Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Story Thus Far, Part I

As we understand it, in May 2005 the Board of Trustees unanimously granted Professor Jeffries tenure and authorized that he be given a tenure contract, which he received in June. At some point later in the summer Jeffries was informed that the school was revoking the tenure contract and instead he was offered a probationary tenure-track contract.

Jeffries was not allowed to appeal the decision.

Because the probationary contract would nullify his existing tenure contract, Jeffries refused to sign the new contract. After his refusal to accept the probationary contract, Jeffries was told that his services were no longer required, and he was asked to vacate his office at the University.

From what we have been able to piece together, the events leading up to the decision to revoke Jeffries's tenure began when the administration had requested that Jeffries, in his role as a tenured faculty member and as the Wendt Professor of Ethics (a.k.a., the "campus ethicist"), present evidence against a fellow faculty member who had been accused of wrongdoing. According to reports we have received, Jeffries refused on a number of grounds, first and foremost because he was, indeed, the so-called campus ethicist; he did not want to alienate himself from his colleagues for fear they would no longer trust him in that capacity. Furthermore, as far as he could tell, he was not obligated by the terms set forth in the faculty handbook to engage in any such activity.

From what we can gather, Jeffries was charged with having an uncollegial attitude.

Rumor has it that the University is claiming that a memo Jeffries sent to some administrators asking to discuss a few things in his contract constituted a counter-offer to his tenure contract, and thus the University was justified in taking the tenure contract off the table. Because Jeffries refused to sign the probationary contract on the grounds that it would nullify his existing contract, it seems that he did not intend his memo to be interpreted as a counter-offer.

NOTE: We will be updating this story as more information is made available.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Background Reading on Professor Paul Jeffries

The following articles partially convey the active role Professor Jeffries played at the University of Dubuque:
  • "UD Professor Selected for National Study" UD press release.
  • The Valparaiso Project ( awarded Dr. Jeffries a grant to pursue a project titled, "Practicing Our Faith for Non-Traditional, Pre-seminary Students."
  • In March 2005, Professor Jeffries presented a paper (PDF file) at Drury University's Eighth Annual Undergraduate/Faculty Interdisciplinary Research Conference regarding his Valparaiso grant project. This paper provides an interesting look into the role he had at the University and the passion with which he approached his position.
  • Page eight of UD's Summer 2005 edition of Alumni News (PDF file) contains a brief article detailing Professor Jeffries's accomplishments during the prior academic year (interestingly enough, this edition came out after his tenure had been effectively revoked).

Background Reading on the Wendt Initiative at UD

The following websites provide information pertaining to the Wendt Initiative at the University of Dubuque:
  • "UD Receives Substantial Endowment Gift to Establish Wendt Character Initiative" press release.
  • Description of the Wendt Center and the Wendt Character Scholarships.
  • "Wendt Center for Character Education to Hold Inaugural Fall Conference" press release.

Background Reading on the University of Dubuque (Updated)

For those interested in reading up on UD's past problems, the following websites may prove insightful:
  • Academe's article regarding the UD Board of Trustee's 1998 lawsuit against the faculty of the University.
  • Former UD professor Julia K. McDonald's 1999 letter to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), titled Crisis at the University of Dubuque.
  • The AAUP's report on the University of Dubuque.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education's coverage of the AAUP report.

University of Dubuque IRS 990 forms available for downloading and viewing.

The University of Dubuque's IRS 990 forms are available for viewing as PDF files. To view the 2003 filing, click here. To view the 2004 filing, click here.

These documents contain quite a bit of interesting information, including the amount of compensation provided to directors, officers, and administrators, and the amount of compensation provided to the five highest paid employees. Furthermore, each filing contains a list of officers, directors, and trustees.

Pay particular attention to the increase in compensation between the 2002 and 2003 fiscal years for the top five highest paid employees.
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