Process underway to review incumbent Mt. A VP academic and research
Mount Allison’s presidential advisory committee for the review of Dr. Karen Grant as vice-president academic and research has begun its review process. Faculty, staff and students have been asked to contribute to the review.
Mt. A President Dr. Robert Campbell sent out a community-wide email on Dec. 15 asking for submissions from students, faculty and staff which the committee, chaired by Campbell, would consider in its procedure. A follow-up email was sent five days later, on Dec. 20, with a revised review process. To ensure the letters would be unidentifiable to the committee, the reviews would now first be sent to ex-officio committee member and director of human resources, Ron Sutherland. The deadline for reviews was Jan. 22.
Administrative positions, which are carried out in five-year terms, are renewable. Grant’s first term will be over in the summer of 2017. The process by which Grant’s possible renewal is being conducted is similar to situations in the past, said Sutherland.
The committee, which consists of faculty and staff members from a range of departments as well as Mount Allison Students’ Union’s vice-president academic affairs Mary Emma MacNeil, has met once already and is scheduled to do so again this week. They will meet a total of four times in order to establish their recommendation to the Campbell, one of these meetings consisting of an interview with Grant.
MAFA’s Jan. 25 monthly newsletter reported on a vote conducted by the association against the reappointment of Grant. The results comprised 76 votes against and 10 votes in support of the renewal of Grant’s position.
Faculty and students alike recall the non-confidence vote which was taken at faculty council in the spring of 2014 in which 60 out of 61 faculty present voted in support of a motion of non-confidence in Campbell and Grant’s capabilities.
“I think the benefits of reappointing [Grant] are mostly unknown and the costs are real,” said Dr. Mark Fedyk of the department of philosophy. In Grant’s term there have been a number of student protests and a strike, “which, in my opinion, she was a crucial factor in prolonging,” said Fedyk. “She seems to manage her relations to faculty in a very top-down fashion. It’s not exactly the approach that’s best suited to a small community-based school, in my opinion.
“It’s very hard for me to think of any concrete improvements she has made to the Mount Allison experience, whether or not it pertains to faculty or students,” said Fedyk.
MAFA President Dr. Andrew Irwin said faculty have found it challenging to work with Grant. There have been quite a few grievances issued, said Irwin, “more so than we have had in years prior to [Grant’s] arrival on campus.”
Many have had issues around timing and planning for the upcoming academic year, said Irwin. It has not been well orchestrated, creating extra work and confusion. Members of the faculty also are unhappy with the reduction of replacements for professors who go on sabbatical, said Irwin. “We have concerns about some of the ideological positions taken by the provost. It’s not always clear that those are tied to budget in any meaningful way.”