By SHAILENDRA SINGH
Shailendra Singh decided just 2 weeks before semester to apply for 6 months more leave to complete his PhD:
This is incorrect. I applied for an extension on January 16, 2014, a month before classes started on February 17. At the Dean's request, I nominated a competent former local journalist with the requisite qualifications to fill in for me. If, after this ample notice, there was still no suitable appointment made, it is a matter for the Journalism Program and the School to sort out.
There were no anomalies with my study leave extension application, as insinuated. Universities routinely grant such requests. USP HR prioritised the completion of my PhD over short-term teaching commitments that could be filled by relief staff. For USP, regional staff attaining PhDs is crucial for staff development and program sustainability.
Anyone in a leadership position at USP should have the foresight to understand this strategy, which aims to build regional capacity. It is regrettable that Dr Weber, as the head of journalism, did not support this fundamental institutional vision in which USP invests considerable time and money.
By the same token, why, remove all local teaching staff, such as Irene Manueli, at such a crucial time? Is eroding the local base we tried to establish the proper way to 'rebuild' the program?
Dr Weber states that the extension of my study leave was the 'main cause' of his concern. In the same breath, he states: 'I have no issues with that application'. He displays similar insincerity when he prattles on about 'duty of care' to students and 'ethics', even after abandoning his post at the most critical time – at the start of the semester.
Favouritism was prevalent under Shailendra Singh's watch as the programme's head in the granting of waivers.
This is also untrue. As head of journalism, Dr Weber should have read the USP Calendar. Course coordinators have the discretionary authority to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis in accordance with laid down procedures. This includes cross-credits granted to selected industry people undertaking the program.
It's clear from Dr Weber's own account that he lost control of the program. It is not my fault if the journalism program became emasculated during my absence.
Contrary to insinuations, USP Journalism was at one time quite stable, sustainable, and functional. Despite resource constraints, we tackled many contingencies without complaining, blaming others, or bringing the program to its knees. (The recent death of Wansolwara is truly tragic). If USP Journalism has never been in such a bad shape as it is now, then surely some of the problems are self-inflicted?
These are my views, and not necessarily the views of my employer, USP. "
"The main cause of my concern emerged when the former head of the department Shailendra Singh decided just 2 weeks before semester to apply (and be granted) 6 months more leave to complete his PhD. I have no issues with that application, but he had stated that he would return and all planning for the department for the semester was based on that. Without any consultation with the department as to how we would cope with this sudden about face, he was granted leave under the direction of HR." Dr Ian Webber
READ Webber's claims:
STOP PRESS: Dr Weber heads out revolving door at USP Journalism, citing favouritism, lack of consultation, unethical pressure on him - his former predecessor Shailendra Singh in line of fire over study leave!
WEB er LIES: USP ex-Head of Journalism on study leave refutes Weber! Shailendra Singh puts the record straight of his decision to finish PhD