Administration News

Meet the candidates for the next CLASS dean

dean of CLASS

Candidates for the next CLASS dean were able to share their ideas in an Open Forum this past week. | File photo

Over the last week, the University has been considering candidates for the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. 

The four candidates are Marie T. Mora from the University of Missouri- St. Louis, Rose Marie Ward from Miami University, Stephanie Shonekan from the University of Missouri- Columbia and Daniel P. O’Connor from UH. 

Here’s a breakdown of what all four candidates had to say during their open forum presentations this week:

Marie T. Mora

Mora is associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives as well as the professor of economics at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. 

Mora envisions expansion and inclusion for the College of Liberal Arts to drive UH in becoming a top 50 public university. She emphasizes the involvement that CLASS has around the campus and wants to change the perceptions about higher education in liberal arts. 

“I think there are a lot of exciting opportunities,” Mora said. “One of the things is given the size of CLASS and the birth of disciplines, I would love to position CLASS to be the college that drives the implementation of the University’s strategic plan.”

Mora went on to add how CLASS is significant to the University as a whole.

“Somebody had mentioned that CLASS has tentacles all over campus and so what we’re doing in the college should be impacting the entire University and we need to find ways to amplify that so people will know all this great work is being done in CLASS and the impact that CLASS has in this institution,” Mora said.

Rose Marie Ward

At the Miami University College of Education, Health and Society, Ward serves as a professor and the associate dean of their graduate school.

A lot of her research focuses on college student mental health and discussions of alcohol use through social media. She drew on this during her presentation when she spoke about how stress and anxiety are at an all time high for college students, and emphasized how she would help create resources to aid students in this matter. 

“When I think about the opportunities for some students, and the lofty goals in the near future, I want to be a part of that,” Ward said. “But I don’t just want to be a passive observer in the process, I want to partner with people, partner with you.”

Stephanie Shonekan 

Shonekan is senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as a professor of music at University of Missouri- Columbia. 

Shonekan addressed developing tenured and non-tenured faculty relief for progression through grantsmanships. She called attention to building student success through internship and career services, 4 + 1 programs, which would help students get both their bachelor and masters degrees, as well as peer assistance workshops to create involvement with the student body and the University.

“I see that the University of Houston has really grown in terms of expenditures for research which is impressive and I wanted to make sure that CLASS is continuing to be a part of that growth,” Shonekan said.  

Daniel P. O’Connor 

Prior to being appointed as the interim dean for CLASS, O’Connor has done research with the health and human services department, as well as served as their department chair and the associate dean for faculty and research.

O’Connor drew on those experiences in his open forum presentation, while also highlighting what CLASS has been able to accomplish over the last year as interim dean. 

“My experiences match the opportunity,” O’Connor said in his presentation. “I don’t take anything for granted, and I do work at the University so I appreciate being selected as a candidate.”

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