WMU News

Candidates for arts and sciences dean visit campus

April 6, 2004

KALAMAZOO--The committee searching for Western Michigan University's next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences has announced its final three candidates for the post.

The candidates are Dr. Robert I. Bolla, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Youngstown State University; Dr. Nancy A. Gutierrez, vice provost for academic affairs at Arizona State University; and Dr. Thomas Kent, dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Utah State University.

As part of the selection process, each candidate will make a public presentation on campus. Gutierrez will speak from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in the Kirsch Auditorium of the Fetzer Center, with a reception to follow in the Fetzer lobby. Bolla will give his presentation from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, April 12, in Shaw Theatre, followed by a reception in the Atrium of the Gilmore Theatre Complex. Kent's talk will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, in Shaw Theatre, with a reception following in the Atrium of the Gilmore Theatre Complex.

Nancy A. Gutierrez became one of four vice provosts at ASU last year. She is responsible for both personnel and undergraduate program areas for three campuses, oversees the Office of University Evaluation, and acts as the provost's liaison for several groups of academic employees who are not tenure-track faculty. Gutierrez is responsible for the initiation of a universitywide development program for junior faculty, and she has done extensive work with faculty recruitment and retention. Before becoming vice provost, she held a number of positions at Arizona State, including associate dean for academic personnel in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; chair and associate chair of the Department of English; and assistant, associate and full professor of English. She has also taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Cincinnati. Her research and teaching interests include Renaissance literature, drama, women's writings and prose fiction. Gutierrez has served as a reviewer for several journals and is an editorial board member of the Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association. She has been treasurer and award committee chair of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, and president and an executive board member of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association. Gutierrez earned her bachelor's degree from Denison University and her master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago.

Since becoming dean at Youngstown State in 2002, Robert I. Bolla has managed a $17.5 million budget, developed a number of new degree programs, developed and collaborated with a Board of Visitors for college planning and fund raising, and led internal reviews of several departments and centers. He is also a founding partner and board member of NFD Nutrition Feed and Diagnostics, an agricultural biotech startup company. Before moving to Youngstown State, he spent 14 years at St. Louis University, where he served in such roles as professor and chair of the Department of Biology and associate dean in the Graduate School Office of Research Services. Bolla has also taught the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the Washington University School of Medicine, and served as a distinguished visiting scientist and consultant for the Ministry of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries in Tsukuba, Japan. His research interests include microbial management in agricultural systems, alternative uses of soybeans and soybean products, and improved crop production and grain use potential through genetic engineering. Bolla's professional service has included serving as a member of the board of directors for the American Aging Association, a reviewer for numerous journals, associate editor of the Journal of Nematology and the Japanese Journal of Nematology, and President of the Society of Nematologists. He earned his bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University Massachusetts-Amherst.

Thomas Kent has held his position as dean of graduate studies at Utah State since 1999. In that role, he is responsible for all aspects of graduate education, including budget and enrollment management, program evaluation, development and fund raising, scholarship and fellowship support, and the approval of academic policies and procedures. He is also a member of the President's Executive Committee and serves as chair of the Graduate Council. Before accepting the USU post, he was chair of the Department of English at Iowa State University, and held faculty appointments in English at Utah State, Iowa State and Miami University of Ohio. Kent also served for one year as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Tampere in Finland. He has worked on a number of committees and workgroups to develop new state and federal initiatives, including the Utah Governor's Engineering Initiative and the INRA Subsurface Science Planning Steering Committee. Kent is the former editor of both the Journal of Advanced Composition and the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, and still serves as a member of the editorial board of both publications. He is a manuscript referee for five journals as well as the Southern Illinois University Press, the SUNY Press, and the Oklahoma Project for Discourse and Theory. Kent also has served as a graduate program reviewer and outside program evaluator for a number of universities nationwide. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan and a doctoral degree at Purdue University.

Convened following the retirement of Dr. Elise B. Jorgens last June, the Arts and Sciences Dean Search Committee is headed by Dr. Janet I. Pisaneschi, dean of WMU's College of Health and Human Services.

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

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