College appoints two new interim chairs

The college announced the appointment of interim chairs to the Art & Art History and Business & Entrepreneurship Departments on May 26. They assumed their roles June 1.

Matthew Shenoda, an associate professor in the Creative Writing Department, is the new interim chair of the Art and Art History Department for the 2016-2017 academic year, replacing Jeff Abell, an associate professor in Art and Art History, who was appointed in April 2016.

Shenoda was named to the position after the cancellation of the college’s national chair search that began last academic year and ended at the end of the spring semester, according to Abell.

The search was cancelled due to “lack of funds,” Abell said at a May 6 Faculty Senate meeting, during which he expressed frustration on behalf of the department by reading an open letter to Senior Vice President and Provost Stan Wearden and Onye Ozuzu, dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts.

He told The Chronicle that many members of the search committee were disappointed but understood that searches in academia are often cancelled due to budget constraints.

“A full-blown search like that involves a tremendous amount of work and time,” Abell said. “So, for all of that work to be put aside was really frustrating.”

Shenoda has served as associate dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts for two years and as interim chair of the Creative Writing Department for one year. He is also a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee formed to implement the collegewide Strategic Plan.

Because Shenoda comes from a different department, he will bring a new perspective to the Art & Art History Department and help clarify what the department is about, Abell said.

The department was formed last year combining the former Art & Design and the Interdisciplinary Arts Departments.

“[The department] has been struggling a little bit this year in figuring out what this new entity is,” Abell said. “The dean feels that having someone who isn’t an invested player in this particular field will be clarifying for the faculty.”

Despite multiple phone, email and in-person requests, Shenoda could not be reached for comment.

Abell said the search for a permanent chair of the Art & Art History Department would probably not resume for another two academic years, after Shenoda’s interim term is completed.

Wearden and Ozuzu were not made available for comment on the new appointments by college spokeswoman Cara Birch. However, Ozuzu congratulated Shenoda as well as the Business & Entrepreneurship department’s interim chair Mary Filice in May 26 email announcements.

Mary Filice, who served as acting chair of the department during the Fall 2015 Semester, will serve as interim chair of the Business & Entrepreneurship department for the next two academic years. She succeeds former chair Philippe Ravanas, who stepped down after serving in the position for approximately seven years.

Filice, who served as the department’s associate chair for five years, said she is excited about her new position because it allows her to build on curricular and operational initiatives she started as the Business & Entrepreneurship Department’s associate chair.

She added that she will explore “new avenues” to help move the college’s Strategic Plan forward, especially in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as international and online education.

Filice said she is developing a new committee in her department starting in the Fall 2016 Semester to address how diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as international and online education, can be embedded in the department’s curriculum.

“We want to make sure our students are as well served as best as we can,” Filice said.