My name is Andy Howe, Ph.D. I was the Director of Technical Assistance for The Hope Center and have known and worked with Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab for a decade. I would like to address some of the accusations that are written in "Hope’s Center Revolving Door" and "More to The Story," written by Colleen Flaherty.
Many of the accusations presented in this piece are opinions of a small group of past and present employees who are creating noise that slows down progress of every institutional partner of the Hope Center, and in turn, trickles down to our students needing support for basic needs. I personally hope people who read the piece can see how this is not news worth taken seriously.
The Hope Center is a fast-growing, dynamic organization with high impact. There are so many moving parts that it is impossible for one person, including Dr. Goldrick-Rab, to micromanage all aspects of the organization, like is insinuated in this piece.
Any President knows that sometimes they and others need to step into a situation when there is a problem with the work. The President of The Hope Center is no exception. Much is at-stake for the institutional partners. If someone isn’t doing their job or are incompetent and refuse professional development, then, of course, the President has not only the right but the responsibility to correct the wrong the way she sees fit – not because she wants to but because she has to.
Dr. Goldrick-Rab is a faculty member who is well known for her research and teaching. She also is a leader in her fields of study. Like any faculty who have been thrown into a leadership role can attest, missteps will be made. Dr. Goldrick-Rab has the leadership capacity to know when she has made missteps and goes out of her way to correct them because she cares deeply about the center, its mission, and the people who work there.
The Hope Center is also changing at a remarkable pace. My assumption is that the center that is described in the piece is not the same center that the ex-employees interviewed experienced. The center is a stronger because of its amazing staff, including its leadership. These changes take time to implement and improve. The center staff and its leadership, including Dr. Goldrick-Rab, deserve grace, compassion, patience, and applause for the impact they make on a daily basis because of the agility the organization.
What bothers me most about this piece is that the employees interviewed are attacking Dr. Goldrick-Rab personally. There should be no place in academia for this kind of playground antics. The personal attacks speak more about the ex-employees than it does about Dr. Goldrick-Rab.
I am not suggesting that The Hope Center is a perfect place to work – what organization is? I am stating that the Center is not the environment portrayed in this piece.
To that end, I loved working at The Hope Center. It is an awesome place.
The Hope Center