Two colleges seek new deans

Kelsey Neubauer, Senior Staff Writer

While searching for new deans this year, two colleges at UVM are under temporary leadership.

Following the departure of two deans from the University last May, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Social Services will continue their search through the next year, Provost David Rosowsky said.

The former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Antonio Cepeda-Benito resigned last spring after three years in the position, and the former dean of the College of Education and Social Services Fayneese Miller left UVM to be president at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to a release from University Communications.

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Provost David Rosowsky discusses the search for deans for the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education and Social Services in his office Oct. 19 RYAN THORNTON/The Vermont Cynic

The role of interim deans have been filled by Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin of the College of Education and Social Services and William Falls of the College of Arts and Sciences in their respective colleges.

The search for the permanent deans includes both a recruitment and appointment process directed by a committee that is selected by the University president, Thomas Sullivan, Assistant Provost Kerry Castano said.

The University is currently in the process of selecting possible candidates, Rosowsky said.

“It is still quite early, the position search just hit the streets nationally,” he said.

By December, the committee will select which candidates will be given an interview,  he said.

In January, those who are selected will have an off-site interview, he said.

Rosowsky predicts the new dean will be selected by April 2016.

First-year Heather Day said she looks forward to hearing about the new dean in the upcoming year.

“Of course there are the clear basics of responsibility and hard work,” she said. “I would want someone to have some creativity and life.”

Day said she is interested in political science and Arabic and hopes the new dean will accommodate student interests.

“With so many different personalities and parts to the college, the dean needs to have some form of flexibility, [in order] to encompass each part of the college,” she said.

The University is looking for someone who is committed to diversity, teaching and collaborative leadership styles, and whose priorities align with the university, Castano said.

There is no need to worry about this change in leadership affecting the quality of education at UVM, Rosowsky said.

“It is the university rhythm to have an interim dean during a dean search or even two interim deans during a dean search— the impact is really quite minimal,” he said.

In the meantime, the colleges are under great leadership, Rosowsky said.

“Both [interim deans] have considerable leadership experience coming up through the faculty, they bring a deep understanding of the faculty culture and a deep understanding of the college culture,” he said.

Both Gerstl-Pepin and Falls started in August 2015.

Falls said he believes arts and sciences are vital to the strength of higher education.

“It is my honor and privilege to accept this position and to offer hard work, energy, enthusiasm and a renewed vision in support of the gifted and hard working teacher-scholars and staff in arts and sciences,” Falls said.

Senior Joelle Dyer said she is happy that in the search for a dean, her college will be under the leadership of Falls.

“Bill Falls was such a great professor,” she said. “I loved going to his class.”

Gerstl-Pepin said she, too, is honored to be serving the University in such a way.

Gerstl-Pepin’s past academic experience includes extensive research in areas pertaining to and encompassing social justice, according to the UVM website.