President Murphy recently announced the appointment of interim academic deans for next year. Although most students will not be directly influenced, the interim deans for the following school year will impact the student body since the administrative structure of the Academic Affairs office affects the entire college.
Dr. Eric Elder is currently serving as an interim VPAA, and he will continue in this role. “I get satisfaction out of helping people do what they should be doing,” Elder said.
Dr. Sarah Tolsma will serve as the Associate Dean of Faculty/Academic Staff Development; Dr. Kim Jongerius will serve as Associate Dean of Curriculum; and Dr. Adrienne Forgette will serve as Associate Dean of Assessment and Accreditation. Dr. Doug Carlson will continue as the Dean of Multicultural and Off-Campus Programs.
The search committee for the new interim positions consisted of five individuals representing arts, sciences, education, humanities and multi-cultural programs. After soliciting nominations from the faculty, the team worked with people who were nominated and had an interest in serving in this way.
“We were trying to find a way to utilize the abilities of each person,” said Dr. Tim McGarvey, chair of the search committee. He said that timing and logistics were the most difficult parts of the selection process.
The decision had to be made quickly because all of the deans are professors and their new responsibilities will impact the number of courses they will be able to teach next semester.
Elder is excited that there are new positions to help with the workload in the Academic Affairs office.
“The biggest problem is that there is so much to do. A lot of time is spent on things that aren’t in the job description,” Elder said. The new positions will divide responsibilities and spread the work more evenly.
“In general the position will give students overall more contact with administration,” said McGarvey. He thinks that some of the largest benefits to students are indirect—changes in processes or paperwork that students never see.
“Having a team with different ideas and perspectives working together and helping the administration on academic programs allows the administration to have a broader perspective—that is a benefit to all students,” said McGarvey.These new positions will be filled for at least the next year as a committee forms to find and hire a full-time VPAA.
The multiple dean structure will likely be changed or modified as the faculty continues to explore new options. The process of searching for a permanent administrative member is scheduled to start this spring.