Gene Sasso left a longtime career in public relations to take a non-tenure-track teaching position at Kent State University, where he helped create a hugely successful online PR master’s program. It enrolled more than 260 students and generated more than $6 million in revenue, according to a Feb. 26 story in Inside Higher Ed.
Sasso, whose name still appears in the faculty directory, says he was “flabbergasted” when he was told he would not be rehired for the 2013-2014 academic year. He was given no reason.
Faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, led by PR professor Bill Sledzik and backed by the university’s tenure-track unit of AAUP, protested Sasso’s dismissal — to no avail. The school’s director, Thor Wasbotten, (firstname.lastname@example.org) refused to allow Sasso’s upcoming three-year review to proceed, a move that would have required the university to give a reason for not renewing his contract.