Message from the Dean - April 2012


I have been thinking a lot about the word trust as of late.  I have always been one to trust first and later experience the consequences of trusting too quickly.  And although this is a persistent pattern in my personal and professional life, I have learned not to foreclose on the next person or situation due to previous misjudgments.  As I read Dr. Noel Tichy’s book about making sound business judgments, I realized that we are now in the execution phase of a judgment call.  There was a deliberate call made to close the Malcolm Price Laboratory School (MPLS).  This call was made by the President and approved by the Iowa Board of Regents.  I trust that President Allen made this call due to the dire economic circumstances that the institution faces.

The trust now must be in the transition process.  As your dean, I have a tendency to be transparent to a fault.  I can’t abide with shysterism or clandestine behaviors that are coercive and power driven.  And, as my faculty and staff, I hope that you trust me to assist as we navigate this transition.

Our MPLS faculty members are placing their trust in the employment transition system.  All tenured faculty members have been offered Early Separation Incentive Plans (ESIP) in which they must make a decision by April 30th.  They are trusting that the system is in place for them to make wise decisions about their economic livelihood.  Should they seek external employment, retire, and take the ESIP or should they continue to trust UNI and retool for another position in the academy?

As dean, I must work to ensure that questions are answered and that this process is handled with fairness and equity as laid out in the Master Contract.  I must also make sure that MPLS faculty are made aware of all the transfer options and that the selection process is fair and just.  This is my desire and I ask for your trust.

Several of the transition positions are housed within the departments.  These positions were captured by heads and submitted as staffing plans.  Positions that are attached to lines with existing funds are the easiest to approve.  Those positions that are bundled adjunct courses will need the evidence of enrollment trends, student credit hours, and course availability needs in order for approval to be warranted.  New positions that are submitted as job descriptions will also need approval.  Once positions are approved by the Provost, the Employment Transition Team members (Provost Gibson, Virginia Arthur, Dwight C. Watson, and Michelle Byers) will match applicants who have submitted their preferences and vita to the existing positions.  Those names will then be sent to the head of the departments whose position matches with a personal request or qualified vita.

The departments are then to create their selection committees to review applicants and to adhere to the selection process in choosing the best person for the position.  Department faculty must trust that any of our MPLS faculty that are selected for faculty positions are qualified, experienced, and dedicated.

Currently, there are some glitches in the process such as applicants submitting broad intents without knowing specific positions, but again I ask that you trust that I will be at the table to ensure that all applicants are offered matching opportunities they are qualified for even though they might not have known of this position before submitting their preferences and vita.

Finally, I trust that this matching takes place prior to the April 30th ESIP deadline so that tenured MPLS faculty will have the opportunity to continue their career at UNI.  I sincerely trust that each of us value, respect, and appreciate each other.


Dr. Dwight C. Watson

Dean, College of Education