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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2008

University of Toledo dean yields post at arts, sciences

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Yueh-Ting Lee
<br>
<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> <a href="  /assets/pdf/TO50522716.PDF" target="_blank"><b>Haggett letter to UT campus community</b></a>
<br>
<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> <a href="  /assets/pdf/TO50528716.PDF" target="_blank"><b>Lee's resignation letter</b></a>
Yueh-Ting Lee <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> <a href=" /assets/pdf/TO50522716.PDF" target="_blank"><b>Haggett letter to UT campus community</b></a> <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> <a href=" /assets/pdf/TO50528716.PDF" target="_blank"><b>Lee's resignation letter</b></a>
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The dean of the University of Toledo's college of arts and sciences has resigned three months after faculty voiced concern about his leadership.

Yueh-Ting Lee's resignation was accepted Tuesday by UT Provost Rosemary Haggett and is effective Sept. 19.

A letter was sent to the campus community yesterday about the leadership change.

Mr. Lee will remain as an administrator at the university, accepting the new position of associate vice president for analysis and assessment in the human resources department.

Much of Mr. Lee's background is in the area of organizational psychology.

As dean, Mr. Lee had a salary of $175,000. In his new position, he will be paid $160,000 and continue to hold a tenured faculty appointment.

"When the dean approached me about transitioning, I had to agree with him it's in the best interest of the college and him to make the transition," Ms. Haggett said.

Mr. Lee, who has led the arts and sciences college since Aug. 8, declined to comment.

In his resignation letter, Mr. Lee wrote, "It has been an honor to serve as dean of the college of arts and sciences, but I feel that it is in the best interest of all parties for me to transition out of the position."

There has been unrest surrounding the college since April when the arts and sciences council, which represents the nearly 400 faculty, voted no confidence in Mr. Lee in a secret ballot vote of 42-7.

The council, which intended for the dean to resign, listed a half-dozen reasons for the vote, accusing the dean of poor management skills, infringing on faculty-shared governance, and not properly representing and advocating for the college.

In the wake of that vote, e-mails have surfaced in which UT President Lloyd Jacobs and Ms. Haggett discuss that maybe the best thing would be, in the words of Dr. Jacobs, to "throw him under the bus and get on with our agenda."

But doing so, Dr. Jacobs also wrote, would "reward the bad behavior" of the arts and sciences council.

On the other side, images and entries have been posted on the council's blog about the dean that have been considered racist, insensitive, and juvenile by other members of the university community.

Lawrence Anderson-Huang, chairman of the council and a professor of physics and astronomy, said there have been "some unfortunate situations" with a lot of raised tempers.

Although it should have happened sooner, he said, the dean's resignation should help put the past behind them and offers a new start before the upcoming school year.

"There is still a lot of differences about where we think the college should go or where the university as a whole should go," he said. "I hope this incident will give people an opportunity to get involved in a little bit more community discourse, as opposed to doing things by fiat."

The university intends to continue with a planned external review of the arts and sciences college, which was the administration's response to the no-confidence vote.

Evan Morrison, a junior majoring in history and one of the students who filed the public-records request that brought the e-mails between Dr. Jacobs and Ms. Haggett to light, said the assessment could now have a renewed sense of purpose.

"It's a solution in that the external review will benefit going forward. It won't be dealing with a poisoned situation," he said. "But I don't believe it's the only event that needs to happen before ourselves as students are satisfied."

The main faculty and student concern is that the university is focusing more on the STEMM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine, and that the liberal arts will suffer as a result.

Others are loss of funding, faculty positions not being replaced, and potential mergers of departments in the college, which is UT's largest.

David Davis, the former chairman of the arts and sciences council and a political science professor, said the dean's resignation is a "major solution to our problems."

He said he doesn't think that it was a voluntary resignation by the dean and that he was pressured to do so by the problems surrounding the college.

"It was our desire. I can't say we're happy that he resigned, but I think it's good that he resigned," Mr. Davis said.

But both Dr. Jacobs and Ms. Haggett said Mr. Lee's resignation was his decision made in his best interests and those of the university.

"To the extent that anybody perceives this as a victory I think that's a mistake," Dr. Jacobs said. "I think this is about individual decisions on the part of at least one individual and an institution deeply committed to a pursuit of excellence."

Mr. Lee will help fill a void in the university's human resources department with his new appointment, since UT previously hired outside consultants to do the work, Ms. Haggett said.

"He's a very talented person and we wanted to take advantage of that," she said.

The new appointment is contingent on approval of the university's board of trustees, which will meet July 28.

An interim dean of the college will be named prior to the start of the school year, which begins Aug. 25, and the search for a permanent dean will follow the strategic assessment of the college, Ms. Haggett said.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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