IWP says it’s in compliance with the necessary standards to maintain its accreditation, but its website, as of today, gives a false impression about the faculty and staff involved in working up to those standards.
Fully half of the vital Institutional Research and Assessment Committee (IRAC) either has been fired or resigned since July.
But the present IWP page about IRAC describes the committee as it stood early last summer, when the staff was united in preparing the monitoring report due last October 1 to the accreditors.
[NOON UPDATE, OCTOBER 30: This morning, IWP removed the names of the 3 people on the 6-person committee who were fired or resigned. The above link now shows only 3 members. See screenshot below for the page as it looked on the morning of October 30.]
Suppressing honest assessment of leadership?
Coincidentally, those now-departed individuals were the only ones on IRAC involved with preparing the required assessments to the accreditors about the performance of the IWP president and board.
That was part of their job to help the school maintain its accreditation. MSCHE considers independent, internal assessments of leadership to be important measures of good governance.
The registrar, vice president for student affairs, and interim dean are the only ones on IRAC who are still employed by IWP. But you wouldn’t know it from iwp.edu today.
The other members are gone: the vice president for institutional assessment and the vice president for professional affiliations and external affiliations and external programs apparently resigned for reasons not publicly disclosed, and the former vice president and provost was fired.
Purge anyone who tells truth to power
The problem doesn’t appear to be a mere oversight. Somebody seems to have modified the IRAC page to remove the latter’s title of vice president and provost, but kept his former professorial title.
To tighten his grip as calls mounted over the summer for his removal as IWP president, Lenczowski promoted his own daughter in September to control IWP’s public information. She is also the webmaster of iwp.edu, with day-to-day responsibility for the content.
One of the departed vice presidents on IRAC was the Chief Academic Officer listed with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which accredited IWP. Another of the ex-VPs was the designated Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) for MSCHE.
Dr Lenczowski fired the IRAC member who, as vice president and provost, had been preparing drafts of three important self-assement reports for MSCHE: (1) a faculty assessment of the IWP president, (2) a staff assessment of the IWP president, and (3) a faculty-staff assessment of the performance of the IWP board.
Under MSCHE guidelines, the faculty and staff were to have submitted their independent assessments of the IWP leadership to the accreditors with the October 1 report.
The MSCHE-required staff and faculty assessments of Lenczowski and the board were never written.
Lenczowski was also to have submitted to MSCHE a self-assessment of his own performance as IWP president, but he is not believed to have done so.
Those reports are required by MSCHE under the terms of IWP’s accreditation.
Lenczowski also stripped ALO duties in July from the other vice president, who later resigned, but he did not inform MSCHE until October, after ActiveMeasures.org raised the issue publicly.
The two IWP vice presidents on IRAC who resigned were also believed to be assisting with the drafts of the faculty and staff assessments of the IWP president and board, as was a faculty member whom Lenczowski demoted.
Lenczowski had been indiscreetly telling people for months that he had wanted each of the three vice presidents “fired” because they challenged his capability as president and CEO. Staff and faculty who exhibit slavish loyalty to Lenczowski personally are assured of their jobs and have even been promoted.
Screen shot of the IRAC page the night of October 29-30, 2013, falsely showing that the members who had been critical of the IWP leadership – and who were either fired or resigned – were still on the committee. Click on image to enlarge.
We have a datestamped screenshot of the page from the night of October 29-30.
The image is proof that, a month after IWP’s monitoring report was sent to accreditors, IWP was still conveying the false impression to the public that all was well on the compliance side of the house, and that the vice presidents and faculty most critical of Lenczowski’s mismanagement were, indeed, still on IRAC.
The names of the departed faculty and vice presidents, which appear on the screenshot, were removed from the IWP page after this article was posted.
Credibility gap with accreditors?
This represents a second major faux pas concerning the IWP leadership’s credibility with the accreditors.
Last month, IWP’s new executive vice president, Noah Rudolph, falsely told the accreditors that he was the “chief academic officer” of the Institute, when he is not a member of the faculty and does not have an advanced degree. After ActiveMeasures.org publicized the matter, Rudolph issued a statement that he had made a mistake.
IRAC is a key faculty & staff committee
The MSCHE accreditors are examining five areas of concern in which IWP’s status might be at issue.
IRAC, as the staff and faculty accreditation assessment committee, was responsible for addressing those concerns for the October 1 report.
Its chairman is widely regarded as highly professional and diligent. However, word on the IWP staff is that IRAC was not the principal author of the monitoring report that IWP ultimately sent to accreditors in late September. The IRAC chairman was methodical and thorough, but the report IWP sent to MSCHE has been described as a rush job.
According to the official Institute description of IRAC, “IWP’s Institutional Research and Assessment Committee organizes and analyzes institutional and other data to support planning, assessment and decision making at IWP. The office’s major responsibility is compiling and filing reports required by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the U.S. Department of Education and other state and federal agencies.”
The objectives of IRAC, according to IWP, include the following:
- To meet District of Columbia and federal external reporting requirements “on time and with accurate information”;
- To “organize, maintain and disseminate” IWP internal data “for . . . accreditation. . .”