The year of 2020 has brought many people concerns with the announcement of Dr. Melissa Jarrell and Dr. Mark Hartlaub stepping down from their positions as Deans for the University College and the College of Liberal Arts for the Fall of 2021. Many faculty and staff are worried about the outcome for the programs housed under these colleges, especially the First Year Learning Communities since it’s considered to be recognized as one of the best in the nation.
Since 1994, the First Year Learning Communities Program has been considered housed under the College of Liberal Arts. This allowed first year incoming students to be placed into seminar courses to help them transition into the course work of the university. Now that the program has grown, the University College was created to be considered the home of the FYLCP, Honors Program, DUGS (Department of Undergraduate Studies), COAST (Center for Orientation Advising and Student in Transitions), University Studies and BAAS (Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences).
With Melissa Jarrell returning to teaching, the search for a new ,adequate dean is at stake while keeping the FYLCP steady so that it won’t be dissolved or returned back to the CLA. Along with that, Dr. Hartlaub is also going back to teach and people are worried that both colleges might fall without their leadership.
Associate Dean of the University College who has taught in the FYLCP since Fall 2004, Dr. Rita Sperry mentioned that if they gave her the opportunity to be the new dean of the college she would definitely consider it. However, Sperry addressed that being a dean requires being available all the time with little to no free time unlike a faculty member who gets to go home right after they’re done teaching. Sperry also stated how if she became the new Dean she wouldn’t have time to teach her first year seminar classes with her Computer Science majors which she greatly enjoys.
“We’re going to see a lot of combining of things,” said Sperry, “That’s how other campuses across the country are dealing with…We can’t imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have our program. In two years we went from being just a department to a whole college so we just want to know what’s happening. We’re just not sure if we’re going to stay in this college or if they’re going to find a new home for us.”
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Mark Hartlaub has taught in the FYLC where he instructed General Psychology 2301 around the year of 2001 till about 2010. As Hartlaub became dean he entrusted the faculty of the CLA to find good, qualified professors for these students. After being the dean for six years, Hartlaub intends to go back to being a faculty member to teach in the Psychology Department.
“I want the best thing that we could possibly have and if we’re able to get someone better than me, I’m happy,” said Hartlaub, “I think the FYLC is going to be restructured. In fact it was DUGS, then it became University College, it can just go back to being in the DUGS Department.”
To stay updated on who fulfills the Dean positions and the fate of the FYLC, stay tuned on Island Waves social media platforms and the Island Waves app for more information.