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Graduate dean candidates make public presentations

Jan. 25, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Three candidates for dean of graduate studies begin arriving on the Western Michigan University campus this week for a series of two-day visits filled with meetings and public presentations.

During their individual visits, each candidate will present a talk on "Reinvigorating Graduate Education: Trends and Realities of Graduate Programs." Each talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session, and those attending the public presentations will have an opportunity to evaluate the candidates.

The names of the candidates and the dates and times of their public presentations are:

Dr. Thomas W. Hodler, professor of geography at the University of Georgia, from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in Room 210 of the Bernhard Center.

Dr. Mark Wardell, interim assistant dean of the Graduate School at Pennsylvania State University, from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday Jan. 30, in Room 210 of the Bernhard Center.

Dr. Lewis R. Pyenson, professor of history and research professor in the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana, from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Thursday Feb. 2, in Room 105 of the Bernhard Center.

The trio was selected after a national search, which was launched last year to replace Dr. William Weiner. Weiner, dean of the Graduate College since 2002, accepted the position of vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Heading the search committee is Dr. Joseph G. Reish, WMU dean of University Libraries. Reish says the committee will make its recommendations to WMU's provost the week of Feb. 6.

While on campus, the candidates will spend much of their time meeting with University administrators, faculty, staff and committees. Each candidate's vita and schedule of activities is available online at www.wmich.edu/provost. Additional information about the candidates is available by contacting Dr. Joseph Reish at joseph.reish@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5202.

Thomas W. Hodler has been a geography professor at Georgia since 1981. He also served the institution as associate dean of the Graduate School from 1999-2003 and associate professor of geography and of the Institute of Community and Area Development from 1988-1997.

Hodler also taught at WMU, from 1977 to 1981, as well as at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and Bemidji State University. He earned a doctoral degree in geography from Oregon State University in 1977, a master's degree in geography from Indiana University in 1971 and a bachelor's degree in earth science from Indiana in 1969.

Mark Wardell has been interim assistant dean of the Graduate School at Pennsylvania State for the past year and holds academic appointments as an associate professor of labor studies and industrial relations and sociology and of information sciences and technology. He has held research appointments in the Center for the Information Society since 2004 and the Center for Work and Family Research since 2001.

Wardell also headed the labor studies and industrial relations department on Pennsylvania State's University Park Campus from 1993 to 2002 and has taught at Tech, the University of Missouri and Augustana College. He earned three degrees in sociology, a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1977, a master's degree from the University of Iowa in 1971 and a bachelor's degree from Luther College in 1968.

Lewis R. Pyenson was named in 1995 to serve as professor history and Graduate School dean at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly the University of Southwestern Louisiana). In July 2001, the school's newly designated vice president for research and graduate studies took charge of the Graduate School, and the Office of Graduate Dean was replaced with an Office of the Director of Graduate Studies. With that change, he became research professor in the Center for Louisiana Studies, and in addition to his appointment as a professor of history, serves as an adjunct professor in the Institute for Cognitive Science and the departments of Physics, Philosophy and Modern Languages.

Pyenson also has lectured, taught and/or conducted research at a variety of prestigious institutions in the United States and around the globe. He earned a doctoral degree in the history of science from Johns Hopkins University in 1974, a master's degree in physics from the University of Wyoming in 1970 and a bachelor's degree in honors physics from Swarthmore College in 1969.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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