Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A New Photonics Chair? [CNM Dissent]

Filed under: Education — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 1:20 AM (01:20)

Previously on 12 January 2009[1], CNM Dissent reported some dissension in the School of Applied Techonologies, particularly the Photonics program.

Let me sum up the story here:

On 2 October 2008, then-Chair of the Photonics Department, Dr. Gordon Bennett, was called into an administrative hearing at around 3:00 PM. He wasn’t permitted by the party conducting the hearing to have anyone as a witness. Nor did he record the hearing. At that hearing, he was placed on “administrative leave” for padding the classes he was instructing in the Photonics program. Immediately after Dr. Bennett’s hearing was concluded, his boss, Dr. Robert Hall, was called in and similarly placed on leave.

For the next six weeks, those of us in the Photonics courses instructed by Dr. Bennett wondered what was going on, what his status was, that sort of thing. When some of us went to the administrators above Bob Hall with questions and concerns about Dr. Bennett and the program’s future, we were given the run-around. Compounding this was the fact that Drs. Bennett and Hall were officially forbidden from contacting any CNM-affiliated students, faculty or staff from 3 October onward.

On 20 November, Dr. Hall sent an email to various staff members[2], detailing the circumstances behind the situation between Dr. Bennett and himself versus the higher-ups.

All through this, Kevin Ryan, the Photonics Dept. Lab Aide, was stuck with the job of instructor for Dr. Bennett’s classes (Optics, Intro to Lasers, Intro to Biophotonics, and Intro to Fiber Optics), but wasn’t listed as the instructor-of-record on the my.cnm course listings until after the semester was concluded.

And this is the part where it gets interesting.

At the close of the semester, I had heard that Dean Diane Burke had said in an faculty / staff meeting that they couldn’t fill Dr. Bennett’s slot until his grievance hearings were concluded. (Dr. Bennett has also said that he’s pursuing related litigation on the basis of hostile work environment, among other things, and that the Employees’ Union was involved on his side.)

At the same time, the instructor listings for the affected Photonics courses took a turn for the weird. Despite being fired about two months ago, Dr. Bennett remains listed as the instructor, alongside Kevin Ryan and a Michael W. Cranney.

When I logged in today, I checked the Photonics program page. When I clicked on the Contact Information link, I discovered that apparently Dr. Bennett’s hearings and litigation had been concluded —

Director: Michael Cranney

Photonics Technology Chair: John Bronisz


  1. Original posting
  2. Original posting
  3. Original article

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