BREAKING NEWS: Admins cut ten first-year faculty


Photo credit/ Connor Moffitt

Brigid Edmunds and Rachel Looker

Administrators informed 10 first-year faculty members yesterday their contracts would not be renewed for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Wood Word has verified from multiple sources the 10 faculty come from three colleges. Five come from the Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts; four from the Munley College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and one from the Reap College of Education & Human Development.

Charles Gorden, who said he was one of the 10 faculty, was informed of the decision Monday morning, Feb. 29. Gorden just directed Marywood’s production of “Songs for a New World,” and moved to the area from Texas for the start of this academic year.

“[The notice] was initially via email,” Gorden said.

He said the email was forwarded from Pat Dunleavy, Ph.D, associate vice president for human resources, and contained a letter from Sister Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D, president of Marywood.

Gorden said, while the letter informed him that his contract would not be renewed, it never gave a reason as to why.

“I kind of want one,” he said, “[I] moved 2,000 miles to get here.”

According to Gorden, he spoke with Dr. Levine and was told that the matters were financial and the non-renewals were “part of the process.”

Gorden moved to the area to help rebuild the Theater Program, of which he is the sole faculty member. The major has 16 students enrolled, and he has been working on recruitment for the program as well as helping with the Strategic Resource Allocation (SRA) process the university is undertaking this year.

He said the decision surprised him and there was “little or no communication” through the process.

“The handling of this is pretty shoddy,” Gorden said.

Gorden said he does not hold Sr. Anne responsible for the decision but would like answers from the board of trustees.

“[There was] no rationale for the decision,” he said.

Dr. Patrick Seffrin, associate professor of social science, agreed. He confirmed that one of the 10 faculty let go was from the Social Science Department. Seffrin said the department was “blindsided” by the news.

“It was difficult for us to operate as it is,” Seffrin said, adding that the Social Science Department already has a high student-to-faculty ratio.

In a copy of the letter to the faculty from Sr. Anne obtained by The Wood Word, faculty would not be renewed according to the Marywood University Non-reappointment of Faculty Member Policy.

According to the policy, announcement of non-renewals of first-year faculty must be made by March 1.

Sr. Anne would not comment on the non-renewals, stating the university does not comment on matters related to personnel. However, she said administration “will continue to focus on the key initiatives,” including “expanding enrollment, fundraising, increasing shared governance and preparing the campus for a new president.”

Check back with The Wood Word for more updates as they become available.

Patrick Kernan and Connor Moffitt contributed to this report.

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