Wright State president asked Lake Campus dean to resign

Published: Monday, July 08, 2019 @ 10:08 AM

Former Lake Campus dean Jay Albayyari.
Former Lake Campus dean Jay Albayyari.

The dean of Wright State University’s Lake Campus resigned in June after being told to by president Cheryl Schrader, school documents show.

Lake Campus dean Jay Albayyari resigned June 30 after receiving a letter from Schrader on June 13, asking him to submit his resignation. The letter and several emails between Albayyari and provost Sue Edwards were obtained by the Dayton Daily News through a public records request.

In asking for Albayyari’s resignation, Schrader cited “serious concerns” regarding the dean’s “interactions with Lake Campus personnel” and the “climate” created by Albayyari’s “management style,” according to the letter. When reached by phone Monday, Albayyari said he could not comment.

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“I no longer have confidence that you can comport yourself in the manner necessary to successfully and professionally represent the university in the position of Dean of Lake Campus,” Schrader wrote in her letter. “As you know pursuant to your contract, your appointment is at the pleasure of the President. Therefore, I am asking you to submit your resignation.”

Albayyari will return to a faculty position at the Lake Campus. He will be given “paid time” from July 1 through Dec. 31 to prepare to return to the classroom.

As a faculty member, Albayyari’s salary will be nearly 89 percent of what it was when he served as dean, according to Schrader’s letter. That means Albayyari will earn $116,951 which is nearly $26,000 less than he made as dean of Wright State’s only branch campus.

Albayyari had been discussing his departure from the dean’s job for several weeks, emails between him and Edwards show.

“Like I said several times I understand Higher Ed administration well. I have been doing it successfully for the past 13 years,” Albayyari told Edwards in a June 8 email. “If the president and you do not approve of my management style I will not resist if you wish for me to step down as we all make decisions to better WSU.”

In his emails to Edwards, Albayyari said that he would not make “any public statements or contact the media.” He said he planned to stay away from campus to “allow the new leadership to run the campus.”

Albayyari has served as dean of the Lake Campus in Celina for four years, according to the university. He came to WSU from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne where he served as vice chancellor for research, engagement and sponsored programs.

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The university plans to initiate a search for the campus’s next dean this fall, Edwards said in a previous email to campus. The university is working on plans to “maintain Lake Campus leadership on an interim basis,” Edwards said.

“I understand this is a difficult time for the Lake Campus, but rest assured we are treating this leadership transition as a top priority” Edwards said.

Located around 80 miles north of Dayton, the Lake Campus has thrived in recent years under Albayyari. While Wright State has been marred by scandal, lawsuits and financial setbacks, the Lake Campus has remained one of the university’s bright spots.

The Lake Campus operates on its own budget and is funded through its own revenue streams, which are also separate from the main campus, Albayyari said in 2017.

Enrollment at the Lake Campus has increased every year since 2014, even as the total number of students attending WSU’s main campus has steadily declined since 2015, data shows. In the fall of 2018, enrollment was up by just over 1 percent at the Lake Campus and the previous fall it was up by 9 percent, according to records from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

The branch campus built a new agriculture and water quality center in 2017 and a new library has been in the works too, administrators have said. Schrader has referred to the Lake Campus as a “gem” for the university.

“The Lake Campus has flourished under Dean Albayyari’s leadership,” Edwards said. “Wright State thanks Dean Albayyari for his hard work and service to Wright State and the surrounding communities.”

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