After an exchange between Miami University President David Hodge and Karen Schilling, dean of the College of Arts and Science, Schilling is resigning a semester early.
Her decision was not by choice. Schilling got wind of Hodge making comments about her resignation at a dinner at his home from one of the department chairs before she had officially announced her plans.
“It wasn’t the first time that I had felt not particularly well respected by the president,” Schilling said.
She sent the president an e-mail regarding his comments and questioning his decency, and the decision was made that she would resign in December. The choice was one made between the two parties in a private personnel matter.
Schilling’s five-year term ends in May 2011, and she had planned to resign at that time before Hodge asked her to resign early.
Schilling’s early resignation comes as Miami is searching for a new provost.
Schilling shared her “dismay with his comments” with her colleagues in an e-mail.
“When I did that, that was kind of saying ‘this is it,'” Schilling said. “You don’t publicly criticize a president if you’re a dean.”
Hodge declined to comment on his communication with Schilling, but said the two had met in person to discuss the issue.
“I have a great respect for Dean Schilling and all that she’s done, and it’s just time for a change,” Hodge said.
Schilling said Hodge apologized to her for his comments and she has no regrets.
“I don’t regret anything that I’ve done in reaction to what transpired,” Schilling said. “I wish that it didn’t have to be such a public flurry.”
Schilling has spent 36 years at Miami, four and a half of those years as dean of the College of Arts and Science.
Hodge said significant transitions at Miami happen on a regular basis.
“We have a leadership team that we can draw from that will help to continue the momentum that has already been developed,” Hodge said.
Interim Provost John Skillings was unavailable for comment, but according to Mary Woodworth, senior associate provost, Skillings has already met with the college chairs asking for suggestions of who to appoint to the position of interim dean.
“We have plenty of good people on campus to work as an interim,” Woodworth said.
Skillings is waiting for the college chairs to submit their nominations, and he will then contact the nominees to see who is willing and who is not, Woodworth said.
She said how long it takes will depend on how many names are thrown in, if there are a number of different people suggested or if the chairs seem to all endorse one person.
The interim dean will be announced as soon as the decision is made, Woodworth said.
The search for the new dean of the College of Arts and Science will not begin until the new provost is selected.
According to Hodge, the search for a new dean could take up to a year and a half, but Woodworth doesn’t foresee any problems.
“I think the transition will be smooth,” Woodworth said.
Editor’s Note: The second paragraph of this story was updated Nov. 3, 2010 due to a misunderstanding about the description of Hodge’s comments. Hodge did not say Schilling was “unethical,” but his comments were described this way in an e-mail conversation between Schilling and a colleague. In addition, the description of the way the decision was made for Schilling to resign early was clarified.