Weldon.

Beth
From: Miller, Jeanne M. Sunday, April 03, 2011 10:10 PM CEO . Re: Emailing: Star Ledger Article

Sent: To: Subject:

Steve We will look into this. Much will depend on his contract and leave records as well as Florida law (pertaining to employment, ethics, conflict of interest, among others), Board Rules and APMs. I will also have to consult with Chris, Under the circcumstances, 1 will likely hire outside counsel for an independent opinion on this matter. I also strongly recommend advising the OBOT of this situation sooner rather than later.

Let's discuss in the morning. Jeanne M. Miller General Counsel and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Florida State College at-Jacksonville jmmiller@fsci.edu On Apr 3,2011, at 9:40 PM, "CEO" <ceo@fscj.edu> wrote:
'1.".

> Jeanne -- if your read to the end of this unfortunate article you will see reference to an employment relationship I was unaware of until tonight. While Don is certainlvfree, from a College perspective, to do external work on his personal time, I need to know if there are any constraints under Florida law. Thanks for looking into this. > > From: Green Jr., Donald W. > Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2011 8:04 A~f > To: CEO .. " > Subject: Fwd: Emailing: Star Ledger Article > > I have been attempting to send this.artlcle but the server has been up intermittently. morning and will be back tomorrow---this is their on site Middle States visit. > > Sent from my iPad > ;; > Begin forwarded message: > From: "Abdullah, Edythe M." > <Abd ullah@essex.edlf<mailto:Abdullah@essex.edu» > To: "Green Jr., Donald IN." <DGREEN@fscj.edu<mailto:DGREEN@fscj.edu» > Subject: FW: Emailing: Star Ledger Article Hey Don, Didn't want to > send this to you. I know you're already overloaded. > > <Star Ledger Article.pdf> But you have to know. I am on my way to Newark this

»

1

Weldon. Beth
From:.
. Sent: Abdullah, Edythe M. <Abdullah@essex.edu> Tuesday, April 05, 2011 10:59 AM CEO; Pierce, Tracy A. FW: No Confidence vote President's response 4-4-11 Article on "No Confidence"; Bard Press Statement-NoConfidence.docx;

To:
Subject: Attachments:

No Confidence

vote President's response 4-4-11.docx Importance:
High

Good Morning,

I thought those of you who might be concerned would like to know/see My Board is now 100% behind me.

the following.

I'm in great shape.

"Children/young
F. Kennedy

adults are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future."

<John

Edythe M. Abdullah College President Essex County College

9738774462
abdullah@essex.edu

From: Abdullah, Edythe M.

Sent: Monday, April 04, 201111:46

AM

To: CABINET Cc: Congleton, Jonell; Billups, Rasheedah

Subject: No Confidence vote President's response 4-4-11 Importance: High
Here is my final response shared with Middle States and the Trustees.

1

ESSEX (C·UNTY COLLEGE
303 University Avenue, Newark, New Jersey 07102
Office of Marketing & Communications

STATEMENT

ON VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE

REVEREND REGINALD T. JACKSON,

Chair, Essex County College Board of Trustees

"The Board of Trustees is in full support of our President, Dr. Edythe M, Abdullah. Unfortunately, our colleagues at a few other community colleges faced similar challenges when a well-liked, long-tenured President retired. I was hoping we could avoid that at Essex County College, so that we can focus on pressing issues such as our shift to a younger student demographic, increasing our college completion rate as called for by President Obama, and integrating technology and distance education into our instructional programs, Not at any single meeting over the past year, did anyone including the faculty union express concerns about Dr. Abdullah. What is happening now with regards to tenure and contractual issues is a pressure tactic, which is ill-timed as the College plans for its Middle States reaffirmation visit, and as she concludes her successful first year."

