Wesleyan president pick leads to discord

By COREY DAVIS

Staff Writer

29 Comments | Leave a Comment

The hiring of N.C. Wesleyan College’s seventh president and alumni Dewey Clark has caused some division between the school’s board of trustees and disgruntled members of the faculty.

Dear Reader,
This content is only available to subscribers of the Rocky Mount Telegram print or electronic edition. If you are a current subscriber and have established a user name and password, you can click the Electronic Edition subscriber login box to the right. If you have not established your user name and password, click here to set up your information. To become a subscriber, click here. For questions call Customer Service at 252-407-9907.

Comments

My Continued Support for Dr. Clark

To my knowledge, there is no protocol which states that the board MUST complete a national search for any position at the college. Maybe a more formal search could have been done, but if the board knew who they wanted to hire, then why waste the time and money? It is a private institution and they have the right to do whatever the board sees as fit for the college. Furthermore, why shouldn’t the president be able to hire whoever he wants to work directly with him? It should be his decision and his alone. He may ask for the advice and the opinions of others, but the decision should ultimately lie in his hands, not the students or the faculty. What are the criteria and qualifications someone must have to be hired as Deans under the president? What gives you the qualifications to say that Dr. Clark or his hires are unqualified? No one ever said that being a God-fearing man is a requirement, but the last time I checked, NC Wesleyan College is a METHODIST college. Isn’t Wesleyan indicative of John Wesley, and the Methodist movement which he is charged with leading? Why wouldn’t a person of faith be a desirable quality for the president of a college with a rich Christian history? It certainly isn’t a requirement, but I think it is most certainly highly desirable to say the least. Even if you don’t like the hire, or the board’s presidential search tactics, there is no need for personal attacks. Dr. Clark is certainly qualified for the position. He earned his bachelor degrees from Wesleyan, a master’s degree from Campbell, and a doctoral degree from Argosy. He has 30 years working experience in business, has been employed by the college, has taught classes at the college, served on the alumni board, served on the board of trustees, he is a proven leader, and won numerous awards for his many accomplishments both publically and privately. He may not have experience as a college president, but he definitely has other qualifications that more than make up for that. Simply because Dr. Clark has not spent his entire career in academia, does not mean he can’t serve in that capacity. I am not going to continue on and get caught up in a war of words with unidentified people on the Rocky Mount Telegram’s website. However, I do not believe it is right to attack someone on a personal level even if you do not agree with the person or the process. You can disagree with anything you please, but when you attack people’s character, integrity, and minimize their accomplishments in such demeaning ways, it is completely uncalled for.

This is not a test.

If you want a job where the main requirement is being a "god-fearing" man, go be a preacher. Don't let your ego put at risk the future of an institution that so many people's lives depend on and you claim to love so much.

No Committee appointed Clark.... What a farce, only the board!

The problem with the entire process was that while there WAS a committee formed to conduct a "National" search on which Clark was the Chair of the Committee (being that he was the Chair of the Board of Trustees-or whatever they are) there was NEVER a search conducted. At the first meeting of the committee, one of the board members told Clark to leave, he was placing himself in charge of the search and that they were appointing Clark as the next President. No notices were ever put into the usual hiring engines (Chronicle of Higher Ed, HigherEdJobs.com), no Women, Minorities, or anyone else for that matter were even able to put their name in the plate because the collection plate was never PASSED around!!! This has NOTHING to do with his qualifications (or lack thereof), personality, or... the fact that he is a good god-fearing man (certainly a required qualification for College Presidents :-/-REALLY!!!). It has everything to do with the underhanded, disrespectful, and dishonest actions of the Board. On all accounts, the PROCESS was wrong. As for his "just starting the job yesterday". He has been entrenched in this job since the Board required the "sitting" President to act as a lame duck from the time they announced their new President so since then he has hired 2 UNQUALIFIED members to make six figures as Deans of institutions with NO background on running (or even working at) an academic institution. Finally, while the faculty was willing to give the "old college try" with the incoming appointee, he (Dewey Clark) verbally attacks a student (in writing at that.... really, we weren't going to see it?) threatening her with legal consequences and... the staff that believes in his leadership, thinks that's okay because it was her fault for disagreeing with the process in which Clark was hiring his Deans (oops, VP's-what a crock!!). Not to mention that a few of the Board members (old enough to be this students grandfather or great-grandfather even) then verbally abused her at a meeting when she spoke for the STUDENT BODY in disagreement with the way things were handled. Think about it, those of you that are alumni-how would you feel if that were you.... those of you with children, how would you like that you PAY a college to assist in forming your teen into a young adult and they are treated with disrespect? Think about it. It is because of these actions that the faculty took the position they did because there was no other recourse. The board has basically given the faculty the middle finger (the bird, flipped them off) every chance they get and to not even be able to apologize to a STUDENT (what are we in business for at a college.... oh, that's right, students) shows me that they have no leadership abilities. I am NOT from Rocky Mount, I have lived in many different states and big cities and I have NEVER seen such narrow mindedness in my life.

