Cousins and Petcovic named to arts and sciences leadership positions

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Two new appointments to the Western Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences leadership team have been announced by Dean Carla M. Koretsky and are effective Jan. 1.

  • Dr. James P. Cousins has been named associate dean of the college after serving in the position on an interim basis for the past year. Cousins is a master faculty specialist in history and also serves as interim chair of the Department of Anthropology.
  • Dr. Heather L. Petcovic has been named an interim associate dean in the college. She holds a joint appointment as an associate professor in geosciences and the Mallinson Institute for Science Education.

James P. Cousins

Cousins' role as associate dean includes overseeing student and faculty engagement, enrollment management and curriculum development. He has been a WMU faculty member since 2011. He came to WMU from Eastern Kentucky University, where he taught for five years and served concurrently as an academic advisor at the University of Kentucky.

Cousins earned his bachelor's degree at Ohio State University and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Kentucky. He is the author of a new book published in October titled "Horace Holley: Transylvania University and the Making of Liberal Education in the Early American Republic." He also is co-author of the 2015 book "Collaboration and the Future of History of Education: Preserving the Right to Think and Teach Historically."


Heather L. Petcovic

Petcovic's role as interim associate dean includes responsibility for research, graduate student success, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. A WMU faculty member since 2004, she came to WMU from Oregon State University, where she was coordinator for a program called Science Connections. Also at Oregon State, she had been a geosciences instructor and a National Science Foundation Teaching Fellow in the Portland school system.

She earned a bachelor's degree at Smith College and her master's and doctoral degrees from Oregon State. Active in professional organizations, she has been the editor for the past two years of the Journal of Geoscience Education and is a past chair of the Geological Society of America Geosciences Education Division. Petcovic also is the chair of the Education Section of the Geological Society of America. She is widely published in peer-reviewed journals on such topics as cartography, geochemistry and environmental education. In addition, her research has been strongly supported with external funding, resulting in her position as principle investigator or co-principle investigator on grants from the National Science Foundation totaling more than $1 million.

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