As the semester begins and students and professors adjust to new classes and schedules, the department of languages and literatures has changes ahead with the recent appointment of associate professor of Spanish Lori Bernard as department chair.
Over the last five and a half years Dr. Rose McEwen served as chair of the department of languages and literatures, but chose to step down after the fall semester.
“I loved what I did and I felt I received a lot of support, but it is a very demanding job,” McEwen said.
The job of department chair entails “basically everything you can imagine in the administration of an academic program,” McEwen said, including recruiting, hiring and training both new faculty and teaching assistants and scheduling classes for upcoming semesters.
McEwen said that it was a combination of the large workload and other personal matters that led to her decision to step down.
“If ever somebody has to be on call 24/7 it is the department chair. I also coordinate several study abroad programs. Most importantly, I have a 14-year-old daughter ... so my priorities changed somewhat,” said McEwen.
McEwen also said that holding the position of department chair began to affect both her health and teaching, as she was prone to lack of sleep as a result of her busy schedule.
According to McEwen, although her priorities may have changed slightly, she still cares deeply for her department.
“I was the person who recommended … Bernard for various reasons, including the fact that she’s proven that she has the skills to efficiently administer an academic program. She also had held the position for a semester while I was on sabbatical in the fall of 2010. Finally, she is a superb instructor and very focused and I’m sure she’ll do a phenomenal job,” McEwen said.
According to McEwen, the department chair is selected based on certain qualifications. “It has to be a tenured faculty member and someone who is interested and capable in holding the position,” McEwen said. “To be frank there was only one person who met those requirements and the department is fortunate that it is … Bernard.”
Although McEwen has relinquished her former position, she said that she is looking forward to working as an associate professor. She also said she will be “dedicating a little more time to some of the projects I started before and during my chairmanship that were difficult to see blossom because of the time demands and requirements of my old position.”
“In other words, more scholarly activity,” she added.