Dr. Clark Deserves the Chance

All of the negative comments concerning Dr. Dewey Clark displayed on this sight are completely undeserving. The man only began in his new role on Monday, and some of you people are trying to tear apart his character, his qualifications, etc... I do not know this for sure, but I would guess that most of the people displaying this behavior toward Dr. Clark do not know him on any level and are going off of what they have heard. Questioning his integrity, his higher degrees, what he knows about running an academic institution, are all unwarranted without due process. I have had the opportunity of knowing Dr. Clark both on a personal level and on a professional level for many years. He is one of the most genuine, honest, and professional men that I have ever met. He is a man with a deep love for God, his family and friends, and a sincere passion for NCWC. Dr. Clark has been continuously affiliated with the college since 1978 in one capacity or another. He graduated from there, served on the Alumni Board, served on the Board of Directors, and has taught classes at Wesleyan for many years. Dr. Clark wants nothing but the best for NC Wesleyan College, I can guarantee that. For someone to disrespect Dr. Clark and state that he "bullied his way into a position of undeserved prominence", and call him a "career middle manager with an advanced degree from an online diploma mill" is completely uncalled for. Dr. Clark did not seek the presidency at the college, but it was presented to him and he accepted. I know that Dr. Clark has had a very prominent career with MBM, and has achieved much more than the unassuming role you charged him with in middle management. The respect that he has earned and the accomplishments that he has achieved within a business environment are a true success story. The fact that someone would dismiss Dr. Clark’s doctoral degree as being from an online diploma mill is complete nonsense. I know the amount of time, work, and dedication that Dr. Clark devoted to earning his doctorate was real. Dr. Clark earned his degree from an accredited online institution which must prove its legitimacy in order to achieve their status. Simply because Dr. Clark earned his degree from an online institution should not discount his achievement. NC Wesleyan currently offers online classes, do they not? In fact, most colleges and universities now offer many online opportunities for students to take advantage of. Online degrees are the direction which education is headed, and are a legitimate source for education. Simply because Dr. Clark does not have any college presidency experience should not disqualify him from the job. There are many success stories of college or university presidents coming from a business environment and succeeding in their role as college or university president. Take Dr. Nido R. Qubein from Highpoint University right down the road in Highpoint, NC. See this link: http://www.highpoint.edu/president/ Another example is Tim Coast at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL. See this link: http://www.ju.edu/president/Pages/Biography.aspx I am certain that Dr. Clark does not take this new challenge lightly, and has been seeking guidance, advice, and wisdom from others in similar roles. I know Dr. Clark does everything to the best of his ability, and I have no doubt that he will do great things for Wesleyan. I realize that some people question if Dr. Clark's success in the business world will translate into the world of academics. Well, no one knows the answer to this question yet because he hasn’t even had the opportunity to prove himself. Fair criticism is one thing, but to completely disrespect and discount the man as some have done here is another. Dr. Clark is a good man who has nothing but good intentions for the college, and I am 100% sure that he will do the best job that he possibly can as NC Wesleyan’s next president.

