Letter from Provost Tim Greene to CAS Faculty and Staff

The letter below was emailed to College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff on Wednesday, January 28. We reprint it here unedited and without comment.

Subject: Update on leadership transition
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:45:46 -0500
From: WMU Provost Tim Greene <university-relations@wmich.edu>
Reply-To: WMU Provost Tim Greene <office-of-the-provost@wmich.edu>

Faculty and Staff:

I would like to bring you up to date on the transition in CAS dean leadership. There have been a multitude of unofficial messages and emails regarding this transition, leading to a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding both on campus and in the community. I am sorry for this, and assure you it was not how it was planned.

Dr. Enyedi’s term as dean has included many significant accomplishments. They include developing a college strategic plan, helping to launch the University Humanities Center, celebrating accomplishments of faculty, staff and students, and recruiting a distinguished group of new faculty to join the college.

Notwithstanding the many attempts to resolve leadership issues with Dr. Enyedi, it has become apparent that a change in leadership is necessary. These issues have included declines in enrollment, declines in funded research, expectations of how to manage budget allocations, transparency in communications to university administrators, and support for decisions made by either the Provost’s Council or by me.

For the orderly management of a university, there has to be a recognized organizational structure and rules of management. While there should be vigorous discussions among management leaders, in this case the deans, there comes a time when a decision is made by the senior manager. Once a decision is made, then the deans must implement and support that decision. If they cannot implement the decision, then they have the obligation to relinquish their leadership position and return to the faculty.

Leadership is fostered in the trust between managers. A senior leader, in this case a provost, must be able to trust that a dean will do what has been agreed upon without fail. Quite simply put, when any manager acts in opposition to a leadership directive, that person would normally expect to no longer be a member of the management team.

This personnel change was not an easy decision. But, there were multiple issues taken into consideration when determining whether to offer a new appointment.

Certainly change is difficult. We all know that. There is never a good time to make a change in leadership, since there is always a lot of work to be done in a college. Right now this includes tenure and promotion review, academic program review and planning, faculty hiring, general education review and more. I am confident that the college will, with the leadership of an interim dean, successfully address each of these priorities and other items on behalf of our students, faculty and staff. The University administration is committed to assisting the college in all aspects for a smooth transition.

On Monday, I met with the associate deans, chairs and directors of the academic departments. I asked the chairs and directors to recommend possible candidates to serve as interim dean, and I have received their input. I will meet once again with the academic chairs and directors on Friday to complete this conversation.

During the Monday meeting with the associate deans, chairs and directors, we began the discussion of the qualifications a candidate must possess to be successful as dean in the college. We also discussed the search process for a new dean. On Thursday, I will meet with the staff directors and immediate reports to the dean to have a similar discussion.

Initial steps to select a new dean have already been taken. Our conversations together will identify the qualities we are looking for in that individual. These conversations will lead to the formation of a search committee, and a national search will be undertaken. That search will of course include extensive input from the college.

This message confirms that effective July 1, 2015, Dr. Alex Enyedi will be returning to the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences. Effective immediately, different duties will be assigned to him during these next five transitional months. An interim dean will be appointed to fulfill the college duties for which Dr. Enyedi was previously responsible.

Dr. Enyedi has an extensive record as an educator and researcher. I am certain that Dr. Enyedi will continue to contribute his pedagogical expertise with the college and our students. Please join me in recognizing his contributions as dean. Finally, I plan to send you additional updates as we move through this time of transition.

Tim Greene
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

2 thoughts on “Letter from Provost Tim Greene to CAS Faculty and Staff

  1. So, the charge is insubordination, i.e., that Dean Enyedi failed to carry out the Provost’s wishes. Funny that the Provost didn’t tell us which of his wished Enyedi failed to comply with. Somehow, I’m thinking, that would not have helped the Provost’s case.

    It also seems “funny” that we received this lengthy “explanation” only -after- 1200 people signed a petition opposing the Provost’s decision, and only 2 days before a planned vote of no-confidence against him.

    But then maybe I just have a peculiar sense of humor!

  2. Dennis R. Preston, Regent Prof. of Linguistics, Oklahoma State and Univ. Distinguished Prof. of Linguistics Emeritus. Michigan State. on said:

    I know full well the qualities in a Dean this Provost seeks: toadyism.

Comments are closed.