The Dean of College of Natural Resources & Sciences office on March 20 in the Forestry building at Humboldt State University. Richard Boone’s resignation was sped up by Alexander Enyedi, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Photo by Ahmed Al-Sakkaf.

Provost speeds up dean’s resignation

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“I couldn’t compromise the values of CNRS and my own.”

Richard Boone, the former dean of College of Natural Resources and Sciences at Humboldt State, was let go before his resignation came into effect. Earlier this month, Boone formerly announced his resignation, effective June 30. But Alexander Enyedi, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, informed him in a meeting on March 9 that his resignation was accepted and effective immediately. Steve Smith took office as the new interim dean for CNRS, replacing Boone.

Boone planned to remain dean of CNRS until June 30, as he said to the provost when he resigned. He was surprised during the meeting that he didn’t have the time to continue working on the things he planned out.

It was important for Boone to carry out his plans leading up to the initial June 30 resignation. He and his staff were in the process of finalizing the steps to reduce the budget for next year.

“Having the remaining time was important for me, personally and professionally,” Boone said. “Also for the college and my role in the college, I was looking forward to working in Humboldt until the end of June.”

Boone said he doesn’t know why he was asked to leave office four months before his initial resignation date.

“I had conveyed to [the provost] my resignation was effective June 30 and he had not rejected the date when I met with him,” Boone said.

The Lumberjack reached out to the provost to comment on Boone’s resignation, but was directed to HSU’s public relations team. Humboldt State communications specialist, Grant Scott-Goforth, responded about why the provost adjusted his resignation date.

“Unfortunately, because it’s a personnel issue, the school can’t release anymore details about the resignation,” Scott-Goforth said. “We have a duty to protect individual privacy in these kinds of matters. I’m sorry I can’t help more.”

Boone left the area and is now in the process of relocating to Fairbanks, Alaska.

“I’m leaving Humboldt with a great deal of sadness,” Boone said. “I loved Humboldt and I really loved Arcata. This is a part of me and it will always be a part of me.”

Reflecting on his time at HSU, Boone said he really enjoyed his time working as dean.

“It was an honor to serve as the dean,” Boone said. “It was really a joy to work for the CNRS faculty, staff and students.”

According to Rick Zechman, associate dean of CNRS, Boone was respected across HSU and concerned about CNRS.

“He was very concerned about the health and vitality of the college, its students, faculty and staff,” Zechman said.

Why did Boone resign?

Boone and HSU provost Enyedi had conflicting views regarding the depth of the cuts to the CNRS budget.

“I decided to resign, because it became clear the provost and I had irreconcilable differences over the depth of budget cuts and priorities for CNRS,” Boone said. “I couldn’t compromise the values of CNRS and my own.”

Boone said his strength is in building new programs, developing interdisciplinary teams, integrating research in teaching and graduate education. With the current budget crisis HSU is facing, there’s going to be some downsizing. In such an environment, Boone thinks he can’t put his skills to practice.

“I felt that I couldn’t utilize that experience and skill set sufficiently to make me satisfied and to help the college as much as I wanted to,” Boone said.

Boone said he is proud of the work he has done as the dean of CNRS.

“I think I did good work in my time there and would have continued doing good work through June,” Boone said.

Though Boone is proud of his work as dean, he said he could’ve done better if not for the current budget cuts.

When he joined HSU on July 25, 2016, Boone was aware of CNRS budget deficit, but not the university deficit.

The cause of CNRS deficit wasn’t clear to Boone at first. Last year, he spent time understanding the budget for CNRS and the university.

“It wasn’t clear to me initially why there was a mismatch between the budget and the expenditures in the college,” Boone said. “I learned the mismatch is primarily due to the under-budgeting of lectures in college.”

Boone started the CNRS strategic planning committee. One of the goals of this committee is to find ways to achieve a balanced budget.

“I took my responsibilities seriously to eliminate the deficit,” Boone said. “I believe that the strategic planning process we started this year would’ve led to recommendations for a balanced budget.”

According to Zechman, the strategic planning committee is one of Boone’s major initiative during his short time as dean for CNRS. This initiative will guide the college for coming years.

“[Boone] has a collaborative leadership style that was reflected in one of his major initiative during his brief time as dean of CNRS, a strategic planning effort involving faculty, staff and students that will guide the college over the next several years,” Zechman said.

Over the last eight years, the college grew in terms of majors and number of full-time students. To accommodate the growth, the college hired around 57 lecturers. Costs for most of those lecturers were not added to the college budget.

“Last year, if the money for the lecturers that we employed was in the budget, there would not have been a deficit,” Boone said.

 

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