WMU News

Thomas Kent is new dean of arts and sciences

May 19, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Thomas Kent, dean of graduate studies at Utah State University, has been named the new dean of Western Michigan University's College of Arts and Sciences.

Kent, who will take the reins of the college on Aug. 1, replaces Dr. Elise Jorgens, who left WMU last July to become provost at the College of Charleston. His appointment, which came following a national search, will be brought for approval to the WMU Board of Trustees at its next meeting.

"Dean Thomas Kent is an outstanding choice to lead the College of Arts and Sciences into the University's second century," says Dr. Daniel M. Litynski, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. "His superb experience as a scholar and an administrator helped him create and articulate a vision for the college that resonated with faculty, staff, and students during the selection process. We look forward to his coming from the west to become a Bronco."

Kent has been in his current position at Utah State since 2000. In that role, he is responsible for all aspects of graduate education, including budget and enrollment management, program evaluation, development and fund raising, scholarship and fellowship support, and the approval of academic policies and procedures.

"I am delighted to be part of the Western Michigan University family," Kent says. "WMU already possesses outstanding programs in the arts and sciences, and I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and friends of the University to enhance these programs and to help fashion an even stronger College of Arts and Sciences."

Before accepting the USU post, Kent was chairperson of the Department of English at Iowa State University, and he held a series of faculty appointments in English at that university, beginning in 1984. Kent also taught at Miami University of Ohio and served for one year as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Tampere in Finland.

The author or co-author of four books and numerous book chapters, Kent has focused his academic career on such topics as rhetoric, literary theory, and composition studies. His work also has been widely published in professional journals, and he has made presentations on topics that range from interdisciplinary research to literary criticism.

Kent has worked on a number of committees and workgroups to develop new state and federal initiatives. Those include the Inland Northwest Research Alliance Subsurface Science Planning Steering Committee and the Westminster College/USU Entrepreneur Initiative. He also has served as an accreditation reviewer for the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities and as an examination writer for the Law School Admission Test.

The former editor of both the Journal of Advanced Composition and the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Kent still serves as a member of the editorial board of both publications. He is a manuscript referee for five journals as well as the Southern Illinois University Press, the SUNY Press, and the Oklahoma Project for Discourse and Theory. In addition, he has served as a graduate program reviewer and outside program evaluator for a number of universities nationwide.

Kent earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan in 1969 and a doctoral degree from Purdue University in 1980.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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