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UCR Franklin Fellowship Cancellation Roils Community

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Elected officials, community leaders, clergy and faculty seek answers

By BVN Staff –

Members of Inland Empire business, civic and faith-based communities, UC Riverside faculty, and some elected officials including Assembly member Wilmer Amina Carter D-Rialto, District 62, want to know why top UC Riverside officials abruptly cancelled business school Professor Waymond Rodgers' 2011-12 sabbatical in April thus blocking him from becoming the university's first recipient of the U.S. Department of State's prestigious Franklin Fellowship. Mr. Rodgers is the only tenured African American business professor in the UC system.

To date, university officials citing personnel policy, have declined comment on the cancellation and subsequent disciplinary case filed against Mr. Rodgers by the UC Regents/UCR. A hearing on charges of "substandard teaching and conflict of commitment" related to his overseas teaching and research is set for Dec. 12, 2011 at UCR.

"During a recent lunch meeting with UCR Chancellor White, I inquired about the status of the Franklin Fellowship," said Carter, former chair of the Assembly subcommittee on higher education.

"The Chancellor replied that he could not discuss the fellowship because it was part of an ongoing personnel issue. I did not consider that a satisfactory response."

In response to a letter from the Riverside Clergy Association, UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White declined comment citing personnel policy.

According to the U.S. State Department's website, the Franklin Fellows Program is a unique and innovative executive development vehicle via which the government taps citizens’ knowledge and which enables approved organizations to promote public service by their professionals. Franklin Fellows, work on global issues of vital importance to the United States, such as the environment; counterterrorism; human rights; consular matters; international development assistance; HIV/AIDS and other trans-national diseases; trade, energy and financial policy. The website states Franklin Fellows may interact with the National Security Council, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, other Executive Branch agencies and the United Nations.

Recipients will return to their home organizations and communities with a much-enhanced knowledge of foreign and development policy issues and government operations and culture.

Rodgers received a Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Southern California, and did postdoctorate work in cognitive psychology at the University of Michigan. He is a certified public accountant in California and Michigan. Professor Rodgers' accounting, banking, and management expertise derives from his employment as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young. He was also a commercial loan officer for Union Bank.

His primary research areas are auditing, commercial lending decisions, decision modeling, ethics, trust issues, intellectual capital, and knowledge management.

He has lectured extensively worldwide, written five textbooks and published in prestigious national and international peer review journals. He is also the recipient of major research grants from the Brazilian and Canada Research Foundat ions, Ford Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center and Nordakademie in Germany, the (first private university founded and funded directly by industry).

According to State Department sources Mr. Rodgers' position included being a Senior Advisor and liaison between the private sector (Fortune 500 companies) and the publ ic sector State Department bureau over Fulbright Fellowships and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The USAID is responsible for allocating funds to different countries around the world.

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