May 11, 2006 325 Graff Main Hall
Vol. 40, No. 18 3:30 p.m.
I. Roll Call.
Present: Choy, Clow, Cravins, Galbraith, Gongaware, S. Grunwald, Heim, K. Hoar, Hunt, Johnston-Rodriguez, S. Kelly, S. Krajewski, B. Riley, Senger, Shanks, S. Smith, Straker, R. Sullivan, C. Wilson.
Excused: Knox, D. Riley
II. Minutes from the May 4, 2006 meeting were approved as distributed.
III. Discussion of the Provost’s Decision to Fail the Search for the Dean of SAH. Provost Hitch, Bob Hoar (search committee chair) and Pat Karpinsky (chair of academic staff council) were present to discuss the Dean of SAH Search and Screen. Provost Hitch shared her thoughts on this issue and welcomed the chance for this discussion. She stated that the “failed search” was not due to a procedural error on part of the committee but was due to a selection of names recommended for hire not being presented to her. Provost Hitch has contacted other provosts at UW institutions to determine what other campuses expect for this process. Others do require more than one name to come forward and thus Hitch felt she was not off in wanting more than one name to come forward. Hitch then proceeded by giving her summary of the search and screen process. She said that the committee worked very hard and commended Bob Hoar for his work. She stated that her concerns in the procedure were, 1) for a person’s name to be forwarded for recommendation to hire, a 2/3 vote of the committee (8 votes) in the affirmative was needed, and, 2) there was no student voice in the final vote in that the student member had to leave the final meeting before the voting took place. Hitch stated that she has met with the student committee member, along with Mick Miyamoto, to receive the student’s opinion of the candidates. Hitch stated that she did meet with the search committee and asked them to reconsider their vote. Since they did not, she failed the search since there was not a selection of candidates. Hitch stated that she supports shared governance and was concerned that she did not have a voice in the process except when given a list of candidates recommended for hire. Hitch stated that in the past there has been only one name forwarded, and she is concerned about the pattern. Furthermore, in selecting an interim dean she did have a large amount of campus feedback on internal candidates through the search process.
Bob Hoar then summarized his view of the process. He stated that the student member did select out of the process and was involved in much but not all of the deliberations. He stated that no where in the charge letter, in the procedures that were approved, or in conversations was there stated an expectation for more than one name to be forwarded. The committee found no legal way to change their vote within their established procedures and ethically felt also not able to do so.
Chair Wilson then asked several clarifying questions of the provost. The questions confirmed that the provost did approve of the procedures and that her main concern was the number of names on the list. Wilson pointed out that in the actual procedures it states “candidate(s)” which indicated that one candidate is acceptable. The provost was asked what led her to declare this particular search failed as opposed to other searches. The provost stated that she did consider all the possibilities and felt that since this was the third instance of a single name being forwarded, it is becoming a habit and to feed this habit is doing the institution a disservice. It is becoming a search and selection process versus a search and screen process.
Chair Wilson asked the provost about consulting with other groups in selecting an interim dean. The provost stated that since the criteria is the same for an interim versus a permanent dean that through the search feedback she had received adequate feedback. When asked if she considered other individuals for the interim position the provost stated that she had; furthermore, when asked if the interim had been offered to other people the provost stated that it had not. When asked if the interim could apply for the dean’s position the provost stated that while it is her personal policy to not do so, she has not considered it in this particular case. When asked what led the interim position to be two years the provost stated that in the throws of a procedure that is not working very well it is best not to jump into another search in the fall. Furthermore, the provost stated that the other thing that she learned this past year was that SAH has made huge strides so it would be to its advantage with newly integrated departments to have more time before another dean search.
General comments/questions from the floor included the following:
- If as stated extra non-procedural information was received by the Provost that was used to sway her decision then this is a concern.
- A question of Bob Hoar regarding if the committee considered campus feedback forms. Hoar stated that many sources of feedback were considered including the campus feedback forms, which were an important piece of the deliberation.
- The provost was asked that if the reason she has given for failing the search was that this was the third search whereby only one name was submitted and she didn’t want a pattern, why then weren’t the procedures changed before this search? The provost stated that it was because she didn’t actually see the pattern – this was sort of a revelation.
- The provost was asked if in the future a search brings forth only one candidate what would happen. The provost responded that the search would be failed. She stated that the 2/3 vote should be seriously considered. The process needs to be set up so there is a selection. The standards should be set so that the question is “which of these people is qualified” not “which one candidate should it be”.
- The question was asked as to what precedent was there for reasons to fail a search. It was stated that if procedural errors occurred or if the candidate pool dried up or was not diverse.
- The statement was made that it was understood that the provost needs to provide input in a search but the provost was asked why use this search as the one to fail to stop a pattern instead of changing the procedure in the future. Why not accept the endpoint and fix the procedure so that it does not happen again. The provost responded that this was important enough to have more than one name on the finalist list to fail this search.
