Archive for Friday, April 2, 2010

President of Haskell finalist for D.C. job

Federal official visits with university staff, students

April 2, 2010


Haskell Indian Nations University needs a full-time president, and questions about who should be leading the campus could begin to be answered as early as next week, a federal official said Thursday.

National administrator visits Haskell

The university has been led by several different interim presidents since the fall. Enlarge video

Larry EchoHawk, U.S. assistant secretary for Indian affairs, confirmed during a visit to campus Thursday that Haskell’s incumbent president, Linda Sue Warner, was among seven finalists for a job in Washington: director of the Bureau of Indian Education, which oversees Haskell and other post-secondary institutions, and provides funding for 183 K-12 schools that educate 42,000 students.

While Warner currently retains the title of Haskell president, she’s been detailed to out-of-state postings since September. Haskell has been led by a succession of interim presidents since then, as faculty and staff at Haskell have been divided over issues including those involving Warner’s leadership, vision and goals.

“What I have learned here, and what I think ought to happen, is that the new Bureau of Indian Education director and I are on the same page,” EchoHawk said, noting that he could hire a director as early as next week. “Then I think we’ll be able to take the next step.”

That next step would be settling Haskell’s leadership void, an issue raised by U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., in a recent meeting with EchoHawk and his boss, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The lawmakers have blamed a “lack of leadership” at Haskell and the Bureau of Indian Education for causing “chaos and confusion to the detriment” of Haskell employees and students, among other concerns.

After talking with more than 200 Haskell students, faculty, staff and alumni Thursday in the Haskell auditorium, EchoHawk acknowledged such “unsettling” leadership issues.

“I think this university deserves stable leadership … and I don’t think it’s a good thing when you have division among faculty and administration about what the direction of the university should be,” EchoHawk said. “I think we ought to have a unified system, where everybody’s pretty much on the same team, moving in the same direction.”

The direction: Use existing resources to provide quality four-year degrees and improve graduation rates at Haskell, he said. Next would be the possibility of adding graduate programs.

George Tiger, president of the Haskell Board of Regents, said that he was encouraged by EchoHawk’s “long-overdue” visit to campus.

He took exception, however, with what he described as the “aggressive” actions of Roberts and Brownback that prompted the visit in the first place.

“That aggressiveness needs to be used to get some funding,” Tiger said, after EchoHawk’s presentation. “That should be at the forefront of this.”

Tiger said he had asked EchoHawk to “strengthen the authority” of Haskell’s regents, to stretch beyond the current role of approving university policies.


Noweigh 7 years, 10 months ago

Let me make sure I have this correct. The US Secretary for Indian Affairs investigates serious leadership issues at Haskell arising out of the office of the current Haskell President. That same President is somehow amongst 7 finalists to be the next leader of the same bureau that oversees Haskell? Wow. Am I missing something? No wonder Washington needs to be overhauled. What a joke.

screen_name 7 years, 10 months ago

No, the US Asst Sec for Indian Affairs is investigating the serious leadership issues at Haskell arising out of the office of the current ACTING administration. Big difference. Before Dr. Warner was detailed out of Haskell, they just had a small core of disgruntled employees who didn't want to work complaining and protesting. Now with the current acting administration, that small core actually has influence now. Very scary....if you knew that small core of people, and then actually witnessed their actions, you would be saying, "wtf?"

screen_name 7 years, 10 months ago

And I had to laugh at George Tiger's comment. The LAST thing Haskell needs is for the current BOR to have more authority. And I repeat to George, "Lobbying for funding is YOUR job." Travel on your OWN dime, don't hold your hand out to Haskell and expect a stipend check for every little thought you have about Haskell that takes up your own time. But sadly, he, and other BOR members, will just never get it.

Keith 7 years, 10 months ago

Looks to me like she's done the tour, next she gets the authority. If she gets the position, I wouldn't want to be any of the roadblocks she ran into at Haskell.

haskellrises09 7 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Tiger: How much money have you raised for Haskell in all the time you have been on the Board of Regents? How many times have you been to DC to lobby on behalf of the University? How many of those trips were paid for by the tribes whose higher education interests you represent? Do you consider yourself to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution? What would you have done differently these past two years, if anything? Do you have any blame in all this? Just curious...

Regarding the next BIE Director: There are 4-5 American Indian/Alaska Native candidates and at least 3-4 of them are qualified, Dr. Warner included. I predict that if the individual currently in the BIE system gets the Directorship, Warner will be out within days or weeks. In my view this would be the worst outcome because it means Mr. Echohawk and his colleagues have decided that busines as usual is the best way to do business - and so they have taken the path of least resistance. If one of the others gets the job, excluding Dr. Warner, then there may be hope if they are given authority. If Dr. Warner gets the job, you can bet your *** that things are going to be cleaned-up at BIE and at Haskell and the ultimate winners will be kids and adults seeking educational opportunities.

You see, the Dr. Warner haters just don't get it. The BIE and Haskell are so contaminated by bureaucrats with entrenched interests that Dr. Warner is exactly the kind of leader needed there. She is not a politician or a touchy-feely manager who seeks consensus every step of the way. She is tough, direct, forceful, smart and relentless in the pursuit of what needs to be done to improve programs and services for students. Yes, she can be intimidating at times and occasionally may seem dismissive. She also has a huge heart and great energy. If it weren't for the fact that several faculty/administators/board members at Haskell undermined her from day one, she would still be there and the place would be well on its way to significant positive change. That's not to say she would be well-liked, though I believe that would come in due time. But she would have been and will be effective.

We will see in the next few days whether the leaders at BIA/Interior are truly leaders. We will see whether Mr. Echohawk's tears were meaningful signs of caring that inform courage.

We will see...

Signed: Ted A Wright, Ph.D.

sbobandme 7 years, 10 months ago

@Noweigh, Maybe you should not comment on matters that you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

George Tiger Lol what are you talking about? You are nothing more then a freeloader, you and the rest of your board needs to go. Twenty-five of free money from Haskell is enough for you.

More authority for your board I will laugh out loud. Haskell does NOT need you or your board.

Senator Pat Roberts has done more for Haskell in the past few months then you have in 25 years!!!

@ Keith they deserve anything that she can dish out to them, look at all of the *rap she took from them. May they rest in peace!

DWebster22 7 years, 10 months ago

I attended Haskell from 97 to 01'. There were some professors there who were clearly just waiting till retirement. One computer teacher used to have us tell her what love meant, or we would get a zero for the day and be marked absent. Others just had their own agenda and just kind of gave out good grades as long as you showed up. The food was horrible. Nachos for dinner? Seriously, a plate with chips and cheese put over it. Or a hot dog with no bun, and a scoop of beans. Then when the board of regents came to visit, they'd bust out the steaks.

Don't get me wrong, there were some good things about Haskell and some very good instructors as well, but there were a lot of things that needed improvement and it sounded like Warner was trying to do that. Here's hoping Haskell gets some stable leadership in the near future.

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