Last month I opined here that Concordia University was faced with a tough problem. Their president had just decided to quit, and the second-in-command position (provost and VP academic) was vacant. That left them with the unenviable choices of either appointing another VP to the position (all of whom were experts in their jobs and only one had a PhD — the one they appointed as interim provost), or going further down the food chain to find a PhD candidate with little leadership experience.
It looks like they’ve opted for the first choice, appointing VP Services Michael Di Grappa as “acting president” (not to be confused with “interim president” whom they will appoint later, or “president” whom they will appoint … later later).
And while a search committee finds a new president (and a new provost), a special executive committee will find an interim president.
Di Grappa doesn’t have a PhD. His highest academic credentials are a Master’s of public policy at New York University. He also doesn’t have much academic experience. As VP Services, he’s responsible for making sure
the escalators run the buildings stay upright, classrooms have video projectors, and registration happens properly.
Considering the apparent very short nature of this appointment, it’s not like it’ll matter very much. Plus the fact that as a senior administrator for seven years he’s been involved in major administration decision-making.
As sad as it is, it’s probably the best solution to a horrible problem that Concordia’s board of governors has no one to blame but itself. Unfortunately it creates a situation where people the guy running a university granting PhDs hasn’t earned one himself.
UPDATE (Oct. 20): David Bernans, the non-student student activist, has naturally started a Facebook group advocating Di Grappa’s immediate dismissal. I’m sure Concordia will act immediately based on his demands.
UPDATE (Oct. 30): A letter-writer to The Link points out that Columbia and Harvard had presidents who were PhD-less.