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Search for new Arts and Sciences dean continues

University administrators are in the process of forming a committee to evaluate applications for a new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, with plans of selecting the dean by the end of the semester.

The committee, chaired by Michael Ogawa, vice president of research and economic development and dean of the Graduate College, will include students, staff, faculty and administrators.

The University began its national search in December to replace Simon Morgan-Russell, who was appointed as dean of the Honors College in May. He will remain dean of Arts and Sciences until next fall.

“We’re looking for a forward-thinking, dynamic leader,” Ogawa said. “Someone who could lead the college into the future.”

The committee, which will begin the review process on Jan. 31, will make recommendations to Provost Rodney Rogers, associate vice president of Academic Affairs, who will make the final decision.

Ogawa said there are approximately 40 applicants as of Jan. 15, but he expects more as the application deadline approaches at the end of the month.

“It’s a pretty diverse group of applicants,” Ogawa said.

Morgan-Russell, who has been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2008, became dean of the Honors College, housed in Founders Hall, which was previously a program housed in the Harshman Quad.

The difference between a college and a program may seem technical, but the switch both increases the profile of honors and gives the college a bigger role on campus, he said.

All college deans sit on Dean’s Council, which meets weekly and reports to Rogers.

“The notion of honors at Bowling Green is pretty long-standing,” Morgan-Russell said, noting its presence at the University since 1978.

The Honors College currently has 700 students, Morgan-Russell said, a number that will grow, making the college more competitive for fellowships and scholarships.

Sophomore Cassandra Davis, an ambassador in the Honors College, was part of the Honors Program this past year, living in Harshman where it was housed.

“There seems to be more resources out there now,” Davis said of the transition from the program to the college. “I think in the next couple of years it’s going to grow.”

As one of about 15 ambassadors, Davis promotes and recruits for the Honors College at various University events, like Preview Day and Falcon Fridays.

Students in the Honors College are required to take 23 credits of honor courses, which most students finish their sophomore year. This leaves junior and senior year for honor students to complete an honors project of their choice.

“I have noticed that in my classes … I have to dig deeper and there’s more analysis,” Davis said.

Davis has interacted with Morgan-Russell on several occasions and said she has seen good things so far in his tenure as the dean.

“He’s very personable,” Davis said. “He has a lot of good things he’s bringing out in the Honor’s College.”

Davis pointed to the Honors Advisory Board as an example of what Morgan-Russell has emphasized. This board, made up primarily of students, meets once a month to discuss how to improve the Honors College. Davis got an application to be on it.

Balancing the dual dean roles has its challenges, Morgan-Russell said. But he’s left day-to-day operations of Arts and Sciences to the associate dean, making his only concern the long-term goals.

“Most of my time is spent working on this,” he said, referring to the Honors College.

He is not involved in the search with for successor, but he has high hopes for the future of the college he was dean of for six years.

“It’s interesting to think about someone else doing that job that I’ve done for all that time,” he said.

Since Honors is a smaller operation than Arts and Sciences, this gives Morgan-Russell the chance to get back to his “passion,” which is engaging with students.

Compared to his role as dean of Arts and Sciences, Morgan-Russell said being the dean of Honors will give him more chances to interact with students. He looks forward to chances to teach Shakespeare in coming semesters.

“The only time students ever dare to enter the Administration Building is if they have a problem,” he said, referring to his office location as dean of Arts and Sciences.

His office is now located in the basement of Founders, where the Honors College replaced the dining hall.

“It puts me back in touch with students,” he said.

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