Wayne State may lose 37 medical school faculty members

Detroit-based Wayne State University School of Medicine could be down 37 faculty members due to retirement and termination, according to The Detroit News.

The news was revealed via a letter to faculty members from Dean Jack Sobel, MD.

Eighteen faculty members have "agreed to retire, accept phased retirement or received notice of nonrenewal of their contract," according to Dr. Sobel's letter. Eleven others will be recommended for dismissal from their positions, and eight more chose to take part in separation agreements. Most of these eight will stay on staff at Wayne State until after Sept. 1.

These 37 members are part of the 700 researchers in the medical school's basic sciences and clinical departments, according to Charles Parrish, PhD, president of the American Association of University Professors-AFT Michigan Local 6075.

Dr. Sobel's letter comes after Wayne State warned faculty members of the consequences of their unproductive habits in March. "Too many of our faculty [members] have been unproductive for many years," Dr. Sobel and David Hefner, Wayne State's vice president for health affairs, wrote in a letter to 527 faculty members. "They have been allowed to consume needed resources totaling many millions of dollars." Mr. Hefner claimed between 60 and 80 faculty members were categorized as unproductive, and he and Dr. Sobel asked them to boost their research products and increase the number of patients they see.

But Dr. Parrish claimed productivity levels are not entirely based on faculty members themselves. "The way administration defines productivity, they define it based on how much research money you bring in," he said. "It's harder to get grants ... It's a complex situation. Some people who have contributed a lot are on the list."

Although the 37 faculty members were not named in the report, Dr. Sobel said the cuts were "a critical and necessary step toward allowing our many productive faculty members to thrive, and will result in our emerging stronger as one of the nation's most robust urban medical colleges and centers of research," according to the report.

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