Re: Clark deserves a chance

So, I looked at you examples above and.... yeah, Clark is NEITHER of them. He has worked in one area and it is hardly one that makes Fortune magazine and if it did/does (I have no idea because I don't know anything about the company except they have trucks) it was due to Clark's expertise. Keep defending him though... you may be able to justify something that he does. I can't figure it out though.

Dewey, Cheatem and Howe

Thanks for joining the conversation, Dewey!

Clark sought this job

as he has told many people in the recent past. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Moreover, he has stated that his position at MBM was scheduled to end this fall as a consequence of the purchase of MBM by McLane. You are free to defend his actions as you wish. Nonetheless, the obvious conflict of interest for the Chair of the Board and the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee to be the only man considered for the position is not much of a testament to his good qualities. This "genuine, honest, and professional" man waited until he was confident that he and the Board would negotiate "a mutually agreeable Employment Contract" (his words) to finally resign from the Board some two months after his designation as President.

No doubt he does seek "guidance, advice, and wisdom" from a high authority as he plans his moves. Unfortunately, he didn't consulted the people on the campus that are involved in actually working with students when he hired his lawyer friend from church to be the next Dean of Students. Presumably, their pal Steve Calhoun will soon be prayer walking on campus, so the scourge of atheists and homosexuals can be eliminated.

He is the President, but that doesn't mean he is qualified.

Exactly!

I concur with everything stated here. Thanks for taking the time to comment and for supporting Dr. Clark!

As expected, Clark fails in first action

In his first announcement to the campus today, President Dewey Clark has named an undistinguished local lawyer to be the next Dean of Students. Really? Perhaps this is a bid to make himself appear less unqualified to be President, as he has chosen someone stunningly unqualified for one of the most important positions at the College. We knew that Dean Williams would be a tough act to follow, but is the failure to even try to field a qualified candidate an example of the negligence that we should expect from the former Chairman of the Board? Perhaps he expects legal trouble as his plans unfold. Stay tuned.

Man On the Moon

I keep waiting for someone to jump out and yell "Surprise!!!" and find out that this was just Dewey's attempt at performance art, ala Andy Kaufman's foray into professional wrestling. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that someone could be so oblivious and bereft of common sense. Alas, I think the joke's on us and this is only a sad sign of things to come. Keep spreading the word, Wesleyan Library.

the real truth

The real truth is really not hard to find in this situation. .... Dr.. Clark is one of the finest men in this city and he also happens to be a Christian. ....this does not sit well with a large number of the faculty because they are atheists. It's actually a shame what they are trying to do to this fine man. So all you faculty doing this nonsense, please know that one day you will have to answer to the Man Upstairs for this foolishness That is all for now. Carry on and have a blessed day

re: The REAL TRUTH

WHATEVER!!!

Freedom?

Labeling people who disagree with the new president's hiring as atheists seems rather dismissive since religious views likely play little to no role in faculty concerns. We should also remember that our nation was founded in part on religious freedom, which means atheists have the same right to their beliefs as Christians, Muslims and anyone else. The "Man Upstairs" created them too, after all. And He gave us all free will, so condemning those who exercise it seems contradictory to His master plan. Of course, I'm sure you'll label me an atheist for pointing this out!

We shall see

Many people think that being a Christian is evidenced by the way one treats others. Threatening a student with legal action and threatening an administrator with negative comments to a future employer is not exactly turning the other cheek. Clark has dug himself quite a hole at this point; we shall see if he has the humility to climb out. Not a member of library staff - it's a College account

Give him a chance

It could be that NCWC needs someone without a string of academia creditionals. We need growth at NCWC in all aspects. Who knows, he just might be the man for the job. As an alumnus of the school, I say give him a chance.

Huh?

Yes, that sounds like a great idea. Hiring someone for the simple fact that he has NO relevant experience. Gee, I can't see this strategy backfiring at all.

