Trapped at a Wisconsin Technical College! Provost Slams Teachers and Donors; “Our Only Choices Are to Retire or Die”

Gateway Technical College sits on the banks of Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin. The college covers three counties in southeastern Wisconsin including Kenosha, Racine and Walworth. Gateway bills itself as a “model college,” offering 65 programs and claiming to have a “near 100% student satisfaction rate” with its 21,000 students. With these kinds of numbers it’s easy to assume the college is a dynamic and innovate place to study and work.

Zina Haywood is the Executive Vice President and Provost of Gateway Technical College, a position she has held since 2006. Zina has held various other positions in her 22 years at Gateway including Vice President for Student Services. This followed her time as the Director of Student Financial Aid and Employment at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and as Manager of Student Loans and Scholarships at Oakland University.

The college is led by its President Bryan Albrecht and Provost Zina Haywood. The duo heave led Gateway’s programs for the last 11 years and outwardly it appears that it has been smooth sailing for Gateways faculty, students and stakeholders.

“Gateway is a horrible” says one Divisional Associate who wanted only to be called ‘Mary.’ “I have worked at Gateway for years and I cannot remember a time when employee morale was so low.” Mary goes on to say how many faculty and staff are tired of the activities of Gateway’s leadership.

Behind closed doors Zina complains how lazy the teachers are at Gateway. “They just won’t work unless I threaten them. I would fire all of them if I could.” According to Mary, Zina will rarely visit the Elkhorn, WI campus because she believes, “they’re all racist rednecks in Walworth County.” The college employs approximately 600 faculty and staff on its multiple campuses.

Faculty are not the only ones on Zina’s radar. Donors are not immune from her wrath. According to Mary, Zina says that the administration refers to Gateway donor S.C. Johnson family as “Spoiled Child of Johnson.” Zina believes they were handed everything without having to work for anything in their life.

Another donor to Gateway is Snap-On Inc. The maker of tools and equipment has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Gateways automotive program and is not immune either. According to Mary, Zina believes that if she ran the company “it would be worth billions, but I would have to replace all the executives to get there.”

Dr. Bryan Albrecht has served as Gateway’s President since 2006. Serving as the college’s chief executive, Dr. Albrecht oversees the college’s 70 academic programs, 9 campus and center locations, and a comprehensive $160 million budget and a progressive $4 million college foundation. Gateway represents Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties and has an economic impact of more than $400 million annually.

Apparently the leadership at Gateway is not grateful that these companies have made large donations to help improve the lives of students and the community. There seems to be a sense of entitlement when it comes to the other people’s money.

Mary however, says that all is not terrible. “I like most everyone that works here. There are so many teachers and staff who work very hard to help the students. I just wouldn’t want my son to work or go to school in this negative environment.” “One thing about Gateway is that Zina and Bryan actually like to get rid of faculty and make sure they can’t get another job.”

A Dean for several of Gateways many programs was asked about blackballing of employees. The Dean initially denied that this took place. However, when pressed, he stated that “Yes, it’s true. That is why the Deans do not leave Gateway. We can’t! Zina and Bryan have this mentality of you are either with us or against us. Most of the VPs and Deans wish they could leave but they cannot unless you want an end to your career. Our only choices are to retire or die.”

When asked if this also pertains to faculty and staff, he replied “Yes, most definitely. It has been the dirty little secret here for a long time. Gateway is where careers of teachers come to die.” When asked about Zina’s statements about donors. He confirmed, “I have heard Zina say those things too.”

Another  administrator confirmed both accounts of the current employees.  “I feel like I am in a black hole where there is no escape. Unfortunatley, there is no way out.  I feel so sorry for the faculty who have been attacked by Bryan and Zina. Its not just a war on teachers but administrators too.”

It looks like the ivory tower is in southeastern Wisconsin, and its thriving at Gateway Technical College!

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C. Fong

Independent Journalist publishing in Asia and North America

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