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Art department chair Shipp to step down

CoFAMC Dean begins search for replacement

Associate News Editor

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 00:01

The chair of the art department at Sam Houston State University will be stepping down on Aug. 31, according to an email sent to art faculty.

Tony Shipp has been head of the art department for six years, and it was announced Jan. 12 that he would be stepping down.

"The major reason for this change is that my vision of what can be encompassed in an outstanding Department of Art differs from that of [Shipp]," Roberta Sloan, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, said in an email to the art department's staff.

During his time as chair of the  department, Shipp started the W.A.S.H. program, hired faculty members, and further developed the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Graphic Design.

"Under his leadership, the department has grown and developed, for this we owe him a great debt of gratitude. Thank you, Tony," Sloan said.

According to the email Sloan sent out, Scott Plugge, Ph.D., Interim Director of the School of Music will be the chair of the search committee for the new chair of the department. The committee will have six tenure-track faculty, six tenured faculty members, and a faculty member outside of the department that will be appointed by Sloan.

Plugge held the first meeting for the search committee on Jan. 20. Staff members who want to be considered for the position were advised not to be on the committee.

In May 2003, a federal lawsuit was brought against the university. Gary and Jasmine Graybill, former art faculty members, alleged that Shipp created a hostile work environment through sexual harassment and retaliation.

"Shipp's stepping down as chair as absolutely nothing to do with his litigation issues," Sloan said.

On Jan. 9, federal judge Vanessa Gilmore ruled that SHSU's motion to dismiss was granted in part and denied in part. The judge dismissed the charge of sexual harassment but ruled that the university to the charges of retaliation.

According to Sloan, if the chair search is unsuccessful then she will appoint an interim chair to serve in 2012-2013.

Shipp was unable to be reached by the deadline time.

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