Category Archives: Departures


UPDATE: Michael Wilson’s plight has drawn national attention. Inside Higher Ed is the most widely read academic journal on the web.

The following article appeared in last Sunday’s edition of the Rome News-Tribune, and is reproduced here with permission.

Shorter librarian prepares to leave, would love to stay
by Kim Sloan, staff writer

For 14 years Michael Wilson has worked at a job he loves as the off-campus librarian for professional studies at Shorter University.

That job is threatened by a new policy the university is enacting requiring all staff and faculty to sign a Faith and Personal Lifestyle statement in which they agree, among other things, to “reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality.”

Wilson is gay. School officials never asked him about his lifestyle when he was hired on April 20, 1998, which is also his father’s birthday, he said. But he thinks they probably knew when he was tenured in 2006.

Wilson signed his contract, but he marked out portions of the statement and sent it to the provost. He also sent a letter to Shorter University President Donald Dowless.

“I believe, for reasons that should be obvious, that the provisions therein constitute a grave violation of the principles of academic freedom and tenure, core values in academe that were formerly embraced by the university’s administration,” Wilson said in his letter. “I am aware of your intent to dismiss anyone, regardless of tenure status, who may express any disagreement with these provisions. Nevertheless, I would like to appeal to you, as a fellow academic, to reverse this significant departure from academic norms by creating an atmosphere in which faculty may teach, and students may learn, without these ideological restrictions.”

If a staff member doesn’t sign the statement of faith, their employment will not continue, according to Dawn Tolbert, Shorter University spokeswoman.

That leaves Wilson with the real possibility that he will be without a job in the next few weeks. But he plans to fight for the job he has loved so much, he said.

It’s a small department, he said, and it has given him a chance to do “a lot of everything,” he said.

“I’ve been everything from janitor to head librarian,” Wilson said. “I’ve learned so much and I made this job my own.”

Shorter University’s handbook states that, “tenure is the reasonable expectation of continued employment on an annual instructional term basis as long as, and only as long as: 1) The tenured faculty member does not breach his/her current contract or any subsequent annual instructional term contract; 2) Shorter is financially able to continue to employ the tenured faculty member; and 3) There is sufficient demand at Shorter to justify the need for performance by the tenured faculty member in his/her particular field.”

While as of today Wilson still works for Shorter, his name is on a list provided by the website of 53 staff and faculty members who have left or are expected to leave the university this year, mainly because of the faith statement passed by the Board of Trustees last October.

When asked if the number was accurate, Tolbert said in an email, “We don’t have a final number on who is leaving yet; faculty contracts are still out. We are interviewing for positions that are open and will announce new hires as they are finalized.”

Wilson hopes there is a way he could stay.

“I genuinely care about the library, my students, and the well-being of the university, and I am concerned that my sudden departure would create hardship for all involved,” he said in his letter to Dowless.

Read more: – Shorter librarian prepares to leave would love to stay


The members and supporters of extend to the following  departing faculty and staff our love and abiding appreciation for their selfless dedication and outstanding service to Shorter University

UPDATE – June 16, 2012

Shorter Departure #67
Mr. Allen Dutch
Instructor of Communication
Advisor SC49
8 years of service

Shorter Departure #66
Mr. Brian Taylor
Chair, Department of Art, Professor of Art
16 years of service


UPDATE – June 13, 2012

Departure #65
Dr. John Head
Vice President of Enrollment Management
10+ years of service
Shorter Class of 1987

Departure #64
Dawn Garrett, Director of Accounting Services
6 years of service

UPDATE – June 5, 2012

 Departure # 63.

Ms. Laura McRaney
Director of International Programs
6 years of service

Departure #62.

Dr. Christopher Brown
Asst. Professor of Biology
Freshman Lab Coordinator

Departure #61

Nickie Nicholson
Administrative Assistant
of Choral and Recruitment

UPDATE – May 25, 2012

Mr Chet Holloman                                                                                                        Adjunct Professor College of Business – Business Ethics; Conflict Resolution         Registered Mediator                                                                                                               8 years of service


Mr. Chris Crawford
Asst. Professor of Theatre
Technical Director, Lighting Designer
5 years of service

Mr. Richard Bristow
Asst. Professor of Theatre, Set Designer
12 years of service

Ms. Suzanne Scott
Former Acting V.P.
Institutional Advancement
10 years of service
Shorter Class of 1974

Ms. Stephanie Graves
Formerly of the Office of Institutional Advancement – Foundation Relations
7 years of service

Mr. Josh Severns
Former Head Coach, Soccer
5 years of service

Dr. Thenius Van Aardt
Associate Professor of Physics & Chemistry
Chemical Hygiene Engineer
9 years of service

Dr. Matthew Hoch
Asst. Professor of Music (Voice)
Vocal Coordinator
6 years of service

