Psych Prof is New Associate Dean of Faculty



Laura Westerhold

Associate Professor of Psychology Doug Johnson will be assuming one of the two positions as Associate Dean of Faculty on July 1, 2007. Here at Colgate, this position is filled on a rotating basis by current faculty members. He will be taking over this leadership role for Professor of Geography Adam Burnett, who will return to his role as a professor. The position is held for a three-year term by those professors who are chosen to fulfill it. During this time, Johnson will suspend his role as a professor. Those who serve are chosen and invited by the Dean of Faculty and Provost, currently Lyle Roelofs.

Soon, Johnson will begin working with Burnett to gain an understanding of some aspects of the job. Along with the other current Associate Dean of Faculty, Professor of Literature Margaret Maurer, Johnson will work closely with Dean Roelofs, reporting to him on issues such as supervision of academics, department staffing and faculty hiring, searches for new faculty, institutional re-accreditation and a number of additional responsibilities.

The Associate Deans of the Faculty will ensure that all departments are properly staffed, and to a degree, they contribute to the preparation of tenure and promotions.

Additionally, they interface with admissions to gain an understanding of the incoming classes for a number of reasons. For example, they must guarantee that there are enough freshmen seminars available in the fall.

“This is also the place where we ponder big strategic issues, things like what we want Colgate to be like in twenty years,” Burnett said.

Roelofs went into some detail about the selection process.

“[Candidates] must be fair, broadly known and trusted, able to wade into difficult situations, able to handle budgets and heavy duty quantitative analyses and have an incredible work ethic,” Roelofs said.

He believes that Professor Johnson is well suited for this role, seeing as he has previously supervised the Core Scientific Perspectives division of University Studies, served as a member of the Advisory and Planning Committee and “is widely known in the faculty for taking on other leadership roles.”

Roelofs, who has also served in the Associate Dean position at Haverford College, believes that it provides one with a great opportunity to bring about change and gain invaluable experience and insight to academic leadership.

“You really don’t understand the way the institution works until you sit over here,” Burnett, who has been at Colgate since 1990, said. “I like the idea that faculty are coming over into the Dean’s area and working and then going back to their departments because I’m taking back to my department a knowledge that I didn’t have before.”

The two Associate Deans of Faculty work alongside the five division directors responsible for the University’s four academic divisions, which are Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and University Studies, as well as the athletics division. Together, they comprise the Dean’s Advisory Council. This council is the most important faculty committee and is necessary for the proper functioning of the University. According to Burnett, though, its work is less a “rigid chain of command” than it is teamwork.

Although Johnson notes that he will miss teaching, he said, “I am very excited to be working with Dean of Faculty and Provost Lyle Roelofs and the other members of his staff.This is an exciting time at Colgate, given where we are with the strategic plan and the upcoming capital campaign.Colgate is an excellent place to learn and grow for both students and faculty, and I hope I can play a part in making it even better.”