DR. EDYTHE M. ABDULLAH,

President

"Essex County College's goal is to be an educationally sound institution that focuses on the success of our students, It is human nature to resist change; and it is no surprise my leadership style is different than that of President Emeritus Dr. Yamba, who successfully led the College for almost 30 years of its 44-year history. I have been fortunate that there have ·been so many arms that welcomed and appreciated my new perspectives and varied experience to make Eee a college that can embrace change. We are making so many strides by integrating more technology into the classroom, exploring partnerships to increase transfer options for students, and creating new opportunities for workforce development. I see a vote of 'no confidence' as a personal challenge to pull on my vast experience as a thriving President at an urban community college, and turn this negative situation into a positive one, for our students and the diverse communities we serve," Mission Statement: "Essex County College, an open access community college dedicated to academic excellence, serves the dynamic needs of diverse constituencies through comprehensive educational programs and services, "

VOTE OF "NO-CONFIDENCE" In PRESIDENT EDYTHE ABDULLAH President's Responses in Bold

At the March 15, 2011 general meeting of the Faculty of Essex County College, a voice vote with one dissenter was taken to express a "Vote of No Confidence" in the President of the College, President Edythe Abdullah. The following is a partial list of particulars, intended to illustrate the reasons why this action was taken by the Faculty at large:

Communication Issues: • Regarding communications with the Faculty collectively and conununications with the Executive Board of the Faculty Association, the President has taken a transactional approach that is neither professional nor respectful. • In October 2010, the President was asked to meet and respond to issues raised by the Faculty Satisfaction Survey regarding class size, promotion, and Faculty governance. On November 18,2010 the President responded with a list of questions which the Faculty Association answered. On January 3, the President indicated she could not react to any of the issues because of a missing attachment. President Abdullah was provided the attachment and as of March 15, she has not addressed any of the issues raised by the survey. Her stall tactics and non-responsiveness are unprofessional and disrespectful. After an extensive investigation into the items listed in the association letter, all items related directly to negotiated terms of the contract between the prior administration and the faculty. This was an attempt to get the administration to undo the negotiated items bargained in November 2009. These items will not be negotiable items for the next contract after statewide research has been done. • On December 13, 2010 at a meeting with representatives from the Faculty Association, President Abdullah stated it would be "unfair to add new guidelines" with reference to those up for tenure. It was unprofessional of her then to require the current tenure candidates to adhere to new tenure guidelines in direct contradiction to her statement and then distribute notices of non-renewal a month later on January 14, 2011. New guidelines to the tenure process were not added. More information was requested upon which to make an exceptional
1

decision. With the institution approaching a 90% faculty tenure percentage, the request for additional information was needed due to .. the limited information indicating a difference between satisfactory .and excellent ratings. Moreover, as I have only been with the College for Iess than a year when the information was submitted, I felt it wise. to gather more information upon which to make a professional and informed recommendation to the board. • During the same meeting, the President stated that she was leaning towards closing the Nursing program. During this same period of time, Chair Schussler wrote a scathing document to the board condemning the Nursing program which fostered a Board action based on his nine points of contention. In confidential conversation with the Association leadership, I asked for their advice regarding the lack of engagement of the nursing faculty in preparing for the NLN Self Study. I indicated to the faculty leadership that I was unsure if it was better to stop admitting .new students to allow us time to revitalize the program or to run the risk of not being reaccredited. This conversation was exploratory and confidential and was an effort to elicit their valued feedback. Restating the conversation in this context is inaccurate. The report was requested by the board after we discovered that our NCLEX pass rate had declined to 73%. The document written by Dr. Schussler was an assessment of the program IS decline was completed with the assistance of a NJ consultant and lists what steps were needed to improve performance and prepare for the Self Study. • .On February 7, 2011, the Faculty collectively sent the President a resolution supporting the tenure candidates and objecting to changes made to the tenure process. The President deflected the issue by stating "tenure was not denied ... [but] simply delayed/' despite four Faculty members and a highly regarded academic administrator receiving non-renewal notices. The resolution was dismissed by the President, which is disrespectful. The president of Trustees . does not have the power to deny tenure, only the Board

