Dean of Education shifted to new role in administration

Christine Lee, News Editor

This semester brings with it several changes within the university academic structure.

Mike Speziale, formerly dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies and the School of Education, now has the new title of vice president of Strategic Initiatives. The School of Education is now separate from the College of Graduate and Professional Studies and has its own dean like the rest of the undergraduate colleges.

Speziale explained that the two schools were combined, with the School of Education falling under the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. President Patrick Leahy separated the two schools so the School of Education is independent from the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.

“It was the College of Graduate Studies and under the College of Graduate Studies was the School of Education, so the school fell into the college, and the Creative Writing program,” Speziale said. “What the president did in his re-organization was he separated out the schools so the School of Education stands on its own.”

Speziale said with the re-organization, the School of Education now has its own dean and there isn’t a plan in place for there to be a dean of Graduate Studies, but the administration is considering expanding the roles of the other deans on campus into areas of the graduate school.

“We’re working through having a lot of the other college and school deans assume some of those responsibilities, which are more academic in nature,” Speziale said.

Interim Provost Terese Wignot said a search committee for a new dean of the School of Education will be formed and will follow the guidelines in the faculty handbook for the composition of the search committee.

The faculty handbook states the committee has to consist of four faculty and two students from the school or college where the dean will serve, two administrators and one non-administrative staff member. The committee is formed by the provost and faculty within the college the search where the search is taking place have to approve the faculty and administrators selected for the committee. It is generally left up to the committee to choose the committee chair but the provost can select the chair or recommendations from the school or college the dean will serve in for chair can be made to the provost.

Wignot said a national search will start in fall 2013. An interim dean, Rhonda Waskiewicz, is serving this semester and the next academic year until the new dean takes over, usually in the summer.

Wignot explained that the role of the dean is that of the chief academic officer for their particular college or school. They are responsible for the administration of the programs offered in the school or college, which includes making sure all courses are covered, the budget of the school and evaluation of faculty and staff in the college or school.

“The dean should basically have a mission vision for the school,” Wignot said.

The interim provost said the whole purpose of having a school or college at Wilkes is to educate students, so all the decisions the deans make should impact students and be made with students in mind. Wignot said that under Pres. Leahy, the role of deans will be more important.

“Under President Leahy, I think the role of the deans is going to be increasingly more important because he is allowing the deans to have the authority to manage their schools,” Wignot said.

Speziale said, in addition to the possibility of the academic deans having more responsibilities in the graduate school, recruiting for the graduate school is now the responsibility of Vice President of Enrollment Melanie Wade. The main responsibility of the graduate dean was to coordinate things within the school.

He explained he is still responsible for many things in graduate studies, including chairing the graduate program directors’ meetings and working with the graduate studies council. Speziale explains this has to do with what the graduate student bulletin states in the graduate student handbook.

However, in his new role, he is responsible for finding new opportunities for Wilkes and to look for new ways to deliver education and working with business industries and healt care partners to form relationships to benefit students, two of which are the Mesa campus and Pocono center. His said his role applies to all of campus.

“My new role cuts across basically everything, any potential project or partnership that I can find. My role is to bring it back to that sector of campus that could benefit from it,” Speziale said. “I work with all the schools and all the colleges wherever opportunities present themselves.”

Speziale explained his new role has him working directly for the president whereas he used to work for the provost but it hasn’t changed his role within the administration and this role is an opportunity for him to support the ideas Leahy has.