Meeting with communications faculty planned

Meeting with communications faculty planned

URBANA – Provost Richard Herman plans to meet with the College of Communications faculty within the next couple of weeks to discuss the issues raised in an evaluation of the college.

Herman appointed a committee in May to assess the college and make recommendations for its future, after calling off a dean search for the college.

He met Saturday with the current dean of the college, Kim Rotzoll, and asked him to retire. Rotzoll will do so by the end of the month.

Rotzoll originally planned to step down as dean in December 2002 and continue on at the college in a development and alumni relations capacity through this month, when he would retire, according to a retirement agreement between Rotzoll and the UI signed more than a year ago.

When Herman called off the dean search and appointed the assessment committee, Rotzoll "agreed to continue to serve while these questions are examined," according to a letter Herman wrote to the college's faculty in May.

Herman said this morning Rotzoll was to stay only until the committee finished its assessment. It is to provide its recommendations to Herman by Sept. 1.

Herman said he told Rotzoll on Saturday he should retire as previously agreed. He said he'll appoint an interim dean within the next week or so.

Herman has met once with the assessment committee, and he plans to meet with it again, as well as with the college faculty.

"There are a number of issues which do need to be addressed by the college," he said. "My feeling is that will now best be done with new leadership in place. At a certain point, rightly or wrongly, you become associated with issues that need to be resolved. I just felt it would be best to move on to the next phase of discussion.

"The next step is for me to talk with the college about the identification of certain issues which need to be debated by the college," he said.

Herman wouldn't elaborate on the issues he feels the college is facing.

When he announced the appointment of the committee, Herman said in his letter to the college faculty that the dean search had raised "fundamental issues" about the college, including whether the units within the college have a "coherent vision," are well-served by the present structure of the college, or can "function effectively as a collective enterprise."

Herman said his request of Rotzoll to retire as originally planned is "no indication whatsoever" of the future of the college and whether it will remain intact.

You can reach Jodi Heckel at (217) 351-5216 or via e-mail at jheckel@news-gazette.com.

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