Volume 95, Issue 1

Thursday, May 24, 2001


Professor writes of colleague quitting

Some words to the wise: Student warns of potential rent piracy

Professor writes of colleague quitting

"Excellent lecturer" resigns over facility problems

To the Editor:

Many students, particularly undergraduates in biology and medical hopefuls, will know or have heard of Dr. Herbert Kronzucker of the department of plant sciences. He loves teaching and is an excellent lecturer one of a select group of faculty who rise successfully to the challenge of large classes and actually wants to teach more than is required.

Unfortunately, he has just resigned from this university.

The problem is this: core faculty are hired with the expectation they will do research and train students in the laboratory, as well as teach in the classroom. Benchwork in science is not possible without suitable space.

However, more than two and a half years after Dr. Kronzuker's arrival, Western has not provided the necessities he was promised. He has only maintained research productivity by travelling to the University of British Columbia every summer. His lab space at Western has been in constant disarray and so he has been forced to discourage research students. 

Excellent graduates, as well as undergraduates, have had to make other arrangements. Building renovations on campus can only be done by the division of Physical Plant or, failing that, by outside contractors who are overseen by Physical Plant. 

There have probably been staff reductions, but so far, this small job has been underway for nearly three years. Only now two of Dr. Kronzucker's growth rooms, each the size of a clothes closet, are almost ready to use.

Never-ending promises, slow progress and outright inaction have characterized the approach to the work, and as a result, delay has followed delay. Dozens of letters and countless phone calls have produced only partial results after all this time.

Dr. Kronzucker has been in high demand elsewhere and in April, we learned we are losing him to the University of Toronto. 

He will be difficult to replace as there are presently few suitable candidates in ecology and none of his calibre. And if we were to find a qualified replacement, how could we expect such a person to come here, given Western does not provide what it promises?

Several questions might be asked. Do we not have tradesmen on campus capable of renovating research space? If we do, why wasn't Dr. Kronzuker's lab made workable? If we cannot get a job completed by campus employees, why is the use of outside contractors discouraged? And finally, why is Western not concerned about encouraging young faculty who are stellar teachers?

Diane Fahselt
Professor, Plant Sciences 

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