Former chancellor Wendler a finalist for Texas at San Antonio position

By Gus Bode

Walter Wendler is a finalist for a dean’s position at the University of Texas at San Antonio, a UTSA spokesman confirmed Friday.

Wendler, SIUC’s director of the School of Architecture, interviewed with the school and has been identified as one of four candidates to become UTSA’s next dean of the College of Architecture.

‘ ‘There is no timetable to fill the position, but the search has been under way, and I can confirm (Wendler) is one of the four finalists,’ said UTSA spokesman David Gabler.

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Wendler did not return three phone messages left during the weekend.

The position has been open since May 2007, Gabler said, and the school has been reviewing applications since Nov. 3.

Other candidates, Gabler said, include UTSA associate professor of architecture Gayle Nicoll; John Murphy, a professor in the School of Building Science at Auburn University; and Fatih Ahmet Riski, dean of the School of Architecture and Design at American University of Sharjah.

Wendler reports to the dean of Applied Sciences and Arts, a position vacated by SIU Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Sarvela. Both Sarvela and CASA’s Associate Dean Terry Owens did not return messages left at their homes Sunday.

SIUC spokesman Rod Sievers said he was unaware of Wendler’s candidacy for the position but said faculty members are free to pursue career opportunities as they please.

‘It’s usually not a problem,’ he said. ‘Just about everyone will give some sort of notice if they receive another position. And (Wendler’s) a professional, so I’m sure he will give us some sort of notice (if he gets the position).’

Wendler began his tenure with the university as chancellor in 2001 and has interviewed for many positions at other universities during his time at SIUC.

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Wendler has been a candidate for the presidency at Texas A&M, the chancellorship and presidency at Louisiana State University, the presidency of Mississippi State University during the past eight years.

He introduced the ‘Southern at 150’ plan, a set of goals for the university to reach by its 150th anniversary in 2019, in May 2003, and Saluki Way, the university’s massive overhaul construction project, in September 2005.

Wendler was also the first chancellor to give a State of the University address, which has been held annually ever since.

In September 2006, an anonymous group called Alumni and Faculty Against Corruption at SIU accused Wendler of plagiarizing the Southern at 150 plan. The group accused Wendler of copying language from Texas A&M’s Vision 2020 plan, which he helped write.

Wendler, who was also accused of plagiarism after using a book excerpt without citation in his 2005 State of the University address, was later cleared of the allegations by a committee, which said he committed intellectual dishonesty.

SIU President Glenn Poshard demoted Wendler to tenured full professor of architecture in November 2006, citing conflicting leadership styles and a lack of communication as reasons for the demotion.

Wendler was appointed director of the School of Architecture in June.

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