Last spring, Steve Estes stepped down from his position as the Dean of Professional Studies to take a position in the Health and Physical Education department as a professor.
It was only until the beginning of this semester that an solution to the vacant position was found. Normally only one interim Dean would be placed in the role. In this case two people, Brenda Blessing, professor in the health and physical education department and Murray Nabors, Dean of Liberal Arts will be filling in for Estes.
According to Jeanne Daffron, Provost of the University, Estes stepped down for personal reasons.
“[Estes’] wife has also been a professor and an administrator in the same kind of area and really hasn’t been able to find employment here that she wants really,” Daffron said, “So she’s currently employed in Colorado.”
Daffron said that Estes wished to have more time to spend with his wife than he did as the Dean of Professional studies.
University President Robert Vartabedian agrees that splitting the role into separate responsibilities is not ideal, but given current conditions, works well.
“I think a lot of what we’ve tried to do is because of the tight finances,” Vartabedian said, “we’ve initially tried to expand people’s responsibilities to get thought the summer, and now we’re ready to announce on how the position will be filled.”
The duties that Nabors will handle are personnel related. This includes faculty evaluation and tenure review. Blessing will handle the more day-to-day operations of the role.
Another reason for splitting the roles includes the fact that blessing served as interim before Estes was hired, making her very qualified in the role in the eyes of Daffron.
“We still want [Blessing] to handle her duties as chair of the Health Physical Education and Recreation department,” Daffron said.
Daffron recognizes that this model cannot hold for the long term, for any position. With that said, A search will begin immediately and Daffron expects to have someone hired by the end of next semester.
I have a lot of confidence in those two individuals and everyone in the college of professional studies we have very strong leadership in the chair positions in that college,” Daffron said, “I’m not concerned. I have confidence that things will get done correctly and well.”