With the academic year ending, two faculty members in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Arts and Sciences recently asked A&S Dean Ronald Jackson to resign, but the administration doesn’t plan to act on either request. “I am, as you must also now surmise, decidedly not a supporter of you Ron, and I unequivocally feel that you have failed as the leader of the McMicken College,” said Jana Braziel, A&S associate dean, in an email obtained by The News Record. “In short, I believe that you lack the character and the leadership to remain in this position.”
Braziel included a letter of resignation in her email, which she sent to A&S faculty, department heads and Jackson.
Braziel sent her email 10 days after Steven Howe, a psychology professor, sent an email to UC President Santa Ono requesting Jackson be removed as dean.
“Make Ron [vice president] for student services, or give him a position at the foundation … he just can’t be A&S dean,” Howe said in an email.
Howe said a majority of the A&S department heads did not have faith in Jackson.
Out of the 20 department heads in A&S, 19 did not respond to inquiries regarding Jackson’s performance.
Larry Johnson, interim provost, said there will be no change in the leadership of UC’s largest college, which has 7,835 students and more than 500 faculty members.
“We plan to work with Ron to address some of these concerns,” Johnson said. “Are there serious challenges that need to be addressed? Yes. We’re willing to stay the course and work with Ron to right the ship. “
Johnson said Jackson took the position during one of the most turbulent times in the college’s history and many of the problems existed before Jackson took the job.
“Some of these problems have nothing to do with Ron,” he said.
Jackson took the position two months before the start of the 2012-13 Fall semester.
“He’s doing his best in a hard situation,” said Steve Depoe, head of the communications department.
Jackson said he welcomes criticism, but the opinions expressed in the emails were not constructive.
“As dean, you’re going to have opinions on things you can improve. You take what’s said, learn from it and move on,” Jackson said. “The tone was counterproductive.”
Jackson and Johnson said the criticism in the emails was unfair. “It’s not just all about Ron, there’s things all of us should be doing to improve our performance ... it’s just unfair,” Johnson said.
While Jackson said the college is facing some issues, the problems are not nearly as bad as indicated in the emails.
“The college isn’t going to hell in a hand basket,” Jackson said. Jackson said he was unaware of any similar criticisms among A&S faculty. “Leadership is a challenging job and Ron’s doing his best,” Depoe said. “I’m comfortable with him continuing to lead this college.”