New associate deans announced for next year

Katie Fata

Left: Dr. Coles                                             Right: Dr. Kerr        

Illinois Wesleyan announced the appointment of two new associate deans on Wednesday, November 19. As of January 23, 2022, Dr. Amanda Coles will assume the new role of Associate Dean for Curriculum and Instruction (ADCI) and Dr. Abigail Kerr will serve as the new Associate Dean for Scholarly and Creative Work (ADSCW).

Their respective moves into these positions will result in the return of Dr. Greg Shaw to the political science department. Shaw has been serving as Interim Associate Dean of Curricular and Faculty Development. 

Provost Mark Brodl said that Shaw will be missed in the academic affairs department, but that everyone was excited for the new faces that would join them next semester. 

Shaw said that the job has been a great opportunity to learn and to help solve some problems though he is looking forward to getting back to his classroom in January. 

Coles, who is currently an associate professor of history on campus, said that serving as the chair of the curriculum council on campus prepared her for ADCI position, which is a reformed version of Shaw’s position, though she does plan to keep one class on her plate. 

According to Coles, she was grateful for the confidence Shaw and Brodl had in her. 

“It was a validation of the work I have done this semester as chair,” Coles said. 

As chair, Coles has recently worked on initiatives such as clarifying how current IWU students can transfer courses and creating an internship framework, which faculty will vote on soon. 

The ADCI will assist Brodl with curricular innovation and faculty development related to pedagogy and instruction. In particular, the ADCI supports the work of the Curriculum Council, the Committee for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETAL), and the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL). Coles will also oversee any shared curriculum, which includes the Writing Program and Gateway Program. 

Kerr, an associate professor of psychology at IWU, will move forward in the realm of specifically scholarly and creative work that happens on campus. Kerr will oversee the functioning of programs such as the Eckley Program and the many other independent research opportunities available to students. 

As the fall semester nears its end, the new deans are beginning to plan their first steps for when students return in January. Coles said that the first initiative she plans to undertake is to examine the shared curriculum in light of all of the changes IWU has faced in the last few years. 

“Are our students still engaging in a common intellectual experience that reflects our mission and values as an institution? Are we able to offer that experience ethically and sustainably?” Coles asked. 

With the new structure of deans, Brodl expressed that he hopes for an exciting and productive spring term.