The University of Wisconson-Parkside has identified areas where they believe problems may have occurred during their alleged “transparent” and “open” search for Robert Felner.
1. References – In the UW-Parkside search, much information obtained about Felner through professional references painted a very positive picture of his performance at both the University of Louisville and the University of Rhode Island. However, the number and type of references interviewed may have been insufficient, affecting the quality and breadth of information obtained. Information about a 2006 vote of no confidence by Louisville faculty was not shared with everyone involved in the Parkside hiring process.
2. Roles and Relationships – Based on current information about the UW-Parkside search process, UW System will work to clarify roles, responsibilities, relationships and expectations for everyone involved in the search process. This will include clear guidelines and checklists for individuals, committee chairs, external search consultants, UW System Administration staff and others. These written guidelines will provide clear procedures and mechanisms for gathering, verifying, analyzing and sharing all available information about candidates in a manner that ensures an unfettered, unbiased examination of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
3. Timelines – The timeline for the UW-Parkside search allowed roughly three months to recruit a pool of qualified candidates, evaluate applications, conduct preliminary interviews, check references, name finalists, schedule public presentations, interview finalists and appoint the new Chancellor. Compared to most Chancellor searches, this was a more compressed timeline – about two weeks shorter than the successful search for a new UW-Madison Chancellor. UW System officials will examine the impact of this shorter timeline on the search committee’s ability to fulfill its charge.
Let’s just go ahead and say it: That “transparent” and “open” process is probably the most broken and inadequate search process on the planet.
Meanwhile, dead silence from the University of Louisville. The public university (it’s not a private institution, contrary to popular belief among those who have a fear of rocking the boat) is now saying through spokespeople that it is declining comment because law enforcement asked UofL officials not to make statements that might affect the ongoing federal investigation. Of course, UofL doesn’t address that fact that comments can be made that don’t impact said federal investigation. But that would require too much work for somebody and more transparency than most can handle.