Dr. Gregory Straughn has moved into a new roll as assistant provost for general education, Provost Dr. Jeanine Varner said.
Last semester, Straughn served as dean of the ACU Honors College and director of core curriculum.
“We had a strong sense that as we rolled out the new core curriculum, it would require significant administrative oversight,” Varner said. “The time demands of that position forced us into a situation where we had to make a decision.”
Varner said one person could not effectively serve in both roles because each one requires a large commitment.
After discussing which role was more attractive to Straughn as well as what was most important for the university, Varner said they agreed it would be best for Straughn to move into the newly created position of assistant provost of general education because of its emphasis on working with the new core curriculum.
“He is the person who is most familiar with not just the details of the core curriculum and it’s implementation, but also with the grand vision of what the core curriculum can be,” Varner said. “This role with the core really requires both the vision and the detail orientation.”
Straughn said he has worked with the core for the last five years in various roles, a factor leading to his decision to move to general education.
“I’ve had a long connection with the development of the core, and I’ve felt very strongly that at this point in the process, we need to make sure we have someone ready to go as the semester begins rather than getting someone new in and having to learn the ins and outs of how we got here,” Straughn said.
In his new role, Straughn will focus on implementing the new core curriculum as well as administrative core details such as making sure classes have teachers, collecting evaluations and feedback in order to improve classes and creating opportunities for guest speakers.
“I want the core to be an experience that is engaging to students while they are here – something that’s thought provoking while they are here,” Straughn said.
While a search begins for a new dean of the Honors College, Dr. Joe Stephenson, assistant dean of the Honors College and assistant professor of English, will step in as interim.
“Dr. Stephenson has been the associate dean for a good long while, and I know that he can continue to serve the college effectively while we conduct this national search,” Varner said.
The goal of the search is for a new appointment to begin in fall 2011, and Varner said it has already generated several applicants. She said she will assemble a search committee soon to help make an appointment for a new dean of the Honors College.
“I look forward to handing over a thriving Honors College to a new dean once summer comes,” Stephenson said.