Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Deans List

One of the original issues this blog began with was the topic of improper firings, dismissals and reassignments of high-ranking administrators (including the Vice President for Instruction and several college deans), along with high-ranking staff members (including budget managers).
Progress has been made in identifying the "who" and "why" in these cases, but more needs to be done, and needs to be done quickly, as the issue of Abuse of Power continues to hang over all these discussions like a pall.
Several names of people who have suffered retaliatory personnel actions have now been mentioned in the press and in this and other blogs.
V.P. Garcia's case has been the one most widely discussed; we are told that internal and external complaints are pending.
Regarding the deans on the list, reports vary as to the degree and type of mistreatment that occurred or is alleged.
In some cases deans and budget officers on the list were threatened and badgered by the Provost more or less publicly (i.e., in meetings with witnesses).
In other cases, we are told that a dean "stepped down" or a budget officer "resigned" - which implies that the action was taken voluntarily, but other sources assert that it was not voluntary at all; rather, the dean or budget officer was pressured, threatened, badgered. Or that the "resignation" deal included a promise not to talk about it publicly.
It is not our job to compile the complete list from the media and blogs, nor to delve into the exact nature of the charges - which in some cases cannot, for legal reasons, be discussed in informal proceedings. But that job must be done. It is imperative that the complete lists (Deans list, Administrator list) be compiled and that the charges be reviewed by a committee of the Faculty Senate, perhaps in consultation with a representative or a commission of the Board of Regents. If they don't do it, the media will. And if that happens, the results will be more messy and more controversial. We therefore urge that this matter be taken up expeditiously by the duly constituted authorities, and that the UA community be given the assurance that the duly constituted authorities are indeed not waiting for all of this to "blow over" or just go away. It will not blow over. It will not just go away.
The sooner we have that assurance, the sooner some of the pressure will be lifted, so that we may proceed with the difficult course adjustments that need to made - openly, transparently - with a renewal of leadership, trust, and shared purpose.

Update 9/19/2009 : NEW DEANS LIST
Arizona Daily Star, "Deans List : Turnover At the Top at UA"
How many deans have been recently replaced? One or two? Or was it at least 9 ?
That’s the count Becky Pollack of the Arizona Daily Star came up with by comparing the current lists of Vice Presidents and Deans (from the Provost’s website) with the list of Deans in 2007-2008. Her conclusion: “Among the vice presidents there have been eight changes and four have stayed the same. Among the deans, eight are the same and 11 are new (not counting deans of UA South, admissions and Honors).”
The list of 11 dean changes tabulates as follows:

------------College ----------------2007-2008------------ current----
Agriculture & Life Sciences..... Colin Kaltenbach......... Eugene Sander
Architecture & Landscape Arch. Charles Albanese... Janice Cervelli
Engineering.................... .Thomas Peterson.............Jeffrey Goldberg
Fine Arts..........................Maurice Sevigny................. Jory Hancock
Humanities......................Charles Tatum..........Mary Wildner-Bassett
Law ................................Toni Massaro............... Lawrence Ponoroff
Medecine .......................Keith Joiner.................Steven Goldschmid
Nursing.......................... Marjorie Isenberg................. Joan Shaver
Soc & Behav Sciences..... Edward Donnerstein......... Beth Mitchneck
UA Outreach College...... [name not listed]......... Michael A. Proctor
UA South ................................................................Gerald Jubb, Jr.

Since the above table was posted, our readers have informed us of the following :
1) "Colin Kelenbach was dean only when [Eugene] Sander was interim Provost."
2) "[Marjorie] Isenberg retired. She was not pushed out . [Keith] Joiner was removed..."
3) "Peterson took a very prestigious job at NSF; he was not removed or pushed out."

We will continue to update this list as we receive information from our readers - so please continue to send information that will allow the University community, as well as the press, to know which of these replacements may be considered unproblematic.


  1. Shelton seems in complete denial that there is any problem with the Provost... so that's a non-starter. And the Provost thinks everything she does is wonderful....

    How do you communicate with two administrators who refuse to even discuss the idea that there might be a problem?

    Unfortunately, any good will that Shelton had left with the faculty is gone now and he has a very short window of opportunity to do something to win back the trust and respect of the faculty. Days, not weeks, and the clock is ticking. WAKE UP!

