A new dean will take over the reins in the College of Arts and Sciences this May, but with five months remaining, there is no time to relax.
Tim Moerland, chair of biological science at Florida State University, accepted the position Oct. 19.
Jerry Feezel, interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, hasn’t retired just yet.
“I don’t want to be shy about it — I am excited about Tim Moerland’s coming in as dean,” Feezel said. “But I’m not gone yet.”
Feezel said the college has made strides throughout the past three years.
“I’m sure (Moerland) will want to change some things,” Feezel said. “But I think (the college) has built a foundation for him to step in and run with it.”
To get to this point — Feezel’s second attempt at retirement — there had to be a beginning. In 1973, Feezel made his voyage from Seattle, where he held his first full-time faculty position at the University of Washington, to Kent State.
“I consider myself more of an Ohioan now,” Feezel said. “I’ve been here longer than any other state.”
Feezel’s first position at Kent State was division coordinator, which is like a department chair, of rhetoric and communication in the School of Speech Pathology and Audiology. “I liked some of the administrative challenges, but not others,” Feezel said. “What I liked, of course, was the faculty and students I got to work with.”
Feezel was nominated for the position and invited for an interview. He said he took the job because he was impressed with what he had learned about the university.
“I came for the interview out of curiosity,” Feezel said. “I took the job mainly because I had discovered there was a lot more to Kent State than the notoriety of the shootings.”
Goals and accomplishments
Feezel said one his biggest accomplishments at Kent State was starting the teacher assistant orientation in 1991, which he called “On Tap,” for Orienting New Teaching Assistants Program.
He was also president of the Ohio Communication Association, and received the two major awards from the association: the Distinguished Service Award and College Teaching Award.
Another accomplishment Feezel said he was proud of was when he hired 17 new members to the staff in 2005.
“We were successful in hiring a fairly diverse faculty,” Feezel said. “There was diversity of racial, ethnic and gender and we are still keeping that up.”
Alex Deloia, Junior communication studies major, said she has witnessed this diversity in her classes within the arts and
“I have taken a lot of LERs within the college,” Deloia said. “Every professor I have had offered something different to the class, which really made it a great learning experience.”
Feezel said it had been a goal as dean to build the diversity of the college and maintain high involvement in cultural, ethnic and gender diversity.
“We really consider ourselves a college of diversity,” Feezel said. “One of the projects, that I unfortunately have not gotten to conclusion yet, is to move the women’s studies minor into a major.”
Feezel said something people don’t know about the dean is the amount of time he or she must put in. He said he usually keeps a busy schedule that doesn’t have a “9 to 5” frame around it.
“The provost and I have been known to e-mail each other at 10:30 to 11 at night,” Feezel said. “(However), the dean does have other people that take care of certain tasks.”
Feezel said the worst part of being a dean is the difficulty of getting constructive work done because of unexpected problems. He also said there’s a degree of frustration of not being able to do things he wants.
“I have a lot of things I would like to accomplish,” Feezel said. “A lot of goals, a lot initiatives, and sometimes I can’t get them done.”
Feezel said there are things he will miss and not miss when he retires. He said there are always a lot of exciting programs and cultural, intellectual events going on in the college, which is what he will miss the most.
“If I could,” Feezel said, “I would probably have something to attend every day or every evening of the year.”
Feezel said, however, he won’t miss petty problems or issues that get in the way of being able to do constructive things.
“I can’t say that I would miss problems,” Feezel said. “Problem solving is what the job involves. (It) is a challenge, but it is also part of the fun.”
Feezel may be retiring in a few months, but he made it a point to say he is still the dean until May.
“I will continue to move forward on the goals that the provost and I have set,” Feezel said. “I will be in contact with Moerland, as needed, when we’re going forward. He has a job to finish up and so do I.”
Contact College of the Arts and Sciences reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected]