The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW searches for new dean at College of Arts and Sciences

3 min read
By JESSICA LINK  Staff Writer Keith Mellinger, the interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), is stepping aside to welcome a new Dean. After a thorough search, the College of Arts and Sciences Dean Search Committee has narrowed in on four prospective candidates.

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Staff Writer

The search for a new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is nearing its end. After a thorough search, the Dean Search Committee has narrowed in on four prospective candidates.

At the University of Mary Washington, the Dean of the CAS takes on the job of overseeing 20 departments that make up the college. This oversight can focus on a multitude of things including curriculums, faculty development, and student experiences.

The Chair of the CAS Dean Search is Mary Washington chemistry professor, Dr. Kelli Slunt.

The CAS Dean Search Committee reviewed all prospective Dean applications and conducted interviews. After this process they narrowed the pool down to four candidates. Each prospective candidate agreed to participate in an open forum with the students and faculty at UMW. Candidates performed a quick presentation and then engaged with the audience in question and answer.

Candidates include current interim dean Keith Mellinger, Katherine Hawkins of Radford University, Wenying Xu of Jacksonville University, and Claudia Bornholt of Catholic University.

The open forum that took place on March 13 featured prospective  candidate Claudia Bornholdt.

Dr. Bornholdt received a PhD in Medieval German and Scandinavian Literature from Indiana University Bloomingdale, and is the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at Catholic University. From 2014 to 2016, she was the Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Catholic University where she oversaw the college’s academic and faculty affairs.

During her presentation, Dr. Bornholdt emphasized the necessity of holding Humanities and STEM at the same level of importance. She believes  that these fields are codependent and had advocated for more interdisciplinary curriculums to be available to students.

Dr. Bornholdt strongly believes that education should be “inclusive, accessible, and global.”

During her forum she also discussed the importance of a warm community in order to maintain strong retention rates.

Dr. Bornholdt talked about the importance of diverse student and faculty bodies, and of her own personal experiences.  During the time she serves as the Dean Search Committee and CFO Search Committee at Catholic University, the applicant pools did not feature candidates of different ethnicities and genders. She stated that she was the only woman on both search committees. Dr. Bornholdt sees this as problematic because she believes education is enriched by diversity, and should strive to be more inclusive.

UMW Professor Anand Rao expressed that he was “really glad” that the candidates are participating in the open forums, so that people can really meet the candidates. Professor Rao believes the CAS Search Committee has found strong candidates who “represent a lot of perspectives.”

Professor Rosalyn Cooperman of the UMW Political Science department said that believes that the Dean Search is “very important” because of the “role the dean plays in the link between departments and other colleges.”

Professor Cooperman is “very pleased” with the Search Committee for bringing forward a “pool of qualified candidates.” Cooperman feels that Dr. Bornholdt is especially well-qualified, and is “very collaborative and inclusive” which are essential qualities in a Dean.

Dr. Slunt says the search committee will meet with Provost Nina Mikhalevsky to give a recommendation on the selection of the college’s new dean. The committee hopes the new dean will be announced before the end of the school year so that they can begin the job over the summer.

This article has been corrected.