JCFA, LAS welcome new deans with new ideas

Welcome week arrived and Butler’s campus teemed with first year students. But they were not the only ones on campus who were experiencing new roles at Butler.

After a year of searching for new deans, both the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) and the Jordan College of Fine Arts (JCFA) are transitioning this year after filling both of those positions.

Dean Jay Howard became the new dean of LAS as of June 1, 2010 after “stumbling across the job advertisement on the Butler website the day before applications were due,” he said.

Howard received a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Indiana University South Bend. He then went on to earn both a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Notre Dame. During his schooling, he specialized in different areas of sociology including sociology of religion, sociology of culture and popular culture, sociological theory and sociology of work.

Prior to starting work at Butler, Dean Howard worked at Indiana University Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC) for 18 years, working his way up from assistant to full professor of sociology. He also authored 50 publications of various types. Howard also found himself holding a variety of administrative positions, including assistant dean for budget and planning and head of the division.

Howard has many projects planned for his first year at Butler and has many new ideas to implement for LAS.

“I want to raise the profile of LAS.  There are many outstanding faculty, students and programs in LAS which perhaps have not been given their due recognition,” Howard said. “We want each of our departments to stand out from departments at our peer institutions.”

As a parent of Butler senior theatre major Amalia Howard, Howard became attracted to Butler’s deliverance “on its promise of a high quality, challenging education with lots of opportunities for students that extend beyond the classroom” he said.

Michelle Jarvis was appointed to be the interim dean of JCFA, also as of June 1.

Dean Jarvis has been a part of the Butler community for many years. She graduated from Butler twice, the first time with an undergraduate degree in dance and the second time with a graduate degree in dance.  Ten years after graduating from Butler, Jarvis returned to Butler as a professor.

“[Prior to becoming interim dean] I was the associate dean of JCFA and before that, I was the chair of the dance department here,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis will serve as an interim dean for the 2010-2011 school year only. The position of interim dean means that her current contract is only a year long.

However, she is still excited about the many new changes to come.

Jarvis said her major goals for the year will be to bring together the faculty to capitalize on exposure of the NCAA tournament last year to bring in more perspective students to the college, prepare for the first students studying for their master of fine arts in dance and to plan for the new 450-seat recital hall, which is scheduled to be completed by 2012.

“I am very excited about the new performance hall,” Jarvis said. “We have been meeting all summer and are getting closer to finalizing plans for the building. We are all looking forward to it.”

Jarvis also said she is excited for the JCFA’s incoming class. She said she was thrilled to meet with them as a college and to see that, “They are so enthusiastic and so ready to be contributors to the university.”

Jarvis also intends to focus more this year, “not only towards teaching and learning,” she said, “but on [continuing] to train students well in their disciplines and to be thinking of their future careers.”

Jarvis is anticipating a successful and exciting year in JCFA.

“We need to give students the opportunity to create, be it right or wrong,” Jarvis said. “We need to be on the cutting edge.”


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