Dr. Mark Kornbluh is no longer serving as Dean of the Arts & Sciences College. Christian Brady, Dean of the Lewis Honors College, will serve as interim Dean.
Kornbluh’s leaving was announced by Provost David Blackwell in a letter to faculty this afternoon.
“Effective immediately Professor Mark Kornbluh will no longer be serving as Dean of Arts and Sciences. I will be in touch soon to with information on the leadership transition, which will be a very high priority in my office,” wrote Blackwell.
In his email, Blackwell said that Kornbluh will become a faculty member.
No reason was provided for the change in leadership.
UK Spokesperson Jay Blanton confirmed Christian Brady will serve as an interim replacement.
“Dr. Kornbluh is no longer dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Christian Brady, Dean of the Lewis Honors College, will serve as interim dean of A&S. A national search will commence shortly and we will announce interim leadership in Lewis in the coming days. I cannot comment further at this time,” Blanton said.
Faculty were not aware of the change before it was announced to them over email.
Dr. Lauren Cagle, Assistant Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies expressed her concern over the change on Twitter.
Love too have your super supportive Dean removed from his position with no warning and just a cryptic email announcement two weeks into the pandemic fall semester of 2020 🙃🙃🙃— Le Doctor Cagle (@lecagle) August 31, 2020
“Love too have your super supportive Dean removed from his position with no warning and just a cryptic email announcement two weeks into the pandemic fall semester of 2020 🙃🙃🙃,” Cagle wrote.
Nearly 30 faculty have signed a letter sent to the provost expressing their disagreement with Kornbluh's dismissal.
According to the copy of the letter obtained by the Kernel, the faculty feel that Kornbluh made the college "a forward-looking unit that provides its students, faculty, and staff both a welcoming place to work and the tools to excel nationally and internationally in research, teaching, and service."
Throughout the letter, the faculty describe Kornbluh's efforts at both increasing the diversity of the college and adapting to online teaching, "two important challenges identified by the university" in 2020.
"Dean Kornbluh’s innovation and commitment to anti-racism were evident long before the university’s focus in 2020," the letter said, citing his diverse hiring initiatives and introducing the "Passport to the World program."
The faculty also listed Kornbluh's contributions to research and graduate programs before concluding with a call for the provost to engage with A&S faculty and leaders in the search for a new dean.
"As a College we are stronger because of Dean Kornbluh’s leadership, which was built on cornerstones of innovation, shared governance, accessibility, and compassion," the letter said.
The College of Arts & Sciences has over 5,800 undergraduate students, covering 19 academic departments, 29 degree-granting majors and 440 faculty, according to its website. A&S also hosts 85 percent of general education courses.
Kornbluh was hired as dean of A&S in April of 2009 by a previous provost, Kumble Subbaswamy.
According to an analysis of dean salaries done by the Kernel in January of 2020, Kornbluh was the fifth-highest paid dean at UK with an annual salary of $348, 672 at his most recent raise.
According to his contract letter, Kornbluh will retain 75 percent of his fiscal year salary upon his return to faculty member. He is also eligible for a one-year administrative leave for the transition from dean to faculty.
The Kernel will update this story as more information becomes available.