Monday, March 01, 2010

Rossbacher Background and Other UA Presidential Search Notes

We only got the names late Sunday afternoon and I don't have time to do this justice, but since Dr. Rossbacher is the 'Outsider' whom
Alaskans know the least about, here's a little I've found to get  a sense about her. 

[Photo from Southern Polytechnic - President's Page.]

There's an audio interview from last August with Dr. Rossbacher at tagtvonline.

According to this audio, Dr. Rossbacher is the first woman geologist to be a college president in the United States.
Enrollment this fall is a record high of over 5,000 students. 

She's the President at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia.  Their website shows a school with a heavy emphasis on engineering and technology - befitting a Polytechnic.  The five schools include:

What I notice about the University website is its transparency regarding how the university works.  There's one page that has all the (presumably) key committee minutes avaiable for the last few years, as well as a blog-like report called the Weekly Blab.  This is appears to be the page of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  You can check out all the key committee meeting minutes and the Weekly Blab. 

The Faculty page includes a lot of links - including back to the Vice President of Academic Affairs page.  Here are some other things on that page:

Here are some things that may be of interest to new faculty:

Here are some things that may be of interest to advisors:

Text of Speeches [from the President's Page]

I did quickly glance at the resumes available from the UA President Search pages.  Here's the vital information for Dr. Rossbacher.

And for Chancellor Pugh:

Here's the same information for General Gamble: 

GambleCV/Resume (pdf)
200 dpi image
Profile (pdf)

As I said, I've focused on Rossbacher because my time is limited, but I did look at the other resumes and found this delicious typo on General Gamble's page. 

Leadership may well be his strongest suit(e), but attention to detail appears not to be.  That said,  I had a typo on an important job resume once and got the job anyway, so I don't think this is crucial.   I'm more concerned at how much of this reeks of professional public relations jargon. 

"Reputation and personal leadership philosophy synonymous 
with outstanding character and performance."

This sounds like it comes from a book of phrases with which to pad your resume.  It's not the kind of language one expects from someone "known for face-to-face, consensus building style."  But is more consistent with "unpleasant decision-making such as tough recession-proofing cost saving measures."  This is the language George Clooney used when he fired people in "Up in the Air".

I don't know the General.  He could be fantastic.  I know General Tom Case surprised us at the School of Business and Public Affairs with his decency and willingness to adjust to the University culture instead of imposing a military culture.  But he was also severely handicapped coming from a setting where he had a thousand staffers who jumped at his command and stayed up all night if necessary to complete what he asked for.  Faced with faculty who saw themselves as their own bosses and no real staff to actually get work done , my sense is that he was tremendously frustrated as Dean. 


  1. Perhaps you should've looked up strong suite before criticising it as it IS considered acceptable...

  2. Anon, I was ready to thank you for teaching me something new, so I googled "strong suite" and got this:

    Did you mean: "strong suit" Top 2 results shown
    strong suit - definition of strong suit by the Free Online ...
    A quality, activity, or skill in which a person excels: Foreign policy was the President's strong suit. 2. Games A long suit in a card game such as bridge ... - Cached - Similar
    Strong suit - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster ...
    1 : a long suit containing high cards 2 : something in which one excels : forte ... - Cached

    Results for: "strong suite"
    strong suite
    STRONG SUITE. RIGHT: STRONG SUIT. “Strong suit” is an expression derived from card-playing, in which hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades are the suits. ... - Cached - Similar -

    There were people who used 'strong suite' but they look like typos. What would a strong suite mean? The definitions above say it refers to a suit in cards. Nothing suggests it has anything to do with a suite of rooms.

    If I'm missing something, please enlighten me.


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