    I see little alternative at this point but for the faculty to take a formal vote of no confidence and send it to the media and the regents.

    Should we formally ask Lynn Nadel and Wanda Howell to start the vote of no confidence?

  2. Daaaaammmmmmmmnnnnn....and wow! The hardest hitting post of all. And RIGHT ON!

  3. I do believe we may have to do this on our own. Evelyn, why don't you set a date. Give them a deadline. If there's nothing from the senate by... when, a week? 10 days? - then we can start doing it right here. The Deans List. The Dishonored Roll. Like you said, a lot of that stuff is already out there. It's a bunch of open secrets. If it has to be messy, with reporters asking those people, deans and budget officers and all, whether self identified or identified by others, for interviews, so be it.

  4. I am confused. If someone accepts a contract that is by appointment (and it can be terminated at any time), and then writes to his or her supervisor to blatantly "refuse" to do something assigned that arguably falls in the job duties (i.e. turn over a project one has been working on to someone else, meet with someone, etc.), how is that considered an "improper firing"? I don't follow the reasoning here.

  5. Is it true that Deans were privately asked by the Provost to cough up and cut programs back in August of last year...and before the transformation process even began?

  6. correction...not "asked"..."told".

  7. I’m not sure which thread is best for posting this – it’s a slight digression from prior comments – but I’ll do it here and hope people can find it ok. One of the highest nationally ranked programs at UA -- Anthropology -- just lost a star today. Mark Aldenderfer accepted an offer to move to UC Merced (see article link below).

    His dept chair and both the former dean and current interim dean of SBS all sought to retain him. Do you think he might have noticed that, according to the current administration, Social and Behavioral Sciences are not part of the "core mission of the university" ? And oh yes, Mark will be taking his major NSF grants with him. Yep, there really are some people in the social sciences who get grants! It is heartbreaking to observe the ramifications of all this.

  8. To the posting above asking about whether someone can just be fired at any time:

    It is far more complicated than if you are working at a store and your boss asks you to do something and you refuse to do it.

    Part of the complication has to do with faculty governance--this is not a corporation--and faculty who have moved into Dean's posts are supposed to have some autonomy and a voice. It also has to do with the legality of a "hostile work environment." In other words, just because you are a provost does not mean you can act like Attila the Hun.

    It is a sign of the times that we assume our leaders can do anything they want.

  9. Larry,

    thanks for your reply.

    from my own experience, i actually have been fired once for working in a restaurant and refusing to do something that was arguably within my job description and the person telling me to do it was my boss. and i knew that i would likely be fired when i refused to do the act. and i was. that should not have come as a surprise to Juan Garcia.

    i understand what faculty governance is, and how it works. i have been a grad student for 4 years (in one of the NRC highly ranked Phd programs here), and worked at a different university in administration before that.

    my hypothetical question is this: if someone who worked as a admin. assistant for the Provost or President, or for Dean Sanders, Donnerstein, or whomever, refused to do what he or she was told to do (that fell within the job description) by said Provost, President, or Dean, and did so in a communicative manner similar to Garcia's, would the issue be a complicated as it is being portrayed here?

    from what I (and many others) have seen from the emails in the newspaper, neither Hay nor Shelton were hostile; Juan Garcia was. Hay's request to Garcia seemed professional in tone and word-choice. Shelton's was to-the-point and forceful, but not hostile. of the other grad students i've talked to, they agree.

    Garcia's response to Hay seems more hostile than anything else in the context provided. Hay's request did not come across like "Attila the Hun."

    then again, i'm just a guy who read the emails published, has read some articles about what happened, and has been around here for 4 years. i'm just drawing conclusions based on the evidence as i have seen it. i don't have the insights that you all have with these things. but from my perspective (and others), Garcia was out of line, and neither Hay nor Shelton were just doing "anything they want" or acting like "Attila the Hun".

    lastly, Garcia is still employed here, unless i am mistaken. he's still getting paid (same salary as when he worked for the administration, i'm told), he can still teach, and still has tenure. that doesn't seem too harsh to me.

    sounds like, in the grand scheme of things, he is actually still doing pretty well. and now that he's not part of the administration anymore, he can more actively participate in faculty governance. that's not too bad, all in all. it's not like he has lost his job completely, or say, got killed (if Shelton or Hay were ACTUALLY acting like Attila the Hun).

    then again, i know you were using a simile. i guess it just seems a little extreme, considering Garcia still has his job, paycheck, and an office, and neither Shelton nor Hay actually did anything horribly extreme (like, say, Attila the Hun might have done).

    could we try and use similes and language that more accurately get at the situation at hand?

