WMU News

Appointments of four department chairs approved

Oct. 8, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved the appointments Oct. 7 of four persons to head academic departments at the University.

The new department chairpersons and their effective dates of appointment are: Dr. Van E. Cooley, chairperson of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership, effective Aug. 1, 1999, through June 30, 2002; Dr. Roman J. Rabiej, interim chairperson of the Department of Construction Engineering, Materials Engineering and Industrial Design, effective Aug. 9, 1999, through June 30, 2000; Dr. Steven Rhodes, interim chairperson of the Department of Communication, effective Aug. 23, 1999, through June 30, 2000; and Dr. Xiaojun Wang, interim chairperson of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages, effective Sept. 1, 1999, through May 31, 2000.

Cooley, a faculty member since 1996, had a 22-year career in positions ranging from teacher to school superintendent in Marion and Westfield, Ind., before coming to the University. An expert in staff development and technology infrastructure issues, Cooley earned bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral degrees from Ball State University. He replaces Dr. Julie Stoffels, associate dean of the College of Education, who has been serving as interim chairperson of the newly formed department.

Rabiej came to WMU as a faculty member in 1987 after a four-year stint as a research scientist at Franklin International in Columbus, Ohio. He previously had served on the faculty of Warsaw Agricultural University in Poland. A specialist in wood production and engineering, he earned his bachelor's degree at the Industrial Technical, Pedagogical School of Furniture Construction in Lomza, Poland, and his master's and doctoral degrees at the Warsaw Agricultural University. He replaces Dr. Vladimir Tsukruk, who was serving as interim chairperson before he left the University in August.

Rhodes has been a faculty member in the Department of Communication since 1975 and has been active in departmental and University governance. An expert in the field of organizational communication, he is widely published and has served as a consultant to a number of firms and organizations. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado and his master's and doctoral degrees from Pennsylvania State University. He replaces Dr. James Gilchrist, whose appointment as interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences was approved at the Oct. 7 Board of Trustees meeting.

Wang, a Chinese language specialist, has been an assistant professor at WMU since 1997. Prior to joining the WMU faculty, he was coordinator of two Chinese language programs at the University of Arizona. He also has taught at the Beijing Language Institute. He hold's bachelor's and master's degrees from Northeast Normal University of China and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Arizona. He replaces Dr. Hideko Abe, who is on a short leave of absence.

In related action, trustees approved a change of department affiliation for Dr. Karen Blaisure, associate professor of counselor education and counseling psychology, to the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The board also approved the resignations of Dr. Annette Brown, assistant professor of economics, effective July 30; Dr. Julie E. Fischer, assistant professor of geography, effective Aug. 17; Dr. Janice Gobert, assistant professor of science studies, effective April 30; Dr. Anil Sawhney, assistant professor of construction engineering, materials engineering and industrial design, effective Aug. 9; and Dr. Douglas White, assistant professor of business information systems, effective Aug. 8.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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