Farmer School Dean to retire
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 02:08
After ten years serving as the Dean of Miami University’s Farmer School of Business (FSB), Roger Jenkins announced Wednesday he will retire at the end of the semester.
In an email sent to FSB faculty and staff as well as to the University Board of Trustees, Jenkins, 67, thanked his colleagues for their partnership, collegiality and friendship.
According to Claire Wagner, associate director of university communications, Jenkins chose to retire after meeting with President David Hodge regarding Jenkins’ recent voluntary return of $1.25 million in independent consulting fees from Minn. businessman Thomas Petters. Petters is serving a 50-year prison sentence for fraud.
Jenkins was given several options from the university for how to move forward after he returned the money, out of which he chose retirement, according to Wagner.
“Concerns grew about Dean Jenkins’ ability to provide effective leadership to the Farmer School of Business,” Wagner said. “Under these circumstances, we began to look for the best solution for transition. The retiring at the end of the semester provides that solution.”
Jenkins wrote in his letter to faculty that part of his decision to leave was because of an unfortunate situation:
“As with any deeply personal relationship and within every family, there are complex nuances that, if and when brought to light, due to surface appearance and the absence of context, are exceptionally difficult for others to understand. And ironically, the reality is that perceptions matter. I have therefore concluded that my work here at the Farmer School will come to a close at the end of the semester, in no small part because this will complete a most unfortunate chapter in Miami’s history that has simply gone on too long.”
Jenkins provided independent consulting services for Petters from 2005 to 2008.
According to Wagner, the university had record of Jenkins’ involvement with Petters between 2005 and 2006, but not of the subsequent two years Jenkins provided Petters with consulting services.
Wagner said performing outside work is not uncommon for Miami faculty.
“It’s within Miami University policy that faculty and staff may, and in fact, are encouraged to be on boards and act as advisors or consultants in their profession,” Wagner said.
However, Wagner said Jenkins’ business relationship with Petters was one that typically would have to be approved by the university, and it appears there was no approval for Jenkins’ consulting work following 2006.
Hodge said he did not have anything to add to his comments that were laid out in Miami’s e-report Thursday morning regarding Jenkins’ retirement.
“We admire and respect Dean Jenkins’ decision,” Hodge said in his statement. “He has worked tirelessly…greatly enhancing the quality and the reputation of both the Farmer School and the University. We are deeply grateful for his dedicated service and in particular the tremendously profound impact he has had on students.”
Marc Rubin, chair of the accountancy department in FSB, said despite Jenkin’s retirement, FSB will not change dramatically.
“Right now we have a lot of things to take care of on a departmental level and we’ll keep doing that,” Rubin said. “The courses are offered, the students are here, we keep recruiting students and making sure they get jobs, and all those kinds of good things that we do. So I don’t see anything changing immediately at all.”
Junior marketing major Lisa Gehring said she hopes there aren’t negative implications due to Jenkins’ leaving.
“He has done so much for the business school and it’s unfortunate that his legacy seems to be tainted with this controversy,” Gehring said. “But I just hope that this also doesn’t negatively impact the reputation of the Farmer School of Business, of the rest of the faculty and staff and our degrees.”
During Jenkins’ time as dean, the new Farmer School facility was built, and the business school became a BusinessWeek top 25 undergraduate business school. Prior to his time as dean of FSB, Jenkins served as the F.M. Kirby Chair in Business Excellence at Wake Forest University and was CEO of a Tennessee-based consulting firm and COO of Goody’s Family Clothing, Inc.
In his letter to FSB faculty, Jenkins wrote that his “greatest joy in coming to work each day has been the privilege of getting to know and work with the finest young men and women on any college campus in America.”