Fleming named new dean of CHESS

Linda Fleming, Ph.D., Gannon University’s interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, has been chosen to serve as the next dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.

Douglas King, Ph.D., associate English professor and interim associate CHESS dean, said Fleming’s time as interim provost has more than adequately prepared her to take the dean position.

“I think she will be an excellent person to lead that,” King said. “Especially since she’s recently had this sort of baptism by fire by being named the interim provost and really getting to learn a lot about the administrative functions of the university at all levels.

“This will be a great fit for her, and she’s somebody who is known and respected throughout the college; she has a great sense of collegiality and how to work with people.”

Fleming, who will assume her new position July 1, said she gained an appreciation and liking for the administration work when she served as the program director of the psychology and counseling department, and then she enjoyed her position even more while she worked in the provost’s office. She said these experiences made her feel confident she would be suitable to apply to be the next dean of CHESS.

“Being in this role, you get a bird’s-eye view of the university,” Fleming said. “It is very different being a faculty member and a department chair.

“So having that broad perspective of the university I think will prove very helpful in working with CHESS, because I see CHESS and how it fits in the larger scheme of things and that will be very helpful moving forward.”

Fleming said applying for the dean position made sense in terms of balancing the administrative work and what she has liked about her past leadership experiences.

“When you’re a department chair, in a lot of ways your work is mostly offstage,” Fleming said, “but when you’re the provost, you’re the one in the light at the front of the stage, so I didn’t really want to do that.

“It didn’t really fit with my family – I have a daughter who’s 10 – and I wanted to be around a little bit more than that.”

John Young, current interim dean of CHESS, said the search committee considered candidate applications and evaluated them based on leadership ability and experience.

Fleming, he said, was “clearly the best.”

“She has experience in all of the areas that you would like to see a dean have experience,” Young said.

“She knows personnel, budgeting, grant writing and she knows leadership.”

King said the ideal dean possesses a sound knowledge of the college’s mission, a familiarity with and a strong advocacy for the liberal arts core and a friendly relationship with the faculty.

“I think Dr. Fleming will be a great choice to continue that tradition,” King said.

SGA President Landis Erwin said that as she sat in on the meetings with candidates, she was able to evaluate them through three lenses: as a committee member, as the students’ representative and as a student of CHESS.

“I was interested to know their perspectives on the college, how they would handle student evaluations and how they would interact with the students,” Erwin said.

“Most importantly, I was concerned with how they planned to get people to know what CHESS is really about.”

Fleming said she has a few goals when she takes up the position, including working to achieve globalization within the college.

“We’ve been doing a lot in the university to achieve those ends, but I’d like to do that more intensely in CHESS,” Fleming said.

“I think that’s a great area to emphasize that.

“There’s some pieces we can put together into CHESS to strengthen that global identity.”

Fleming said that eventually CHESS can have a presence equal to the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences with the right outlook.

“When you look at Morosky you see all of the health professions and the sciences have a clear identity,” Fleming said.

“CHESS is broader, and you can’t really hang your hat on it quite as easily.

“But I think doing more global initiatives and that kind of thing will provide a framework under which we can create an identity for CHESS.”



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