Conduct of Administrators

February 7, 2019

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Pam Chally, Interim Provost & VP of Academic Affairs

My questions concern the business school and its Dean. This past summer three female office managers, with 35 years of experience among them, walked off their jobs accusing the Dean of creating a hostile workplace. A lawyer was hired to investigate. However, the inquiry was limited to if the Dean violated laws against discrimination and sexual misconduct. Not surprisingly, the lawyer found “no appearance” the Dean violated such laws. What standard of conduct are administrators at UNF held to? Is it limited to whether they break the law? What about the “highest standards of ethical behavior” and “professional practice” called for in the UNF rules and regulations? The investigator’s report contains disturbing accounts of threats, intimidation, coercion and retaliation; as well as other forms of aggressive and unwanted behavior. What is being done about this conduct? Will it be investigated under UNF’s Code of Ethical Conduct? The investigation also produced a “supplemental” report that evidenced among other issues that the Dean tried to interfere with the Presidential Search Committee to further his own candidacy and when he was unsuccessful he retaliated against a committee member. What steps are being taken in response to this second report and this evidence? In both reports, most (but not all) of the evidence came from administrators and staff who work closely with the Dean. There is also evidence that the administration has long known about many of the allegations. Is this what faculty and students can expect from the new administration? Is this who we are? Aren’t we better than this – aren’t we?

Response from the floor by Interim Provost Chally

Interim Provost Chally stated she had concerns about discussing personnel issues in a public forum. She will answer it in the future.

Instructor Positions in Coggin College of Business

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark C. Dawkins, Dean of Coggin College of Business

The Dean of the Coggin College of Business recently attempted to convert two instructor positions to two tenure track assistant professor positions — without allowing faculty to conduct searches for the two assistant professor positions. Thankfully UFF and Academic Affairs stepped in to stop his efforts. This represents yet another decision by the Dean of the College of Business to lower academic standards at UNF. [Is this a lowering of standards by Dean Dawkins?]  Since arriving the Dean has made other decisions that lowered academic standards including lowering admission standards in the MBA program (UNF’s largest graduate program). My question is to the Dean of the Coggin College of Business – why are you making decisions that lower academic standards? UNF aspires to maintain high academic standards. Successful deans work to increase academic standards in the colleges they serve – not lower them.

Response by Dean Dawkins: 

I disagree that CCB has made decisions that lower academic standards, and note that admission standards in the MBA program (and changes therein) are approved by CCB faculty.

Admissions Standards for MBA

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark C. Dawkins, Dean of Coggin College of Business

The College of Business has again voted to lower admission standards for UNF’s largest graduate program — the MBA. Previously, at the behest of the new Dean, faculty agreed to do away with requirements that applicants submit minimum admission test scores (i.e., GRE and GMAT). This time requirements for certain applicants with a GPA below 3.0 were altered. This occurred despite anecdotal reports of declining student performance and increasing questions about student retention and graduation rates – the same metrics that have challenged UNF in the Board of Governors (undergraduate) Performance Funding Model. Questions (for the current/incoming administration): What is the strategy? What are the costs? How does lowering standards fit with UNF’s mission, vision, and strategic plan? It’s one thing to increase enrollments while maintaining standards, its altogether another thing to increase enrollments while lowering standards.

Response by Dean Dawkins:

I disagree that CCB has lowered admission standards, and note that admission standards in the MBA program (and changes therein) are approved by CCB faculty. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be interviewed and must submit a 1) statement of purpose and 2) letters of recommendation. The interview and additional documents allow for a holistic review of each applicant whose GPA is below 3.0 so an admission decision can be made.

Endowed Professorships in the Coggin College of Business

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark C. Dawkins, Dean of Coggin College of Business

Why is the administration awarding endowed Professorships with underfunded accounts? Since arriving Dean Marc Dawkins of the College of Business has offered five Professorships. However, despite a growing economy, within one year many were “underwater” meaning there were insufficient funds in the accounts to pay the agreed upon Professorship stipend. To address the problem the administration required recipients to sign new award letters agreeing to a reduction in their future stipends should the accounts remain “underwater” following a new policy. Although agreeing to fund the stipends for one additional year, some recipients stand to lose a significant portion or all of their awards. One faculty member who inquired was told by Dean Marc Dawkins, “any CCB endowed professor can rescind his/her acceptance of an endowed professorship at any time, so please let me know if you want to do so…” Why is the administration underfunding professorships? What happened that these faculty members stand to lose their awards? How does underfunded professorships help enhance research at UNF?

Response by Dean Dawkins:

CCB Dean Mark Dawkins awarded five Professorships in spring 2017, and the university subsequently changed its underwater accounts policy in Fall 2017. This policy change rendered several long-term and new Professorship accounts “underwater” for 2018-2019, and their operating accounts had insufficient balances to pay the planned stipends. The CCB Dean’s Office fully funded all underwater stipends in 2018-2019.

