STAFF EDITORIAL | New CCOM Dean needs to refocus on students

When the College of Communication was formed in 2010, faculty, staff and administration seemed to show a lot of enthusiasm and set lofty goals.

Follow-through has been slower in coming.

As the search for a new dean of CCOM hopefully draws near a close, we at The Butler Collegian believe that the search committee and the university’s top administration should select a new dean who has clear, responsible and realistic goals to lead the college in a new era that will put the focus back on student achievement.

The College of Communication faces several major decisions in its second and third years of existence, and the new dean needs to move quickly and intelligently to address these.

Students, faculty and staff will all benefit from informed, confident action from the incoming administrator.

One example of CCOM’s challenges is the focus of the school: Some majors and programs appear to focus on professional applications, while others emphasize more of the university’s liberal arts mentality.

Neither is wrong, but the new dean needs to be the first to understand and support both approaches equally.

For example, students in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the physician assistant program, must have professional experiences along with a liberal arts background.

The incoming dean must make efforts to marry the two academic approaches in the curriculum carefully but deliberately, working first and foremost to ensure that students don’t suffer, and work to curb any  desire to let either approach undermine the other.

The new dean should work first and foremost for the students.

Deans ideally make transparent efforts to streamline the student experience, removing any bureaucratic roadblocks and encouraging communication between various faculty and students.

Colleges must have a sense of community and unified purpose if they are going to succeed.

Confident, well-informed steps at the beginning of the incoming dean’s term will immediately build collective drive in the college.

Without this neighborly atmosphere, politics within a college can absorb the work hours of the faculty and staff and, much more importantly, can negatively impact students.

To combat this, the incoming administrator should make student success the central concern and not get dragged into personal quarrels with the faculty.

The difficulty of a major should not include navigating political landmines—at least not within the college.

Clear goals also negate any miscommunication between faculty members.

When every adviser and professor knows what students and administration expect from them, they can put the true focus back on education.

Finally, the dean should become an advocate for student activities associated with CCOM such as Deep Blue, BRIC, Speaker’s Lab, Speech and Debate team, Butler Beat, Bulldog Blitz, PRSSA, National Student Advertising Competition and the Collegian.

By doing this, he or she will learn what some of Butler’s most hard-working undergraduates care most about.

Most importantly, deans set the focus for their colleges.

If the incoming dean of CCOM clearly lays out the focus and purpose he or she sees is best for the future of the young college, every faculty member and student will benefit.

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