Dr. Stephen Johnson, Â associate professor of preaching and director of contextual education, will serve as theÂ new dean of the Honors College concluding a semester-long search. Faculty, staff and students participated in the search process and submitted their recommendations to the Office of the Provost on April 20.
An undisclosed number of applications for the position were narrowed to four final candidates, including two from ACU and two from outside the Abilene community.
“Dr. Johnson is an experienced and highly successful professor,” said Jeanine Varner, provost. “He is a remarkably creative individual who will provide inspirational leadership for the Honors College.”
Dr. Wendell Willis, professor of Bible and honors studies, served as chair of the faculty search committee, and Charles Mattis, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of biology, served as the dean on the committee.
Each of the four finalists spent a day on campus interviewing with both faculty and student search committees, the Honors College staff and the provost. In addition, each candidate made a teaching presentation to a class at ACU.
Dr. Joe Stephenson, assistant dean of the Honors College and assistant professor of English and honors studies, has served as the interim dean both before and after Dr. Greg Straughn’s term as Honors College Dean. Straughn served as dean for one semester, during the fall of 2010, before accepting a promotion serve as Chair of the Quality Enhancement Program in the Office of the Provost.
“We are looking forward to having a new dean to generate both fresh ideas and involvement,” Stephenson said. “We are excited to see what new ideas for course offerings and co-curricular activities the new dean will bring.”
Mary Tomkins, junior psychology major from College Station, said she enjoyed being a part of the search committee.
“It isÂ cool to feel like it actually matters what we think,” Tomkins said. “I also feel like I will have more of aÂ chance to build a relationship with the dean now that I’ve had the opportunity to see theÂ candidates and talk to them before they become the dean.”
Brittany Kight, senior information technology major from Corpus Christi, said she believed the search was conducted better than last year’s search for a dean.
Rebecca Dial, junior political science and history major from Lexington, S.C., and Joe Wilbanks, sophomore biochemistry major from Sachse, also said the search went well, and both said they enjoyed the opportunity to participate.
Dial said drive and good ideas would be the most important qualities in a new dean.
Wilbanks said he looked for creativity and involvement.
“I think the most important qualities of the new dean were a creative approach to their leadership position and a desire to be a part of the Honors College in every aspect,” Wilbanks said.
The Honors College also will look to the new dean to continue to shape its mission to support the recruitment, retention and nurturing of gifted students by providing enhanced academic opportunities and to strengthen the academic culture of the university, said Stephenson.
For more information about the Honors College visit www.acu.edu/academics/honors.