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So, what will Vallas do?

Friday, Mar 24, 2017

* I’ve seen a whole lot of stories about putting Paul Vallas in charge of Chicago State University. Some have focused on the fact that a white man would be running a predominantly African-American university. Some have focused on the various enemies he has. Some have talked about how Gov. Rauner wants to install him, which they claim can’t be good, except that Vallas ran with Pat Quinn against Rauner in 2014.

What I wanted to know was, what does Vallas intend to do at CSU? I talked with him about it a bit last night. It was clear that he had some ideas, so I reached out to one of his people and asked that person to get me some bullet points. Here they are, slightly edited…

1. Paul has already built a Strategic Planning Team. I can’t release names without permission, but this team is absolutely dedicated and has already met several times, working pro bono to prepare to conduct a comprehensive and wholly transparent review of CSU’s finances, organization, operations and education programs for the purposes of developing a long-term Strategic Plan for CSU. The review will include document review, interviews and listening sessions with administrators, faculty, students and stakeholder communities.

2. He will develop a separate budget with dedicated revenue sources to address the university’s long-term debt obligations and legacy costs. This will insulate and protect the university’s core operating budget to ensure financial stability and sustainability of the transformation.

3. CSU will serve as a “hub” of many CSU-curated, but not always CSU-generated, education, occupational training, and community support services. Like other prominent universities, CSU will also build capacity to launch programs that will not only expand education and job training opportunities, but that will also generate profits. These profits will be reinvested into the university including programs and buildings with potential reductions in tuition costs and increased scholarships, and used to help retire long-term obligations. (Also less dependence on state dollars – crucial in times like these).

4. Paul has already identified other local universities with plenty of programs but shortage of space. CSU has plenty of space, not enough programs. He will explore “swap partnership” space for their students, new programs and classes for CSU students – no cost to CSU, more & better programs for students – all to drive increased enrollment / more dollars to CSU – in spite of budget impasse.

5. He’s already talked to a prominent Silicon Valley tech firm interested in coming in to provide new tech platform at a cut rate. It is interested in helping out and is a fascinating project and a chance to “do good.” Its involvement would include tech internships and training for CSU students. Perhaps tech “lab” type course as the project is implemented. Increased use of digital learning tools at CSU will not replace the “physical” university which has ample space, but will be newly employed to:

    • expand course offerings, experiences, and learning resources;
    • Support blended learning and provide on-line courses and degree and certification programs – to drive increased enrollment.
    • Support student learning 24 hours a day/7 days a week;
    • Facilitate individualized learning programs;
    • Develop online and 21st century learning skills;
    • Increase student engagement, motivation, and completion/degree attainment;
    • Accelerate learning; and
    • Link both instructors to their students and to quality content, resources, and systems to help them improve their own instruction and personalized learning.

6. Will seek partnerships with international universities from African and Caribbean nations, for potential exchange, study abroad programs.

Vallas also talked last night about starting up a program to train a new generation of firefighters and police officers.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Geez, the guy wants the gig, that’s for sure. Nice to see big thinking going on here.

    Ummm… is Rauner on board with keeping CSU going? Given his past actions, I thought he was looking for a liquidator.


  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    ===I thought he was looking for a liquidator===

    Lots still do. But I just don’t think Vallas would take this gig to shut down the school.


  3. - LevivotedforJudy - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    Hire him ASAP


  4. - Who else - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    Agree with wordslinger- I thought it was a known (though unspoken) thing that Vallas was sent in to liquidate.


  5. - STILL WATERS - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    The previous person in charge of CSU had many of the same great ideas and he was African American. There are plenty of qualified African American administrators out there. Perhaps the Governor should search inside that box before appointing a Caucasian to the position. ‘JUST SAYIN’”


  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:04 pm:

    Vallas certainly isn’t talking like a liquidator.


  7. - Carhartt Representative - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    He has made a career being the white guy running minority education. He does have plenty of experience shutting schools down, but I don’t think he’s there to shut it down, but I expect them to try and change Chicago State away from it’s historic mission. In any event, I don’t think it’s good news.


  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    ===He does have plenty of experience shutting schools down===

    Where?


  9. - Anon - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    A shakeup is needed. The current administration has wreaked havoc. If they were concerned about their jobs, then they should have done a better job. I understand people making this a race thing, but at this point, there needs to be a person put in place to right the ship. No one is saying he will be president forever.


