RECAST | Academic Deans Update, Call for Nominations/Applications

From: McAvity, David <>
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 4:48 PM

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing with an update about dean roles, work, and positions for the next 18 months. 

As we announced at the start of the quarter, Trevor Speller has moved into the Vice Provost role on an interim basis through July 2022. Elizabeth Williamson has agreed to step into the curriculum dean role to cover some of this work, while continuing some of her responsibilities as dean for hiring and faculty development. I am grateful to both Trevor and Elizabeth for stepping into these roles.

This change of roles and responsibilities means we are currently down one academic dean position. There is critical and urgent work that is needed over the next 18 months to support New Academic Direction development and implementation, COVID-19 planning and response, preparation for our Mid-Cycle accreditation report and visit, and the unusually large number of conversion panels for regular faculty on term contracts.  The associated workload is simply not tenable with a reduction in deans. The capacity problem is further exacerbated by the furloughs that are reducing dean time and pay (and the overall budget for dean salaries) by 10% during this academic year. For all of these reasons, I am announcing the opportunity for a regular continuing faculty member to shift the focus of their work from teaching to administration for the next 18 months by serving as an interim academic dean from January 1, 2021 through July 15, 2022.  See below for details on how to apply or nominate a colleague.  If you have questions, please contact me. 

There are two additional announcements regarding current dean positions. Larry Geri, is completing his first 4-year term as dean at the end of this academic year and has agreed to stay on for at least one additional year. I have also asked Karen Gaul to stay on in her role as project dean through 21-22 (one year beyond the two-year term to which she was initially appointed) and she has agreed. I am grateful to both for their service and commitment during this important period. These decisions will allow us to maintain a consistent level of dean support and provide stability in academic administration for an additional year so that we can successfully get the new academic directions work off the ground. 

I will review this arrangement at the end of this academic year and make a decision about the nature and scope of any new dean appointments beyond July 2022, with a goal of scaling the academic deans team to a level suited to a smaller institution with a smaller budget, and with job responsibilities for deans designed to fit the model of the institution that arises from our New Academic Direction process. 

Interim Academic Dean Position

Major Responsibilities: 

Note: A complete description of this temporary academic dean position, including the deans’ collective responsibilities, is attached to this e-mail. Prospective candidates are encouraged to talk with any of the other current deans to learn more about the deans’ work.   

The interim dean will hold responsibility for stewarding the implementation of projects that promote equitable opportunities and pathways for student academic success and developing assessment processes to measure student learning outcomes to guide institutional improvement.  During the first nine months1, the focus will be on projects related to New Academic Directions and the College’s third year accreditation report and visit. In addition, this position holds the general responsibilities of all deans listed in the attachment, with a particular focus on faculty reviews and working with students on concerns relating to teaching and learning.  

  1. New Academic Directions — Lead one or more of the major implementation teams (e.g. Certifications, Partnerships, Hybrid Online Learning, Paths institutionalization and promotion.) 
  • Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan — Lead implementation of an assessment plan for institutional student learning outcomes using direct measures of student success (six expectations), as laid out in Evergreen’s 2020 Ad Hoc report
  • Mid-Cycle accreditation report — Steward completion of Evergreen’s mid-cycle report, which is due in August 2021.  This will include both drafting content and incorporating the work of others.  New Academic Directions and the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan are both central to the report.   

Hiring Process 

We seek a diverse pool of candidates.  As outlined in the Faculty Handbook, all faculty on regular, continuing contracts are eligible to be considered for academic dean positions. While the Handbook allows me to simply appoint an academic dean on interim appointment, I plan to follow a similar process to the one that was used for selection of our CAT leaders, where I will be joined by one or two Student Academic Life leadership team members and a faculty member selected by the Agenda Committee. To apply, please submit a brief statement of interest addressing the primary responsibilities outlined above to by November 4, 2020.  The timeline, informed by when students are preparing to register for winter quarter, is as follows:  

Oct 19 — Announce position/begin accepting nominations and applications to 

October 26 – last date for nominations to 

November 4 – brief statement of interest addressing primary responsibilities due to 

November 9-13 – interviews with committee 

November 17-20 – selection process completed 

November 23 – announcement to community 

January 4, 2021 — Start date 

If you would like additional information, I’d be happy to talk with you. 

Best wishes, 


David McAvity (he-him) | Interim Provost and Vice President for Student & Academic Life | The Evergreen State College | 360.867.6400 

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