Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nepotism and favoritism: Can it be defeated at Northwest College?

Kick Off Blues
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
NWC’s Director of Student Activities and Orientation, Mike Taylor, was recently awarded as this year’s distinguished adjunct faculty. Congratulations are certainly in order and from what I’ve heard of Mr. Taylor’s instruction, the college got this one right. The same is true with Dennis Davis and in his distinguished full-time faculty award.

As the congratulatory remarks came in over the college’s email system, absent were any kind of comments from his direct supervisor—NWC’s Vice President of Student Affairs Dana Young. Further, given Mike’s accomplishments, it was even more odd/ironic that in the same year of his award, he has been removed from all but one of his golf classes for the upcoming summer and autumn offerings and replaced by the Vince Kobbe, husband of NWC’s human resources director, Heather Kobbe.

It’s likely that the good folks in administrative services and student life will defend his removal because the courses “conflict” with Taylor’s incredibly flexible schedule even though he had been teaching the classes for years. Could it be that Mr. Taylor simply teaches some of the funnest classes offered at NWC and a few bullies out there want some of that action?

While Taylor’s predicament is history, the college is now gunning to fill the Dean of Student Engagement and Success Director—a position that has been vacant for over a year and pays somewhere in the neighborhood of $70K-plus. I’m betting few employees of the college could recite the functions of what appears to be yet another administrative job in our top-heavy institution. One of the finalist is Deb Mills, spouse of the college’s Vice President of Administrative Services, Kim Mills. Speaking of betting, does anyone want to make a wager on who gets the nod for this position as well?

An edict is likely coming from the Governor’s office calling for budget reductions at Northwest College and other community colleges around the state. As a result, there’s a good chance a reduction-in-force (RIF) will be activated. And with commentaries like this, I wouldn’t be surprised to know that my position is on the chopping block. Nevertheless, I hope President Paul Prestwich also considers a little “spring cleaning” in his own administrative offices. While he’s at it, perhaps this would be a good time for him to remind us peons on the anti-nepotism/favoritism policy details at Northwest College—if there are any.


Anonymous said...


Change is a constant ... the good old "boys" of the Status Quo keep moving the marbles around to make sure power and the illusion of control is always in their hands.

Keeping the faith ...


Morgan said...

Had I written the headline for the NWC Trail Newspaper, it probably would have read, “Professor worries of (not ‘sees’) nepotism at NWC,” but that’s OK, I’ll take it as it was printed. Minor detail.

I did not charge the college with the practice of nepotism directly, but than, I’m not the most articulate writer. In my convoluted way, I simply asked if such a thing could be happening given the two events I cited. You know, smells like a duck, walks like a duck...

Imagine if President Prestwich or some other college authority (perhaps not Kim Mills in this particular case) would have sent out a memo upon the selection of the finalist for the Dean of Student Engagement and Success that spoke to the community about the specifics of what they are doing to ensure that nepotism is not a factor in the final selection despite whatever is stated and buried in the recesses of some institutional handbook. Given their healthy salaries and skilled backgrounds in the administrative profession, am I really asking too much?

Further, I did not make any accusations as specific as an unethical search committee or its members, nor am I attacking any of the existing multi-family appointments on our campus such as Wilson and Wilson, Bradburn and Bradburn, Schuller and Schuller, etc. However, people will read between the lines and if that’s the case, I’m guilty as charged. Perhaps I am the bad-little-boy who brings up sex education at the supper table—but at least we’re talking about it. (IMHO, all we need now is a bit thicker skin as I have little tolerance/tact when it comes to worrying about the assorted delicate egos around here.)

My letter simply stated what many people are thinking or talking about in their private little circles. Many folks on campus aren’t as closely tied to or in-the-know about how things work around here and when powerful names such as Mills and Kobbe come up in job searches, eyebrows rise up and heads scratch in suspicion.

Nevertheless, I was delighted to see Kathy Williams’ astute response to my letter as opposed to some vapid “Shame on you” sent to my email. And I appreciate her good sportsmanship—offering me the opportunity to respond to her comments as this is the last Trail of the year.

William’s rebuttal is a nice explanation of her experiences on search committees here at NWC which is much more enlightening and comforting than anything the college has provided thus far. I feel better about the process already. Yet, I’m not about to testify that NWC is exempt of unethical behavior. It’s my belief, that many of us would feel much better if the college was a bit more above board/transparent when these situations develop.

Anonymous said...

Just in: NWC administration appears to be more brazened than ever—in hiring the spouse of another powerful figure at NWC. Jeff Young, husband of Vice President of Student Services, Dana Young, has been offered the assistant men's basketball coach. And if things couldn't be any cozier, the wife of head basketball coach Andy Ward, Terri Ward, is a secretary in Dana Young's office. Mmmmmm, mmm. Look up "nepotism" in the dictionary, and there you'll find Northwest College.

Morgan said...

Jim Zeigler resigns as Athletic Director at NWC. I don't think this is just coincidence. My sources tell me he was completely circumvented in the hiring of this assistant basketball coach.

It's time for President Prestwich to do a little spring cleaning. Starting with Vice President Young and all of her cronies.

Anonymous said...

...and if President Prestwich does the spring cleaning that you're asking for, he should finish with you.

Morgan said...

Yes, he probably will as it's easier to get rid of the riffraff than the those in power.

Anonymous said...

or perceived power! As educated as you claim to be, it's shocking that you don't do any fact finding when you make comments and allegations. You are an embarassment.

Morgan said...

Yes, and where are those facts "Anonymous?" Starting with your name. Where was it that I made a claim about how educated I am? Please cut and paste that quote right here! Enlighten us all on the things that NWC does to make sure nepotism and favoritism are avoided at all cost... other than what is said in a handbook covered with dust. Where is the transparency when such delicate hirings come about? Where was the explanation to the college community about Taylor's replacement? Where was the explanation about Young's "fair" hiring? I suppose it's just coincidence that the tight little relationship that has developed in the student life office between one pair of individuals is now duplicated in another department with their spouses? Again, I'm not saying nepotism and favoritism is a practice at NWC... it's just that things look rather suspicious and the college is doing nothing to eliminate that suspicion. Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck... And you say it's not a duck! How convincing "Anonymous."