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Pisaneschi named to one-year term as provost

May 25, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University President Judith I. Bailey announced today that Dr. Janet I. Pisaneschi, the University's longest-serving college dean, has been named to a one-year term as provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Pisaneschi, who has served as dean of the College of Health and Human Services since 1989, will be WMU's chief academic officer, effective Tuesday, May 30, and pending approval of the WMU Board of Trustees. During her term in office, the University will launch a national search for a provost to succeed Pisaneshi when her term ends.

"Dean Pisaneschi is well known and highly respected by her colleagues across the University," Bailey said in announcing the appointment. "She has been a strong and steady presence in the academic community and has successfully guided one of our finest academic units through a period of great change and growth. Her work has made the College of Health and Human Services stronger, and I am delighted she will bring her leadership talents to the role of moving the entire University's academic agenda forward."

Pisaneschi, who had planned to retire from WMU in June, says she's honored to take on a final leadership role at the University, but part of her agreement with the president is that she will not become a candidate for the position during the search process.

"I truly love this University and am pleased to have this opportunity to serve through this period of transition," Pisaneschi says. "The excellence and dedication of our faculty and staff and the caliber of the students we attract are the reasons I've chosen to stay here for as long as I have. I strongly believe in shared governance and transparency, and I'm looking forward to forging strong relationships with my colleagues in every part of the University."

During her tenure as dean of the College of Health and Human Services, Pisaneschi oversaw creation of WMU's Bronson School of Nursing, development of WMU's Unified Clinics in the University Medical and Health Sciences Center, and construction of a home for the college that brought all of the colleges programs together in one place for the first time. That 200,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility on Oakland Drive opened in 2005.

The college also grew in stature and productivity during her tenure. Its graduate programs have consistently been ranked among the best of their kind in the nation, and the college moved into the top-10 of allied health professions colleges receiving research funding from the Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health.

Pisaneschi came to WMU from the University of Kentucky, where she served as assistant dean of the College of Allied Health Professions. Immediately before accepting the WMU post, she was on leave from UK to serve as a program consultant to the American Foundation for AIDS Research in New York City.

Her background also includes teaching and leadership experience at Christian Brothers College, three years with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and a stint as a congressional fellow of the American Society for Allied Health Professions, a position that was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In addition, she spent a year on Capitol Hill, serving on the Majority Health Staff of the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. In that role, she drafted speeches, articles and one piece of legislation and provided health staff support for Sen. Edward Kennedy, the committee chair.

Pisaneschi earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Ursuline College in 1961, a master's degree in philosophy in 1966 from St. John's University and a doctoral degree in philosophy in 1972 from St. Louis University.

Bailey said in the coming weeks she plans to launch a national search for WMU's next provost. She intends to first identify a search consultant to help in the process and then will appoint a Universitywide search advisory committee that will work with a search firm to identify candidates for the position.

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

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