Journalism chairperson Yin replaced by art professor


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Dr. Jiafei Yin voices her opinion during the continued discussion about the wording of a proposal during the Academic Senate meeting Feb. 24 in Pearce Hall. 

Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts Janet Hethorn announced in an email sent April 1 to faculty and staff in the Department of Journalism that Jiafei Yin is no longer chairperson of the department.

Yin did not resign, but is no longer in her position as chairperson of the department and is still a professor at Central Michigan University.

"I will share with all in the department that this change is a matter of contract rights, and should not be construed by any as being the result of any disciplinary process nor is it representative of any conclusion that anyone has engaged in misconduct," said Hethorn in the email. "Such speculation would be inaccurate and unfair to Dr. Yin," Hethorn said.

Hethorn sited that she asserted Article 12, paragraph six under the Administration's right in the CMU Faculty Agreement 2014-19 contract, which states "A department chairperson may be removed as chairperson by the dean for nonperformance, or a deficient performance of her/his professional responsibilities as chairperson."

The dean called a meeting 3 p.m. Monday to answer questions from journalism faculty about the change in leadership.

Hethorn declined to comment, because it is a personnel matter.

Art and Design photography professor Al Wildey has agreed to serve as Department Chair for the remainder of this year and through Aug. 15, 2017.

"I did not volunteer for this," said Wildey. "A case was made to me that I could help."

The Monday meeting was mixed in faculty's response to him taking the position, he said.

"I think the more information we shared, the better it got," he said. "I wouldn’t say it was contentious."

Wildey has served as chairperson for the Department of Art and Design for three years and spent almost two years as interim associate CCFA dean.

"My role is really not to tell them how to do what they do," Wildey said. "I’m not a journalist. But I have 21 years of management experience."

Immediate goals include filling vacancies in staff, creating a job posting for a permanent chairperson and assessing the Journalism Department.

"My sense, based on the limited information I have, is that we might not be serving students as well as we could," he said.

In terms of faculty relations Wildey said he wants to allow for a forum where everyone can disagree without being disagreeable.

He supports the Hethorn's goal, which is to bring someone permanent in as chairperson from outside of the department and university. Bringing someone in from the outside would help take politics out of the equation, he said.

"I am glad to have his help as we in the college work through what has been a tumultuous time for the department," Hethorn said in the email.

To build a "prominent and promising future" for the department, the dean said she has taken this action to "invigorate the department and provide new leadership."

Wildey said he has no interest in being the permanent chairperson of the department.

Yin could not be reached for comment.

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About Kate Carlson

Editor-in-Chief Kate Carlson is a senior from Lapeer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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