Leadership Transition in School of Professional Studies

TO: The University Community
FROM: Thayne M. McCulloh, Ph.D.
SUBJ: Leadership Transition in the School of Professional Studies
DATE: May 13, 2010

It is with mixed emotions that I share the following with you.  After considerable discernment, Dr. Mary McFarland, Dean of the School of Professional Studies, has tendered her resignation as Dean effective late summer to pursue a new and exciting opportunity: that of Program Director for Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins.  The project is focused on the provision of educational opportunities to displaced peoples, particularly those who are in refugee camps in Africa.  At a recent meeting of world-wide Jesuit university presidents in Mexico City, Jesuit Superior General Adolfo Nicolas specifically identified this project as an example of the type of mission-centered educational work that Jesuit institutions ought to be engaged in.
Dean McFarland joined Gonzaga as Dean of the School of Professional Studies (SPS) in 1998; at that time, SPS had 3 small programs served by 12 faculty and 5 staff members, and also coordinated Summer School.  Today 42 full time faculty, 17 staff, and numerous adjunct faculty serve over 1,600 students in SPS annually in four undergraduate programs, three graduate programs and the doctoral program in Leadership Studies.

As Dean, Dr. McFarland has worked to keep the School present in the community and in the Jesuit Network.  She has served as the Gonzaga representative to JesuitNet and has been the President of the AJCU Deans of Adult Programs.  As co-founder of the Renaissance Center for Leadership, the leadership programs in SPS are directly connected to CEO's and other leaders in Spokane and the region..
In 2000, Fr. Spitzer asked Dean McFarland to lead a distance education initiative for the University.  An Early Innovators group was established to support faculty from across campus to learn to develop on-line courses reflective of the university's excellence and Jesuit identity.  Together with her faculty and staff colleagues, the SPS has developed a number of new programs, including the undergraduate pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and the MA in Communication and Leadership program; transformation of the RN-MSN program; and evolution of the BS in Exercise Science to a BS in Human Physiology.  Ensuring support for quality has resulted in a full ten year accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for the undergraduate and graduate programs in Nursing.

Dean McFarland's efforts have also led to the development of opportunities for graduate students to study abroad, in places as varied as Italy, Benin, Zambia, Osaka, and South Africa.  As coordinator for Gonzaga's involvement in the Oregon Province Twinning Agreement, she has coordinated efforts to support faculty engagement with colleagues at Javeriana University's campuses in both Bogata and Cali, Colombia.  Her involvement in the Jesuit Commons  endeavor will allow her-and through her efforts, Gonzaga-to be connected to the educational efforts of the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), Jesuit Commons, and actively work to fulfill the Jesuit expression of a preferential option for the poor of Africa.

I am very grateful for the many ways in which Dean McFarland has provided leadership to the School of Professional Studies, and more broadly to the academic endeavors of the University, during these past twelve years.  Together with Acting AVP Martin and incoming AVP Patricia Killen, I will work to name an Interim Dean and, over the course of the summer, a Search Committee to identify Dean McFarland's successor.  I invite the University Community to join me in thanking Dean Mary McFarland for her years of service, and congratulating her on this new and exciting opportunity.  Her involvement will in turn will allow Gonzaga to remain involved with this significant international endeavor.

Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.

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