For Larry Snyder, former dean of the Potter College of Arts and Letters, March 26 was a hectic day.
At noon, Snyder and search committee members met for two hours to discuss the three finalists for the College of Health and Human Services vacant dean position.
Shortly after the meeting at 2:30 p.m., Snyder said he met with then-Provost Terry Ballman for about 30-45 minutes about the dean search, after which, Ballman told Snyder there was one more thing they needed to discuss.
Moving to the table in her office, Ballman informed Snyder there was a “need to make a change” in dean leadership at WKU. In 10 minutes, Snyder signed her prepared resignation letter.
“It was non-specific,” Snyder told the Herald in an interview on Monday. “I asked for specifics. The only reason that I was given was that I had not been a good university citizen and supported the needs of the [Potter] college over those of the university. I asked for examples, but there weren’t any, at least not provided.”
After resigning as dean, Snyder said he returned to his office in the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center, gathered all of the immediate staff in the office and told them what had happened. He said before he finished telling them about his resignation, Ballman had sent out an email to all faculty and staff, informing them about his resignation.
Ballman wrote in the email that Snyder “will be on leave preparing to resume his duties as a member of our faculty.” His resignation went into effect the next day, and she declined to give a reason for his resignation in multiple settings throughout the week, stating it was a personnel matter.
Snyder said he holds no animosity toward Ballman for his resignation.
“The provost gave the right response, and that is, ‘This is a personnel decision that cannot be discussed publicly,’” Snyder said. “This is not how I would have liked to walk out the door, but I’m OK.”
Snyder said he would have preferred to tell the PCAL faculty and staff about his resignation himself. He did not provide a statement addressing his resignation until the next day. “Quite frankly, had I been able to do that, it might have softened the reaction and response of it,” Snyder said. Snyder said he fully understands and respects the right for the provost and university president to make leadership changes.
“Academic administration is always in a precarious location, even at the best of times,” Snyder said. “And these are not the best of times.”