Garrison removed as Pan- African department chair
By Jennifer Fiala
July 1, 1998
George Garrison will not
be allowed to con- tinue his position as Pan-African Studies departmental
chair due to a decision maue by Joseph Danks, associate professor and dean
of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The extraordinary review
of Garrison's per- formance that began in Fall 1997 is now com- plete.
He concluded his administrative
duties Tuesday, but will remain a professor of Pan- African studies with
Garrison could not be reached
for com- ment.
Danks came to the decision
after studying the Review Committee's findings and Garri- son's response
to that report.
Danks cited in a memo to
the departmental faculty members that his decision was based on ". . .
the clear lack of support for his contin- ued leadership of the Department
on the part of a strong majority of the continuing faculty, rather than
on any assessment on my part of his efforts to discharge his administrative
responsibilities and to provide vision and constructive leadership for
the Department and its programs."
Danks said he would
be meeting with the department's College Advisory Council Repre- sentative,
professor Meli Temu, to begin the process of selecting an interim/acting
chair. The interim/acting chair will cover the responsibilities of that
position until a permanent chair is selected.
"(Garrison) has provided
leadership for over two years to the department and was moving the department
in a certain direction that we will be looking to continue," Dan .s said.
"The department will continue to move forward."
Review Committee Chair
John Gargan said the review of Garrison took longer than anticipated because
the committee wanted to give everyone involved an opportunity to make comments
and express alternative points of view.
"The committee and larger
community were well served," Gargan said. "There were clearly divided opinions
both within the committee as well as the community with regards to the
chair's performance. It took a lot of talking and discussion to bring close
the process and to write the review report."
The extraordinary review
began with four faculty members of the Pan-African Studies Department submitting
a letter to Danks which called for a review on Garrison. Those members
were assistant professor Francis Dorsey, professor Diedre Badejo, instructor
Mwatabu Okantah and professor Jacqueline Rowser.
These faculty members cited
several grievances in the letter. According to the Extraordinary Review
Report, those grievances included:
Failure to adequately consult with faculty and staff
before making decisions on matters of department wide concern and usurpation
of the Faculty Advisory Committee's role in such matters as the assessment
and recommendation of new and part-time faculty consistent with the academic
quality of the subject matter.Inadequate performance of sic management
tasks, including forming faculty of university- wide development opportunities
and meeting deadlines for routine admini- strative matters such as scheduling
Diminution of departmental competitive- ness and input
to College of Arts and Sciences and University deliberations as a result
of consistently late reports.
These faculty members could
not be reached for comment.
Absence of open and professional dia- logue with the
faculty as to the faculty's role and participation in determining the direction
and academic quality of the Department of Pan-African Studies.
The Review Committee took
the information received from the four faculty members and sought information
from faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members. The commit-
tee wrote its report based on its findings and submitted it to Danks.
Some feedback contained
in the report was positive.
"At no time have I had
a more nurturing or supporting relationship with a department chair than
I now enjoy with Dr. Garrison," said a part-time instructor. "He has demonstrated
scholarly behavior and administrative skills and unwavering loyalty."
This view was not shared
by all Pan-African Studies faculty members.
Another comment quoted
in the report stated: "It appears that little time is devoted to faculty
growth and development in the area of scholarship. More work is placed
on faculty, and the Chair has little regard for the majority of the faculty.
He informs only a select few of the faculty of opportunities, or provides
them with the technology that they need to improve."
Danks said the Extraordinary
Review Report and a vote from full-time tenure-track faculty members were
taken into consider- ation, but ultimately it was his decision to remove
Garrison from office.