New job title, new college, and soon to be new dean

by Haley Williamson

October brought new additions to the academic life on campus. The Whitworth Board of Trustees endorsed the creation of the College of Arts and Sciences along with the change of Michael Le Roy’s title from Dean of Faculty to Provost and Executive Vice President.

These changes were put into immediate effect.  They ensure that all academic programs on campus fall under a named school or college and are equipped to achieve success.

The Department Chair of Philosophy Forrest Baird said he thinks this is good timing for Whitworth to establish a new college.

“Given our increase in size, it is necessary,” Baird said.

This new college now allows every department and faculty member to be a part of a specific school.

“We already had some schools with deans and then there was everyone else,”  Baird said.  “It was not the best structure.”

Not only is the addition and arrangement of departments a new facet to Whitworth, but a new position was also granted to Le Roy.

Le Roy said the change came about when President Beck Taylor wanted clarity about who was second in line in case he was gone and someone was needed to handle an emergency.

Before October Le Roy was the executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of faculty.

A provost is an academic term to describe someone who has deans report to them.

“My responsibilities changed a little,” Le Roy said. “The overall restructuring will enable me to work more closely with cabinet members and other campus leaders to implement the goals and objectives of the strategic plan.”

The registrar, instructional technology director and first year program director will all report to the same provost, while the library director and sponsored program directors report to another.

Along with those two provosts, the assistant vice president of diversity and cultural affairs, the associate vice president of graduate and continuing studies, the various deans, the director of international education center, the director of the Weyerhaeuser center and the director of the Costa Rica center will all report to Le Roy.

The new College of Arts and Sciences goes hand in hand with this new job title.

Before, the deans of the various departments, along with registrar, instructional technology and all of the individual arts and science departments would report to Le Roy. Now the new arrangement allows fewer reports to Le Roy.

“Now the library director, the registrar, the director of instructional technology, the director of sponsored programs, and the director of the freshman program will report to an associate provost who then reports to me,” Le Roy said.

That cuts the reports to Le Roy from 30 or more to a dozen.

Now that the arts and sciences have their own department, Whitworth is in search of a dean.  Le Roy said he believes big changes on campus do not deal so much with his job, but rather revolves around the new dean that will report to him.

“We want to find someone who understands the Whitworth Christian mission,” Le Roy said.  “Someone who understands and is passionate about the liberal arts and sciences.”

The dean will then be in charge of the 18 different departments that fall under the title Arts and Sciences.

These departments include biology, music, physics, theatre and philosophy. Programs that are involved with the departments include Core, U.S. cultural studies and women and gender studies.

“Having a dean advocating for the arts and sciences will be helpful,” Baird said.

French Professor Bendi Schrambach is co-chairing the recruiting committee searching for the new dean with Le Roy.

“The new college is going to be an improvement since we have grown and our structure has not changed,” Schrambach said. “The new dean will ensure the vitality of the liberal arts mission of the university.”

Four faculty members from four different areas of study were selected to form the search committee.  These four memebers include Dale Soden from humanities, Julia Stronks from social sciences, Kamesh Sankaran from science, technology, engineering and math and Debbie Hansen from the arts.

Three additional members were later appointed: Karen Peterson Finch (Theology), Michael Rempe (math) and Randy Michaelis (Associate Dean of Instruction).

“The criteria of desired qualities we seek in a Dean of Arts and Sciences came not only from the department chairs group, but also from our October Faculty Assembly and meetings held by each cluster for the express purpose of soliciting faculty input on the job profile,” Schramback said.

As of now the committee is starting to advertise the new position opening and will be accepting applications and searching for applicants.

With the addition of the new college, other changes and adjustments have been made to the academic structure.

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