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Staff, faculty critical of UND nursing college dean in 2012 report; dean defends moves

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GRAND FORKS -- The dean of the University of North Dakota's College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines had "no recollection" of chastising or reprimanding faculty and staff last year in front of others and defended her staffing changes following a 2012 report, according to documents obtained through an open records request.

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Faculty and staff of the college presented the issue along with several others related to Dean Denise Korniewicz at a meeting last month and asked her to respond to their concerns.

A complaint filed last year by one UND employee against Korniewicz's former administrative secretary, Margaret Brack, brought attention to Brack's relationship with the dean that employees said was unusually close and created a conflict of interest.

A nine-page organizational report created by the UND provost's office last fall to review the impact of structural changes at the college also detailed some of the conflicts between the dean and the college faculty and staff.

It included responses from 26 staff members and 12 faculty members, who "agreed organizational changes were necessary, but a number of them expressed concerns about the manner in which the changes were made," it said.

In response, the dean provided a written timeline of events, saying faculty voted to move to a new administrative structure in April. She also said she chose not to cut staff in the new structure, even though there were "ample data to demonstrate that there is adequate staffing" for the college.

Regarding concerns that she "ignored or circumvented" relevant UND procedures when initiating changes such as hiring administrators and staff, Korniewicz stated that any administrator hired during that period was hired under "HR guidelines consistent with UND policies." She also responded to allegations of undervaluing long-serving employees by saying one quit and a second one was asked to leave due to a lack of an advanced degree and because she didn't respect some students' national or racial heritage.

"It was my assessment that the leadership provided by this individual and her behavior did not support the type of leadership reflected in the mission and values of UND," she wrote.

At a faculty meeting this month, Provost Thomas DiLorenzo told employees to share their issues with him until the end of June.

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