- A letter was shared in which the following motion was approved by the SAH college committee: “Although the College committee recognizes that the Provost has final hiring authority, it finds that the Search and Screen committee carefully followed approved procedures, and therefore, disapproves of the Provost’s decision to declare a “failed search” instead of acting upon the recommendation of the Search and Screen committee.”
- Wilson shared that she has heard from a lot of people regarding this issue and many voiced the same concerns as heard at this meeting; however, there were some people who think it is reasonable that the provost ask for a selection of names although this was not a popular view.
Wilson distributed the following resolution that was passed by SEC.
Whereas, The Search and Screen Committee for the Dean of the College of Science and Health developed and approved search and screen procedures that were subsequently approved by Provost Elizabeth Hitch, the Assistant to the Chancellor for Affirmative Action and Diversity, and the office of Human Resources;
Whereas, The Search and Screen Committee successfully completed the search for and the screening of candidates for the College of Science and Health Dean position in accordance with its search and screen procedures and charge from Provost Hitch and submitted a hiring recommendation to Provost Hitch;
Whereas, Provost Hitch refused to consider the Search and Screen Committee’s hiring recommendation citing a requirement of multiple candidates in a hiring recommendation that is not contained in/consistent with the Committee’s procedures nor with Provost Hitch’s charge to the Committee;
Whereas, On two previous occasions, Provost Hitch acted on hiring recommendations from search and screen committees for college dean positions that contained only one candidate;
Whereas, Approximately two weeks after receiving the Committee’s hiring recommendation, Provost Hitch scheduled a meeting of the Search and Screen Committee and requested that the Committee change its recommendation to hire list, which would have required the Committee to first change its search and screen procedures;
Whereas, Provost Hitch declared the College of Science and Health Dean search failed and appointed an interim dean for the College of Science and Health for a two-year period without consultation with the Search and Screen Committee nor with the faculty of the College or their representatives (department chairs, SAH College Committee, or Faculty Senate), contrary to the tenet of shared governance at UW-La Crosse; and
Whereas, Provost Hitch’s disposition of the CSAH Dean search calls into question the ethical behavior of the university thereby damaging the reputation of the university, and opens the university to litigation;
Be it resolved, that the Faculty Senate censure Provost Elizabeth Hitch for her actions related to the search for the Dean of the College of Science and Health; and
Be it resolved, that the Faculty Senate recommends that a new search for the Dean of the College of Science and Health be initiated as soon as possible.
M/S/F to amend the resolution to strike the word “ethical” in the third to last paragraph so that it reads “question the behavior”.
M/S/F to amend the resolution to replace the word “censure” with “seriously disapprove of” in the second to last paragraph.
M/S/P to amend the resolution to strike the words “and opens the university to litigation” in the third to last paragraph.
M/S/F to amend the resolution to replace “as soon as possible” with “Fall 2006” in the last paragraph.
There was discussion on what the word censure means. It was stated that censure means seriously disapprove and thus the end result is that people know that faculty seriously disapprove of this action.
The resolution, as amended, passed. (voice vote: 16-yes, 0-no, 3-abstain)
Chair Wilson concluded with the following remarks:
“As I reflect on our current culture, beyond this most recent event, it seems that the administration and faculty and staff face each other across an enormous divide. We have a choice, we can chose to build a bridge or set up camp. Building a bridge certainly will proceed more quickly if we both contribute to the work. Faculty and staff must trust and respect the administration, for frequently the ultimate decision and responsibility rests with them. We must understand that at times, we will disagree. However, it is difficult to trust when one does not feel trusted and respected in return. As I think about events over the last several months, the reorganization, Instructional Academic Staff, even the writing coordinator, it feels like many of the recommendations of the faculty and staff have been automatically dismissed. Often, the implied reason for the lack of approval has been that we do not fully understand the issues or know all the details. That cannot continue to be an excuse. I am hard pressed to think of even one instance where no faculty or staff could have full access to information. Even in cases of personnel decisions and closed meetings, at least some faculty or staff are involved. In families, parents must make tough decisions and often it is inappropriate for children to have all the information. The current culture feels like the administration are the parents and we are the children. If we are to fix what is broken, we cannot continue in this manner. We must be partners who share everything and work together. We both will need to make compromises. We do have common ground – we all care deeply about the students and the institution, and I hope we can start there to build anew. For, if the culture does not improve dramatically, I do not see any alternative but more meetings like we had today. I have been reading a great deal about university presidents and how to have a successful search. One of the themes in those readings is that if a university is broken, like ours is, you cannot expect a single individual to come in and fix it. We must all take responsibility. I hope that everyone sitting around this table, and at all levels, will work to move forward. As I said in the beginning, what we need is total transparency. I will continue to work to improve communication and hope that I can count on others to do the same.”
The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
Sandy Grunwald, Secretary