Academic or not?

That was actually the thought behind hiring Wesleyan's previous president, only things didn't work out as well as expected. Yes, colleges are businesses, but they are first-and-foremost institutions of higher learning. Installing an academic leader, especially one with some business sense, seems preferable to hiring someone solely for their "business sense." And since those who live in the past are doomed to repeat it, perhaps taking an academic direction would be in the best interest of the college this time around...

Repercussions

Repercussions from the hasty decision include the resignation of two members of the Board of Trustees, who quit over this poor selection, and the forced resignation from a campus job of the president of the Student Government Association. Dig deeper, Telegram.

re: Repercussions

The "whacked out" budget had a lot to do with the last CFO, who was largely incompetent. Things are improving with a capable, intelligent individual at the financial helm, I assure you...

true, but

Let's not forget that Clark was Chair of the Finance Committee for the last 4 years while she and her boss squandered and mismanaged.

Dark days ahead for Wesleyan

I fear dark days ahead for the North Carolina Wesleyan community, as the Board has shown complete incompetence in the hasty hiring of Mr. Clark as the next President, a man who, by all accounts, has bullied his way into a position of undeserved prominence at the school. A career middle-manager with an "advanced" degree from an online diploma mill has no place running an institution of higher learning, especially when he has lost the support of the student body and faculty before even taking office. NCWC has done a great job building up its reputation over the past few years - I rue to see the day when MISTER Clark proves he was unfit for the role in the first place, having already done his best to undo the progress made of late.

In my opinion, buster7....

your spelling and grammar alone would be sufficient basis for "kicking you out." So, if as you say, your dismissal was solely based on the color of your thin skin, why aren't you suing the college? Sounds to me like your charge is just another race card.

Buster7

NCWC is a joke from the start, President Jim Gray dismissed me after being enrolled in the college for 2 years saying I lied on my application. Which was a lie but due to the fact of me being BLACK he was allowed to kick me out. College is an experience that is suppose to teach you how to survive in the real world, however, NC Wesleyan dont and rather have its students depend on the college. I hope the college accreditation steps in and show them they cannot contiune to do what they want and needs to follow the colleges by-laws.

Moses smell the roses!

It isn't always a race thing, my friend. Taking responsibility for yourself is better than using an excuse that blames everyone around you...

Actual vote (25 to 11) full text here:

The faculty of North Carolina Wesleyan College votes no confidence in its Board of Trustees because:

The manner in which the Board appointed our next President was not professional, collegial, or in the best interests of the College. The Chair of the Board publicly announced (November 12, 2013) that a committee including staff, faculty, and students from our community would seek qualified candidates – including women and minorities – for our next President. However, a national search was not conducted. Instead, on December 6 the sitting Chair of the Board was appointed President, despite his lack of sufficient qualifications or experience. His appointment is an apparent violation of the Conflict of Interest policy articulated in Article XV of the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees. Protests from faculty and staff were summarily dismissed. The failure to follow the best practice recommendations of the profession for presidential searches, as well as the College’s traditional hiring procedures, deprived the faculty of its responsibility to advise in the selection of presidents as stated in Article I of the Faculty Constitution. Furthermore, these actions may threaten the College’s accreditation status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, with specific regards to Core Requirements 2.2, 2.3, 2.10 and Comprehensive Standards 3.2.1, 3.2.3, 3.2.8, 3.9.3. Ultimately, the conduct of the Board relating to the selection of the next president has undermined confidence in the integrity of the search process and its outcome.

The manner in which the board reacted to a legitimate petition signed by 251 of our students requesting that students join the process of interviewing candidates for Vice President of Student Affairs was neither professional nor collegial. Instead of acting in the best interests of the College, members of the Board berated and threatened the students’ elected representative when she tried to present the petition. Because so much time was given to this issue, the faculty and staff reports were skipped. Instead of encouraging the kind of open debate which academic communities should foster, the Board mistakenly perceives constructive criticism as obstruction.

