Kent State Trumbull welcomes new dean

Photo Courtesy of Kent State University

Photo Courtesy of Kent State University

Victoria Manenti

Kent State Trumbull announced Lance Grahn as its new dean and chief administrative officer Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Grahn, who currently serves as a professor at the University of Central Arkansas, will assume his new position on July 1. He follows Wanda Thomas, who has held the interim dean position since May 2013.

Search committee member at Kent State Trumbull Pam Lieske said the search process began with a pool of approximately 40 to 50 applicants that were screened by Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc., a search firm in Florida. The search committee then narrowed down those applicants to about 14 individuals. Grahn and two other finalists, Jeffrey Breese and Anthony Kos, remained after interviews were conducted.

“It went very smoothly, the process,” Lieske, an English professor, said. “I do wish it had been maybe not so crunched at the end in terms of time, so I have nothing but praise really for the search firm. They did a great job.”

One of the final steps in the search process was having each finalist give a public presentation to the Kent State Trumbull community, Lieske said. The candidates also participated in a series of interviews with administrative leaders on the Kent campus.

“I am very happy with our candidate that we chose,” Lieske said. “ I mean, he was my number one choice. Faculty was very impressed with him at the faculty meeting that he came to. He has a wealth of experience at both the faculty level and administrative level.”

Grahn served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Central Arkansas from 2008 to 2012, where he advanced facility development, decreased the university’s cash deficit and furthered faculty leadership development. He was also dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and chair of the history department at Marquette University.

“I like it when (candidates have) had that experience at a variety of different institutions because then they’ve seen different ways of doing things,” said Todd Diacon, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Grahn plans to increase enrollment and further campus success by focusing on the specific assets that allow Kent State Trumbull to stand out from other academic institutions. He said it is important the campus clarifies its mission and identity to the public.

“Despite the challenges, there really is a sense of optimism, energy, forward-looking and engagement that characterizes both the Trumbull campus and the entirety of Kent State University,” Grahn said. “It means that as we move forward; we really are moving forward out of a position of strength.”

Grahn said he believes that the university will greatly benefit from capitalizing on its strong niche programs including theatre, technology and criminal justice. These programs prepare students for the workforce by effectively linking theory and practice, he said.

Grahn said he will also seek increased collaboration with the Trumbull community.

“I know that it will be my responsibility to pay very close attention to that and foster the ongoing deepening of that relationship between the community and the campus,” Grahn said.

Grahn and his wife are looking forward to relocating to the Warren area. He will visit the Kent campus next week in preparation of his new position.

Contact Victoria Manenti at [email protected].