Ex-Tech admin. hired for 'expertise'

By Leah Cooper, Managing Editor
On September 26, 2008

ASU hired a former Texas Tech administrator nearly two weeks ago who, according to Rallo, will help maximize the benefits of being a part of the Texas Tech University System. Robert Shindell, ASU's new special assistant to the provost, Dr. Donald Coers, accepted the one-year, six-figure-salary contract. Both Rallo and Coers said Shindell was hired because of his unique qualifications regarding recruiting, contacts at Tech and history with the TTUS.

"We are looking at somebody who has been at the institution (Tech) for years, who has certain expertise," Rallo said.No one else had been interviewed for this position, according to the president, and Shindell was an opportunity to meet the needs of a growing campus.

Dr. Charles Endress, faculty advisor for the Center of Academic Excellence, said that it seems peculiar not interviewing other individuals given the importance of the position and the salary attached to it.

"Given what we are trying to do-recruit and retain students-you'd think there would have been a national search," Endress said. "You can connect the dots."

According to Sharon Meyer, vice president for fiscal affairs, his salary will come from university reserves and was not listed in the originally-published budget for 2008-2009. Meyer said the position Shindell is working in now had to be created and did not exist prior to his employment. According to Tech, Shindell's previous salary was $132,600.

Discrimination Case According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, one of Shindell's former co-workers reported that he "denied her opportunities to advance in her job because of her national origin," and made comments about her body.

Jennifer Diaz, who worked with Shindell in Tech's business college's Career Management Center, also said Shindell once slapped her near the upper thigh and butt, saying that continuing to eat fast food would make her gain weight, according to the story. The newspaper also said Diaz dropped the discrimination case against him in exchange for a $30,000 a year salary increase and another $20,000 for compensation. The Avalanche-Journal also said Shindell denied the allegations and reached a resignation agreement with the university in June, but said it had nothing to do with the complaint.

Rallo's response to these claims about the new employee: "I don't think it's an issue whatsoever."

Rallo said that it is understandable for people to react to Shindell's past, but ASU should focus more on his professional experience as a benefit.

"Everyone needs to be concerned, but I think also we need to understand that the person was hired because of the expertise based upon recommendations, based upon opportunity," Rallo said.

Rallo said that it is a valid point to question what kind of example this is setting for the university.

"I'm not trying to minimize that, but the person also has the track record of ten or twelve years.

What will Shindell do for ASU?¬According to Coers, Shindell will focus several initiatives: an economic impact study, enrollment management, goals to reach Hispanic Serving Institution status, and other ways to take fullest advantage of ASU's merger with Tech.

Shindell will work on high level, special projects, such as, a study to comprehend how much economic impact ASU has on the community.

"We had a need, we had an opportunity and so we hired an individual," Rallo said.

Texas Tech also completed the economic impact study and Rallo wants to use their model for ASU.

"A lot of people don't realize what economic impact the university has." Rallo said. "We want to go out there and say 'For every new student, what does that represent in terms of buying power in the community?'"

For example, the construction of Centennial Village, according to Rallo, represented approximately $28 million. "That put a lot of people to work," Rallo said.

Coers and Rallo first met Shindell last fall when ASU aligned with Tech. According to Rallo, they found out about Shindell and his experience with enrollment management. "I know we are going to get a good product and I know it's going to help the university."

Facts about ShindellPrevious Employment• Associate Vice President, Recruiting & AdmissionsTexas Tech University June 2007 - September 2008

• Director, CMCRawls College of BusinessJanuary 2003 - May 2007

• Director, CMCMidwestern State UniversityOctober 2000 - December 2002

• Associate Director, Cooperative Education & PlacementCollege of EngineeringThe University of ToledoJanuary 1997 - October 2000 Education• Texas Tech University Ph. D. (ABD), Higher Education Administration, 2003 - 2009 (expected) Dissertation in process: "A predictive model of student persistence in a college specific environment."

• Midwestern State University M. Ed., Training & Development 2000 - 2002 • University of Toledo B. Ed., Education 1990 - 1995

According to Midwestern State University's "The Witchitan," Shindell "never felt comfortable (at MSU)."

"I loved the students and the people that I worked with, but how my peers treated me was pretty poor," Shindell said.

Additional Links:Lubbock Avalanche-Journalhttp://www.lubbockonline.com;

Linked In detailing Shindell's professional experiencehttp://www.linkedin.com Lubbock News Radio 1420http://www.newsradio1420.com

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