The manner in which both the Board and the appointed President have conducted themselves has contributed to division rather than to collaboration. The faculty has tried over the years to communicate our concerns individually and through our elected representatives on the Faculty Council. Sometimes progress seems possible, but we always find ourselves back to the Board’s refusal to recognize what an academic community is and what our complementary roles are. The faculty has attempted to articulate our concerns about the selection of the next President on at least four separate occasions, but those concerns have fallen on deaf ears. In an undated message from the chair of the board, our March 25, 2014, petition for action was curtly dismissed without adequate explanation or consideration or conversation. Neither the Board nor the appointed President has reached out to the faculty. We have reluctantly concluded that to be silent is to be complicit in egregious behavior that harms the college. We can no longer depend on the Board of Trustees of North Carolina Wesleyan College as it is presently constituted to make professional, collegial decisions which are in the best interests of the college.

We list here the specific actions of the Board and the Board member designated as the next President of the College, whose actions the Board continues to condone, that we believe are harmful to the future of the College:

  •  The failure to follow the College’s traditional hiring procedures in not conducting a national search for the next President of the College
  •  The failure to use the advice of the College community as provided through a survey requested by the Board in pursuing that Presidential search
  •  The selection of the Chairman of the Board to be the next President of the College
  •  The selection of a candidate with inadequate experience in higher education administration to be the next President of the College
  •  The failure of the Board Chair to resign from the Board when he was selected to be President; this failure was not finally rectified until he resigned two months after that
  •  The failure of the appointed President, while still Board Chair, to consult with the most qualified and affected parties when conducting searches for the VP of Student Affairs and the VP of Enrollment Management
  •  The threatening of a student with legal action by the appointed President in response to an initiative by the students to communicate concerns to him and the threatening of an administrator with transmitting negative commentary to that administrator’s future employer by the appointed President
  •  The castigation of the SGA President by three members of the Board during her report and the failure of those members of the Board and the Board overall to apologize for the indefensible nature of her mistreatment, even after a direct petition from the faculty

    We find ourselves with no other consequential means to communicate our grave concerns for the future of the College. Therefore, we tender this expression of no confidence in the Board of Trustees.

    Passed by a majority of the Faculty in a meeting on April 23, 2014. Respectfully submitted for the Faculty of North Carolina Wesleyan College, George Whitwell Chair of the Faculty Associate Professor of Chemistry

So, just exercise your freedom to choose....

Wesleyan Library wrote:
The faculty of North Carolina Wesleyan College votes no confidence in its Board of Trustees because:

The manner in which the Board appointed our next President was not professional, collegial, or in the best interests of the College. The Chair of the Board publicly announced (November 12, 2013) that a committee including staff, faculty, and students from our community would seek qualified candidates – including women and minorities – for our next President. However, a national search was not conducted. Instead, on December 6 the sitting Chair of the Board was appointed President, despite his lack of sufficient qualifications or experience. His appointment is an apparent violation of the Conflict of Interest policy articulated in Article XV of the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees. Protests from faculty and staff were summarily dismissed. The failure to follow the best practice recommendations of the profession for presidential searches, as well as the College’s traditional hiring procedures, deprived the faculty of its responsibility to advise in the selection of presidents as stated in Article I of the Faculty Constitution. Furthermore, these actions may threaten the College’s accreditation status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, with specific regards to Core Requirements 2.2, 2.3, 2.10 and Comprehensive Standards 3.2.1, 3.2.3, 3.2.8, 3.9.3. Ultimately, the conduct of the Board relating to the selection of the next president has undermined confidence in the integrity of the search process and its outcome.

The manner in which the board reacted to a legitimate petition signed by 251 of our students requesting that students join the process of interviewing candidates for Vice President of Student Affairs was neither professional nor collegial. Instead of acting in the best interests of the College, members of the Board berated and threatened the students’ elected representative when she tried to present the petition. Because so much time was given to this issue, the faculty and staff reports were skipped. Instead of encouraging the kind of open debate which academic communities should foster, the Board mistakenly perceives constructive criticism as obstruction.

