The School of Arts & Humanities is without a permanent graduate dean, but Associate Professor Gerald Soliday has agreed to step in and save the day, or rather the academic year.
A professor of historical studies and history of ideas, Soliday has stepped in as the interim associate graduate dean for one year. His temporary title ensures that graduate student issues will be handled in a timely fashion. Soliday’s appointment also gives the School of Arts & Humanities time to search for a permanent graduate dean.
“Usually the associate dean for the School of Arts & Humanities serves for a five or six-year term or something like that,” Soliday said. “And we are searching for someone to take the position over.”
However temporary his position might be, Soliday is no stranger to the associate dean position. He served as graduate dean before Michael Wilson, the School’s outgoing titleholder.
“For me, the nicest part of this job is I get to meet graduate students whom I otherwise wouldn’t meet in my courses,” Soliday said. ” I teach certain kinds of courses and I get some students in those courses. But this way, I meet many more graduate students and I enjoy doing that.”
Dennis Kratz, dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, said Soliday’s willingness to fill the vacant slot shows his commitment to both the School and its graduate students.
“Frankly, he responded to an appeal based on the good of the school,” Kratz said. “There are still people, happily, in this world whose main motive is helping out. It confirmed my view that Dr. Soliday is really devoted to this school.”
Soliday’s new commitment carries with it a big responsibility. With three courses to teach and graduate student issues to handle, he will be busy. However, he will receive a lighter course load in the spring semester to compensate for his busy fall.
In addition, John Barber, senior lecturer and assistant director for Rhetoric and Communication, agreed to assist Soliday with scheduling duties.
“I’m just trying to do what I can to help out the graduate students,” Barber said.
Although the search for the permanent graduate dean is in its infant stages, Kratz said a new appointment should be announced by the spring. In the meantime, graduate student Bill Wells said he is confident that student degree plans and other student concerns are in capable hands.
“Dr. Soliday’s been graduate dean before,” Wells said. “I was glad to see another familiar face in the dean’s office.”