William and Mary BOV: Rankings Matter!
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William and Mary Board of Visitors (BOV):
The College fell another 6 points in the latest (2018-19) US News College Rankings (from #32 to #38) not to mention the Law School dropped 8 spots (from #33 to #41) while the School of Education fell 24 places (#46 to #70). Provost Halleran came out and made the usual "we're not accountable" excuses (he's conveniently leaving and so are a lot of other people). Don't fall for Halleran's "Kool Aid." The USN&WR rankings are the "gold standard" of college rankings and their methodology is mostly objective. Because of your negligence and low standards (you select the president), student applications will drop next year and both grad school and job placement will be negatively affected (there is a proven correlation between this ranking, applications and placement). Here are some examples of your numerous failures:
1) ACADEMICS: The new COLL curriculum is a debasement of the former GER requirements. Also, there are more than 20 "studies" programs that undermine our academic quality. We are not preparing our students for the real world. Why would we saddle our students with debt if their degrees are unmarketable?
2) ADMINISTRATORS: There are too many administrators doing academically irrelevant things. W&M spends at least 50% more on administration than instruction. Why are parents and taxpayers subsidizing these employees to pursue personal political agendas instead of academic excellence?
3) ALUMNI: There is no independent alumni association. The "W&M Alumni Association" is controlled by the Administration and is now a full propaganda arm of the Development Office. In other words, the College wants your money but not your opinion. The College does everything possible to control the narrative and squelch criticism not to mention cherry picking facts. The WMAA functions to neuter the alumni as a constituency to be reckoned with.
4) ATHLETICS: Terry Driscoll built a great athletic program at the College. Let's continue to develop an athletic program (Basketball, etc.) that will consistently compete at a national level to improve school pride and spirit. You don't need a marketing department if you've got a great sports team. Duke and Stanford realized that 50 years ago.
5) CORRUPTION: State Senator Tommy Norment is THE most corrupt politician in Virginia. Why, then, is he still associated with the College? How were the BOV and Gene Nichol allowed to hire Norment as W&M's in-house counsel for $160,000 a year in 2008 (then Attorney General Bob McDonnell said the job wasn't a conflict)? Do we really need state dollars that badly? Do we have to throw-in with the devil when we don't focus on fundraising?
6) ECONOMY: The local Williamsburg economy is undiversified (it is overly concentrated on retail, retirement villages and tourism). We need to incubate more clean industry startups in the BioTech and InfoTech space. Guidestar is a good example.
7) ENDOWMENT: Still less than $1 Billion (this is the consolidated amount from 8 foundations). There are two ways to build a huge endowment quickly. NCAA Division 1-A sports or a medical school. UVA has both. W&L has a larger endowment than W&M (more than $1.5 B) thanks to Dennis Cross, a superstar fundraiser that W&M let go back in 2004. W&M also has a history of mistreating mega-donors like Lewis Glucksman and James McGlothlin. As a result, Glucksman gave much of his fortune to NYU and The Ireland Funds while McGlothlin has redirected most of his philanthropy to VCU and VMFA in recent years after the Nichol Debacle.
8) FACULTY: The faculty are allowed to do whatever they want. Doesn't the BOV realize that the supply of professors is greater than the demand?
9) FINANCIAL: Why are our annual financial statements always submitted late to the Virginia APA and why are we constantly being admonished by the APA over our internal accounting practices?
10) GOVERNANCE (esp. Board composition): BOV members buy their way onto the board by donating to the Governor's election campaign. There are 17 BOV members. Only 10 or 59% graduated from the College. At UVA and W&L, the number of undergrad alumni on the Board is almost always more than 90%. The W&M BOV is also too big. Look at the bios of the current BOV members. Many are serial board sitters and most are lawyers. The only one with any substantive credentials is H. Thomas Watkins. He's the real deal.
11) HISTORY (esp. symbols): The College seal is gone. So is the Indian. The College mace is also gonna get certain symbols sandblasted away. Now you're trying to change the "Tribe" athletics logo. Just stop! It feels like you're rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
12) PRESIDENT: The new president is yet another disappointment (she has repeatedly misrepresented her fundraising credentials). We wasted 12 years with Nichol and Reveley. Our last great president was Thomas Graves and he left office in 1984. Verkuil was a great fundraiser but had a short tenure. Sullivan tried to make the school more independent but largely failed. At least the new president didn't come from the Law School. That's where Verkuil, Sullivan, Nichol and Reveley came from. Why didn't the BOV look closer at their poor performances when they were law school deans? The B-School Dean should have been considered for president. He's eclipsed the law school in terms of raising money.
13) RANKINGS: Stop citing "success" in meaningless rankings and categories (e.g. Washington Monthly) to cover up failure. The only rankings that top students consult are the US News ones, especially the top tier universities ranked 1-25. Back in the 1980s, W&M was ranked #22 in the USN&WR College Rankings (mostly thanks to Thomas Graves). We have fallen 16 points since then to #38. That is unmistakably "second tier."
