One of the two finalists for the top job at Chicago State University showcased her vision for the school's new brand last night with an interactive video presentation featuring a new slogan: “Ready to go.”
Carol Adams is currently secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Her video, set to John Legend’s “Green Light”, had bright-green highlights and showed time-lapse shots of the city juxtaposed with students in classrooms and labs.
The video was heavy on diversifying CSU’s course offerings to include webcasts, podcasts and courses that can be delivered on smartphones.
Adams says the video was a volunteer effort of her and several colleagues from the Digital Cartel, a multimedia collective she helped create while at Northeastern Illinois University.
Her co-finalist, Wayne Watson, the chancellor of the City Colleges, will be on campus at CSU all day today for a similar set of interviews. Faculty and students have criticized both candidates for bringing baggage with them and for being political insiders.
By the end of the day, Adams had found a few allies among the faculty and staff.
Julian Scheinbuks, the director of CSU’s office of distance learning, was pleased to see Adams’ video and her desire to promote the school’s online course offerings.
“She knows how to listen, she knows how to work with people and she knows how to implement changes,” Scheinbuks says. But he sees Adams’ lack of scholarly credentials as a weak spot, and something CSU needs in its next leader.
“They need someone in the president’s office that is a scholar that knows people on the cutting edge of disciplines,” he says.
During a session in the afternoon, one person asked Adams to imagine that she was queen over a table of knights looting the kingdom’s coffers, and how she would handle the situation.
“First you’ve got to audit those knights,” Adams said in response, drawing applause and laughter from the room. “You’ve got to watch those pennies and see what happens.”
At the end of one session, Sandra Ballantyne, an administrative clerk, asked Adams, “Would you be seen on campus?”
“Every day,” Adams replied. “You’ll get tired of seeing me.”
“That’s what I like to hear,” Ballantyne said with a laugh.
While Adams said again and again she would challenge the status quo and move CSU forward, some faculty remained concerned about how much of a role politics would play under Adams.
“She will serve her bosses,” says philosophy professor Paul Gomberg.
Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.