Iowa education dean Crocco resigns

Crocco had been subject of no-confidence vote by faculty

Diane Heldt
Published: December 10 2012 | 10:10 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 3:10 am in
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University of Iowa College of Education Dean Margaret Crocco resigned her post Monday, after a no-confidence vote in her leadership last month and disagreement among some faculty and staff in the college.

Crocco said Monday she did submit her resignation letter to Provost Barry Butler. But she declined additional comment, referring the matter to UI spokesman Tom Moore.

Crocco on Friday evening told The Gazette she hoped to work on better communication with faculty and staff in the college and called that effort a two-way street. But she said she was surprised by a recent no-confidence vote in her leadership and at the escalating discontent in the college.

In an email to College of Education faculty and staff, Crocco said Monday she submitted her letter of resignation to Butler effective Dec. 14, and Butler has accepted it. Crocco's email said her goal was always to advance the best long-term interests of the college, and she said over the past 18 months, the college has "accomplished a great deal."

"I trust that the implementation of our new Strategic Plan will serve the College well in addressing the changing landscape of higher education in this country," Crocco wrote.

Butler is meeting with faculty and staff of the college Monday afternoon.

In a university statement Monday, Butler said he will announce an interim dean later this week. Butler also expressed gratitude for Crocco's accomplishments during her tenure, and disappointment about her departure.

"It is remarkable what she has been able to do during her short time as dean, especially in terms of raising public awareness about the College of Education, throughout Iowa and nationally," Butler said in the statement. "I am sure the college will attract an outstanding new dean, and will continue on its trajectory of excellence."

Some faculty members in the college say recent UI administrative decisions have lacked transparency and violated principles of shared governance, leading seven of them to resign from the college’s Faculty Advisory Committee on Friday.

Some of the discord stemmed from a recent college survey that solicited faculty and staff comments. Butler said he considers the survey comments to be part of confidential personnel records, because they relate to the performance of Crocco and others in the college, so he told faculty and staff the comments should not be distributed.

Adding to the disharmony was a vote of no confidence on Crocco’s leadership instigated by senior faculty in the college. Ballots were distributed in early November to all 91 faculty, and 65 were returned. Of those, 44 voted no confidence in Crocco, 16 expressed confidence and five faculty abstained. Those vote results were reported to the faculty, Crocco and Butler in November.

Crocco, who began as the UI education dean in July 2011, said Friday some of the disagreement likely stems from adjustment to a new college leader and to differing communication styles. However, Crocco said she was "surprised by the tenor of the faculty’s expression of their discontent and by how high the decibel level has become." She also said she believes the vote of no confidence was conducted in such a way that didn’t allow good discussion or an airing of issues.

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