By NATALIE WRIGHT
Three of Washtenaw Community College’s five academic deans announced recently, within one week of each other, that they will be leaving their positions at the end of this academic year. This means that four out of six total academic dean positions will be vacant at the end of the semester.
Martha Showalter, dean of Math and Natural Sciences and Health, is retiring, a spokesman for the college said; Rosemary Wilson, dean of Business and Computer Technologies will return to teaching in the business department; and Jim Egan, dean of Distance Learning will return to teaching in the math department.
The deans’ contract with the college stipulates that they can return to teaching at any time and maintain their seniority and benefits.
Egan said that he is stepping down from his position to spend more time with his family, adding that he has known since he became dean in 2008 that this move would come eventually.
Wilson and Showalter could not be reached for comments, but a college spokesman said that Wilson is also stepping down for personal reasons.
Faculty members have expressed concerns over the sudden departure of the deans. The position of dean of Health Education has also been vacant for three years and Showalter had been filling in for those responsibilities.
“That means that the college needs to find four deans soon,” said Maryam Barrie, president of the faculty union in an address to the Board of Trustees on April 22. “As you can imagine, this adds a great deal of uncertainty to the alarm faculty are already feeling.”
“It seems that our best and brightest are jumping ship,” English instructor Stephanie Gelderlooos wrote in an email to adjunct faculty.
Additional reporting by Staff Writer David Fitch