14) STRATEGIC VISION: The EVMS Merger was another lost opportunity. The BOV and Reveley were too feckless to pull the trigger. STEM is the future, not the law school (5 American law schools closed in 2017). Brown University created an Engineering School from scratch in 2010. Why can't we? We already have the Applied Science Dept. platform. Incidentally, we need to spin off Richard Bland College like we did ODU and VCU years ago.
15) STUDENTS: The students need a livelier social scene in Williamsburg. Let's move the fraternities off campus (they've been punished too long) and work with local merchants to develop more nighttime social venues (live music, etc.).
This is an unsustainable situation. We've been drifting for more than 30 years. Now it is catching up with us. Shame on the W&M BOV for directly and indirectly destroying so much academic and historic value.
-A Concerned Alumnus
You can sign anonymously on this petition. Comments are e-mailed automatically to the W&M BOV (firstname.lastname@example.org). We also suggest contacting the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Kelly Thomasson (email@example.com), to tell her to stop putting non-graduates on the Board (typically in June) who just want to network or social climb (that includes "honorary" graduates, a practice that Thomas Jefferson detested). We also need Board members with business and finance backgrounds (that's what Ivy League schools have) who are familiar with organizational dynamics and financial metrics.
CYPHER SOCIETY HALL OF SHAME (BOV Members Who Elected Gene Nichol)
1) Banks, Charles
2) Blair, Robert
3) Brashear, Janet
4) Capps, Thomas
5) Gerdelman, John
6) Gore, Sara
7) Herget, R. Philip
8) Magill, Susan (Rector)
9) Matthews, Suzann (Secretary)
10) McWaters, Jeffrey
11) Plumeri, Joe
12) Poston, Anita
13) Powell, Michael
14) Thomas, John Charles
15) Trammell, Jeffery
16) Ukrop, Barbara
17) Wolf, Henry (Vice Rector)
RELEVANT MEDIA STORIES
http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-wm-us-news-ranking-0912-story.html (VA Gazette story about W&M's 2018 US News ranking collapse; educrats like Halleran can't stand this ranking because it shines an objective light on their poor performance)
https://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2018/changes-in-methodology-impact-wms-spot-in-u.s.-news-annual-list.php (The College hypocritically attacks the rankings when they are negative and applauds them when they are positive)
http://flathatnews.com/2018/04/17/marshall-wythe-school-of-law-drops-in-rankings/ (The W&M Law School drops 12 points in the 2018 US News rankings)
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/15/hbs-professor-half-of-us-colleges-will-be-bankrupt-in-10-to-15-years.html (The College is headed for a Sweet Briar moment; will W&M survive another 15 years?)
http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-colonial-williamsburg-endowment-spending-20170919-story.html (Will W&M suffer the same fate as Colonial Williamsburg?)(W&M and CWF share many of the same board members)
http://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/dp-nws-norment-salary-william-mary-20170306-story.html (Detailed article about Tommy Norment's corrosive connection to the College)
http://flathatnews.com/2014/04/03/college-rankings-matter/ (This kid gets it. Rankings matter)
https://pilotonline.com/business/article_7a7fa5a2-5661-5eca-ac3f-8bd8b1838946.html (Colonial Williamsburg President -- and former W&M BOV member -- Colin Campbell is finally forced into retirement in 2014 after seriously depleting the CWF Endowment -- his compensation was excessive)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/05/22/the-leaders-failed-a-former-sweet-briar-board-member-speaks-out/?utm_term=.cabc55f98d72 (A former Sweet Briar board member/trustee admits that she and her colleagues failed the institution; Sweet Briar alumni did the right thing by sacking their college president and trustees)
http://flathatnews.com/2012/09/25/laura-flippin-resigns-from-board-of-visitors/ (The Laura Flippin episode was another black eye for the W&M BOV; this is what happens when you put politics over performance)
https://abovethelaw.com/2011/10/william-and-mary-running-out-of-places-in-williamsburg-willing-to-allow-william-and-mary-law-students-on-site/ (Relations between the City and the College are at an all time low thanks to the Law School)
https://pilotonline.com/news/article_d1ea7725-e855-5e93-8716-2bf335c43706.html (Robert Blair didn't really step down in 2008 because of the Nichol Resignation; this letter tells you a lot about the character of many W&M BOV members)
http://www.sterlingalljewellery.com/gurus/robert-blair-reviews/ (Here's why Robert Blair really stepped down in 2008; does the Governor's SOC do any background checks on BOV applicants?)
https://www.baconsrebellion.com/wp/nichol-resignation-narrative-looks/ (Gov. Kaine and Gov. Warner BOV appointees elected Nichol, the most destructive president in the College's 300+ year history)
http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-xpm-20060110-2006-01-10-0601100121-story.html (The BOV Gerdelman story involving a sex scandal at his Charles City home; if he can't control what's going on at his home, how can he help manage the affairs of the College?)
http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-xpm-20040904-2004-09-04-0409040122-story.html (Why did the College lose Dennis Cross in 2004?)
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