Recast | Student and Academic Life leadership updates

From: “McAvity, David” <>
Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 11:15 AM

Dear Colleagues, 

I am writing to provide two leadership updates in Student and Academic Life. 

The first is regarding a transition in leadership for Evening and Weekend Studies.  Kathleen Eamon, the current Dean for Evening and Weekend Studies, was selected for this role in 2019.  When she applied, she was most interested in serving for two years (the duration of the other position advertised at the time).  While she continues to love working with EWS faculty and students, she has indicated an interest in returning to the classroom and will do so in winter 2022, ending her term as Dean in fall quarter 2021. This timing allows for Kathleen to steward the current summer quarter and get the planning for the next summer quarter underway. 

As you may recall, earlier in the year we conducted a search for an interim dean position, to account for Trevor Speller’s transition to the Vice Provost role. We were fortunate to have two very strong candidates for that position, Abir Biswas and Lori Blewett. Abir was appointed in January 2021.  With this new vacancy emerging, I have asked Lori to serve as interim Evening and Weekend Studies dean for the 2021-2022 academic year. I am grateful that she has accepted.  

As I have indicated in recent communications, our enrollment growth strategy is to expand online and part-time pathways to degree, especially in areas connected to workforce development and other areas of high student demand. This work is closely tied to the Paths and Certificates initiatives, the School of Professional Studies, and the hybrid online learning faculty development cohort currently underway. This critical initiative requires faculty leadership to move forward. I am pleased that Lori Blewett has agreed to work with me over the next 6 months in her faculty role to co-lead a workgroup to further design and craft an implementation plan for this work. I have requested time at next week’s faculty meeting to share more information about this work and will follow up shortly after with the charge. Several of you have expressed interest in serving on this committee; we will work with the Agenda Committee for faculty representation.  

Please join me in thanking Lori for stepping into these leadership roles, and to Kathleen for her ongoing work as Dean. 

I am mindful of the interplay between our current fiscal situation and the need for leadership capacity as we launch major new initiatives to grow our enrollment. While we are developing and implementing a plan for a School of Professional Studies to support certificate programs and flexible pathways to degree through the 2021-2022 academic year, we will be operating with the current academic leadership structure. However, I am committed to having a model for a new leaner academic leadership structure in place as we begin the 2022-2023 academic year. That model will have fewer academic deans, befitting the smaller college we have become. We will have a plan in place before we begin recruitment for the new 4-year dean positions to replace those whose positions are ending in summer 2022.  We anticipate this recruitment occurring in fall 2021. 

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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