Administration sees internal position changes

The Gannon University administration may be making changes, but those making these changes believe that they will maintain the campus’ traditions, which they believe support the student body.

The most well known change may be the inauguration of Keith Taylor, Ph.D. as university president. But some recent changes have been made in administration that will affect the Gannon community further.

On Jan. 9, Ward McCracken was named dean of the Student Success Center, and Kathleen Gausman was subsequently appointed as the interim dean for Student Development – McCracken’s old post.

Linda Fleming, the interim provost and vice president of academic affairs, said she thinks it is important that these changes involve “internal people moving internally, creating easy transitions.”

Fleming said she thinks McCracken is a suitable candidate for the position. “Ward is a tradition and is so devoted to Gannon,” she said.

She also noted the center will experience a “seamless transition due to his wealth of knowledge.”

Fleming called the decision to appoint Gausman as interim dean for Student Development “effortless.” She said Gausman was the most qualified candidate.

Michael Groesch, a junior sport and exercise science and pre-physical therapy major, has worked with Gausman for the past two years through the Student Government Association and said he was pleased Gausman got the job.

“Gannon is promoting their dedicated, hard-working faculty, rather than hiring new outside people,” Groesch said.

Prior to getting this new position, McCracken had served as the dean of Student Development since 1992. In that time he was involved with nearly half of the departments that function under the Student Success Center today.

McCracken said improvements that have been under construction for several years will make it so students no longer have to trek around campus to receive assistance.

He called the Student Success Center a “one-stop shop for academic support services.” McCracken said that he hopes “to be part of a team that helps support students in developing their life plan, and providing support to them, so that they might succeed.”

Fleming said the administration hopes the advances in the Student Success Center will make a more comprehensive list of services offered.

The new structure creates a “synergy of support,” according to McCracken, that makes it easy for students to access the support they need to succeed and develop.

The strategy for the changes being implemented focuses on smooth transitions that will create as little direct effect on the students as possible, McCracken said.

Fleming said that while adjustments are continuing to occur, these changes have been made for the improvements in student services.

However, Angela Coustillac, a junior political science and legal studies major, said she is concerned that the administration reassignments will cause more changes than anticipated. Having worked with Gausman through SGA, Coustillac is fearful that her new interim position will lead to a permanent position.

“Over the years you have built this trust…and you have to start all over,” Coustillac said, with anticipated unease for the student body’s relationship with the new associate dean of student development.

Coustillac acknowledged the benefits of internally promoting administrative positions.

“But I don’t like it,” she said.

McCracken and Gausman’s new positions will not be the end of changes that will occur throughout the Gannon administration staff.

Fleming said she anticipates that a permanent dean of Student Development will be assigned within the next six months. In addition, preparation for the retirement of the Rev. George Strohmeyer, the university’s vice president for mission and ministry, is already in the administrative planning staff’s blueprints.

JESSICA SCOUTEN

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