College of Science dean to retire

By Gus Bode

Search for replacement in early stages

Jack Parker hopes to be happily mowing his lawn by summer.

With the search for a replacement dean underway, the dean of the College of Science plans to retire and pursue other interests.

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“This really sounds pathetic,” Parker said. “I like mowing my lawn.”

During his tenure, Parker was instrumental in developing a doctoral program in physics, but what is most memorable for many of his colleagues is his passion for teaching and his kindness.

“I hate to see him go,” said Linda Martin, assistant dean for external affairs. “It’s been a great 12 years with him.”

Martin said she would miss Parker for both his professional and personal manner. With a policy of open access Parker always tries to be accessible and listen to everyone.

“Working with the dean is probably the best place you could work in the college,” Martin said.

She said Parker’s thoughtfulness showed in the dark chocolate he included in her Christmas gifts.

“Jack and I both share a love of dark chocolate. So, I’ll never eat a bite of dark chocolate that I won’t think of Jack,” Martin said.

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Parker’s tenure at SIUC has made him a familiar presence for many on campus.

“We have a long-standing working relationship,” said John Martinko, chair of microbiology.

Martinko said Parker’s sense of personal responsibility to the college and the University impressed him.

“He really believes in the teaching and education side of the University,” Martinko said.

He said this belief can be seen when Parker teaches a class that is not required of him.

Jolynn Smith is the lecturer that co-teaches Biology 202 with Parker.

“He’s just a master teacher,” Smith said. “It’s been a pleasure to teach with him.”

Smith said Parker helps students without a lot of science background understand difficult concepts. For this reason among others, she said, Parker received the Outstanding Faculty Member in Core Curriculum this fall.

He also took on the responsibilities of the associate dean for instruction in the college of science after the former associate dean’s retirement.

These increased duties included Parker’s personally meeting with students, attending open houses and teaching.

Parker said his secret to success is working with good people.

“Deans are dependent upon the chairs of the departments,” Parker said.

Parker said he’ll miss his position at the University, but he has no big plans for his retirement.

The process is already underway to search for a new dean of the College of Science.

Provost John Dunn said a search committee has already been formed. Simultaneously, search committees are looking for deans of the College of Business and Administration and the College of Education and Human Services.

“All three searches are very close in where they are in the timeline,” Dunn said. “It’s a little unusual to have three at one time, but hey, you know, we’ll make it happen.”

Dunn said he hopes to begin a review of applicants by January and have deans selected by July.

Reporter Katie Pennell can be reached at [email protected]

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