Friday, June 15, 2012

HU, we have a problem. Did Eric Darr overstate his qualifications?

Now that Mel Schiavelli has decided to flee Harrisburg University in search of better retirement benefits, HU is left with Eric Darr running the institution. Robert Dolan, Chair of the Harrisburg University Board of Trustees said about Darr:

"His experience will be essential as he guides the university during this period of transition.”

Well said there Bob! Shall we take a peek at Dr. Darr's curriculum vitae?

Humm it looks like his last job at HU was to "Maintain the effective and careful stewardship of University resources and the efficient administration of the University’s administrative and business affairs....Serve as Chief Financial Officer and hold responsibility for financial reporting, budgeting, investment management, and debt management."

How's that working out for you there Bob? You know about the 2006 audit from Brown Schultz Sheridan and Fritz that found multiple "reportable conditions" regarding "significant deficiencies". You know the ones where they say "Certain cash disbursements where not adequately monitored" and documentation for "draws on the construction loans where not adequately enforced..." oh and the other reportable condition where they said "Management did not adequately monitor the allowability of program expenditures and ...did not not document certain cash disbursements..." I'm sure you guys figured out what happened to all those undocumented "cash disbursements" right? Darr's leadership set the standard for HU's financial success, right?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Darr's experience at HU in "the effective and careful stewardship of University resources" is not as good as it could be.

Oh, maybe Dolan is talking about Darr's past experience as a Chief Operating Officer? According to his official biography:

"Prior to joining Harrisburg University he was Chief Operating Officer from 2000 until 2004 at KnowledgePlanet, Inc., a software company located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania."

Huh. That's strange. According to the curriculum vitae (CV) Darr submitted to the Middle States Commission of Higher Education, not only was he not the COO of KnowledgePlanet from 2000 to 2004, he didn't even work there for four years. [Correction: This CV was submitted to the faculty when Darr was appointed Provost. Sorry for the error.]

Eric Darr's CV 2008
Furthermore, Darr's claims on his CV don't agree with information from KnowledgePlanet:

-In December of 2000, Scott Mumma is listed as KnowledgePlanet's COO, Darr is not listed as a member of the management team.
- In February of 2001, Darr is still not listed as a member of the management team.
-In February of 2002, Dick Anderson is listed as the COO, Darr is listed as "VP and General Manager, Services".
- In August of 2003, Darr is no longer listed as a member of the management team. (That would coincide with Darr's claim of starting a "technology services company" in September of 2003)

The evidence suggest Darr worked at KnowledgePlanet from sometime in 2001 to mid 2003. There is no evidence to support Darr's claims that he was COO for four years or the Senior VP of Operations at  KnowledgePlanet.  (An interesting side note: Alan Todd, Knowledge Planet's Founder and CEO serves on the HU Board of Trustees.) It appears Darr is publicly overstating his qualifications.

Humm.. Darr also claims he co-founded "Kalsher & Darr, Inc., (January 1989 - May 1992) Co-Founder, Pittsburgh, PA." Maybe he was the COO there? Oddly, I was unable to locate any record of this company being in operation. It was never registered or incorporated in Pennsylvania, New York or Delaware. Kalsher also does not mention the company in his CV. Odd.

What did Darr do between Jan 2004 and Jan 2005 when he claims he was hired at HU?

There seems to be some very questionable claims on Darr's CV. Even jobs that nobody cares about are a bit sketchy. Consider his claim of being a Test Examiner in the 1980's: "New York State Civil Service, (September 1988 - November 1989). Examiner, Testing Division, Albany, NY. Developed, administered, and examined job analysis to determine critical skills, knowledge and abilities associated with entry-level New York policemen. Generated police test questions and simulation exercises based upon job analysis results." Really? So someone that was a Test Examiner for a year mucked about with the New York policeman's civil service exam? Does that ring true to you?

Dolan also said about Darr:

"He has had primary responsibility for our academic programs and the recent growth in our enrollments."

I don't think that is the compliment that Dolan thinks it is. Since Harrisburg University has missed enrollment projections for at least the past three years, it's not exactly the growth HU needs. This is probably because Darr has exactly ZERO EXPERIENCE in the administration of a university. None, nada, zip. This might also explain the worse-in-class retention rates at HU.

According to his CV, Darr did a 4-year stint as an Assistant Professor at UCLA between 1994 and 1998. Apparently, he was not tenured and decided to move on. He also claims he worked for Arthur Andersen as a Senior Manager from November 1995 through June 1997 and at Ernst Young from July 1997 through July of 2000. How was he working as an Assistant Professor in California, researching and teaching and developing classes while at the same time working as a "Senior Manager" in Atlanta or a "Co-Leader" in Philly? Something seems wrong there.


Conclusion
I can't say with any authority if Darr's claims are true or not. At the vary least, his claims are very questionable to me. We've already seen he has no problem telling a public lie when it suits him. He also has no problem lying to HU's accrediting body. Can this guy be trusted at all? If you believe his CV, he never held a job more than a few years in the business world. It appears his longest employment stint was as an Assistant Professor. Certainly he wouldn't be qualified as a Provost or President at any university based on either his business or educational experience. His dishonesty alone would disqualify him from any position at a real university.


So if a blogger can figure this out, why can't the Trustees?

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You can reach me at watchinghu@gmail.com


2 comments:

  1. I can say unequivocally that Eric was not the COO of KP for four years. If he says otherwise, he is misrepresenting the truth.

    --Scott

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Eric, how about this one time you act with a little class and just resign?

    ReplyDelete