A dean of eight Pierce College departments announced his retirement March 2, while the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) considered to dismiss him due to unprofessional conduct and being unfit for service.
According to the LACCD Board agenda, the district was to consider Paul Whalen’s dismissal March 7.
Whalen worked at the college for more than 40 years, and was heartbroken when choosing to retire, Senior Secretary of Academic Affairs Aaron Chan, who worked with Whalen daily in the past year, said.
Whalen’s retirement, which took effect March 6, surprised the administration.
“It was a shock to everybody,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Anna Davies said March 8. “He announced Friday that he will be retiring, and asked that his last day will be Tuesday.”
Still, Whalen’s reasons for retiring remain a mystery.
“I can’t tell much in light of the situation,” Chan said. “But he wasn’t ready to retire.”
Whalen did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment.
Whalen was the dean of the Art and Architecture department, English department, Modern Languages department, Music department, Speech Communication department, Pierce Online, and Theater and Dance department.
Administration is not seeking to replace him because the college is looking to save money, Pierce College President Kathleen Burke-Kelly said during an Academic Senate meeting.
Instead, his role will be divided amongst the deans left on campus.
“He retired quite suddenly,” said Burke-Kelly. “And there hasn’t been an official announcement because I was away at Achieving a Dream in Dallas.”
The administration still plans on organizing a farewell gathering for Whalen, she said.