  10. grad student john... it is obvious that you are a sheltered grad student, perhaps even a scholarship boy type to naively think that the dynamic duo hay-shelton were civil and "nice" to Garcia... (and apologies in advance since I do not mean to be patronizing and I am not trying to defend Garcia) perhaps in the email exchange they both seemed to come across "that way" but I don't think you grasp the implications and the mambo-jumbo that hay orchestrated beforehand to trap Garcia... Garcia may have lost it and gotten "out of line" but the things that really forced him to act this way were building up for a while... if you read for instance the issue regarding the money for minority faculty recruitment, you can see that hay had no respect for Garcia, (nor for others as the comments on this blog document) this perhaps as a result of comments made by people who "advised" hay when she arrived and presented Garcia in a negative light to her despite Shelton's words of praise when he selected him for the position, nor regarding the "you are lucky you have a job, you have tenure" thing, c'mon, no person on the faculty deserves to be treated like dirt by anyone, in particular by the president even if you did not "do as you were told"... not at a public university in any case...

    the problem here is to try to "judge the facts" of discussion "objectively" since it is obvious that Garcia was fired and neither hay nor shelton seemed to have thought that he will go public with their actions... I am not aware of any public comments stated by them in this regard, but the message and the interpetration of it is also troublesome since many administrators are fired in a "polite" way (they are asked to resign in private etc)

    in any event, this type of absolutist decision making is also troublesome considering where we are in time and space
    wouldn't you agree?

  11. Anon above who asks if the Deans were asked to cut programs last year before the transformation program started. Yes he did.

    It is not a secret that Shelton asked Deans last Spring (2008 before Hay) to identify programs they could cut. All replied in the same manner, we have none.

    Imagine if you will, you have two math (hypothetically) departments in two different colleges, and you asked both Deans if it made sense to merge these departments into one of the colleges.....but when you asked if this could be tried...the answer was always No.

    Shelton relayed this experience to many faculty governance groups, again it is not a secret. The Deans would not play ball

    So without the Deans, who after all know their colleges the best, strengths and weaknesses, without them being willing to identify cuts, what else was left? After all the State was sure to cut the U of A budget again, it had 15 of the 17 previous years, and yet we had not stopped doing anything, but kept adding programs?

    So the campus was asked for suggestions and transformation was born.

  12. The other issue here is the nature of the request. Hay was putting a clearly academic/instructional program under Student Affairs, which is not an instructional unit. Garcia was correct to refuse to be a part of that. If you remember, he said faculty would not tolerate it, because those who run Student Affairs know nothing about instruction. Their job is do things like put on money wasting concerts. Remember that fiasco? Also, we're not talking about waiting tables here. Upper level administrators are paid lots of money for their expertise. They are supposed to speak out when they feel something is out of whack. The fact that that dissent appears to be stifled to the extent that it is an immediately firable offense is troubling.

  13. I've worked in restaurants. I've been a graduate student. I've been and still am faculty. I've been in administration. John: Personnel matters at universities and restaurants do differ. Garcia was not a waiter, and Hay is not an owner.

  14. To the post and response about Shelton and Hay asking Deans to put up programs. The response is wrong. One Dean put up a program...Dean Portney of Eller put up the School of Public Administration and Policy. They were publicly humiliated for doing so without a process and ultimately Dean Portney was "thrown under the bus" and was told to tell the world he made a mistake...after doing what our Provost told him to do. See the story last fall in the Arizona Daily Star. This was done without looking into the merits of the program, without a process, and without any intention of it being the transformation process that our Provost spoke publicly about and launched on campus.

    There is much much more here. Talk to some of the folks in the former School of Public Administration about it.

  15. Since the Arizona Star has just published some information about turnover at the VP and Dean level in recent years -- I implore everyone not to jump to any conclusions without thinking hard about what these data mean:

    1. does this turnover rate differ from what is observed in any 2 year period? (my guess is yes, but I don't know)

    2. does it differ from comparable 2-year periods when changes had occurred in President or Provost - times when turnover in the posts immediately below that are more likely?

