Terry Langan was announced as the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Monday, Jan. 9, after being offered the position last week.
After serving as the interim dean since April, Langan was selected over three other finalists for the position—including Kris Bunton of St. Thomas.
Langan is replacing his former boss, Marisa Kelly, who took the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs in late 2010 at Ithaca College in New York.
The College of Arts and Sciences oversees 22 different departments and is the largest college at the university.
However, challenges for the new dean exist. The growing population of students interested in sciences at St. Thomas has created logistical problems, according to Langan.
“For the past three summers we have been remodeling, trying to create space where space doesn’t exist,” Langan said. “We will do more of that this summer.”
The dean’s office oversees around 90 budgets; those include the 22 departments, interdisciplinary programs and about a dozen more on top of the departments, Langan said.
“Each department will have their own budget, they will put in a request once a year and the dean will approve or not approve some or all,” Langan said.“If a faculty member has a project that needs support and the department doesn’t have the budget, they can make requests on me. I am happy to support some really good things that people…want to do.”
The dean supervises around 250 faculty and 40 staff members.
Langan said the dean’s office has already hired five out of 24 new faculty members needed in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“It’s kind of cool to think about what effect this hiring season will have on the college,” Langan said.
The addition of faculty means new curriculum and courses for students, Langan said.
“(In the history department) this year, we have a new East Asian class and a Middle East option, and they have been going very well,” Langan said. “A couple hires last year made that possible and gave students who are interested in something outside of Europe or the U.S. an opportunity to study some different history.”
Junior Katie Olson likes the idea of new professors and courses.
“I think sometimes people around here don’t like too much change,” Olson said. “If it is positive change, I am all for it.”
Freshman Yvonne Gerten likes the prospect too.
“I think that’s pretty awesome, having a bunch of new choices,” Gerten said.
Patrick Roche can be reached at email@example.com