Angelo State University President Joseph Rallo, calling the past year "tumultuous," said at the annual State of the University address that the university must brace for a future that promises to be "as turbulent."
This is a bad year for turbulence, given ASU's precarious accreditation status. Turnover dramatically increased work loads in many departments. Add the loss of valuable employees and the university's accreditation could be in peril. The Texas Legislature ramped up the risk of failure with severe budget cuts.
A major factor for the university's challenging year was the Texas Legislature's ongoing decision to cut funding to state universities.How much did the state contribute when Dr. Rallo came in 2007? What has he done to fight the steady drip of state funding cuts? Oddly, Rallo noted in Fall 2009:
"Less than eight years ago, we received over 70 percent of our funding from the state," Rallo told the faculty, staff and students gathered in the C.J. Davidson Conference Center. "That amount is now less than 40 percent and likely to decline even more in coming years."
So, too, is a marketing and branding budget which has grown from $30,000 to nearly $400,000 to refine our institutional message and create a family of publications with a consistent theme.Fast forward to today:
Employee pay, except in the case of promotions, was frozen and 30 positions were eliminated through retirements or employees leaving jobs that were then not filled.
Jobs reduced through retirement or employees leaving? Tell that to the six secretaries who heard their jobs were eliminated and needed to apply for three new slots.
Dr. Rallo did add jobs at the Vice President level. The Fall 2010 edition of ASU Magazine stated:
When Rallo became president in 2007, ASU had three vice presidents. He replaced the vice president for advancement and university relations with the strategy, planning and policy position. Until July and the arrival of Blose and Valerio, the academic and student affairs offices had reported to a single vice president.Dr. Rallo added his fourth VP in 2010. Instead of retrenching back to three, Rallo named a fifth in the middle of 2011's budget meltdown. The second administrative clang came when ASU formed a group to explore Division I athletic status while shedding jobs. A move to Division I requires a significant resource commitment.
Surely Dr. Rallo fought for his university during the tumultuous Legislative session. Sorry. ASU employees or alumni didn't hear any public battle cry. Search the Standard Times archive for Rallo mobilizing employees and alums to fight planned cuts. Better yet, search ASU's news releases around that time.
Area health care leaders held a public press conference to mobilize support, while Rallo remained quiet to the end.
People willingly die for leaders who fight on their behalf. They spit on the self interested and seemingly disaffected.
Data points to a shift in feeling. ASU made the Council of Higher Education's national list of “Great Colleges to Work For” in 2009.
ASU was one of 150 higher education institutions to be selected by the Chronicle after surveying faculty and administrators on job satisfaction in 26 categories.
It fell from the list in 2010 and 2011. That's what leadership tumult and turbulence will do.