    3. assuming it is high by any standards -- then and only then one should ask --- why did this happen and was it for reasons good or ill? At least some of these departures (and I can think of a few myself) were absolutely warranted in terms of competence.

    I hope we are able to get beyond number crunching to actual specifics -- how many excellent folks, if any, were forced out against their will, or resigned in frustration. I don't know this number, but I'm sure it's lower than the turnover numbers quoted in the Star article.

    I raise this issue not in defense of anyone, but simply because many of us were very frustrated with various people in higher administration (appointed largely by his predecessor) when President Shelton arrived, and we implored him to make changes as quickly and widely as possible. For many of us he moved more slowly than we would have wished -- as I pointed out elsewhere, this reflected his personal style and forward-looking nature. These are traits I admire for what it's worth.

    Changes at the Dean's level have accelerated lately, for many reasons, but at least some reflect the decision of long-standing Deans to finally retire. In other cases there might well be something else going on, and that would be important to know, But let's look at all the factors behind these numbers. This is not excuse-making, just the truth.

    Lynn Nadel

  16. Lynn,
    We DO know some of those deans were forced out by Hay. We DON'T know why they won't talk about it.

  17. I wish I could tell youSeptember 19, 2009 at 2:13 PM

    C'mon guys (Lynn, Susan), we do know why at least some of them, past and current, won't talk about it. It's because they're either
    1) still involved in on-going issues with Hay;
    2) involved in complaints or legal actions where they have been forbidden from commenting or advised by counsel not to do so;
    3) unwilling to expose their departments/programs/colleagues to further harrassmet/retaliation from Hay. You'd do the same thing if you were in their shoes.

  18. Lynn is correct about reading the data as widely as they could be read at first glance. Some of the turnover was due to such things as a Dean leaving to join NSF or other opportunities people might have had.

    That said, Susan is also VERY right. Some Deans were forced out, others that have stayed have been treated poorly, and there IS a story here. Its just that there is more to the story.

    My thoughts on this are this. Things are moving fast...very fast...right now. People aren't going to hold their silence for long...and one mistake in this mix of information and disinformation is going to explode what is becoming an powderkeg.

    The President needs to take some action...and it is past listening sessions, I think.

  19. No anon above, you are wrong. This was BEFORE transformation. The Dean Portney incident was after transformation.
    If you read the email carefully you will see that Shelton asked Deans for money saving ideas BEFORE Hay started, (because cuts were coming)and none of the Deans would play.
    So a different tack was taken.

  20. Anon above me,

    We may be talking past each other and I apologize for that. My original inquiry was about a meeting that apparently occurred last August where Deans were told to identify programs for elimination. The incident I speak of was not before Hay got here, it was last year. Also, remember that the transformation process, and the white papers that were to consider new ideas for programs, cost savings, and eliminations were due in October. The issue with public administration was that the program was told that it would be eliminated and folded into the college. This was communicated in early September and prior to any process beginning to determine program merits, etc. etc.

  21. Dear Chicana y que,

    please don't call me a "sheltered grad student". that was rude, uncalled for, and untrue. and what is a "scholarship boy type" anyway? a lot of PhD students get stipends. you don't have to be so condescending.

    Dear Anon,

    i know that Garcia was not a waiter. i was not using the example to imply that the two situations are the same. the point was just that there are many instances in which someone can "refuse", as Garcia did, to do something, and thus have to suffer the consequences for it. and as i pointed out, Garcia still has his job. and his OLD salary! and his tenure. so, why is this such an issue?

    he lost his administrative position, and he did so because he blatantly and strongly refused to do something that, on paper, seemed reasonable.

    we are all told to do things for our jobs, and them sometimes those job duties change over time.

    i didn't expect such dismissive tones and blatant rudeness. it's not helping your cause when you communicate with people in this manner.

    in conclusion, just know that a lot of us grad students really think that you all are over-reacting. the state has a huge budget deficit, funding higher ed is not a priority for the state, dom. partner benefits were just cut, health care reform has been reduced to false talking points by Glenn Beck, and you all are continuing to be mad about a man who refused to do something that seems reasonable to many, and then he got demoted but still pulls his full salary. that Garcia still pulls his old salary should be more of an issue than the fact that he got demoted for refusing to do something that seemed reasonable. the world is a mess. surely there are more important things to fight over and fight for.

    and you talk down to and dismiss grad students. i guess it's all really sad. i don't know what else to say at this point, so i'll stop attempting to understand this, and move on to other things.

