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Former University of Iowa provost under criticism

BY JORDYN REILAND | MARCH 20, 2012 6:30 AM

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A former University of Iowa provost is under scrutiny and discussion following complaints at his current place of employment.

University of Illinois faculty and staff wrote two letters over the last two months stating concerns about university President Michael Hogan. Hogan served as the UI provost from 2004 to 2007.

The letter discussed a lack of trust between Hogan and the faculty, saying it would be nearly impossible for Hogan to regain it.

"Trust and respect, once lost, are not so easily recaptured by any such fa├žade, no matter how skillfully manufactured," the letter said.

Hogan was a finalist during the UI's most recent presidential search; the position was ultimately given to current President Sally Mason.

UI professors said they were confused by University of Illinois faculty's complaints.

"He was very consultative when he was a provost here," said UI history Professor Jeffrey Cox. "I think he was a really good provost."

Before becoming provost at the UI, Hogan served as a UI history professor.

Cox said Hogan had been open when discussing matters with faculty and staff members and did his job well. Yet Hogan's position at Illinois, Cox noted, is in jeopardy because he cannot be a good leader without the trust of his faculty.

"I am surprised that it happened to Mike Hogan," Cox said.

However, Cox said, when a president loses the confidence of the faculty, he or she loses the ability to be effective.

UI history Professor Katherine Tachau said she also knew Hogan when he was teaching and when she served as Faculty Senate president, but she declined to comment on Hogan's issues at Illinois.

While serving as UI provost, Hogan coordinated the construction of the UI's strategic plan, The Iowa Promise, reallocated $10.9 million toward faculty salary competitiveness, and created the "2 Plus 2 Guaranteed Graduation Plan" program, according to a 2007 university release following his being hired to become the president of the University of Connecticut.

The letter written to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees on March 14 expressed the urgent desire for the board to let Hogan go.

"Given the challenges that the university faces in an uncertain period for the state of Illinois, we view it as essential that Hogan's failed presidency be seen for what it is and that a path be forged which can rapidly restore a healthy governance structure," the letter stated.

University of Illinois spokesman Tom Hardy was not available for comment Monday night.

While University of Illinois Board of Trustee members were not able to discuss the most recent letter in their last board meeting March 15, members have been discussing personnel matters at the most-recent meetings.

"His ability to get along with the faculty seems to cause the most friction," said board member Tim Koritz. "The faculty are certainly entitled to their opinions."

Yet, Koritz said, sensitive issues such as the faculty's concerns can often be misconstrued or misunderstood.

"We want to do what's best for the university," he said. "A lot of times letters are written, things are said, [and people] may not know all of the data at hand."


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