As we move into spring, this is an opportune time to update everyone on a number of issues that have come up since my fall update.
Although it’s not yet official, the Department of Kinesiology has asked to move to our College from their current home in the Neag School of Education. The proposed move has been approved by the Deans’ Council but must receive Board of Trustees approval. If approved, Kinesiology will join our College on July 1. Along with the move, the Deans’ Council recently approved a proposed name change for our college to the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. This name will better reflect our focus on food, health and the environment. Our proposed name change must also be approved by the Board.
Dr. Mary Holz-Clause is leaving her post as the University’s vice president for economic development and joining our College as assistant dean and director for global programs. Dr. Holz-Clause will bring much needed leadership to our international endeavors.
I am pleased to announce that Darshana Sonpal will be joining us as the new assistant finance director in the Business Office, replacing Tuula Fitzgerald. In this role, Darshana will have overall responsibility for budget administration with our Business Office team. Tuula will continue to work with us part time to ensure a smooth transition.
The College’s Academic Planning Committee has delivered their draft plan to the College administration. I would like to extend my personal thanks to the committee for their hard work on behalf of the College. The plan is now being revised by the Executive Council prior to distribution to the College community for further comment. With the release of the campus Academic Plan, we need to ensure that our plan is aligned with the campus vision. Our revised plan is to be submitted prior to the close of the spring term.
As of this writing, we are wrapping up our few remaining faculty hires for the next fall. If our remaining searches are successful, as many as 12 new faculty will join the College family this fall. This would be one of the largest increases in our faculty in a number of years and will help us address the remarkable enrollment increases we have seen in recent years.
By Gregory J. Weidemann