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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

School restructuring brings position changes for deans, associate deans

Courtesy of Gabe Swarts
Gabe Swarts, the newly apponted dean for the School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences is expected to fully assume his role in the fall.

Gabe Swarts, the current associate dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, was appointed as the new dean of the School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences on Feb. 28 after a decision to disband the CoEH as a means to save money by eliminating some administrative positions.

Throughout the rest of the year, the school disbanding is set to take place unless a new decision is made, with the Department of Health Sciences becoming the School of Health Sciences, and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences absorbing the Department of Psychology, the Department of Counseling and the Department of Education.

Interim Provost Tom Sutton, who was part of the Transformation Work Group that made the decision over the number of schools, said that the main reason for the decision was because it would reduce costs by having fewer administrative positions since the current dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences will be relocated along with the removal of all associate dean positions within the schools.

“That basically shrinks the amount of administrative roles and overhead, which saves money,” Sutton said.

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Sutton said this decision made sense because it was a way to trim costs without affecting students.

“I think that what students will see in their own experience will be fairly minimal in terms of change, and that was the big priority for all of us,” Sutton said.

Dittmore said he is disappointed about the decision insofar as after he was hired at BW after a similar role at another university, he has been working to build a working identity for the CoEH within what he said are “disparate” programs.

“I’m disappointed that I was brought into BW from outside the University to develop this college, and I’m disappointed that I don’t have the opportunity to continue that work,” Dittmore said.

Nonetheless, while Sutton said it is unfortunate that this identity building will come to
a halt, he said the identities are most importantly held at the departmental level.

“It’s important to understand that most of the work and identity of faculty
are at their department level,” Sutton said. “That’s really where the day-to-day [work] happens.”

The original plan of the Transformation Work Group included the Department of Health Sciences joining the School of Science and Engineering, but at the end of March, a group of faculty in the Health Science Department asked Sutton to keep their department as a separate entity and keep their working identity maintained.

“I take the faculty concerns very seriously when it is possible and all these changes were due to budget concerns,” Sutton said.

Sutton said there will not be a change to the costs regardless of whether or not the School of Health Sciences remains its own entity

Prior to the reorganization, Dittmore worked above Swarts as the dean of CoEH that Swarts answered to as the associate dean, but now, the associate dean positions will no longer exist, which Swarts said, will mean “more work to come” for department chairs and deans.

“I was a full-time associate dean with a full calendar, so the problem is ‘Who does this work now?’” Swarts said. “It’s going to flow up to the deans, and it’s going to flow down to the department chairs, and we’re all going to have to shoulder more in the coming years, and it’s going to be stressful, and I’m aware of that taking this new position that I’m signing up to have longer days.”

With the associate dean positions being eliminated, the Associate Dean of Humanities, Denise Kohn, the Associate Dean of Social Sciences, Jill Stephens-Fleisher and the Associate Dean of Health Sciences Jared Pennington will be relocated within BW.

Swarts graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in 2003 as a social studies
major with a concentration in history, so he said his background in education, the humanities and the social sciences is what allowed him to step into the role.

“I have a lot of connections to BW and a lot of connections around, so I think that was an attractive quality that I had when I applied for the position,” Swarts said.

The Faculty Senate is now in the process of conversations regarding the apportionment of senate seats under the expected new arrangement of schools.

“They’re going to be choosing new senators or reallocating senate seats through the rest of this semester, and then the new arrangement is going to start in the fall,” Sutton said.

This story was last updated on April 11, 2024 to reflect a revision made to the initial plan over the number of schools.

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