  10. - educator - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    Let’s hope CSU is not boarded up. IL needs the university. Educating inner city schools should be the gov’s mission.


  11. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:23 pm:

    Kudos to the staffers for coming up with so many long and different bullet points for the word “privatize.” Much better work than the usual Rauner press shop cut and paste.


  12. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:27 pm:

    ==- Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:06 pm:==

    New Orleans


  13. - Amalia - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    CSU is not an institution for African Americans only it is a University. that serves primarily the south side and southern suburbs. serves, but lately, not well. open the job up, but Vallas is a good candidate.


  14. - walker - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    Vallas has always been a font of good ideas. A planner at many levels. A multi-tasker across the public/charter divide. Appears to be honest and ethical.

    But…Has he got more than Quinn-level administrative skills?


  15. - Paul - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    Sounds like he wants to abandoned the historic mission and integrating the school. Doesn’t sound at all like he wants to provide the services needed to enhance a college education for the African American student. Instead of bringing a robust schedule of classes; he’s going to farm out space to other colleges with different agendas. Police and Firetraining for African American students or for everyone. The unique culture of CSU will be lost under this leadership.


  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    ===abandoned the historic mission===

    It’s not a traditional historically black school. It became one by default.


  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===New Orleans ===

    I think Katrina had something to do with that.


  18. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    –I think Katrina had something to do with that.–

    If Vallas can promise another Katrina, you know the tronclodytes will back him.


  19. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    The bias on this blog with anything affiliated or remotely attached to Rauner is stunning. Fear mongering,Vallas is more than qualified for this position and this outline of how to improve CSU is beneficial to all students, facilities and staff. Grow up.


  20. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    I should clarify from the comment section. Apologies


  21. - CSU Cougars - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 3:28 pm:

    The smear campaign against Vallas appears to be coordinated by the allies of former scandal plagued CSU President Wayne Watson (Friend of Emil Jones, Sr.) who still hold well paid positions on campus.

    Watson saddled the struggling university with several lawsuit judgments and out of court settlements during his reign of error. Enrollment cratered on his watch.

    While Chicago State University has a majority African American student body that occurred during the past thirty-five or forty years. The university dates back to 1867 when it was a normal school.


  22. - rafa151 - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    Page two of Thursday’s Sun-Times made the claim that everywhere Vallas has been - the graduation rate of Black and Hispanic students has gone down.
    Is this mostly true?


  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    ===Page two of Thursday’s Sun-Times made the claim===

    That column made a lot of weird claims.


  24. - What's Up - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    Seriously people, if you were drowning (like CSU) and someone tried to rescue you would you object is the person tossing you the life preserver and rowing the boat to pull you in were white rather than black?


  25. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 3:59 pm:

    Trib has a new story that some aldermen and religious leaders held a presser today against Vallas.


  26. - DuPage - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 4:33 pm:

    A lot of the hi-tech improvements they are talking about for CSU were implemented by some of the suburban community colleges 15-20 years ago.


  27. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 5:32 pm:

    ==- CSU Cougars - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 3:28 pm:

    The smear campaign against Vallas appears to be coordinated by the allies of former scandal plagued CSU President Wayne Watson==

    Not appears to be, is! Certifiable fact. They don’t want smart and ethical poking around the books, and the remnants of Watson’s regime want to keep their jobs. Why do you think the board gave Calhoun $600,000 to exit in silence? The race issue is a false flag. Calhoun is black but he was getting too close to exposing truths, so boom! He was out with a taxpayer funded windfall in 9 months. Same folks to a person that shoved him out are behind this. Funny that they think they are so clever when it’s totally transparent.


  28. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    ==- Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 17 @ 2:40 pm:==

    Just wanted to add since I didn’t get to on Friday:
    -After Katrina, Louisiana moved dozens of New Orleans schools to the statewide “Recovery School District,” (RSD) which existed prior to Katrina
    -Vallas and his successor closed every single school that existed prior to Katrina. Many never reopened, others were converted into charters. By 2014, RSD no longer operated non-charter schools.


  29. - Candy Cane - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    CSU is dying, the race of the doctor is not a prerequisite, just his skills. and with the influx of students from India, CSU study body may not be predominantly Black anymore.


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