Monday, October 30, 2006

Communication Department Copes with Staff Departures

The communication department at UW-Whitewater is missing some familiar faces entering the 2006-2007 academic year. Professors Bill Cassidy, Leo Chan, and Gay Davidson-Zielske all left to pursue careers elsewhere. Department chair Bill Weiss and his wife, Dotte (the communication computer aide) retired last year. The year before, lecturer Norma Coates departed as well. Rae Miller also left as Royal Purple adviser a couple years before that.
"It's unfortunate that we can't hang on to them," newly appointed assistant chair John Luecke stated. "Better opportunities, along with lighter teaching loads, are compelling professors to go elsewhere. UW-Whitewater pushes eight to ten clasases on professors per year, depending on how long they've taught. Along with teaching, professors also must advise students on their academic progress, which can be a tedious process. Other colleges often provide more advancement chances as well.
"I wanted a place where I could teach fewer classes, but faculty research requirements are more stringent and research is considered more important," print journalism professor Cassidy said. "Faculty research, in my opinion, isn't emphasized very much at UW-W. That's not a knock on the school, it's just that some universities are more teaching oriented and others are more research oriented," said Cassidy. Cassidy tested the market and found a spot at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL.
The pay scale at UWW is actually quite competitive with other colleges. While some students and other uninformed people believe that it is a low salary that is driving professors away, but that's not the case.
"We're going to keep doing what we always do. There is always a demand for teachers. We'll always have the right tools to teach you guys," said John Luecke.

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