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Letter to the Editor from Daniel Tinkelman

I wish to respond to some of the online comments made to Ms. Katie Krahulik’s article in the last issue of The Chronicle. I should also point out that I was not the genesis of the story. She had already begun investigating a story when she first approached me. I was happy to cooperate on the record. As a tenured faculty member in another school I am not worried about retribution. Had other people been willing to be quoted, the story may have focused less on me. 

Two of the online comments suggested that some of the faculty who left were not good teachers. That is flat-out wrong. Dr. Berliner’s letter has noted that personnel matters are normally confidential, so I will just talk about what is publicly verifiable. 

Dr. Herman Berliner’s letter stresses the great importance Hofstra places on teaching. Therefore, it is telling that Dr. Mohamed Gomaa, Professor Linda Schain and I all received favorable personnel actions in the relevant time frame. This could not have happened without favorable recommendations from Dr. Berliner as well as the Departmental Personnel Committee (DPC). The process always includes review by the DPC, the chair, the dean and the provost of such evidence of teaching as CTRs, peer evaluations of teaching, chair’s evaluations and in some cases surveys of former students. Dr. Berliner’s letter recommending my tenure said, in summary, that I had “become a superior teacher.” You can also assume that the search committees at the schools that hired me, Dr. Gomaa and Dr. Christine Tan reviewed evidence of our teaching and found it satisfactory. I was hired by Brooklyn College to an endowed chair, with tenure. Dr. Elizabeth Venuti won the best teacher award. Twice.

We did not have easy teaching assignments. In our time at Hofstra, the four of us each taught multiple courses, including day, evening, undergraduate and graduate courses. Dr. Gomaa, who was at Hofstra the shortest time, taught five different courses, Professor Schain taught eight since 2012 and I taught 10 different ones from 2007 to 2016. We almost always taught more than one “preparation” each semester. I developed two new courses and also created a textbook for use in the MBA introductory accounting class. I took students for two years to the summer study abroad program in Bremen, Germany, and recruited other faculty to participate in it. 

As a point of comparison, Dr. Ralph Polimeni, since 2009, has taught only one course, an introductory undergraduate course. Each semester he teaches two sections of it – daytimes, on Tuesday and Thursday. I understand he does an excellent job teaching that course. 

Dr. Venuti, Dr. Gomaa, Professor Schain and I were all actively involved as advisors or co-advisors of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP). Beta consistently achieved “superior” status while we were involved. The year I was advisor, it was recognized as one of the best 10 chapters in the country. While many schools recognize the significant time involved in advising this organization by giving the advisors “release time” or extra pay, we all served without any extra compensation. Professor Schain served as advisor to two other student organizations, and was a regional officer for BAP. 

Dr. Venuti, when she was chair of the accounting curriculum committee, spearheaded the wildly successful transformation of Hofstra’s M.S. in Accounting from a program taken by a few Hofstra undergraduates who chose to remain for a fifth year into one of the largest programs of the business school, drawing not just regionally but internationally. 

One of the online comments expressed the opinion that if Dr. Polimeni and Dr. Berliner “were investigating professors, there must have been a significant reason for it.” It was to fight against precisely this presumption of guilt that I insisted that Dr. Berliner explain his reasons for removing me as chair to an open meeting of my department’s faculty. Indeed, this is why Hofstra procedures require such a meeting. In that meeting, in response to my questions, Dr. Berliner repeatedly admitted that there were no charges against me. It was only after I was satisfied that my reputation was intact that I offered my resignation as chair. To remain chair without the support of the dean and facing dissension among the faculty would not have been good for either me or the department. 

Daniel Tinkelman,

CPA, Ph.D.Marshall G. Kaplan Chair of Municipal Government Accounting,

Brooklyn College of City University of New York

 

The views and opinions expressed in the Editorial section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors. The Chronicle reserves the right to not publish any piece that does not meet our editorial standards.

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