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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Physiology head denied tenure after five years

The tenure of physiology department head Nick Delamere will not be renewed for reasons unbeknownst to many physiology faculty members, and even to Delamere himself.

Timothy Secomb, a physiology professor and member of the UA Faculty Senate, presented the issue to the Faculty Senate during a call to the audience at its April 4 meeting. He stated that the issue “”disrespected, disenfranchised and destabilized”” the department of physiology because it left faculty and Delamere asking, “”Why?””  

Department heads are appointed year-to-year by the college’s dean. The Dean of the College of Medicine, Dr. Steven Goldschmid, has reappointed Delamere each year since 2006. Every five years, department heads are given a mandated five-year review. Delamere’s notice of his nonrenewal as department head occurred immediately prior to this review.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Shared Governance states, “”with respect to the selection or retention of a head … the position of the faculty shall be determined.”” Secomb explained that he, along with other physiology faculty members, felt that the memorandum was violated because there was no consultation with the physiology faculty at large.

“”If something like this happens without even consulting us (the physiology faculty), we wonder what else is planned. There is no good reason for our department head not to be renewed,”” Secomb said.

Delamere said that although the “”answers haven’t been made clear”” as to why his tenure as department head wasn’t renewed, he has “”enjoyed every moment”” of his five year administration.

He explained that during his time, he was able to expand the department by recruiting three assistant professors, two full time professors, more than double the amount of physiology pre-majors and majors, and by bringing in more than $3 million of research grants of his own.

“”It’s been a good ride,”” he said. “”I loved teaching the students, and I am happy to put it (the job as department head) down in the book of life.””

Delamere added that college deans have difficult jobs, that include making difficult decisions, but that he would like to know the reason behind the decsion of faculty  who decided to not renew his tenure as department head.

“”I want to see it (the reason) for the sake of the physiology faculty to be a part of the decision making,”” he said.

Provost Meredith Hay declined to comment because “”it is the policy of the UA to not comment on personnel matters.””

Wanda Howell, chair of the Faculty Senate and a nutritional sciences professor, said that the physiology faculty was left without the ability to voice its opinion and that there was no “”good data to show rationale”” behind the decision. The main issue, she explained, was that a careful investigation must be completed to fulfill the requirements of the Shared Governance Memorandum.

Although Delamere said that he is “”unsure”” of what his future career plans will be, he has a “”very active”” research lab and will continue to teach for the remainder of the semester.

“”I’ve got a busy schedule already,”” he said. “”There is plenty for me to do at the university.””

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