Dr. Martha Shaw
Director of Choral Activities
Professor of Music
13 years of service
Shorter Class of 1980

Mr. Ben Harris
Instructor of Accompanying
Vocal Coach
4 years of service

Dr. Rebecca Salter
Asst. Professor of Music (Voice)
2 years of service

Mr. Ross Green
Formerly Information Technology Specialist
2 years of service

Mr. Mark Tunnell
Former Director of Alumni Relations
Former Asst. Director of Admissions
6 years of service
Shorter Class of 1990

Ms. Sheila Byron
Formerly Human Resources Facilitator
8 years of service

Mr. Jamie Clements
Former Asst. Director of Alumni Relations
1 year of service
Shorter Class of 2005

Ms. Shelly Fleming
Biology Lab Coordinator Asst.
2 years of service
Shorter class of 2010

Dr. Peter DeWitt
Professor of Music (Organ)
37 years of service

Dr. Patricia DeWitt
Asst. V.P.
Planning & Institutional Effectiveness
24 years of service

Dr. Danny Davis
Professor of Mathematics
36 years of service

Dr. Jennifer Davis
Professor of Biology
36 years of service

Dr. Robert Turner
Asst. Professor of Spanish
7 years of service

Ms. Michelle Turner
Asst. Registrar
6 years of service

Mr. Jonathan Mitchell
Formerly Information Technology
3 years of service
Shorter Class of 2009

Mr. Dennis Waddell
Formerly Facilities Management
6 years of service

Mr. David Bridges
Formerly Facilities Management
4 years of service

Dr. David Nisbet
Chair, Theatre Department
Assistant Professor of Theatre
3 years of service

Dr. Sherri Weiler
Associate Professor of Music (Voice)
8 years of service

Ms. Carol Atkins
Formerly Human Resources
4 years of service
Shorter Class of 2007 & 2010

Dr. Chuck Chandler
Asst. Professor of Music (Voice)
3 years of service

Dr. Sandra Leslie
Dean, School of Education
Director of Teacher Education
Professor of Education
6 years of service

Ms. Jill Gable
Formerly Financial Aid
4 years of service
Shorter Class of 2008

Mr. Jay Stephenson
Head Cross Country Coach
5 years of service

Dr. Chuck Wynn
Professor of History & Education
Liaison to the School of Education
6 years of service

Ms. Crystal Edenfield
Formerly Financial Aid Processor
1 year of service

Mr. Ben Reigel
Asst. Professor of Theatre
3 years of service

Ms. Georgie Hall
Instructor of Dance, Choreographer
15 years of service

Dr. Melissa Hickman
Asst. Professor of Accounting
6 years of service

Mr. Richard Pirkle
Asst. Professor of Biology
6 years of service

Dr. Steve Carney
Asst. Professor of Sport Management
2 years of service

Ms. Suzanne Nelms
Formerly Student Services Advisor
4 years of service

Dr. Barbara Finn
Dean, College of Adult & Professional Programs
10 years of service

Dr. Craig Allee
Frank Barron Jr. Professor of Biology
Dean, School of Sciences and Mathematics
44 years of service
Shorter Class of 1963

Dr. Vanice Roberts
Dean of Nursing
Professor of Nursing
4 years of service

Ms. Ann Hook
Asst. Professor, School of Nursing
2 years of service

Ms. Pamela Dunagan
Asst. Professor, School of Nursing
4 years of service

Ms. Tanya Naguszewski
Asst. Professor, School of Nursing
1 year of service

Mr. Michael Wilson
Off-Campus Librarian, Professional Studies
14 years of service

Ms. Rebecca Roberts
Director, Shorter University Museum & Archives
4 years of service

Mr. Jimmy Rosato
Football Coach
4 years of service

Dr. Sarah Cantrell
Asst. Professor of English and French
1 year of service

Dr. Richard Bray
Asst. Professor of Christian Studies
5 years of service

Ms. Liesl Bold
Evening Library Asst.
3 years of service

Ms. Anita Clayton
Formerly Registrar’s Office
12 years of service

Dr. Roxy Lowry Swalls
Asst. Professor of Chemistry
1 year of service

Dr. Neville Y. Formelu
Asst. Professor of Chemistry
1 year of service

Dr. Jennell Talley
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
1 year of service
Shorter Class of 2002

Dr. Ron Tarlton
Professor of Accounting
11 years of service

Mr. Richard Gillert
Assistant Librarian
2 years of service

Dr. Sam Baltzer
Director of Institutional Activities
Professor of Music
25 years of service

Dr. Dixon McLeod
Asst. Director,
Center for Teacher Preparation
3 years of service

Faculty Member
15 years of service

All information contained herein was compiled from publicly available sources.