Arts and Sciences meets with final candidate for dean

Megan Grote

College of Arts and Sciences faculty met the third dean candidate Joseph Urgo during a reception in the Student Center yesterday.

“It was interesting (yesterday) to see how the university is dedicated to the institution,” Urgo said. “The faculty here have a passion about the missions and the future of the university.”

Urgo was attracted to the Kent State dean position because of the university’s reputation and the welfare to the surrounding region. Kent State also has a history that it has embraced and turned into something positive, Urgo said.

Urgo currently serves as English department chair at the University of Mississippi.

“I am interested in the human factor of education, but I still use technology in the classroom,” he said. “The classroom experience is an endangered species.”

The challenge is how to create a small classroom experience and remain cost efficient. Behind every student’s 50-minute course is a professor with 25 years of credentials and quality education, Urgo said.

Urgo said he is also interested in the integration of living-learning communities. Students should have more interaction between the residence halls and the classroom, Urgo said.

Urgo’s own education was influenced by key figures to pursue a higher education. Urgo’s career path could be different without these role models giving his life direction.

“Education changes people’s lives,” Urgo said. “It transforms people.”

All three candidates recommended by the search committee are qualified and all have had administration experience, search committee member Maria Zaragoza said.

“(Urgo) is a distinguished scholar in his field,” Zaragoza said, “and he has had relevant experience as department chair.”

Urgo’s work as an English department chair is relevant as the dean’s duty is to interact with all departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Another large part of the dean’s job is to raise funds for the development of the College of Arts and Sciences and the university.

Earlier in the semester, the search committee reviewed resumes and candidate references. From these applicants, the committee chose three candidates to visit Kent State to meet faculty and students.

Urgo is the final candidate to visit Kent State. The committee will now meet with the provost to come up with the best candidate for the dean position.

At 2:10 p.m. today in room 315 in the Student Center, graduate and undergraduate students have the chance to speak with Urgo.

Dean candidates Christopher McCord from the University of Cincinnati and Joseph Steinmetz from Indiana University already visited Kent State last week.

Contact Arts and Sciences reporter Megan Grote at [email protected].