• The President has declined three separate invitations to meet to collegially discuss Faculty concerns and issues: 1.on October with the Faculty Senate and Executive Board on a date of the President's choice; 2.to attend a Faculty sponsored open-forum held on February 15;and

2

3.to attend a Faculty sponsored open-forum held on March 15, . 2011. . I am unaware of an October invitation to attend a faculty forum however on the other .days requested, the faculty invitation came too late to change my schedule. Moreover, I have met with faculty, or the Faculty Association leadership over 75 times in the last year. • The President has proven herself to be an unresponsive, indecisive, untimely, and an untrustworthy administrator. I have no answer for this other than to submit documentation taken that prove otherwise. Here are a few examples: of several actions I have

1) The faculty contract had a provision in it since 2006 stating that the faculty and administration would negotiate an agreement for full time faculty to teach distance education .. In November 2010, I began discussions with the Faculty Association President and board liaison and on February 25th executed an agreement that had not been reached in 4 years. 2) When informed of the impending move of classroom locations for biology and chemistry students, I proactively asked that a cabinet member ensure that there was open communication with all who needed to be involved, so that the transfer went smoothly. I was immediately informed of numerous problems and within three weeks not only visited the area but also instituted solutions to these problems. 3) Additionally, upon arriving at Essex, I discovered that many students had missing grades. Within two months of discovering this ongoing issue, a system was put in place to ensure all grades were entered by faculty within a week of the term, and actions were taken to try to rectify years of empty data lines to benefit our students and alumni. These accusations are factually incorrect, unprofessional, and meant to create a hostile work environment. Contractual Infractions: • While Facu1ty are expected to follow the current contract, the Administration often chooses not to. As a result, deadlines regarding tenure are missed, requirements regarding application for tenure/promotion are changed, words like "appointment" in the context of office hours are redefined and when it is considered expedient, the contract is dismissed by the President as "illegal." I have never defined the contract as illegal. I have adhered to deadlines. I have received no promotion applications. Student access to faculty during designated office hours has come under question by the administration. Through the grievance process, the Board has made a decision regarding this non-traditional practice to which will be adhered. It was noted by our legal counsel that the context of the contract was ambiguous and, therefore, not a contractual infraction.

Sick bank leave was denied to a long-time Faculty member who was terminally ill and was forced into disability. In addition, the matter was never forwarded to the Board for action as required by the Contract ... The faculty member.was not forced to take long-term disability, as can be verified by the HR department. The Association representation vigorously asked me to continue an illegal act of granting sick leave. I could not in good faith continue the award beyond the legal limits. There is no requirement that an issue of this nature go to the board.

As of March 15, the President has yet to meet with the four Faculty members up for Tenure this year and there is a question as to whether or not their folders have ever been reviewed. I met with faculty after discussions with the board about the issues beginning the week of March 24,2011.

Organizational Structure and Governance: • The President's new organizational chart calls for splitting the academic divisions into two separate departments and adding non-academic areas to each one. This reorganization weakens the academic programs and makes the college more vocational in nature. This allegation is not historically accurate. The College has had two separate departments for career programs and liberal arts under the previous administration without making the College more vocational in nature. It is my professional judgment that in a county where the unemployment rate is above 21 % -- and the Newark unemployment rate is above 40% -- an emphasis on developing and ensuring the quality of our career programs is critical to support the community and its employers. Moreover, the amount of work required to ensure the quality of all programs was sorely lacking, from unqualified faculty being hired to the lack of employer advisory councils to ensure programs meet workplace needs. • The structure of Faculty governance is not only top-heavy with administrators but all members are appointed by central administration. Resultantly, Faculty are pushed away from meaningful involvement in course curriculum matters and involvement in academic affairs. Moreover, Faculty are not allowed to participate in the planning process for the academic direction of the College in a collegial way. The Governance Councils were developed before my tenure. Restructuring of them has not been a high priority of mine based on other pressing issues. An analysis of the councils shows that the majority of the Governance Council members are faculty.

The hiring of Vice President Donald Green and Chair of Nursing Norm Schussler, key positions in the academic operations of the College, without the support of Faculty is highly objectionable.