  22. I don"t think anyone should feel condescended to, however, the information all over this blog that Garcia retained his administrative salary is just false and people should be very careful about checking facts about salary before spreading rumours. Garcia will begin the next semester at the salary of a full professor in the History Department. I understand it was a $90,000 a year pay cut. Trust me when I say there are many fulls, especially in the sciences making much more. Therefore, he lost a lot taking the stand he felt he had to take and in my view, that is commendable.

  23. The thread of this posting is about why we've lost so many deans and upper level administrators. We note that there appears to be retribution when administators dissent and we wonder about the apparent practice of surrounding oneself with "yes people". We feel that the conversation about Garcia's salary has gone as far as it needs to go. We will not publish further comments on that topic. It is a distraction from the bigger picture here.

  24. Former AdministratorSeptember 21, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    I agree with the preceding comment by Evelyn, that the Garcia salary issue is a distraction.
    The reason it's a side issue is this: for faculty members with administrative posts at the UA, "severance" deals often include 'incentives' (implicit or explicit, formal or informal) that are designed to, shall we say, ease the transition. Many of us know this from personal experience, and I believe this has been mentioned elsewhere on this blog.
    V.P. Garcia probably considered the salary incentive secondary to the main issues (retaliation for disagreeing; provost's takeover of gen. ed.; humiliating disregard for faculty and administrators pushing back against the central administration's agenda; etc. - all the things that have been discussed in other sections of this blog in pretty gruesome detail.)
    So basically, Garcia didn't agree to being bought off in return for keeping silent.

  25. EBH please post the fact that Keith Joiner was removed AFTER true faculty governance was enacted. The faculty in the COM signed a white paper that asked Joiner to reconsider several policies, he would not. C11 then looked into the issues set out by the white paper, and met with chairs and faculty across the college. They published their report which I believe is still online somewhere. This report led to the President and the Provost intervening on the side of the faculty, hence the new Dean in July 2008.

  26. As a former Dept. Head and Dean (well, Interim Dean) let me shed some light on this administrative salary issue. For many years at the UA it was a practice to "reward" former heads, etc., by letting them keep part or all of the "pay raise" they received for taking on their admin position, when they stepped down. There are actually some reasons why this is not so blatantly unfair as it seems -- people in these positions probably lose out on some pay raises they might otherwise get along the way, and they certainly lose out on career advancement in other ways. I was among those who benefitted from this policy (but lest you think I am somehow overpaid as a result I will note that since stepping down as Head I have turned down two outside offers that would have raised my salary by about 40% -- we are almost ALL underpaid at the UA -- some more than others).

    Because this policy on balance is rife with potential for mischief it has largely been dropped -- in most cases now faculty receive a temporary administrative supplement when they take on such a post and then relinquish it when they step down, returning to their former pay level. This is a good change, and we have central administrators to thank for it.

    Time to move on from this issue folks, at least in the context of this blog and the dialogue it has engendered. Near as I can tell Juan has, to his credit.

    Lynn Nadel

  27. ok, grad student john, apologies if you felt patronized, but I agree with the responses to your comments. In regards to Lynn's latest post, I am not so sure that admins are not taking big portions of their salaries when they return to their depts/units... I was checking the salary list made available by the Wildcat recently and noticed that former admins in some colleges (see COH, COM, SBS) seem to have kept most of their salaries... at the same time, what Lynn says (if it is true) may have caused that many admins and heads are now very reluctant to leave their positions because they will not be making the same high salaries (in some cases) if they are to return to the faculty... even if they have served in those positions for many, many years and should be perhaps considering retirement...
    I know some folks will bark but this is part of our current reality in many units...

  28. I would like to see a list of faculty who have left the university recently or have accepted positions else here and will soon leave. I know EEB is losing 2 Regent's Professors, LPL lost one. Anthropology in one of the posts mentions losing a star. Entomology lost a star to Oregon State. Plants Sciences has lost at least 2.