Florida International University’s business school dean had been controversial from the start — picked through a selection process that some called hasty and operating with a leadership style that rankled many faculty.
On Monday, dean David Klock announced plans to resign in May. less than three years after joining FIU.
Klock, who was paid $370,000 a year, did not return a phone call Monday seeking comment.
But, in an e-mail to the business school’s faculty and staff, he wrote, “I appreciate the progress our faculty and staff members have made in helping the College of Business improve in rankings, in student success and in the pursuit of excellence in discovery.”
He added, “My greatest pride is in hiring nearly 40 new teacher-scholars and reinvigorating our long-held missions of providing access and ensuring student success.”
After taking a short leave, Klock plans to return to FIU to teach. He was hired with tenure, so after relinquishing his position as dean, he will remain a faculty member. FIU said Klock’s salary “will be reduced to reflect the new responsibilities” but did not specify how much he would be paid.
FIU President Mark Rosenberg had pushed strongly to hire Klock, who once ran a dental benefits company and had previously been dean of the School of Business at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
When a faculty backlash erupted, Rosenberg stood by his pick, and he ripped into those who sent anonymous e-mails criticizing the dean, calling such actions “gutless.”
In a memorandum sent Monday to the FIU community, Provost Kenneth Furton wrote that, under Klock’s direction, “the College has made clear strides.”
“This past year the College of Business ranked in the highly respected University of Texas Dallas 100 (#99), an acclaimed measure of business schools’ research productivity,” Furton wrote. “Our Undergraduate International Business program moved from 11th to 8th in the U.S. News and World Report 2015 edition of Best Colleges.”
But it was also clear there was still substantial frustration with Klock among FIU faculty — and those tensions may have played a key role in the dean’s decision to step down.
In December, FIU surveyed its business faculty about Klock, and the results revealed that many were unhappy with the dean. In the “faculty comments” section, the overwhelming majority of the responses were negative.
“Divisive is the one word that captures for me the tenure of Dean Klock,” wrote one professor.
“His fundraising has been pathetic,” wrote another.
“Horrible!” wrote a third.
Nearly one-third of FIU’s total degrees are awarded by the College of Business, and the department carries a symbolic significance in both fundraising and the university’s relationship with the larger South Florida community.