resigned, including a vice president for academic affairs who resigned after only three weeks on the job.
• Southern’s faculty senate, outlining 23 criticisms of Speck for “failures of leadership, management, shared governance, judgment and public embarrassment,” overwhelmingly passed a vote of “no confidence.” A vote of the entire faculty will be held Nov. 2.
While such controversy might make the front pages of this newspaper a bit more interesting, I for one am glad we have had a level-headed Board of Governors and drama-free presidents like the two of you.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Missouri Western letter praises that university's leadership, makes unfavorable comparison to Missouri Southern
If you want more proof that Bruce Speck's tenure as president has helped make a laughingstock out of Missouri Southern State University, you need look no further than a letter to the president and former president of Missouri Western printed in the university's newspaper, Griffon News. In a letter praising the quiet, effective leadership at that university, the following comparison was made to MSSU: