We agree with Dean Berliner that the article about the Frank G. Zarb School of Business appearing in the April 10, 2018 edition of The Hofstra Chronicle “is very misleading, inaccurate and unfair.” We are also responding because we have direct knowledge of the events cited in the article. However, due to the sensitivity and confidentiality of personnel issues, we are not able to comment in detail.
We would like to first address the cronyism comments. We are very proud of our students and that many of our alumni have excelled to very prestigious positions in business, government and education. We view it as an extraordinary example of mentoring whenever alumni come back to Hofstra to teach, whether it be as a full-time tenure track faculty member or an adjunct. There are many alumni who teach at Hofstra, in our department and across campus, many of whom were teaching assistants and otherwise employed on campus. We are proud of this and view it as the highest compliment as a faculty member; that you’ve made such a significant positive impression that a student wants to come back and do what you do.
We should also note that many senior administrators at Hofstra are also Hofstra graduates. The negative connotation portrayed in the article is insulting to our alumni and current students and implies that they should not be hired by Hofstra as faculty or administrators. For the record, a national search is always performed for all new faculty openings, including recruiting at national academic conferences, and the best candidate is selected after interviews with an entire committee of faculty members on a personnel committee, as well as administration, even if they happen to be a former Hofstra student. Additionally, all administrator positions are filled after a thorough search and the best candidate is selected based upon the search. A committee interviews the candidates, and the final candidate needs to be approved at various levels of the University. Also, the fact that some of the faculty and administrators have been at the school for a long time and are friends is a testament to the collegiality that exists in the Zarb School and the Accounting, Taxation, and Legal Studies in Business Department.
Regarding Dr. Tinkelman, he was not forced, asked or pressured to leave the University. Dr. Tinkelman was a tenured faculty member in our department who left to accept a tenured position at another university. In fact, before joining Hofstra, he was a tenured professor at another university, and left that tenured position for an untenured position at Hofstra. Many of us sat on his tenure committee and unanimously supported him for tenure. Dr. Tinkelman was asked to take the department chair position after Dr. Venuti, the department chair, accepted the position of senior associate dean. Dr. Tinkelman accepted the position to help the Department. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out; nevertheless, we thanked him for his efforts. As Dean Berliner mentioned, after Dr. Tinkelman left, he was replaced as Chair by Prof. Lopez who agreed to serve for one semester and then by Prof. Weisel who agreed to serve for two semesters. Both Prof. Lopez and Weisel served the Department well and left to return to their primary interests of teaching and research. Dr. Burke has agreed to take the chair position at a very difficult time in the Department’s history.
Dr. Gomaa was a well-respected and well-liked faculty member by both his colleagues and students. He was encouraged by Dean Berliner, Dr. Burke and, as we understand, even the AAUP Faculty Union, not to attend the Department meeting regarding Dr. Tinkelman’s proposed removal as chair. All untenured faculty members were encouraged not to attend because we did not want them to get in the middle of a very unpleasant situation. Instead, they were encouraged to either see or write Dean Berliner with any comments they had, which would have been presented at the meeting and kept confidential as to the source. It needs to be stated, according to University policy and procedures, that no voting was to take place at the meeting. The Dean was simply going to explain the reasons behind his actions and then give Dr. Tinkelman a chance to respond. No retaliation was ever taken against Dr. Gomaa or anyone else for their comments made during the meeting.
Regarding the other issue relating to Dr. Gomaa’s reappointment, Dr. Burke, who was çhair of the DPC at the time, upon consent of the members, acted on behalf of the Committee. As with all candidates up for reappointment, she presented Dr. Gomaa’s portfolio and led the discussions that the Committee had regarding his reappointment. The purpose of this procedure is to provide guidance to untenured faculty members as they go through the tenure process and is a very common event. The guidance is given to help the untenured candidates build up their portfolio to increase the chances of being granted tenure. Also, what wasn’t mentioned in the article, is that the Committee unanimously supported Dr. Gomaa for reappointment.
Dr. Tinkelman and Dr. Gomaa both made positive contributions to the University and we are confident they will continue to do so in their current positions. Their departure was sensationalized by the article in The Chronicle, and was based on misleading, incomplete and inaccurate information, which is a disservice to the Hofstra community.
Dr. Anthony Basile
Dr. Stuart Bass
Dr. Ralph Polimeni
Dr. Jacqueline Burke
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.