A former Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Vermont believes the facts point to UVM Department of Economics “targeting” me

A former UVM dean wrote: “The chair and the dean conducted a biased, prejudicial evaluation of the record” [of my dossier]
Below are some extracts from communication with me by a former UVM Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (who clearly sees through the subterfuge). I will not reveal the person’s name in order to protect the former official from retaliation by UVM.

A former UVM dean:
“It is clear they [UVM’s Dept. of Economics chair and certain faculty] scrutinized and targeted you because you pushed their buttons. My experience with UVM faculty is that they can be pretty vindictive with anyone who dares to question the status quo. It is very disappointing. I really hope that your appeal gets a fair hearing.”

In reference to arbitrary and capricious UVM reviews of faculty, this person continues with more comments.

A former UVM dean:
“I know of at least one case in a different department where a faculty [member] with poor student teaching evaluations and under-par peer evaluations was unanimously reappointed.”

To be clear, my student evaluations were good-to-excellent from over 2500 students and my peer reviews were a mix of perspectives, excellent reviews contradicted by some negative comments, but the chair wrote three extremely negative letters herself that tipped the scales. Even though I believe that I showed these letters to be riddled with falsehoods, distortions and can’t-pass-the-smell-test claims about my teaching, nobody has ever answered my evidence and arguments (I would argue this was a denial of due process). The Chair, I argue, aimed to tip the scales against me. But she didn’t fool the university’s own faculty standards committee, which reviewed my teaching record and concluded the Chair was “out to get” me. The FSC voted for my reappointment unanimously, concluding that I had “met the standard for reappointment”.

A former UVM dean:
“The chair and the dean conducted a biased, prejudicial evaluation of the record [my dossier]… If you do a public records request for all reappointments of the last 3 years, you’ll find at least one reappointment that ignored both student teaching evaluations and peer evaluations, as well as departmental guidelines. The point is if the chair and your colleagues ‘like you’, they find excuses to pass you. If they dislike you, they go out of their way to scrutinize you. I think you’ve proven that the peer reviews were prejudicial…” [emphasis added]

Too bad the Labor Board found “no evidence” of such behavior. As I argue, they had the evidence but chose to ignore it, which is one part of my appeal.

Meanwhile, I will do one more public records request for the reappointment decision documents (Dsean’s evaluation statements) of the past three years of other faculty, or since Dean Falls (who denied my reappointment, taking the Chair’s side) came on board.

Let’s see what hypocrisy we can find, or in legal terms arbitrary and capricious decision making by Dean Falls, who I maintain wrongfully denied my reappointment and took the Chair’s side (a Chair who is involved with Dean Falls on a some of his special committees).

It will make for excellent content to contrast with what I argue (with facts) were misleading statements under oath by the Provost and Dean — statements at the Labor Board hearing, that is (which were filmed in HD with two cameras by a professional videographer hired by me and fought over in a motion by UVM to ban cameras at a public hearing — needless to say they lost).

I will start editing together a film doc about my ordeal shortly after the Supreme Court appeal is done.

Thank you for you continued support!

John Summa

PS, I have also learned that UVM supplied outdated (out of compliance) faculty evaluation guidelines (FEGs) to the Labor Board. My UVM source has informed me that pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement and University’s own rules, FEGs must be updated every 5 years, so two cycles were missed in the case of the Department of Economics FEGs (the FEGs delivered to the Labor Board are dated 2003). Unfortunately for UVM, I have a draft of new FEGs supplied to the Dean in 2015 at his request, pursuant to the Provost’s request to update evaluation guidelines. The final version of this set of FEGs has gone missing. Not surprising. Perhaps it never was finalized. So out of compliance, again. Even worse, the Provost in 2014 ordered all faculty to be annually reviewed with more than just student evaluations (2014 memo from Provost Rosowsky) to be actualized beginning in 2015. Yet the Chair failed to do this, of course, as I was evaluated with just student evaluations in 2015, 2016 and 2017, which is one reason the Faculty Standards Committee faulted the Chair and reappointed me unanimously. Of course, the dean ignored this or explained it away with misleading statements. When I asked the Provost under oath at the labor board hearing about my requests to be reviewed by facutly for feedback between reppointments (agreed to by the Chair but never conducted) so there would be no surprises about my teaching expectations, he stated: “…we, of course, have annual teaching evaluations. Students can do that every course. So you’re getting that feedback.”[emphasis added] Really? But you ordered your department deans and chairs to no longer conduct annual reviews with just student evaluations. That is, faculty must be reviewed by peers, as well, going forward. Plus, I would add, the record is clear: I requested reviews directly to the Chair and she agreed to do them (“we will” be doing them). Yet none were ever done. The next set of reviews done by the Chair and her colleagues were for reappointment decisionmaking (performance evaluations) and I was tossed out without knowing they had been “running out of patience” with me (a fact never revealed to me). Out of patience with my “content”, that is, so if I had been reviewed as requested I would have been informed of their criticism and possibly made changes to meet their expectations.