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Wright State president steps down: Faculty union leader reacts

Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 @ 11:21 PM

Noeleen McIlvenna, Wright State University history professor and faculty union leader holds a sign during a strike last spring that lasted 20 days.
Noeleen McIlvenna, Wright State University history professor and faculty union leader holds a sign during a strike last spring that lasted 20 days.

News that Wright State University present will retire at the end of the year caught faculty off guard but leaves them hopeful for the future, the faculty union president said.

» RELATED: Wright State president to retire after 2 years in office

“We are looking forward to the chance to build a new and constructive relationship with the next president,” Noeleen McIlvenna, history professor and president of the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors said. “For the sake of the students, for the sake of quality education, for the sake of everyone at Wright State we look forward to a bright brand new future.”

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Wright State President Cheryl Schrader’s departure effective Dec. 31 comes midway through her five-year contract. During her tenure, the university has had financial and legal turmoil, and a 20-day faculty union strike.

McIlvenna said members of the AAUP already met with Provost Sue Edwards, who will serve as interim president, and find her to be “a person we can work with.”She said the faculty union wants to be involved in the process to find the next president.

» RELATED: Gov. DeWine: ‘Changes certainly have to be made at Wright State’

“We really hope that we work with the trustees as they search for a permanent president ... someone who will understand that the faculty carry out the mission of the university: teaching and research,” she said. “A president should work with those faculty and that’s what the students need best is a great working relationship between administrators and faculty.”

McIlvenna did not comment specifically on how the faculty union interacted with Schrader, but said, “If it comes down to a strike, clearly there was no good working relationship.”

“We hope that the next president will understand what it takes to make this a great place for students. ... I think it’s best for the institution that we start fresh.