Graduate Studies interim dean has background with Banner system

Kristine Gill

If there’s someone on campus who has seen the light at the end of the Banner tunnel, it’s Evelyn Goldsmith. That’s because she came to Kent State from a university that had already successfully completed the sometimes-nightmarish transition to the new system. Now she’s using her insight as interim dean of Graduate Studies.

“Banner will work,” Goldsmith said. “It’s just such a dramatic change when you go from a system you made yourself that is absolutely tailor-made to Kent State, and take an off-the-shelf product and try to use it overnight.”

Goldsmith’s background in graduate studies and her experience with Banner made her a good fit for the position of interim dean of Graduate Studies. She came to Kent State from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2004 to become assistant provost for special projects. She will retain that role as she takes on the role of interim dean.

As interim dean, Goldsmith will handle responsibilities including admissions, recruitment, assistantships and fellowships for the program.

Goldsmith also has experience moving a graduate studies program to a centralized administration. IUP underwent the transition while she was associate dean for the school of graduate studies. She said a centralized administration simplifies the process of applying and scheduling for grad school.

John West originally held the role of both vice president for research and dean of Graduate Studies. He approached Provost Robert Frank with the idea to separate his two roles earlier this year.

“West looked at his office and organization and thought it would be better to have two distinct people doing his job,” Frank said. “A less energetic person probably would have wanted or recommended (this change) a while ago. He was really carrying an enormous burden.”

Frank said separating the roles will also allow for emphasis on research.

“We have very high needs and expectations for West’s roles in research,” Frank said. “We’ve had lots of success, but the research field is very competitive and we have to keep up.”

Goldsmith moved from the provost office to the Graduate Studies office at the end of October when she took up the title of interim associate dean. At that time there were two associate deans assisting West. Since West dropped his role as dean, Goldsmith became interim dean, essentially filling West’s role in Graduate Studies. She’ll serve in that position until a search committee is formed and can find a permanent dean.

Frank said that is not likely to happen until fall semester once West’s roles have been defined.

“(West and Goldsmith) are doing the mechanical work of setting up two distinct roles,” Frank said.

Goldsmith said that while she may be better prepared to take on the more administrative role of interim dean, she will continue to work closely with West.

“There’s such a trust between us,” Goldsmith said.

“Research and graduate education are so intrinsically linked that, to function, you have to have both,” she said, adding that the two roles will never truly be split.

Contact academic affairs reporter Kristine Gill at [email protected].