Third dean candidate believes strongly in community, diversity

Angelo Gargaro

Graduate sociology student Tegan Beechey talks to Donald Hall, candidate for the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences about advising and other issues. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Diversity was the main topic for Donald Hall, the third candidate in the College of Arts and Sciences dean search, as he visited Kent State yesterday.

Hall, the chair of the English department at West Virginia University, has received national recognition for his work in gay and lesbian studies. He has also published a widely used textbook in queer theory.

“I have also been heavily involved in community-based work,” Hall said, “which is something that I feel strongly about – professors, academics and administrators connecting with the surrounding community.”

Hall said he believes professors and other faculty need to be involved in the community outside the university.

“It doesn’t mean that every professor has to make every research project accessible to the broad public,” Hall said. “But institutions should reward people who translate their work into a broader community.”

Hall also said he believes Kent State is moving in a positive direction, and he would enjoy being part of that.

“The thing that impresses me about Kent State right now is that you do have a strong new president, and he has hired what seems to be a skilled and forward-looking provost,” Hall said. “The opportunity that it would present me, or anyone else that took the job, would be to be a part of a really interesting forward-looking leadership team.”

Hall also said he has been fairly successful at hiring and retaining diverse faculty. He said that it is important for the college, students and faculty alike, to be surrounded by diverse faculty.

“There are ways of building community among faculty so that you have a university emphasis on the ‘rainbow of the world,’ that I really think it is important for students to interact with,” Hall said.

If Hall were to get hired for the dean position, he said he would not want to come in and impose his ideas on the college. Rather, he would want to ask how he could help? He said he would like to see the college build on its strengths.

“In higher education, generally, you can’t be all things to all people,” Hall said. “But you try to decide what the real strengths are that will make the college famous.”

The fourth and final candidate is scheduled to arrive on campus Oct. 30.

Contact the College of Arts and Sciences reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected].