After 11 years of working as the Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean at Missouri Western, Murray Nabors will make the switch from teaching one or two classes a semester to only teaching biology classes full-time beginning next academic year.
The liberal arts and sciences position is anticipated to be filled near March or April.
While Nabors has always preferred to teach alongside his position as dean, he would have preferred to stay a dean. The decision wasn’t his to make. Nabors said as a dean he served “at the pleasure of the president,” meaning that he may be asked to step down from his position and given a high teaching position instead at any time.
“I didn’t decide [to stop serving as a dean], the provost decided that. You serve as an administrator, but they can ask you to step down anytime they want and the official words without cause, meaning they don’t have to tell you,” Nabors said.
Provost Doug Davenport declined to comment on why Nabors was asked to step down, but said that the decision wasn’t something anticipated early on.
“Murray is simply changing responsibilities. He is going to go back to the faculty, and I think he is going to do some wonderful things for us in that faculty role,” Davenport said.
Nabors, among other academic positions at Missouri Western such as deans, directors and vice presidents, have academic tenure. This provides job security and a promise of one of the highest paid teaching positions in their department.
“That’s true of department chairs. That’s true of deans, directors and vice presidents. They have tenure in a department, but they don’t as administrators, so if they stop being administrators, they can resume that tenure in the department. For example, if someone retired, they could go back to that department and teach if they wanted to, or they could simply retire from the university entirely. There’s not very many jobs in the world where you have that kind of protection or security,” Nabors said.
Nabors has always taught alongside his duties as a dean because he thinks that those in administrative positions should teach as long as they are able to.
“I’ve been here 11 years, so most of all those years I’ve taught one, sometimes two classes,” Nabors said. “I think administrators should teach. I think it helps them keep their skills up and find out what’s going on with students.”
While serving as the liberal arts and sciences dean, Nabors helped start the Chinese Exchange Program. The exchange program sends a professor to Western from China to teach and well as bring in more international students to Western.
The program was started because Nabors enjoys having a more culturally diverse campus.
“We’ve been doing that for over five years,” Nabors said. “I used to do a lot of international agriculture, so I traveled a lot in China and other places. One of the things I’ve really been interested in is increasing the amount of international students that we have at Missouri Western. I think that is really important to have a kind of international flavor to the campus.”