Prosecutor in Chief – UVM’s Dept of Economics Chair moved to suppress evidence of my teaching effectiveness

Take a look at the email I found today in the pile of emails released per my public records request (see link below).  It is an email showing Econ. Dept. Chair Solnick acting like a prosecutor trying to have Associate Dean Patty Corcoran’s letter of support for my reappointment removed from my dossier before sending it to the faculty to review. This would have allowed what I argue were her smoke and mirrors negative peer letters of my teaching effectiveness to remain unchallenged.

Here is what Associate Dean Patty Corcoran wrote in my support that they tried to suppress:

“John’s strength as a teacher is well known by all in the Student Affairs Division of the Dean’s Office. He is a strong, caring and knowledgeable instructor who takes genuine interest in his students…John is a huge asset to UVM.”
– Patty Corcoran, Associate Dean, UVM College of Arts and Sciences.

The email obtained by my public records request suggests the chair sought to suppress the above statement by having the letter from Corcoran from removed from my dossier, which seems quite clear from her notes to department members (“so therefore no way to exclude the letter”).  This statement suggests she and others were lamenting this fact, expressing perhaps a collective feeling in the department that I needed to go.  In a separate email to the Dean, the chair wrote that it was “ackward” for the department to have the letter in my dossier because they were likely to vote me out for purportedly bad teaching. But it begs the question: why would there be an effort to suppress evidence of my highly regarded teaching from a very respected person, Associate Dean Patty Corcoran even if you were expecting to vote me out? Simple answer, in my view: Corcoran’s voice presented the truth about my teaching that the Chair wanted to suppress to avoid having it become an issue.  See the email here: ProsecutorInChief.

For an update on this post following examination of the Chair under oath at my Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB) hearing helming February 14-15, go here.

You can see by her tone and comments that they plan to ignore it anyway, but clearly she was concerned about some members of the department being perhaps influenced by it and/or the record reflecting a different view of me, since they clearly were planning a purge. This is before the vote that led to my reappointment denial, before the department had seen anything yet, and this email reveals she sought to remove evidence of my teaching effectiveness before the dossier went to faculty for review ahead of the vote.

This is just one more piece of evidence painting a picture of a highly motivated chair bent on destroying me and making sure every nail in the coffin is hammered fully into the casket cover. The neoliberal/neocon members chimed in after she finished her summary statement to the Dean, which is the hanging statement, with comments like “nice job!” and other expressions of strong support. -JS

PPS, You can read my purge ‘smoking gun’ email here. If you are outraged, sign the petition demanding the Provost reappoint me to my teaching position. -JS