Faculty may have had input in Gorden’s reinstatement


Amanda Duncklee, Community Editor

Faculty members of the Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts (ICCPA) may have been instrumental in the reinstatement of Theatre Director Charles Gorden.

Gorden had been one of the 10 first-year faculty members who were notified via email on Feb. 29 by Sr. Anne Munley, I.H.M., Ph.D., president of the university, that their contracts would not be renewed. The decision to reinstate Gorden’s contract came two days after Gorden was notified that his contract was to be terminated.

Collier Parker, dean of the Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts, and Dr. Rick Hoffenberg, co-chair of the Music, Theatre, and Dance department, met with Sr. Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D., president of Marywood, on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 2.

According to Hoffenberg, the faculty members presented Sr. Anne with “new information” about Gorden during the meeting.

“I had a very productive conversation with Sr. Anne Munley along with Dean Parker,” said Hoffenberg.

According to Hoffenberg, Sr. Anne remained “open minded” during the meeting and proved willing to listen to Hoffenberg and Parker.

“We were happy that she concluded that based on new information presented to her, [Gorden] really is vital to our department,” said Hoffenberg.

Hoffenberg would not elaborate on what the “new information” entailed.

Later that day, Sr. Anne emailed Gorden notifying him that his contract would be renewed for the 2016-2017 academic year. As the only full-time faculty member in the Theatre Program, Gorden said he was relieved.

“I’m not sure that anybody made the connection that I am the only full-time faculty in our program,” said Gorden. “We have part-time and adjunct [professors]. Without a full-time faculty position, it would be hard to determine how the program could continue.”

Immediately prior to accepting a job at Marywood, Gorden served as an associate professor for the University of Texas at El Paso and was the Head of Directing and the Production Coordinator for the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“I was hired [at Marywood] under the auspices that I would be rebuilding the [theatre] program. I was leaving a tenured position to do that,” said Gorden. “I was inspired by the challenge and what seemed like a commitment at the time.”

Upon learning that his contract would not be reinstated, Gorden searched for answers to no avail.

“When I was seeking out somebody to give me cause to my non-renewal, I couldn’t reach anybody,” said Gorden. “No one knew [about the impending cuts] until Monday. It was very odd. None of the administration were notified until roughly the same time our [non-reinstated faculty] emails went out.”

There are still nine first-year faculty whose contracts are not reinstated.

“I’m extremely grateful that [my contract was renewed], but I’m also concerned for the other nine faculty,” said Gorden. “It seems to me though that there should be more investigation for the other nine faculty members as well… I’m not sure that people are aware of the impact that these professors have.”

Hoffenberg said he believes that Gorden’s reinstatement will bear well for the Theatre Program.

“I think the Theatre Department will continue to grow and blossom,” said Hoffenberg. “Everybody sees what a wonderful job [Gorden’s] doing. The Theatre Program is in a rebuilding phase, and I have no doubt that it will grow in both quality and numbers.”

Parker said he was very happy when he heard that Gorden’s contract was renewed.

“[I] think it gives the program the stability it needs for the future,” said Parker.

Parker had no comment on the other four members in his college whose contracts will not be renewed.

Rachel Looker contributed to this article.

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Correction: The 12th paragraph had a quote mistakenly attributed by Hoffenberg, Gorden actually said the quote.