Jack P. Carroll ‘24
Trinity will continue to hire incoming head coaches with faculty status, according to an email sent out to the faculty from Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sonia Cardenas Thursday afternoon. The College has effectively reversed its recent decision to change the employment status of new head coaches from faculty to staff.
“According to the Faculty Manual, it is the Dean of Faculty who appoints faculty in Physical Education. Faculty appointments, moreover, are subject to approval by the President and the Board of Trustees. Given my role, I am writing to report that the process of considering and discussing a request to change the faculty status of incoming head coaches is now complete. Incoming head coaches will continue to be hired with faculty status,” wrote Cardenas.
Cardenas announced that she will be co-chairing a working group with Athletic Director Drew Galbraith and Professor of Physics and Environmental Science Christoph Geiss–who is a member of the Athletic Advisory Committee (ACC)–to improve the review process for head coaches. The working group aims to make the review process more transparent and formalized. Cardenas indicated that the working group will provide her with recommendations by the end of the semester.
As the Tripod previously reported, the ACC met with Galbraith on Dec. 6 for a monthly meeting during which he announced the change in employment status of new head coaches from faculty to staff. The decision was reportedly made without any input from current head coaches, and there were two stated reasons for the change: (1) greater ease in the evaluation of head coaches and (2) alignment of Trinity head-coach employment status with other schools in the New England Small College Athletics Conference (NESCAC).
Following the ACC’s meeting with Galbraith, Trinity announced that it had hired Methembe Ndlovu as the head men’s soccer coach.
Professor Geiss delivered multiple reports on behalf of the ACC condemning the head-coach employment status change during a faculty meeting with senior administrators present on Tuesday, Feb. 8. One of the reports argued that removing the faculty title devalues athletics as a part of teaching and the coaches’ role in supporting faculty members in the education of students. The report also noted that the change in employment status contradicts curricular efforts (wellness requirement) which emphasizes coaches’ role in the curriculum. Other consequences include the weakening of coaches’ job security, a reduction of employment benefits for head coaches, and a great potential to weaken the candidate pool for coaching positions as most other NESCAC schools grant faculty status to head coaches.
Cardenas, who was at the faculty’s February meeting, responded to the ACC’s report by stating that it was not the appropriate time to discuss the change in employment status of new head coaches. She indicated that further dialogue is needed and the decision is an evolving process. One faculty member in attendance told Cardenas that she wished Galbraith and the cabinet had discussed the employment status change sooner.
Head Women’s Squash Coach and Professor of Physical Education Wendy Bartlett told the Tripod in February that she was surprised by the change when she found out in January at a meeting with other head coaches. “I didn’t know it was coming. In one of our staff meetings our Athletic Director Drew Galbraith announced that going forward on all new coaching hires that they would be hired not as faculty,” said Bartlett. She indicated that coaches have been recognized as faculty members throughout her 38 years at the College. Bartlett also noted that coaches with faculty status can attend faculty meetings and get paid on the faculty pay scale. “Drew has been a terrific athletic director, especially during these past two years with COVID,” she added.
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