President of SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry Resigns

Quentin Wheeler’s firing of department chairs earlier this year didn’t sit well with university faculty members.  

Mar 22, 2018
Kerry Grens

WIKIMEDIA, DASONNENFELDQuentin Wheeler, an entomologist and the president of SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), will leave his leadership post at the end of June. Wheeler had made controversial decisions as head of the college, including firing three department chairs in January, and the faculty has expressed displeasure with his actions.

“Opposition to initiatives focused on the financial, academic, and research foundations of the College have become a distraction to our students, faculty and staff, and the administration,” Wheeler said in a statement yesterday (March 21). “Because I am the face of the change represented by those initiatives, too much attention is being diverted from the necessary work of the College by my continued presence.”

Wheeler is the founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at ESF and became president of the college in 2014. But faculty members, for the most part, disagreed with his hiring decisions and plans for the school’s finances. Back in 2016, a majority of faculty members expressed a lack of confidence in Wheeler’s leadership, and again this month 85 percent of members of the United University Professions (UUP), representing SUNY employees, said his contract should not be renewed, according to syracuse.com.

“Turmoil has reigned on the ESF campus since President Quentin D. Wheeler’s appointment in 2014,” UUP President Frederick Kowal said earlier this month, according to syracuse.com. “Morale has plummeted since then, and President Wheeler’s questionable hiring, personnel and financial practices have caused much concern among UUP ESF Chapter members.”

The school will appoint an interim president to begin July 1.