Sandra Bushmich has been appointed associate dean for academic programs and director of the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture. Bushmich started her new position March 17, replacing Cameron Faustman, currently interim dean of the College.
“Sandy is known to students and her colleagues as a committed teacher and advisor,” Faustman says. “Our College’s Office of Academic Programs will benefit tremendously from her commitment to the student experience, both curricular and co-curricular, and her energy and enthusiasm.”
“My vision as associate dean for academic programs directly relates to how this office can best serve the College and the University to achieve the optimal potential of our diverse students by providing them with the knowledge and skills to improve their world, from their daily personal interactions to global impacts,” Bushmich says.
There are several projects at the top of her list, including a Transfer Year Experience course that specifically focuses on the unique challenges of transfer students, particularly those commuting to campus. “We need to improve retention and success of these students,” she says.
In addition, Bushmich would like to promote the College’s majors and programs to both traditional and under-served student populations, as well as increase career development initiatives for students via internships and partnered programs that allow two-year and four-year graduates to sit for certification exams.
“It would be be one of my goals to give our students an edge on direct employment after graduation equal to the edge they receive for graduate school admissions after working in a top-notch research laboratory.”
“This is an opportunity to provide service to the students and the faculty in the College,” Bushmich says. “Our College emphasizes direct faculty advising. We need to make that a valued and important activity. It’s very influential, and the students so appreciate it.”
“Our College really cares about undergraduate education and I want to help the faculty perform optimally, by streamlining and enhancing some of the processes involved in undergraduate teaching, advising and learning.”
Bushmich joined the College in 1988 as an assistant professor and extension veterinarian in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science. In 2007, she was promoted to full professor and in 2009 she was appointed interim director of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL). In 2011 she was appointed director of the CVMDL.
Bushmich holds a DVM degree from Cornell University, as well as a BS degree in animal science from Cornell and an MS in physiology of reproduction from Texas A&M University. As an undergraduate student, Bushmich studied abroad at Reading University in England.
To maintain a direct connection with students, the associate dean for academic programs continues to teach. Bushmich will teach Biomedical Issues in Pathobiology, an introductory core course for students in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science.
“I’ve always had a passion for undergraduate education,” she says. “I love to teach.”
The academic programs office focuses on undergraduate academic programing and advising, internships, scholarships, career services, as well as events such as commencement, the scholarship banquet, student orientation and the College student ambassador program.
“We have a really beautiful college,” Bushmich says. “It incorporates components of the natural world in human and animal health with the environment. Our College has grown and become more diverse. I’d like to continue that trend by encouraging integrative programs so that students have a holistic feeling of belonging to the College and their department.”
“This is a college where people really care about each other. That’s really important. We never want to lose that.”