Goodbye and Hello
It has been a pleasurable challenge to serve as Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences the past two years during an extensive transition of leadership that has seen Dr. Steven Scott take over as President of the University from Dr. Tom Bryant, and Dr. Lynette Olson, former Dean of Arts & Sciences, selected as Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs to replace Dr. Scott.
Many changes have occurred during these two years, but in my view, the two most significant are the initiation of an ongoing reorganization of the College and, after more than three decades since Carney Hall was demolished, progress with definite plans to build a Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Reorganization of the College so far has involved merging the History Department with the Social Sciences Department into the Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences (HPSS). Other changes include changing the annual terms of the chair positions in two other departments from 12 months to ten. Dr. Khamis Siam, Chemistry, and Ms. Rhona Shand, Art, were selected in 2010 to serve in those leadership positions. In addition, first the first time ever at PSU, two departments have assistant chairs. Dr. Kelly Woestman is serving as assistant chair of HPSS and Dr. David Kuehn is serving as assistant chair of the Departments of Mathematics and Physics, which continued combined temporarily with Dr. Tim Flood as the chair. Other reorganizational changes will certainly occur in the future as the external forces that brought about these changes in the first place continue to exert their influence and as academic departments and programs continue to evolve and develop.
The second major change is the movement forward on the Fine and Performing Arts Center. The University has raised a little under half of the money it will take to build the new facility, but that has been enough to hire an architect for the facility, which is now in its final stages of design. I have seen the drawings and models as they have developed, and I can say with certainty that the facility will be both a thing of beauty and an asset and inspiration for artist creativity and performance in theatre, music, and art, not just for PSU, but for the entire region. As soon as the final drawings are completed in the next few weeks, the formal fundraising phase will begin, and the hope is that within approximately three years the facility will be completed.
Now, as I leave the deanship, I want first to thank the assistant dean, Dr. Bobby Winters, and the College's administrative officers, Edith Ramage and Marsha Palmer, for their support and advice and hard work. Without them, I simply would not have been able to do this job.
Second, I want to say that I am leaving with a keen awareness of those before me who served so faithfully and so well in this office-Dr. Richard Welty, who served for twenty-three years as the first dean of the College; Dr. Orville Brill, who served as dean for twelve years after Dr. Welty's retirement; and finally, Dr. Lynette Olson, who followed Dr. Brill and served for eight years-with the hope that I have carried on their good work so that the College will continue to flourish under the leadership of our successor, Dr. Karl Kunkel, who will assume his duties July 14.
I will be returning to full-time teaching, but I am looking forward to working for the betterment of the College with Dr. Kunkel, who, in my view and that of many others, is going to be an excellent dean.
Stephen E. Meats
Interim Dean, 2009-2011.
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