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Faculty Urges Early Review of UCI Dean : Education: A petition signed by 50 is aimed at Dr. Walter L. Henry of the medical school, who has overseen construction projects and fiscal crisis.


IRVINE — A petition urging an early performance review of the dean of the UCI School of Medicine has been signed by at least 50 faculty members and sent to the chancellor's office, a university official said Friday.

Dr. Walter L. Henry, dean of the medical school for 4 1/2 years, has overseen several major construction projects as well as the worst fiscal crisis in the history of the University of California.

Last year, Henry was forced to cut 100 positions that included secretarial and administrative support. However, none of the 600 faculty members were laid off.

"Surprised?" said Paul Freeman, a spokesman for the medical school. "Not in one sense, because we are in a very volatile, extraordinary environment at the moment."

In a telephone interview, Henry said the College of Medicine was asked to absorb a $2-million budget cut. In addition, he has proposed a 5% salary reduction for all staff and enforcement of a controversial new compensation plan, which has met with faculty criticism, Freeman said.

Henry said it was the first time in his tenure that the faculty was critical of his administration of the medical school.

"This is the kind of thing that will lead to debate, and could be the subject for a lot of constructive debate," Henry said. "It's a very challenging time."

The petition asks for a performance review now, six months before one is regularly scheduled. Neither Henry nor Freeman had seen the petition, copies of which had been sent to the office of Acting Chancellor L. Dennis Smith, and to Chancellor-designate Laurel L. Wilkening, who starts July 1.

"The 50 faculty members who signed it (represent) a small percentage of the total faculty here," Henry said.

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