UPDATE: GPB Radio covers new hire story
The Dowless administration has announced, with much fanfare, what it has done to meet SACS requirements for faculty numbers for the university. The announcement was made with much fanfare at the Faculty Retreat on Thursday – a retreat, by the way, where the morning was designed like this:
- 8:00 – 8:20 “Voluntary” prayer session
- 10:00 – 10:30 Devotional
- 10:45 – 12:00 “Defining Faith Integration in College Teaching” – Testimonies and panel discussion.
The afternoon session (from 1:00 – 3:00) actually devoted 45 minutes to “Faculty Business”. (More on this subject in a future post.)
The list of “new” faculty can be found in an article posted today in the Rome News-Tribune. On the surface, the hire of 51 “new” faculty seems impressive. According to the article, Dowless claims “. . . our focus remained fixed on delivering the highest-caliber education to our students within an authentic Christian context.”
Really, Dr. Dowless? Did you really want the “highest-caliber” educators at Shorter?
Let’s examine that statement and the truth about the hires.
According to the 2011-2012 Faculty Handbook, the following is the prescribed procedure for hiring new faculty:
2.2 Policy for the Recruitment of Faculty
2) New or vacated faculty positions are announced through various sources as follows:
a) Chronicle of Higher Education
b) Minority publication such as Black Issues
c) Area newspapers
d) Journals or trade papers
e) Graduate schools
f) Denominational publications
g) Higher Ed Jobs.com
A very few of the 44 vacant faculty positions were advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education. For those of you who are not aware, the Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed are the two most highly respected sources for academic recruiting. In other words, if an institution wants a quality hire, they advertise in the Chronicle first. They may also advertise in other publications, but generally, the academically best-qualified applicants will be reading the Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed for faculty openings.
Rather than searching for the brightest and best, exposing Shorter’s limited educational view and restraint of academic freedom to the world, Dowless and the Board have cobbled together an assortment of shuffles within the school body, raids on one of Dowless’ former employers, adjunct hires that had already been vetted for limited teaching opportunity, as well as a large assortment of un-tested (pedagogically speaking), hires who will be using Shorter as their first opportunity to prove their abilities.
Again, according to the 2011-2012 Faculty Handbook:
2.2.3 Faculty Credentials and Preparation
Faculty members are expected to hold a terminal degree in the teaching field. Any deviation
from this requirement must be justified in writing and approved by the School Dean and Provost.
The respective Deans and Dr. Martin must be justifying and approving a large number of newly hired faculty.
As the report below will show, many of the new hires do not yet hold terminal degrees and/or those degrees have been recently awarded. As seen below, many new faculty have extremely limited/no teaching experience.
Another item of note – many of the “New FULL-TIME Faculty” are simply former adjuncts who have been hired for full-time positions. We do not argue that some of these hires are good for Shorter. We do, however, question whether their positions were duly advertised and whether the best, most highly qualified faculty have been hired for full-time positions.
New Full Time Faculty Info
Ms. Goad (PhD candidate – does not yet hold a doctorate from Georgia State)
Listed as New Full Time, but had been full time employee at Shorter in other positions
Ms. Avant –Formerly Assistant Vice President of Affairs and Dean of Students (Both administrative jobs) Interesting observation – she has been named Dean of the College of Adult and Professional Programs, yet she has no doctorate. She is ABD (all but dissertation) at Mercer University, however. Normally, a Dean of a school has deep academic credentials to support the position.
Mr. Butcher – Director of Online Programs.
Dr. Derrick – Formerly Director of Student Support Services
Dr. Werner – Formerly Dean of the Chapel
Limited or no teaching experience
Dr. Aebisher – post-doctoral associate, lab assistant at CUNY
Ms. Benhardus – in a doctoral program at University of Iowa
Mr. Butcher – Director of Online Programs; no teaching experience
Mrs. Emerson – administrative assistant at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Mr. Gill – Insurance rep/Pastor
Mr. Hooper – coach
Mr. Huey –adjunct at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ABD)
Ms. Koontz – served as adjunct for Shorter, tutor at Chattahoochee Tech
Mr. LeHew – Assistant to the Senior Vice President – Baptist College of Florida.; Adjunct BCF
Dr. Luyai – Post-graduate fellow – Emory; research assistant- Emory
Dr. McMichael – Only teaching experience was as a second grade teacher. Mostly admin jobs.
Ms. Moyer – nurse practitioner
Dr. Naddy – no teaching experience
Ms.Harper-Storey – no terminal degree.
Dr.Vanderbush – has been a teaching assistant.
Charleston Southern – former employees (faculty only)
Fully half of the 51 hires do not hold terminal degrees and are not listed as in doctoral degree programs. Three are in doctoral programs but currently do not hold terminal degrees.
Of the remaining 25 who hold doctorates, 5 have very limited/no teaching experience.
Dr. Dowless has touted the credentials of his hires, citing Harvard, Julliard and Emory. The truth of the matter is that NONE of his hires have TAUGHT at these schools. We have new faculty that attended there, but to be a graduate of such prestigious schools and having been a professor there is as different as playing on the UGA football team and being the UGA Athletic Director.
Added to the over-all number of faculty employed by Shorter for the 2012-2013 academic year, the number of those with non-terminal degrees may only slightly affect the number of terminally-degreed faculty required by SACS. The current trend is very troubling to those who expect the academic standard of excellence previously experienced at Shorter.
We lost 400 cumulative years of teaching experience from faculty who departed Shorter. Take that number in for a moment. Four hundred cumulative years.
Shorter is supposed to be the GBC’s flagship institution. Many small churches hire pastors straight out of grad school. Flagship churches hire pastors with a proven track record. Is this the best that Shorter can do for its flagship institution? Is the above assortment what Dowless and the Board consider to be “the highest-caliber education to our students within an authentic Christian context”?