SIU College of Arts and Media searches for new interim dean

By Diksha Mittal, Staff Reporter

The search for the new interim dean is underway at the College of Arts and Media. 

Three candidates are being considered for the position. Meera Komarraju, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, is in direct contact with the deans and other departments of SIU like the Center for Teaching Excellence, and honors programs. 

“I meet with all of my direct reports [deans] once a month. In addition, each academic dean has a monthly meeting with me one-on-one,” Komarraju said. 

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Komarraju oversees the academic mission of the university as the chief academic officer. Apart from that, in the case of any emergency or critical issue, she is available to meet with the deans to resolve issues.

“When the pandemic happened,[…] we had to make some very quick decisions and end the semester in as smooth a way as possible and had to plan for fall and spring,” Komarraju said.

Her expectation for the new interim dean is to be the leader of that college. 

“They are responsible for anything that pertains to the college,” Komarraju said. “That includes delivering all the academic programs, making sure they are done well, that the students are getting what they sign up for in terms of the scheduling of the courses, making sure instructors are there and that the program delivers what it is supposed to deliver in terms of the curriculum, outcomes and so on. That is the academic side.”

She said the dean is also expected to manage the budget and expected to do some sort of fundraising to find additional resources to support the college. This could be done through alumni donations. 

“Currently, the focus is on enrollment. So the deans are asked to increase enrollment,” Komarraju said. 

She said the dean’s role at SIU is also related to the marketing of the program and figuring out which programs attract more students. 

All the three candidates in the race for the interim dean position have focused on collaboration and restructuring the department, the importance of enrollment and necessity of increasing the scale of research in the department. 

Each candidate has had prior administrative experience and has been involved in important research work in the recent years.

H.D. Motyl, Associate Professor of Radio, Television and Digital Media and the current interim dean of MCMA, listed reorganization of the department, collaboration and innovation, and celebration as important guiding principles in his leadership within the college. 

“The most important part of this is to really build a culture of what we want this college to be and create a foundation,” Motyl said. 

He proposed collaborating on year long, multiple projects across campus like producing a sitcom.

Another candidate is associate professor of architectural studies,Craig Anz.

Anz has a background in urban studies, architecture and environmental design. He has served as an associate dean for academic affairs at two separate colleges. One of the colleges is CASA. He also spent a year away on an educational leave serving as a guest associate dean for the Virginia Commonwealth School for the Arts.

“My leadership style is typically Aristotelian, just like a teacher who walks beside [his pupils]. I believe my leadership is about leading and serving,” Anz said. “I believe in creating a culture and community where we work together on teams, and as an architect, I’m also project oriented so I believe in goals and developing the right teams for it.” Segun Ojewuyi is the chair of the department of theater and professor of directing. 

He said besides addressing the problem of enrollment, he teaches students collaboration in theatre which is a useful skill that he can apply to his leadership style. 

“I’ve also walked outside of the academy, learning the ropes of arts administration and management, and especially networking, which in the university we call multi-disciplinary partnerships, and interdisciplinary partnerships,” Ojewuyi said.

Ojewuyi said his goal would be direction of both financial and human capital in the college and effect and enhance faculty-student research efforts. He also placed emphasis on an approach that promotes diversity and anti-racism, not in terms of identity but ideas.

“We do our best to make sure that the process is fair, objective and everybody gets a chance. If they have put their name in, they have a chance to get selected,” Komarraju said.

 

Staff reporter Diksha Mittal can be reached at dmittal@dailyegyptian.com.

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