‘New Faces and Transitions in the LAS Dean’s Office’ – A message from Dean Schmittmann

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August 27, 2012

Dear LAS colleagues,

I hope that you had a wonderful summer and that the first week of the new semester went well for you. It is a very busy time, especially during a year in which our university has seen many changes.

Let me take this opportunity and welcome new faculty and staff to the college! We are very happy that you are here and look forward to working with you for many years to come. The new faculty will hear from me soon since I will continue the LAS tradition of inviting them for lunch sometime during their first year on campus.

I would also like to thank all of you for your tremendous efforts to welcome another record class of freshmen and transfer students. Provost Wickert and many other leaders around campus have expressed their sincere appreciation to the LAS chairs, faculty, and staff for making sure that every student can enroll in the classes required for their major.

August is also a time of change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Office. Soon after my arrival on campus last April, the associate deans and I initiated a thorough analysis of their numerous responsibilities. It has always been my goal to run a lean but highly effective dean’s office. Administrative “bloat” is the last thing the college needs, especially at a time when your units are still recovering from losing faculty and staff. Our conclusion was that there are too many responsibilities for three associate deans, but not enough for four.

Therefore, I have decided that Liberal Arts and Sciences will have three associate deans and utilize, as needed, a rotating team of people to manage special college initiatives. Here is how we plan to accomplish this:

– Discussions with Associate Dean David Oliver and Interim Associate Dean Marty Spalding resulted in a mutual agreement that David would work for the college through December 31, 2012, and then phase back into his faculty duties in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology. We are fortunate that David will continue to have a major influence on our college through his involvement in special LAS initiatives. On behalf of the college, I want to thank David for his service to LAS, and especially for taking the reins of the college as interim dean in 2011-12. We will have a more formal celebration of thanks later this semester. Interim Associate Dean Marty Spalding will also continue in his role through December 31, 2012. LAS will conduct an internal search for an Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies this fall.

– For the 2012-13 academic year, Amy Slagell, associate professor in the speech communication program, will job-share as part-time interim associate dean with Zora Zimmerman, our associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs. Zora is phasing into retirement after a long and fruitful Iowa State career as a faculty member and administrator. This arrangement will run through June 30, 2013. LAS will conduct an internal search for an Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs in spring 2013.

– Our associate dean for administration, Arne Hallam, will remain in his position and oversee the college budget and personnel matters, along with a variety of other duties.

– LAS is very fortunate to have many capable and energetic leaders on the faculty and staff. I plan to tap this valuable pool by recruiting several of these individuals to manage some key college projects and programs. This will be an efficient use of LAS resources. Moreover, it will be an avenue to involve additional, dynamic people and infuse novel ideas into the college.

We have shifted a few duties between the three associate deans, to arrive at more equitable workloads and a clean and logical separation of responsibilities. The details will be communicated to the LAS Cabinet at one of its next meetings. We are currently working on a corresponding reorganization of P&S staff in order to give each associate dean the support that she/he needs.

When these changes are fully implemented, we are confident that LAS will operate as one of the most efficient college offices on campus. As always, I welcome your questions and comments, and we will keep you informed as we move forward with these changes.

On a different note, we are all saddened by Barbara Mack’s sudden passing. She was a wonderful faculty member, deeply committed to journalism and to her students. She will be greatly missed.

Please let me thank you for all you do for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Iowa State University, and best wishes for a productive and enjoyable year! I hope to see you at the LAS Convocation on Wednesday, August 29, when I will introduce the college’s emerging priorities for the coming years.

Beate Schmittmann Dean