Thursday, June 23, 2011

ASU Breaking People

"I was ASU..."
A number of ASU employees found the week of June 13 a most difficult one.  Longtime, dedicated  staff and educators learned their services would no longer be needed.  Some received an extra stab in their self image, as managers cited more than budget constraints.  It's time to move in a different direction.  The department will be just fine without you.

I watched Shannon Health System break department managers after the merger with St. John's.  The system didn't need two managers for one job.  That's understandable.  The process to get there wasn't.  Shannon's and St.John's CEOs met behind closed doors, knocking out a handful of department head winners at a time.  The process dragged out over months, turning Shannon into a misery factory.  That was a long time ago, but ASU's current "nonlayoff" reduction has the same feeling.

Most people in education and healthcare are intrinsically motivated.  They do what they do because they love it.  Bad management systems interfere, even destroy, their internal fire.  The Standard Times posting of ASU salaries confirms to many employees the lack of integrity in the university's wage and salary program.  Employees with years of service can't get good answers as to why their pay is lower than people recently hired.  This is a basic obligation of management, to have fair and explainable pay systems.

I wrote about ASU a number of times this Spring.  Many were serious, research based posts on eliminating the Honors Program or ASU's QEP efforts.  A few were attempts at sarcastic humor, one with President Rallo conducting a Charlie Sheen like "Winning Tour" and another with Vice Provost Nancy Allen hosting "The Secretarial Apprentice."  While these pieces may have shed a little light or laughter in the darkness, they can't fix the significant harm being done to people.

Having worked in dark organizations in my career, I encourage ASU's downtrodden to stop, center and take a deep breath.  Take one step forward.  I don't know where it will lead, maybe out of ASU or away from San Angelo.  Nevertheless, you did the best you could, helped students and peers in the best way you knew how.  You made a difference for many in your career.  Hold that in your heart as you lift your gaze.  There's a need for good people in education.  May others see what the State of Texas and ASU can't

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