WMU News

Trustees approve appointments

Dec. 15, 2003

KALAMAZOO--The appointments of two academic administrators were approved by the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees at its Dec. 12 meeting. Trustees also approved the return to the faculty of an interim chairperson.

The appointments acted upon were the naming of Nina Nelson, professor of dance, as chairperson of the Department of Dance, effective Dec. 22, 2003; and Dr. Lawrence Potter, assistant professor of Africana studies, as Director of the Africana Studies Program. Nelson replaces Jane Baas, associate professor of dance, who had served as interim chairperson since Aug. 4, and whose return to the faculty was also approved Dec. 12 by trustees. Potter replaces Dr. Benjamin Wilson, whose return to the faculty was approved in July.

Nelson, director of the Modern Dance Program and a faculty member since 1982, previously served as her department's chairperson from 1988 to 1990. Active in the dance community, she is an accreditation site visitor for the National Association of Schools of Dance, and a member of the Michigan Dance Council, Motus Humanis and the Laban Institute for Movement Studies. Within her department, Nelson has served on a number of committees, and she has taken part in a host of other departmental and college-level activities, including serving as a member of the College of Fine Arts Dean Search Committee. Nelson earned her bachelor's degree at Smith College in 1976 and her master's degree in dance from Case Western Reserve University in 1978. She became a Certified Movement Analyst through the Laban Institute of Movement Studies in 1994, and she was certified in the Pilates-based Dancer Specific Training Program in 1995.

Potter joined the Africana studies faculty in 2000. Prior to that appointment, he taught at Alma College, Central Michigan University, the University of Missouri-Columbia and several other institutions. He is the author of the book "Insider/Outside or Enigma?: (re)Claiming Utah's/Harlem's Forgotten Genius," which examines the life and works of Wallace Henry Thurman. A frequent lecturer at conferences and events around the nation, Potter is a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Modern Language Association and the Association for African American Scholarship, among other organizations. He earned his bachelor's degree at Stillman College in 1995, and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1996 and 1999, respectively.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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