An additional faculty position will be created in International Programs in an effort to offset complaints made about Associate Vice President Prema Arasu, Provost Warwick M. Bayly said on Friday in a closed meeting. Members of the press attended the meeting, but were asked to leave after about 30 minutes.
Tempers flared at the meeting as members of the audience expressed concern about the management style of Arasu. Some indicated they felt threatened or feared for their job security and said hiring a second faculty member will not solve the problems as long as Arasu remains in charge.
Arasu was named to the position in January 2010, according to a WSU News press release. She previously served as the associate vice provost at the Office of International Affairs at North Carolina State University.
Arasu said she did not wish to comment on the matter. The Daily Evergreen also contacted Theresa Elliot-Cheslek, director of Human Resource Services, who did not comment on the matter.
Bayly said at the meeting that faculty members have complained Arasu rushes through situations and does not have the patience, communication style or management style for the position.
“We think there are some management issues, and it is our understanding right now that Dr. Arasu will stay as the overall director, and we will introduce a second position to create someone in charge of the day-to-day management,” Bayly said.
He also discussed the implementation of a new International Programs Framework Plan to expand the department.
According to the framework, the department is undergoing several expansion efforts. These include the collaboration of the Office of Research and international research groups, the facilitation of faculty-to-faculty collaborations and international opportunities through interest groups and the providing of access to resources, professional development and international learning opportunities for the WSU community.
After the meeting, Bayly said the shift in leadership within the department should not affect international students at WSU or students studying abroad.
“It would certainly not be my intent,” he said. “The framework, I think, points out we are endeavoring to provide additional opportunities and increase opportunities for students to get some sort of global experience.”
Bayly said after the meeting there has been no investigation conducted into Arasu’s behavior. The situation is being reviewed.
“There’s no basis for (firing her),” he said. “We’ve had a review. There are no findings at all of anything on which you could base such a decision.”