The manner in which both the Board and the appointed President have conducted themselves has contributed to division rather than to collaboration. The faculty has tried over the years to communicate our concerns individually and through our elected representatives on the Faculty Council. Sometimes progress seems possible, but we always find ourselves back to the Board’s refusal to recognize what an academic community is and what our complementary roles are. The faculty has attempted to articulate our concerns about the selection of the next President on at least four separate occasions, but those concerns have fallen on deaf ears. In an undated message from the chair of the board, our March 25, 2014, petition for action was curtly dismissed without adequate explanation or consideration or conversation. Neither the Board nor the appointed President has reached out to the faculty. We have reluctantly concluded that to be silent is to be complicit in egregious behavior that harms the college. We can no longer depend on the Board of Trustees of North Carolina Wesleyan College as it is presently constituted to make professional, collegial decisions which are in the best interests of the college.

We list here the specific actions of the Board and the Board member designated as the next President of the College, whose actions the Board continues to condone, that we believe are harmful to the future of the College:

  •  The failure to follow the College’s traditional hiring procedures in not conducting a national search for the next President of the College
  •  The failure to use the advice of the College community as provided through a survey requested by the Board in pursuing that Presidential search
  •  The selection of the Chairman of the Board to be the next President of the College
  •  The selection of a candidate with inadequate experience in higher education administration to be the next President of the College
  •  The failure of the Board Chair to resign from the Board when he was selected to be President; this failure was not finally rectified until he resigned two months after that
  •  The failure of the appointed President, while still Board Chair, to consult with the most qualified and affected parties when conducting searches for the VP of Student Affairs and the VP of Enrollment Management
  •  The threatening of a student with legal action by the appointed President in response to an initiative by the students to communicate concerns to him and the threatening of an administrator with transmitting negative commentary to that administrator’s future employer by the appointed President
  •  The castigation of the SGA President by three members of the Board during her report and the failure of those members of the Board and the Board overall to apologize for the indefensible nature of her mistreatment, even after a direct petition from the faculty

    We find ourselves with no other consequential means to communicate our grave concerns for the future of the College. Therefore, we tender this expression of no confidence in the Board of Trustees.

    Passed by a majority of the Faculty in a meeting on April 23, 2014. Respectfully submitted for the Faculty of North Carolina Wesleyan College, George Whitwell Chair of the Faculty Associate Professor of Chemistry

and simply take a walk. I'm certain those of you who are disgruntled can be replaced.

Exercise this

There's a business approach if I ever saw one: just fire anyone who disagrees. Sorry, but this isn't how things work in higher education. And who wants a submissive, complacent faculty on a college campus anyway? If you don't know what you're talking about, it's probably best not to comment...

College campus

"There's a business approach if I ever saw one: just fire anyone who disagrees. Sorry, but this isn't how things work in higher education. And who wants a submissive, complacent faculty on a college campus anyway? If you don't know what you're talking about, it's probably best not to comment".

"Just because that is not how things work in higher education," Maybe it's about time we change the way higher education works because it is not working that well now. As far as a "submissive, complacent faculty on a college campus", it does not sound like, according to the comments here, that NCWC does not have a submissive, complacent, faculty now. Quite frankly, it sounds more like "sour grapes" because you did not have your way, so if you are not satisfied there is a simple solution, JUST LEAVE!

Grapes

"As far as a "submissive, complacent faculty on a college campus", it does not sound like, according to the comments here, that NCWC does not have a submissive, complacent, faculty now." Use confusing double negatives much? No one ever said I was unhappy with the decision to install Dr. Clark as Wesleyan's next president. However, it is disconcerting when people would rather suggest everyone leave rather than working together towards a common solution. Yes, higher education faces a number of challenges these days, but close-mindedness like the kind included here is its biggest obstacle. Perhaps more education is in order for some of the "commenters" here...

Add comment

Login or register to post comments