CLAS leadership changes; welcomes new chairs and directors

This is a time of transition throughout the University and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is no exception. Dean Chris McCord, who led the college for nearly a decade, was named Acting Provost in June. Judy Ledgerwood was confirmed by the Board of Trustees as Acting Dean during their August meeting.

Ledgerwood, a Presidential Engagement Professor, also served as former chair of the Department of Anthropology and most recently as director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. While with the Center, she oversaw community outreach projects and K–16 teacher training on Southeast Asian topics. The Center also partners with US Department of State, international entities and other organizations on academic and youth leadership training programs. One of only seven federally designated National Resource Centers for Southeast Asian Studies, the Center is a hub of scholarship, with more than 30 faculty associates and affiliates. A cultural anthropologist and an international expert on Cambodia, she was one of the very first Americans who arrived in Cambodia after the country reopened to Westerners in 1989, helping libraries and archives preserve documents.

Sociology chair Kirk Miller joined the college office earlier this month as Associate Dean of Academic Administration, overseeing instructional staffing and scheduling, faculty and staff ADA accommodations, for credit online and off-campus courses and serving as a liaison to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness is regards to data acquisition and analysis.

The College welcomes seven new chairs and directors who will begin their tenure this academic year:

  • Dr. Barbara Gonzalez, Division of Statistics
  • Dr. Christopher Einolf, Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies
  • Dr. Christina Abreu, Center for Latino and Latin American Studies
  • Dr. Mehdi Semati, Acting Chair, Communication
  • Dr. Mike Ezell, Acting Chair, Sociology
  • Dr. Eric Jones, Acting Director, Center for Southeast Asian Studies
  • Beth McFarland – Wilson, Director CLAS Secondary Educator Licensure

In addition to new personnel, two units within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have changed their names to better reflect their areas of study.

The Department of Geography is now known as the Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences. Only the department name is changing, the degree names and course prefixes for geography and meteorology will stay the same. The Center for Non-Governmental Organization Leadership and Development (NGOLD) is now the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies. The degree name “community leadership and civic engagement” will become “nonprofit and NGO studies.”  We encourage the NIU community to use the programs’ new names and refrain from shortening them to acronyms since it is confusing to those new to NIU and to external audiences such as prospective students and parents.

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