 

Coggin College of Business MBA Standards

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Pamela S. Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

The College of Business has again voted to lower admission standards for UNF’s largest graduate program — the MBA. Previously faculty agreed to do away with requirements of minimum admission test scores (i.e., GRE and GMAT); this time requirements for certain applicants with a GPA below 3.0 were altered. This occurred despite anecdotal reports of declining student performance and increasing questions about student retention and graduation rates. Questions (for the current/incoming administration): What is the strategy? What are the costs? How does lowering standards fit with UNF’s mission, vision, and strategic plan?

 

Response by Pamela S. Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

From: Chally, Pamela
Sent:    Tuesday, May 08, 2018 6:44 AM
To:       Pyati, Radha
Cc:       Dawkins, Mark ; Lai-Chin, Fong Chuen ; Richard, Dan ; Fenner, David
Subject: Re: question from FA

All programs at UNF strive for high quality students.  The Coggin graduate admission policies are approved by the Coggin College of Business faculty.

The  administration and deans believe it is inappropriate to ask them questions regarding decisions of other deans.

 

Reference Response by Dean Dawkins:

Admissions Standards for MBA

 

Coggin College of Business Accreditation Concerns

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: President John Delaney, Interim Provost Pam Chally, and Deans:
Do the President, Provost (Interim) and the other Deans share the view recently expressed by Coggin College of Business Dean Mark Dawkins that meeting university and college accreditation standards on an ongoing basis is “not relevant until the next measurement year?” Dean Dawkins’ views were made public in a March 16, 2018 email response to a faculty vote expressing concerns for a Department’s ability to meet AACSB and SACS Accreditation Standards given data showing (1) that more than 80% of their students were currently being taught by non-tenure track faculty and (2) that Administrative Affairs’ and Dean Dawkins’ decision to convert all visiting Assistant Professor and Instructor positions to permanent Instructor positions (versus hiring tenure-track faculty) would exacerbate these concerns. According to Dean Mark Dawkins: “CCB is being reaccredited in business for 5 years, so the impact of either hiring option [tenure versus non-tenure track] on CCB’s faculty ratios is not relevant until the next measurement year in 2021-22 (i.e., 4 years from this year)”. Would the President, Provost and the other Deans please state their policy and intention as to meeting Accreditation Standards in years other than only the year of accreditation (i.e., the measurement year)?

Answer from the Floor by Provost Chally

I strongly believe that asking Deans to comment on the behavior or decisions of other Deans is not an appropriate question. The focus of the question was regarding the faculty ratios for accreditation. The numbers have been re-run by Coggin, College of Business, and regardless of the status of those faculty teaching, whether they be instructors, adjuncts, or tenure-track faculty, the criteria for AACSB (i.e., Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation are clearly met.

Dropping Test Requirements for Graduate School Admissions

January 11, 2018

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President Faculty Association, UNF President John Delaney

This past year the Coggin College of Business dropped existing requirements that students submit GMAT or GRE test scores for admission to the MBA program. This direction began after the new Dean’s arrival. Faculty were then asked to vote to keep the lower standards based on the promise of growing enrollments leading to more resources. Test requirements were also dropped from the MAcc program. Are the other Deans going to follow the path taken by the business school? If so, what implications do they foresee for their programs, their colleges, and the university?

Refer to Response by Dean Dawkins: 

Admissions Standards for MBA

Reputation of the Coggin College of Business

October 13, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: President John Delaney, University of North Florida

The graduate admissions situation in the Coggin College of Business is very serious and dangerous – it could jeopardize the college’ accreditation and its reputation for quality. It has been said that you have known about it for at least a month what leadership have you shown in addressing this crisis?

Response: 

On November 18, the Coggin College of Business Administration held an open forum on the issues of accreditation and program quality.  Observers at the open forum, including Faculty Association President Radha Pyati, found that the college administration presented a convincing case that the college was not jeopardizing its accreditation or its reputation for quality. In keeping with the decision of the college faculty and the outside observers, we find that the college is handling these issues in a professional manner and no further investigation is needed.

Vote of No Confidence, Coggin College of Business Dean

October 13, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President/Designee, UNF Faculty Association and John White, President, UNF United Faculty of Florida

Considering the graduate admissions problems in the Coggin College of Business, please provide the procedures for a “no confidence” vote for a college dean.

Radha Pyati, FA President answered on the floor:

President Pyati answered from the floor. The UNF Constitution Article V Section 4 states that faculty can conduct an anonymous retention vote of any dean prior to the end of their term. The FA officers are glad to assist Coggin with such a vote; a group of Coggin representatives are invited to meet with FA officers to discuss this issue.