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LETTER: Nine years, seven deans: Something’s wrong

GRAND FORKS — I read with interest the Herald’s story, “Three finalists announced to lead UND nursing college” (Page A3, July 2).

It is a particularly difficult position due to a constellation of problems that have not been addressed, some of which were unfairly attributed to me. At the direction of UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo and Vice President for University and Public Affairs Susan Watson, I was instructed not to respond to the media. I wish to do so now in the spirit of informing the community.

Upon arrival at UND’s College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, I found that there was a lack of faculty collegiality, mutual respect and civility. In my first week on the job, I heard a senior tenured faculty and staff member screaming at one another in the hallway!

It was also clear that senior faculty effectively silenced junior, non-tenured faculty by blocking their promotion should they voice dissent. Obviously, the “hostile work environment” existed before my arrival.

I found several issues that needed to be addressed such as outdated teaching methods, distasteful examples used in lectures, lack of technological skills and disparaging statements about American Indian students. My efforts to address these issues yielded an outstanding performance evaluation from the former provost. This may be due to the newly created Doctor of Nursing Practice program, increased scholarships, and health screening services provided to rural communities such as the Arthur (N.D.) Initiative.

Interestingly, within eight weeks after Provost DiLorenzo arrived, I was reassigned arbitrarily and without consultation as “dean of research.”

What the community does not know is that there have been seven deans in nine years, which demonstrates that there is something fundamentally wrong when a college changes deans almost annually.

Unfortunately, the inconsistent leadership for the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines robs North Dakota of having the best-prepared graduates. Further, it allows for faculty, staff and administrators not to be accountable while spending the taxpayer’s money.

Korniewicz, former dean of the UND College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, is a professor of nursing at UND.