In the more than two years that I have served as executive vice president and chief academic officer, I have had the opportunity to become much more familiar with the inner workings of the Office of Academic Affairs. I thought I always had a good idea, as an education professor and then dean, of what happened in Academic Affairs, but there’s nothing better than dealing with issues on a day-to-day basis to gain a full understanding of what works – and what doesn’t work.
The retirement this month of Dr. Angie Barretta-Herman as associate vice president and the looming accreditation review of the university have prompted me to reexamine the administrative structure of Academic Affairs and to move forward with a number of changes. Some of these changes have occurred over the last several months, but most of them will take effect Jan. 1.
I am convinced the changes will allow us to streamline our organization, improve our decision-making processes and enhance communications with faculty, and I ask for your patience as people move into new positions and take on new or additional responsibilities. It all will be worthwhile!
Angie’s retirement presented us with both a dilemma and an opportunity. I decided we would not replace her as associate vice president but instead redistribute her responsibilities as part of a reorganization of the academic administration. This strategy seemed to make sense, especially considering the need to soon address the 2013 visit by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Angie co-chaired our self-study for the 2003 North Central accreditation, and it is imperative that we have equally effective leadership as we head into another self-study over the next three years.
Here are the primary changes we are making and the individuals who will be involved in them:
Dr. Eleni Roulis, chair of the Institutional Review Board, will take on additional responsibilities as a special assistant to me. She will oversee three areas that previously reported to Angie: the International Education Center, the Center for Intercultural Learning and Community Engagement and our service learning programs. She also will co-chair (with Dr. David Steele) the search to replace Dr. Sarah Stevenson, who retired last summer as founding director of our International Education Center.
Dr. Lucy Payne, associate dean for assessment and accreditation in the College of Applied Professional Studies, will serve as our accreditation liaison officer. This is an interim position. She will oversee the North Central accreditation process and will work with graduate program deans on accreditation and curricular issues as they arise in their areas. She also will facilitate the graduate Curriculum Committee.
Dr. Michael Cogan, director of Institutional Research and Analysis, will take on additional duties involving oversight of the Registrar’s Office. The staffs in those two areas will be consolidated and reorganized to focus on academic records, academic reporting and academic technology. Paul Simmons will continue to serve as registrar and will report to Michael, who will report to me.
Dr. Michael Jordan, director of undergraduate affairs, will continue in that role and will continue to oversee Academic Counseling, which has reported to him since the retirement of Dr. John Krebsbach last summer. The Aquinas Scholars program also will continue to report to Michael.
Dr. Joseph Kreitzer, associate vice president for academic affairs, will continue as chief academic financial officer to oversee our budget, faculty grants, faculty hiring and contracts, and faculty development. As I reported in a Bulletin Today column on Monday, Dr. Ann Johnson will become the new director of faculty development on July 1.
The deans – Drs. Marisa Kelly (Arts and Sciences), Bruce Kramer (CAPS), Thomas Mengler (Law), Christopher Puto (Business), Barbara Shank (Social Work) and Donald Weinkauf (Engineering) will continue to report to me, as will Dr. Don Briel in Catholic Studies, Jim Rogers in Irish Studies and Dr. Jan Viktora in Senior Citizens Education. Chato Hazelbaker, interim director of graduate marketing and communications, will report to Dr. Kreitzer.
As you are aware, Marisa will leave St. Thomas in June to become provost and vice president of academic affairs at Ithaca College in New York. I expect this spring to name an interim dean for the 2011-12 school year and will conduct a search for the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences during the 2011-12 academic year.
Changes like these can be challenging and even difficult as people learn new roles, but they also can be invigorating and give us a renewed sense of our mission and vision. I ask that you become fully engaged in our efforts as we work through transitions and build a stronger Office of Academic Affairs at St. Thomas.