Dean steps down

IUS Horizon

Cliff Staten
Cliff Staten

After 12 years, Cliff Staten, dean of Social Sciences, is leaving his position as dean to become a full-time faculty member.

Staten said he decided to retire from the dean position because he wanted a change of pace.

“My passion is teaching and there are certain things I’d like to do that it’s almost impossible to do in this position,” Staten said. “It’s time for some new blood here.”

Staten will finish his term this summer, and a new dean will be in place by the fall semester.

Gilbert Atnip, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said as of now, it is unknown who the new dean will be. A committee of faculty members will recommend which candidate they think is best and the chancellor will vote.

“The process, which is done by committee members, is basically first we ask people to indicate that they are interested,” Atnip said. “The faculty and the school will interview them, I’ll interview them and the chancellor will interview them.”

The committee is made up of faculty members from different disciplines so there can be a variety when making the decision.

“The rules require that the committee needs to be representative of the disciplines,” Atnip said. “There has to be some broad representation. There’s a part time faculty member on the committee and also a faculty member from outside the school. It’s pretty balanced.”

Some of the responsibilities of being a dean for a school is maintaining the budget and assessing and evaluating faculty members. Staten said his largest task is hiring new faculty members.

“The most important resources we have on campus are our faculty,” Staten said. “It’s important to hire good people that fit our campus, not just that they have the expertise in a particular area.”

Staten said he has enjoyed his time being dean and is pleased with the accomplishments he has achieved. Some of these achievements include creating a bachelor’s degree in journalism, helping to form the Institute for Local and Oral History and constructing Honors Programs in various studies.

“Our greatest accomplishment is that we really have a culture of excellence in teaching,” Staten said. “We expect our faculty to be excellent teachers and researchers. I think for the most part we have achieved that.”

Because Staten has been dean for 12 years, he has created close bonds with the faculty and students. Jim St. Clair, professor of journalism, has known Staten ever since he came to IU Southeast.

“I think [Staten] is outstanding,” St. Clair said. “I have so much respect for him and he’s a natural leader. He just has a way of dealing with things in a calm and measured manner.”

St. Clair said, although he feels regret in seeing Staten leave his position, he believes Staten has done a great job and understands why he would want to step down.

“He’s been very supportive of programs and a great advocate for us,” St. Clair said. “He’s had the right to earn a change of pace. He’s a teacher, and I think that’s where his first love is, is the classroom.”

Kevin Coleman, political science senior, has taken a few classes with Staten such as American Foreign Policy and Terrorism. Coleman said he enjoys how Staten excelled both as a professor and as a dean.

“With as much as he had going on, he would stop everything to speak to a curious student wanting to visit his office,” Coleman said. “He was an administrator who hadn’t gotten so caught up in the bureaucracy that he forgot what makes for an excellent education: the classrooms, the teachers, and the students.”

Although Staten will be leaving his position as dean, he said he plans on doing many new things as a faculty member.

“When I finally made the decision to step down, I felt I could actually do all these things I want to do,” Staten said. “I want to take students either during the summer or even during the fall to Cuba and Nicaragua.”

Staten also said he is interesting in creating more interdisciplinary courses for students to take.

“I don’t see enough of that on our campus,” Staten said. “Let’s say we offered a 13-hour course on the trip to the new world. You could get science credit, political science credit and history credit. Those types of things I would like to see more of.”

Atnip said he anticipates the process of choosing a new dean to be a smooth transition.

Although Staten said he will initially miss being dean, he is anxious to start doing some new things that involve teaching.

Coleman said he appreciates the attitude Staten has always had toward students.

“We are losing a great dean but gaining a fantastic professor,” Coleman said.

By CLAIRE MUNN

Staff Writer

clamunn@umail.iu.edu