Four weeks ago Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Wilson sent an email to faculty members of the college late in the afternoon, addressing the news of his resignation.
“As you probably know, it was announced today that I will be taking a sabbatical for the remainder of this academic year, with the expectation that I will return next year as dean emeritus, philosophy professor and senior advisor for external affairs,” Wilson said in the email.
Wilson’s resignation left the dean position for the College of Arts and Sciences vacant. A void that is now temporarily filled by two faculty members of the college; Jenny Broeder and Joseph Stimpfl.
On Oct. 8, the Office of the Provost announced the the appointments of the two interim co-deans. The two co-deans will split the roles of the position.
Broeder will cover professional counseling, legal studies, nursing and nurse anesthesia.
“He [Wilson] and I knew each other for over 13 years; he hired me as a faculty member into the nursing department, so I had a lot of opportunities to work with him as a chair and as a dean,” Broeder said. “We had a good relationship and had a lot of productive years accomplishing some different things with nursing, counseling, legal studies and nurse anesthesia.”
Broeder, an associate professor of nursing and past chair of the Department of Nursing, was named interim associate dean for the Division of Professional Programs in 2013. She said serving as co-dean is an exciting opportunity for her.
“I’ve been functioning as an associate dean for the programs at the college for the last few years,” Broeder said. “This will be an opportunity for us to have even more leadership direction to provide more focus direction for our programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.”
Broeder said the co-dean position’s functionality is still a work in progress. She said at the moment the position is split between the liberal arts programs and the professional programs.
Stimpfl, chair of religious studies and professor, will handle oversight for the biological sciences, anthropology and sociology, English, history, politics and international relations, the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, international languages and cultures, philosophy, psychology and religious studies.
Provost Julian Schuster said Stimpfl and Broeder would be the best fit during the search for Wilson’s permanent replacement.
“Both Jenny and Joe are natural fits to lead the College of Arts and Sciences during this interim period,” Schuster said. “Their respective experience in professional programs and liberal arts at Webster will serve the college well and ensure a smooth transition.”
Webster posted a press release Sept. 16 announcing Wilson had stepped down and would be on sabbatical, effective immediately. The release said Wilson would spend the year focusing on writing two books.
In his email to faculty, Wilson said collaborating with faculty has been an rewarding experience. He cited developing programs, planning buildings, hiring new faculty and raising money as results that came from working with the college’s faculty.
“My greatest joy during my 13 years as dean has been collaborating with you, the faculty, in finding ways to more effectively prepare our students for global citizenship and individual excellence,” Wilson said.
Wilson expects to return as dean emeritus in June 2016.
Faculty Senate President Gwyneth Williams said she and Wilson had a positive working relationship.
“I was part of the search committee that brought David Wilson to campus and he served the university well in his position of dean,” Williams said. “He deserves this sabbatical.”
The appointment of Broeder and Stimpfl as interim co-deans was made effective immediately.
**Correction – Joseph Stimpfl is not the current chair of religious studies. Chris Parr is the current chair. The Journal apologizes for this mistake.**