December 2, 2020

College of Arts and Sciences appoints new interim dean

Michael Hulsizer will begin his position as interim dean in January 2021 after the current dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Anton Wallner, officially retires. 

At the beginning of November, Webster announced the appointment of Michael Hulsizer as the interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. The decision was made after the current dean, Anton Wallner, stated in October that he was retiring at the end of 2020, after three years in the position.

Hulsizer has been with Webster’s psychology department since 1997. He will begin his position in January 2021. He is serving on an interim basis, rather than long-term, to continue focusing on teaching. He will be instructing courses while also fulfilling the roles of the dean.

“I still love being in the classroom. I really want to stay connected with students; I think that’s helpful for administration,” Hulsizer said.

Hulsizer says his seven years serving as the psychology department chair will be a positive asset to his administrative duties.

“A lot of times decisions are made at the dean level and above, and unless you’re really connected to students, you don’t necessarily think about the impact of those decisions on student life,” Hulsizer said. “If you’re not in the classroom, you don’t always get a sense of what that’s going to mean.”

Hulsizer and Wallner take similar approaches to their goals for the students of the college. Since his appointment as dean in 2017, Wallner has worked to increase grant funding and expand experiential learning opportunities for students.

Previous experience teaching and co-teaching classes at Webster during his time as dean gave him a unique perspective on student achievement, Wallner said.

“That’s what we do in higher education: provide opportunities for students. Hopefully, if one thing is my legacy, it is that we helped students reach their academic and career goals,” Wallner said.

College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Michael Hulsizer teaches his Thursday psychology class about social learning. Photo by Charlotte Renner.

Continuing Wallner’s mission, Hulsizer plans on assisting faculty with academic goals in addition to maintaining close relationships with students. Hulsizer plans on creating an environment conducive to student success.

“I’m really looking forward to working with faculty, helping them better meet the needs of their students,” Hulsizer said. “They’re wonderful folks, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of working with them.”

Hulsizer asserted the importance of working with faculty concerning the success of the college and its departments in the future. However, COVID-19 regulations are a top priority for Hulsizer.

Since March, he has been collaborating with the college to effectively handle instruction during the pandemic. Hulsizer advocates critically thinking through a problem and planning ahead.

“I try to look ahead several steps down and say, ‘Okay, this hasn’t come up yet, but it’s going to. So what can we do to prepare for that?’ As dean, I’ll take the same approach which is, what problems do we have right now? Let’s try and solve those,” Hulsizer said. “Whatever I can do to help faculty with that, and by extension, students, I’m going to do.”

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