Sunday, January 28, 2018

Michigan State University is living through its "Jerry Sandusky" moment

Michigan State University is living through its "Jerry Sandusky" moment with the recent conviction of Doctor Larry Nassar.  Except it is more likely to be a decade of pain rather than a moment.

I refuse to dive into the swirling mess.  That is what the legal system is for.

But I want to comment on the idea of "advance tremors".

The book Crisis Management by Steven Fink .  Fink contends that almost all crisis telegraph their impending arrival.  Surely there can be nobody in academia or industry who believed that Jerry Sandusky was a one-off, never to be repeated.

Due Diligence
"Well, we have a policy.  We have procedures..."

I don't doubt it for a moment.  But do you have documentation?  More specifically, do you have documentation that training on your policies and procedures was delivered to every person in a leadership or mentoring role?  Do you have documentation that learning was delivered?

"What do you mean...'learning was delivered'?"

Do you test the students before the training and test them after the training.  The difference between the two scores is the incremental learning...the learning that was delivered.  The post-test is a measure of the test taker's fitness for a leadership position.

It is ironic that this was standard procedure in industry two decades ago.  It was driven by ISO and QS standards.  Academic know all of those universities founded on tests, GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT and so on...don't see the merit of testing when it is applied to them.

It is my hope that some good comes out of MSU's Jerry Sandusky moment.  I hope ALL academic institutions exercise due diligence in the form annual training on policies and procedures.  I hope that they document that training with pre and post tests.  I pray that they use the post-tests as a gateway for continuance in leadership positions.

Only then will institutions have a firewall between them and the criminals who actively seek the "target rich" environment of universities.


  1. I hope you're right, but I think these MSU type occurrences are a symptom of Division 1 athletics; in particular, football and basketball. Low level criminality at Div. 1 universities has largely been ignored for years if it affects star "student/athletes". Money talks. Just maybe, a tipping point has been reached. Somebody has to tell those SEC football programs about this though.

  2. I don't want to sound like I am blaming the victims but I think some of the responsibility lies at the feet of the parents.

    We all want the best for our children but we must exercise discernment and constantly give things the "sniff" test.

    Of course high school kids will want to go to "spring training" in Florida or Myrtle Beach. It has a very high coolness factor and they are sure that is the only path to "the pros". But really; the downsides outweigh the upside and sometimes the parent must be the adult in the room and simply say "No."

    1. Right. I know several retired teachers, mostly with a liberal bent, and even they've told me it's not the dollars in the classroom that indicate student success, but what kind of family they were brought up in.
      I'm so old that spring break in Fla was just a college thing. Hang in there. You don't want to see one of the kids in some sort of viral Spring Break Youtube video. Yikes.