Friday, September 2, 2016

A Professional Retrospective

When I was child, I thought like a child -- When I was a teenager, I thought with my hormones.

I didn't give much thought to anything other than the moment and was consumed in high school athletics enjoying a fairly successful scholastic sports career that included all-state and all-conference football honors, basketball reserve, javelin champion, and solid baseball outfielder. My first year in college, I experienced a compound fracture of my left ankle that required steel pins to repair, a less than enviable academic experience, and went to work in a local carpet manufacturing plant. After five months in the plant I decided to go back to college to play football but just didn't have it and I still was nor academically inclined. So I opted for the U.S. Air Force.

I experienced my first academic success in an air force technical school at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS. That success was followed by my being the first individual to detect a dog on-board a Soviet missle shot into space. This was followed by recognition and advancement as an Electronic Intercept Operator and a Command Post Technician where I ws awarded the Air Defense Command's Commendation Certificate.
Following the air force, I realized I needed to be more responsible, complete college and begin a career. I re-enrolled in college, met a young lady, got married, fathered a daughter, secured a job to support my wife and daughter, brought a home, and continued college on a part time basis. By the time I was 30 my wife had died, my daughter was three, and I  knew I had to complete a bachelor's  degree and become a responsible adult. So I sold my house in West Chester, PA, returned to my hometown (Carlisle, PA), secured a job locally and enrolled in college on a full-time basis.

I was a full time student during the day and worked as a house parent in juvenile delinquent facility. An opportunity presented itself for me to return to the labioratory as a quality control technician on the second shift. Since this would allow me to continue school on a full-time basis during the day I took it.  After two quarters at ib college as a full time student, I had staright 4.0 average
 at night. Two tears later I was remarried to a beautiful young lady who agreed to share my life.

I graduated Penn State Harrisburg with a Bachelor of Social Science degree magna cum laude and was on my way to Syracuse University for a Ph.D. in Political Science (emphasis: Comparative Government).
Two and a half years later I had an MA in Political Science, finished my PH.D. course work in Higher Education Administration and was employed at Norfolk State University as the Director of Institutional Research.
The next three and a half years were filled with professional recognition, publishing professional papers, and holding national offices in both the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). In addition, my wife and I had two sons in addition to our daughter and things were looking good.
By now I was 39 years old and was actively looking for a better position in college and university administration with more pay and responsibility. I was offered an opportunity to explore employment with IBM however I was not interested in leaving higher education administration.
I was hired as the Executive for Management, and Planning at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. Things went well until the Chancellor who hired me departed (UALR) to take another position. A new Chancellor was hired, I was more or less demoted, and things went down hill.
A former colleague was hired as the President of a small liberal arts college in Alabama and he asked me to join his staff as Director of Planning, Management, and Analysis. During this period, the VP for Finance was discharged and I was asked to fill his position on a temporary basis. This I did until a new individual was hired for the position. The new person and the President were discharged and again I was asked to assume the chief fiscal officer's position. I agreed to accept it on a temporary basis until someone else could be found but was told that was unacceptable. I either had to accept the position on a permanent basis or be discharged. I opted for the later and was unemployed.
A good friend and colleague who I met in graduate school at Syracuse became aware of my situation and contacted me about a position with him as a planning analyst for a consortium named Graduate Engineering for Minorities  located at the University of Notre Dame. I accepted the position and we worked well together. My friend retired, a new Director was hired and he brought in a friend of his to be the Associate Director.. Within a year or so after the new Director was hired, I was dismissed.
Given my age and the family not wanting to relocate -- this was made clear before I came to Notre Dame -- I started a consulting service with my major client being the state of Michigan. After about three and a half years, the governor of Michigan declared a revenue shortfall and terminated funds that were used to support several consultants, including myself.

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