FACULTY DEPARTURE UPDATE:
#68: Dr. Katherine Weeks
Assistant Professor of Biology
1 year of service
#69: Dr. Kimberly A. Hays
Assistant Professor of Biology
1 year of service
Dr. Joe Bill Campbell
UPDATE: We cannot keep up with Dr. Dowless’s new hires from his former schools. Mr. Corey Humphries, named in December as assistant dean of students for campus life at Charleston Southern University is joining Shorter. Mr. Humphries replaces Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Debra Faust, who has been transferred to the Atlanta Campus.
Dr. Faust has served Shorter ably for over 20 years. Mr. Humphries is a 2004 graduate of Charleston Southern and earned his Masters degree in Criminal Justice from Charleston Southern in 2009.
Save Our Shorter does not normally comment on news releases from the Rome News-Tribune on new hires or organizational changes occurring at Shorter, however we do monitor such releases.
During the past several months we have noted new additions to the faculty and administration and have noted a troubling pattern.
- Three of the past five hires -Executive Vice President (who is also the newly named Provost), Dean of the School of Education, and Vice President of Advancement, have come from either North Greenville University or Charleston Southern University or had close personal connection with one of the institutions. (Mr. Epting’s father is the president of North Greenville.) Both institutions are former employers of President Don Dowless and are schools closely affiliated with Shorter trustee Carlisle Driggers, who is former Executive Director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
- The new Assistant Professor of English, has no formal teaching experience and lists her former job on her LinkedIn profile as Secretary at the Southern Baptist School of Theology.
- The new HR Director? He serves as the youth pastor of Hurt Road Baptist Church in Smyrna- Nelson Price’s stomping grounds.
We read with dismay on RN-T of the consolidation of the School of Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Arts and Sciences. Surely Shorter would not realign the School to lessen the work of Dr. Craig Allee, and put it under the direction and control of a communication arts professor! As with the appointments noted above, however, Save Our Shorter had no intention of posting this change until we noticed that the article was at the top of RN-T’s Most Read Stories and had received over 800 views. Why would an article that would be ignored by most of the reading public draw that many views?
Then we read the comments that RN-T readers had posted.
A poster by the name of DisgruntledAlumni has posted some information about a flash mob that occurred in the Shorter dining hall this past spring. The poster provided a link to a YouTube video that was apparently shown on the Shorter internal TV channel. The link shows Dr. Sabrena Parton, the new Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and co-author and co-director of the new Christ Centered Critical Thinking initiative, leading a group of students in a flash mob.
In the video, students are dancing to a song called Party Rock Anthem by a group named LMFAO. As one RN-T poster noted, there is little chance that the students who were participating in the flash mob didn’t know what the acronym LMFAO stands for. There is also little chance that at least the majority of them didn’t know the lyrics to the song.
As distressing as the video is, there is another issue that we would submit is far more important. The video could easily be dismissed by some as an action that was not clearly thought out or thoroughly vetted. It could be that the claim will be made that no one except an RN-T poster found this lapse in judgment a big deal. While incredibly stupid and contrary to the current administration’s contention that they are carrying Shorter back to its Christian (read fundamentalist Georgia Baptist) roots, what we find more disturbing is what happened in the aftermath of this production.
We could not help but wonder if there had been no objection to the song and the group, by either faculty or students, and so we have done a bit of research. We have been told by several sources that indeed, a student who was in the cafeteria at the time (but not a part of the flash mob) was so outraged by this insult to the concept of Christ-centered critical thinking that they took a copy of the lyrics to a Shorter administrator and complained.(We have confirmed this with the student.) We presume that the administrator reported it to upper administration.
Instead of validating the student’s concerns, and probing the incident that had been reported, the administration dismissed the student’s concerns as unimportant. Copies of the lyrics were purportedly sent to Dr. Don Dowless, Dr. Craig Schull and Dr. Sabrena Parton. Did no one in upper administration find the song so objectionable that action was taken? The only actions we have seen is the promotion of said dean to a loftier position within the University and the demotion of the reporting administrator and Provost Schull to the Atlanta campus.