More criticism leveled at Jezreel Valley College: College creates brand new position for ousted president
Prof. Aliza Shenhar was to end her tenure as president this July, as per the instructions of the Council for Higher Education.
Jezreel Valley College is facing more criticism, after the institution appointed its long-serving president to serve as the college rector.
Prof. Aliza Shenhar was to end her tenure as president this July, as per the instructions of the Council for Higher Education, which ruled that the president of an academic institution cannot be in office for more than 12 years. Shenhar has been in her post since the college was founded 15 years ago.
Now, the college has offered Shenhar the job of rector, which does not even exist in colleges, but only in universities, and that it did so without issuing a tender of any kind.
A senior official at the Council for Higher Education, however, noted that "it was made clear to representatives of the institution that it is not the custom to have the past president then serve as the rector, due to the need to ensure revitalization and change in the makeup of the institution's leadership and administration."
The college was harshly criticized in the State Comptroller's report issued in May for its extremely generous contract with Prof. Joram Feldon, who was supposed to serve as the college's next president. The administration terminated that contract after it claimed Feldon had concealed the fact that he was holding down a full-time position at a Swiss institute while working at the college. Feldon argued that his appointment was withdrawn because he refused to promise to appoint Shenhar as rector after he succeeded her.
Last week, Haaretz reported that the college had agreed to pay Feldon NIS 200,000. Feldon agreed to drop a lawsuit he filed after his contract was terminated.
Shenhar's appointment was revealed last Wednesday in a letter written to the college's board of trustees by its chairman, Avigdor Kellner. The letter provided an update on the situation with Feldon's contract, and added that "the executive committee formed a committee that decided to accept the board of trustees' decision to add the position of rector to the college's administrative backbone."
He added that he offered the post to Shenhar for a three-year period, which seems to indicate that no tender was issued. "Prof. Shenhar accepted my offer and I intend to bring the matter to the board of trustees for approval," Kellner wrote.
The executive committee approved Shenhar's appointment two weeks ago.
Although the position of rector is only standard at Israeli universities, and does not normally exist at colleges, Shenhar said that she "can fill any other position at the college or at another institution. I turned down at least four offers received from other institutions, specifically because of the crisis situation that surfaced following the incident with Prof. Feldon ... we overcame it ... but for the stability of the system, I'm remaining at the college without a long-term commitment."
She added that the Council for Higher Education's approval is not required for the appointment of a rector, and that the position does not require a tender because she is only a temporary appointee, not a permanent one.