New leadership to shape next academic year

By Managing Editor

Several faculty and staff members at the college will assume new leadership positions for the 2015–2016 academic year.

According to a May 15 collegewide email from Stan Wearden, senior vice president and provost, several college members’ roles will be shifted as of July 1 to further various initiatives geared toward improving the college’s operations.

John Green, current interim dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts, will return to his previous role as chair of the Theatre Department after three years as the interim dean. Paul Amandes, current interim chair of the department, will return to his role as associate chair of the Theatre Department, and Onye Ozuzu, current chair of the Dance Department, will serve as the new interim dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts. Peter Carpenter, an associate professor in the Dance Department, will take on the role of interim chair of the Dance Department.

Additionally, Philippe Ravanas, chair of the Business & Entrepreneurship Department, will undertake the newly created position of vice provost of Professional, Online & Continuing Education, and Keri Walters, current assistant dean of Faculty Advising, will serve as the new assistant provost for Academic Services. Wearden said he expects to announce a new chair of the Business & Entrepreneurship Department before the end of May. 

“I’m really confident in all the people I’ve appointed to these positions,” Wearden told The Chronicle. “They’re really strong administrators. They have great work ethics and they’re creative thinkers. I’m really optimistic about how well they’re going to do.”

Michelle Gates, CFO and vice president of Business Affairs, also announced in a May 18 collegewide email that Byron Nash, executive director of Enterprise Applications and Systems at the University of Chicago, has been selected as the college’s new Chief Information Officer and vice president of Technology. Nash will assume his role at Columbia on June 15.

Green will continue developing international components of the college’s Theatre Department in his return to the role of theatre chair, according to Wearden.

Green will spend the summer at Flinders University, a public university in Adelaide, South Australia, as he works to develop an exchange program between Columbia and Flinders that will serve as a component of a developing bachelor’s Acting program, he said.

“I’m going there for four weeks to work with students in their Theatre Department to direct a show, introducing some of the techniques we use at here at Columbia,” Green told the Chronicle. “I will also make contact with other departments to build a comprehensive exchange program, not only in theatre, but also in film, photography and other areas, [such as] business. It will be a wonderful opportunity to develop a solid footprint in Australia.”

Green said he will also create a master’s program in European Devised Performance Practice that will roll out in 2016—a two-year graduate program partnering with the London International School of Performing Arts. Graduate students within the program would spend their first year studying theatre in both Berlin and London and their second year on Columbia’s campus.

“There’s no other degree quite like it, and it speaks to both the Theatre Department’s and the college’s commitment to international education,” Green said.

As the new interim dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts, Ozuzu said she hopes to effectively implement the recently approved Strategic Plan, strengthen the school’s tenure processes and lead successful searches for key positions within the school.

Wearden said the college plans to launch a national search for a permanent dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts.

Within his new role of vice provost of Professional, Online & Continuing Education, Ravanas will be responsible for developing new professional master’s degree and continuing education programs and exploring online and low-residency learning opportunities that could potentially be implemented at Columbia, Wearden said.

“These are programs that are becoming increasingly popular with working adults who, even if they live in the City of Chicago, would have trouble getting away from their jobs, homes and responsibilities to come on campus on a regular basis to take courses but would be interested in an online education,” Wearden said.

Wearden added that continuing education programs would be useful to adults who are interested in taking courses at Columbia but are not seeking a degree.

“They could be interested in some sort of credential to move up in the workplace or to change jobs, so they take these courses,” Wearden said. “There are [also] adults living in Chicago who would take some of these courses not so much for a career, but as kind of an avocational learning—just things they’re interested in learning more about.”

Ravanas could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Walters said that in the new position of assistant provost of Academic Services, she will continue working to improve Columbia’s transfer initiatives and the college’s advising system and plans to revise and create new academic policies.

As the college’s new CIO and vice president of Technology, Nash will be responsible for upgrading Columbia’s technology infrastructure, which should reduce the frequency of technology outages, and improving technology systems used by students, staff, faculty and administrators, including Moodle, according to Gates

According to Gates, Nash has more than 25 years of experience in the information technology field. She said Nash holds degrees in Computer Information Systems and Business Management with certifications for project management.

“[Nash] has many years of technology experience, but it’s the combination of experience he has and the different levels he’s worked his way up organizationally through some very impressive institutions [that give him] very hands-on experience in several specific areas that we are really going to need to address at the college going forward,” Gates said.

Nash could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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