After just two years on the job, Mario Enzler has resigned as dean of the business school at the University of St. Thomas, in Houston. His resignation, which took effect last Friday but was announced on Tuesday, followed allegations that he falsified his educational credentials, including a doctorate. from a music conservatory in Italy that does not offer a doctorate and a bachelor’s degree from an Italian high school.
Enzler is a former Swiss guard of Italian descent who knew Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa personally, according to his privately published book about the pope. He had no business degree and had published no scholarly work in the field when he took over as dean of the Cameron School of Business in June 2020. From the start, faculty members suspected something was amiss.
John E. Simms, an associate professor of accounting, said he became suspicious when, in a meeting with business school faculty, Enzler indicated he did not know what the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business – the accrediting agency for discipline – it was.
Simms, who was responsible for collecting accreditation documentation from business school faculty members, said that, for the two years that Enzler was dean, he never submitted documents required of the courses he taught, including syllabi, grades and safety of learning. the documents. And whenever Simms asked Enzler for missing materials, Enzler would say, “Everybody’s learning, everybody’s great. Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.”
With accreditation deadlines approaching, Simms felt pressure to get the paperwork together. He said many faculty members at the business school had worked hard to achieve and maintain accreditation, and he was concerned that their jobs would be jeopardized. “Accreditation is about documentation, but it’s also about credibility,” he said. “I couldn’t sit here and watch over a decade of work go down the pipe.”
Along with other faculty members, including one who spoke Italian, Simms decided to investigate Enzler. They called the institutions in Italy that had allegedly awarded Enzler’s degree. One is a music conservatory that does not offer doctoral-level programs, Simms said, an assertion confirmed by his website. The other is a high school that offers vocational certificates, he said. That led Simms to think that Enzler may have falsified his resume, which Simms said was a violation of the Texas Penal Code.
A university spokesman declined to answer specific questions about Enzler’s time at St. Louis.
Enzler did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Simms also said Enzler’s hiring had been unusual. The business school had hired Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, a national search firm now called SP&A Executive Search, to recruit candidates. Alberto Pimentel, who led the recruitment effort, said chronicles that Enzler “was not a candidate who either responded to our advertisements or who was recruited by us.”
Pimentel said he asked the university if his firm should run reference and background checks on Enzler, but was told no. His firm usually checks the educational background of candidates, but in this case it was not allowed to do so.
Connections with the Catholic Church
Enzler did not have a terminal degree in business, as required by the job posting. On the contrary, his CV, reviewed by chroniclessays he has a doctorate in music and a bachelor’s in classics.
Simms filed an internal complaint seeking the termination of Enzler and Christopher P. Evans, vice president for academic affairs, who Simms said employed Enzler. The complaint was later suspended and the university began an administrative investigation, but according to Simms, it went nowhere.
In an email to chronicles, Evans stated that “a search committee composed of regular faculty and peers reviewed the applications and fulfilled their obligation by sending a list of recommendations listing Mario Enzler and one other possible candidate for hire for the dean’s position.” Evans declined to answer further questions.
However, one member of the search committee remembers things differently. John Leavins, a professor of accounting, said chronicles that it was not the commission’s responsibility to recommend a candidate for this position. Rather, its members analyzed each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Leavins said Enzler’s strength was his strong relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, which fit the university’s mission, while his weakness was his lack of a traditional academic background.
Ramon Fernandez, an assistant professor of accounting, said he doesn’t understand why Enzler was hired, given the lack of required qualifications.
Beginning last April, faculty members, including Simms and Fernandez, sent letters to the university listing all the reasons why Enzler should not be dean of business. Fernandez said Evans had never met with faculty members to discuss the matter. “I would have thought he would have met with the faculty to find out what was going on,” Fernandez said, “but he didn’t. He ignored us all summer.”
Fernandez said Enzler later admitted he lacked a doctorate, but the university continued to use “Dr.” before his name and “Ph.D.” behind her. In May, during the school’s commencement ceremony, Enzler was introduced as “Dr.” and graduates received certificates of honor signed by Enzler, with “Ph.D.” printed next to his name.
Fernandez is worried about the future of the business school. “The next search we do has to be done properly and follow policy,” Fernandez said.
The business school has appointed three faculty members to a new governing council to act as interim deans until a new dean is hired.
“The important thing for us now,” said the university spokesman, “is to focus on the future of the Cameron School of Business.”