Former Educational Studies Professor Stephen Schroth has resigned from his faculty position, making him the second tenured professor to resign from that department in the last two months.
Schroth resigned for personal reasons, he told TKS in an emailed statement. The move came as a surprise to students and other faculty in the department, as Schroth recently received tenure with approval from the Board of Trustees earlier this year.
“A family emergency that required my immediate attention hundreds of miles away required my leaving,” Schroth said in the email. “As always, I have been overwhelmed by the support and good wishes of the Knox community.”
The department was already stretched thin after former chair Jason Helfer abruptly took a position with the Illinois State Board of Education in August, and Assistant Professor Kelton Williams will be stepping down from his position at the end of the academic year.
“I think it’s fair to say that we were all a little surprised [by Schroth’s resignation] — and that’s an understatement,” Williams said.
Though it may have come as a surprise, students and faculty believe that completing major requirements and providing the same opportunities for students will not become an issue.
“When I heard about it, I was really shocked,” said Paul Mills, a senior Educational Studies major. “But we have enough professors in the department so that everyone is going to get an education. …We’ll be able to stay on our feet.”
Schroth’s old advisees have since been divided up by the remaining faculty, but Williams said they are still figuring out how to cover his courseload for the rest of this term. But he remains optimistic.
“We will adapt and adjust,” he said. “Diana [Beck] is a strong leader of the department. She has done this before, and we will make it work.”
Dean of the College Laura Behling said she has not yet discussed with the department whether there will be a search process to replace Schroth, as her office is more immediately concerned with the scheduling and advising issues. Particularly, she wants to ensure that there are not too many advisees per faculty member.
The remaining faculty members are now taking on Schroth’s advisees, some of whom began the year as Helfer’s.