Public Relations Specialist
4 years of service
Departure # 89
Director of Information Technology
3 years of service
Departure # 90
Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan
Asst. Professor of Education (CAPP)
1.5 years of service
A couple of years ago, I heard a Baptist minister speak of how we have our public lives and our private lives. The premise of the message was how we often may look like we are doing things the right way publicly but behind the scenes, when we are alone, things are quite different. We feel, think, and do things that are just flat out wrong – the antithesis of our appearance to the rest of the world.
My father also had some quips he would use to describe some qualities of people who interacted publicly quite differently than the way they really were in private. “Putting on airs” was one, “Boring with a big auger” was another. “March” was a name I heard to describe someone who would brag and boast with so much exuberance one would think of the March winds flowing from their mouth!
The above-mentioned qualities are in full display at Shorter University. We see the flashing sign at the bottom of the hill. We hear glowing words from Gerald Harris of the Christian Index and the Dowless administration of wonderful hires, strong enrollment, and happy students. It is almost as if they want to say “Peace on the Hill and good will to students.”
As explained previously on this website, the new faculty do not have the overall seasoning or available mentorship from established faculty to be as effective as is required to prepare students for life after Shorter. However, all that is trumpeted publicly is how the quality of education on the Hill is improving. Privately, there has to be some semblance of concern about the mishmash of new Deans leading the legions of new faculty, unless the tin ear that is extended to alumni concerns is also lent to faculty and matters of learning.
Regarding enrollment, all we hear publicly is how the enrollment is again over 1,500, and remains strong. Privately, there had to have been some gnashing of teeth while figuring out how to move figures around while conjuring up such an inflated number. Perhaps that style of math could be offered to students as a new course. (It would be deemed publicly to be dishonest, but apparently in private, all is fair.)
Speaking of students, all we hear publicly is how everyone is happy while skipping amongst the gardens and studying under the trees in front of the new multimillion dollar Nelson and Trudy Price Learning Center, while a gentle breeze may inspire other students to nap or throw a ball. Oh how great it seems to be a student getting educated behind the pearly gate of Shorter Hill. Privately, it is quite a different matter. Some students, especially Juniors and Seniors, are expressing legitimate concerns about the education they are receiving. Disorganization among faculty is rampant. The students feel as if they are on a rudderless vessel. How will this haphazard teaching and leadership help the students get into grad school or pass their boards?
Why does Dowless and Company engage in bragging about the blessings of Shorter? Why are they “putting on airs” about the quality of education and student life on the Hill? It seems they are “boring with a big auger” through constructing new dorms and negotiating to purchase more property, seemingly to prove they are acting boldly and moving forward with the “new” way of doing business at Shorter University.
Actually, this “new” way of doing business is REALLY what the private life of Shorter is all about. The condescending attitude to pre-existing faculty and staff is a quality of the new private way. A power structure that flows from the president and Nelson Price, instead of through normal administrative channels that are in place at other institutions of higher learning is a quality of the new private way. Hiring faculty and staff without consulting the human resource department is the new private way. Pulling enrollment figures seemingly out of thin air is the new private way. These are ALL things that the public are not to see or to hear of happening.
How many of the trustees are only listening and paying attention to the public life of Shorter? There is a board of trustees meeting that will be occurring shortly. Surely there must be one, two, or more that would dare to step forward and do their fiduciary responsibility. Surely at least one will look beyond the press releases, and discover what is going on in the private life of Shorter. They need to ask the hard public questions and search out the shadowy private answers.
Those in authority may tell any curious trustees to “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”… but that man is a story for a different day.