Reaction to resignation of former ISS director Mike Gunter

Jordan Shefte / Washburn Review

On February 10th, Mike Gunter, the director of information systems and services at Washburn University, resigned. Gunter cited personal reasons for his resignation. Kevin Halgren, one of the ISS assistant directors, talks about Gunters decision.

“I think Mike really thought what he was doing was for the best for the university and I’m sure it was… he wasn’t very… he didn’t hold his feelings on his sleeve as it were. But I think that you could tell from all of it that it was impacting him. You could tell he was under stress from it all.”

The reason for this stress was the attitudes of some Washburn University faculty members. In April, The Washburn Faculty Senate passed a vote of no confidence in Gunter. Tom Prasch, History Professor and President of the Faculty Senate, explains what a no-confidence vote means.

“Bottom line is relatively simple. Faculty senate does not have the power to hire and fire. It does not have any actual authority to do anything about Mike Gunter. But it is the voice of the faculty and increasing levels of faculty discontent from some units more than others. By the nature of things, it couldn’t have an immediate outcome, but if the administration was paying attention they will notice that the faculty is discontent and that that vote wasn’t even close

The faculty wanted more input from the academic side in technology decisions. While the faculty was not happy with his work, Gunter feels that his time at Washburn was spent improving the technology. In an email response, Gunter made this comment:

“The ISS staff has worked very hard to provide technology that improves learning, reduces costs, and improves service… As for my resignation, I have enjoyed my years at Washburn, and the many great people I have had the honor to work with on the many projects we completed.”

The new interim director of ISS is Elliot Haugen. His contract goes through the end of this academic school year, but has the opportunity for renewal. Even though Gunter has resigned, Prasch still feels there are improvements to make.

“Getting rid of Mike Gunter to some extent solves the problem, but for me that’s a half win. For me the real problem is that, in addition to the particular person and his position, that the position itself is still misassigned. That until academic computing reports to academics, there’s no check, there’s no way that faculty input is guaranteed, there’s no assurance that the academic side of things is taken care of. “

This has been Jordan Shefte, for the Washburn Review.