4

Several steps were employed to find appropriate academic leadership for the Nursing program and for the academic VP. A statewide consultant with which the faculty have a significant long term relationship with was engaged to assist in locating a state department chair after it was determined that the sitting chair was resigning due to lack of success of the prograni. After several attempts, the consultant was asked to review the qualification of Dr. Schussler and make a recommendation. She approved of Dr. Schussler as long as there was a program coordinator for the nursing program. At that point, both the. faculty. and potential program coordinator were consulted. It was agreed that the current nursing program coordinator Marlene Dye and Dr. Schussler would make a good team. Regarding Dr. Green, after several attempts via the New Jersey Council of County College's presidents, meetings with several individuals within the community, conversations with Dr. Walter Bumphus and Dr. John Rouche it was decided-to .bl1ing on-a tempo rary individual who had already served as a consultant to the (College and therefore had familiarization with the institution, its issues and its faculty, Dr.'GFeen~a'fter consultation with his.president and based on the fact that we were in an active search for a permanenfVP, agreed to take on the role on a part time basis. Unfortunately, the search has taken longer than we hoped, partially because five other county colleges "in NJ arealso recruiting VPs for academic affairs.

College Mission and Academic Integrity: • Academic quality in transfer programs is being diluted to the point where transfer programs are treated as secondary to remedial and vocational programs in the College's Mission. I find no evidence of this allegation as the majority of my time has been spent working on Student Learning Outcomes for all courses as well as Syllabi requirements and general education course content. Moreover, only two new programs have been pursued under my leadership at the request of industry; an Aviation mechanics and Avionics program. • The President forced the removal of the Executive Vice President/Provost and the Dean of Faculty in the past year and replaced one with a colleague from Florida on a part-time basis. The facts substantiate that the Executive Vice President requested a Sabbatical. The Dean requested a return to the faculty. This misinformation is being promoted by the Association. • The emphasis of vocational programs over transfer-worthy college academic programs is transforming the College into a Vocational- Technical training schooL There has been no emphasis on career/vocational programs over Liberal Arts ·.... «rams. In fact, several meetings have been held with Montclair State, Rutgers, and qall to build new relationships via joint admissions programs for our rver, I chair the statewide committee to review and enhance the top ten .tion courses. 5

Overcrowded classes, particularly in remedial and core .courses, are damaging our ability to effectively teach our students .. The issue of overcrowded classrooms for-remedial courses is one that was negotiated in the last contract. No change has been made by the administration to the contract, as it relates to class size agreed to, in November of.2009._ Moreover, I instituted a new system for ensuring that the classrooms that students are assigned to have sufficient seating so the rooms are not overcrowded. • Directions and policies that have been introduced by President Abdullah do not foster a student-Faculty friendly environment. I am not sure what directions and policies to which a) more office presence by the faculty; b) instituted online withdrawal process that ensures interaction withdraw, d) brought hybrid and online courses to increased professional development for faculty. the faculty refer. I have asked for: an online early alert system, c) an with faculty before students the College and e) opportunities for

In conclusion the College is ailing as a direct result of the administration of President Abdullah. It is currently affecting classroom instruction, student satisfaction and employee morale. It is because of this continuing pattern of ineffective and abusive leadership that the Faculty has delivered a Vote of "No Confidence" in President Abdullah.

Please note we have over 520 full time regular employees and another 1,300 part time/temporary employees. Further, there are 128 full time faculty members. The final vote of 101 to 6, and the questions regarding the validity of the voting process (as faculty who voted No are being harassed and confronted) begs the question as to how many individuals question my leadership. Furthermore, if the count is believed to be accurate, then it should be amended to 101-6-21; which notes that 27 (over 20%) of faculty chose to decline to vote "yes" to a vote of no confidence. Additionally, the Board has issued a statement of full confidence in me, which is greatly appreciated. The uses of the words ineffective and abusive are unprofessional and unfounded in fact. The College Faculty President's Responses in Bold

6

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful