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Published: Friday, 6/3/2005

UT demotes 2 deans to teaching positions

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Phillip Closius Phillip Closius
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Two deans at the University of Toledo - Phillip Closius in the college of law and David Stern in the college of arts and sciences - are being demoted to teaching positions, university officials announced yesterday.

Provost Alan Goodridge said the decision not to renew their contracts as deans was based on the fact that both had requested contracts the university could not meet and not because of job performance issues. Among the reasons the provost cited were the deans' personal salary requests as well as requests to adjust salaries for their key staff.

"I don't think performance was an issue as far as this decision. This really resulted with some demands that didn't provide us with much wiggle room," Mr. Goodridge said last night.

Mr. Closius makes $191,011 annually, while Mr. Stern is paid $157,931.

David Stern David Stern
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According to university records released yesterday, Mr. Closius provided Mr. Goodridge with two potential contracts - one for four years and the other for an interim contract. In the four-year pact, he was seeking an initial annual salary of $210,000 plus a one-time payment of $10,000.

By comparison, Provost Goodridge makes $210,232 and UT President Dan Johnson's base salary is $243,600.

The four-year contract proposal was one that Mr. Closius had drafted and written himself for Mr. Goodridge to sign. Mr. Closius said he did this only because nothing had formerly been offered to him.

He indicated in his notice that the university would need to either accept one of his contract proposals or he would consider June 30 his last day as dean.

Mr. Stern was seeking to have his current salary adjusted to $172,000, effective July 1. He outlined other raises over upcoming years in addition to other stipulations, as did Mr. Closius. Mr. Stern said he was willing to sit down and negotiate details of the contract proposal.

The deans were informed by letter on Tuesday that their contracts would not be renewed once they expire at the end of this month. National searches for new deans will begin after June 30, with interim deans appointed in the meantime.

Both Mr. Closius and Mr. Stern said in telephone interviews with The Blade last night that they were surprised their contracts were not renewed. Neither man had been given indication of poor performance and both also said they were told along the way by the provost that their contracts would be renewed. Both added they felt that contract negotiations were stalled by the administration.

Mr. Closius, who has served as the law school dean since 1999, earned his undergraduate degree at Notre Dame University and his law degree at Columbia University. He worked for a law firm in New York and joined UT in 1979 as an associate professor, but is not licensed to practice law in Ohio, according to the Ohio Supreme Court's Web site.

In recent years, the dean has been credited with helping to raise bar passage rates for the college's law students, increasing UT's rankings among law schools listed in the U.S. News & World Report.

He's also been praised for bringing well-known, highly-sought speakers to the law school, some the day after they have presented before the Supreme Court.

"There's never been a hint of dissatisfaction with my performance - at least [told] to me," Mr. Closius said.

Mr. Stern, who joined UT as an assistant professor of philosophy in 1990, has been dean of his college since 2000. He earned his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and a doctorate from the University of California at San Diego.

He said he was looking forward to continuing with implementation of a new strategic plan in his college. One of the plan's goals included development of a jazz institute at UT.

"I was never told that there were any problems at all," Mr. Stern said of his work at UT.

Both men were appointed to their posts under the previous administration of President Vik Kapoor.

The deans both said contract discussions had been stalled over the past months and they were the ones approaching the provost about details, including salary. The two deans met with Mr. Goodridge less than two weeks ago in his office, along with Dean Jerome Sullivan, who is the head of UT's College of Heath and Human Services.

Mr. Sullivan's contract also will expire at the end of the month, but negotiations on a new agreement are continuing with the university, Mr. Goodridge said.

Contact Kim Bates at:

kimbates@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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