By Gus Bode


Whitney Way

Daily Egyptian


Head: COLA dean named

Deck: Leonard emphasizes collaboration within college

Tags: Whitney Way, College of Liberal Arts, Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, John Nicklow, Alan Vaux, Rita Cheng

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said she looks forward to facing challenges head-on.

“I know it’s going to be a big job, but I know the college very well … with help and support of the university and faculty, we will do great things for the [Liberal Arts] college,” Kempf-Leonard said.

Kempf-Leonard said she felt a new sense of responsibility after her appointment by Chancellor Rita Cheng June 13 and immediately began considering solutions to the challenges the College of Liberal Arts faces.

Kempf-Leonard said her goals for the college include new student programs and developing new majors and minors. She said she hopes to improve the budget deficit problem and diversify the academic curriculum.


“A goal I really want to emphasize is collaborating with different departments of the college,” Kempf-Leonard said.  “It’s important that students get a well-rounded sense of education,” she said.

Kempf-Leonard said she wants to employ research collaborations and cross-listed courses that incorporate the academics of many departments into the student curriculum.

Cheng said Kempf-Leonard was selected because of her achievements as chair of the department of criminology and criminal justice. She said Kempf-Leonard introduced new programs such as her department’s doctoral program.

SIUC Provost John Nicklow said Kempf-Leonard was chosen because she displayed an intricate knowledge and interest in the college. He said Kempf-Leonard presented creative ideas which he believed would improve the college with short-term and long-term goals.

“She has a strong sense of collaboration and a good sense of fiscal management,” Nicklow said.

Duties of the dean include program planning and development, faculty development, recruitment and retention efforts, and resource enhancement. The dean also serves as spokesperson of the college, according to the College of Liberal Arts’ website.

Current dean Alan Vaux said he believes it’s time to retire.

He said he believes Kempf-Leonard will sufficiently address the issues within the college.

“The biggest problem she will face is the budget,” Vaux said. “Deciding what [programs] to cut to satisfy the budget was what I found most difficult.”

Vaux said the college provides 40 percent of the required general university curriculum, which can be a challenge, but he said he thinks Kempf-Leonard possesses the dedication and passion to overcome obstacles.

Kempf-Leonard said she will work collaboratively with the rest of the university to improve the colleges’ budget.

“I’m all about planning,” Kempf-Leonard said. “I want the college to be proactive, not responsive,” she said. “Engaging students in the college curriculum and informing students of the importance of a liberal arts education is prerogative.”

Kempf-Leonard said she will officially assume all responsibilities Aug. 1 once her appointment is ratified by the SIU Board of Trustees.