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    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Math Geek Mom: Changes in Leadership

Campus transitions.


March 19, 2015

While some areas of Economics do not directly involve business, many interesting aspects of the subject do relate to the operation of for-profit firms. One such topic is the idea of a “loss leader,” in which a business will offer one product for a very low price, at a loss, in hopes of gaining customers who will then purchase other goods at the same time. I found myself thinking of this concept this past week as a game of “musical offices” takes place on campus as we await the arrival of our new President and find various members of the community taking on new leadership roles on campus, roles that are certainly a gain (and not at all a loss) for the college community.

In my seventeen years at Urusline, I have worked under only one President and one Vice President for Academic Affairs. They hired me, retained me, tenured me and eventually promoted me and watched as my life unfolded in the midst of teaching my classes. They were there when we took our daughter home and were there as I worked to build up the Math department. I never run into our President without her asking me about my daughter and hearing, it never fails, that she can’t believe how old she is. I sometimes disagreed with them, as when I found my office moved in response to construction following a tornado in 2013, but most of the time I found myself agreeing with their vision of the future of our college. It is a blessing to be able to get along with one’s superiors, and for that I am thankful that the past seventeen years have gone so well. However, last fall the news arrived that our President, Sister Diana Stano, O.S.U. will be retiring at the conclusion of this academic year. A search began to find her replacement

With that announcement, it seemed as if the dominos began to fall. We soon learned that Dr. JoAnne Podis, our Vice President for Academic Affairs, will also be retiring. Until a replacement can be found, Dr. Elizabeth Kavran, our current dean of Arts and Sciences and former member of the Biology department, will hold that position as an interim VPAA. But what to do about the position of Dean of Arts and Sciences? No worry- Dr. Sarah Preston, the current chair of the Chemistry department is ready and willing to take that position on an interim basis. They are both my friends and supporters of the STEM disciplines at Ursuline, so this was good news to see them take on new leadership roles on campus. I believe that my department’s future is in good hands.

I don’t think that anyone was surprised when Sister Chris DeVinne, O.S.U. was chosen as the seventeenth president of Ursuline College. A member of the local congregation of Ursuline sisters, she is a graduate of Ursuline College (as a Math Major) and was a member of the English department for many years. She had also served various administrative roles at Ursuline, including director of the core curriculum and Dean of Arts and Sciences, before spending the last five years as VPAA at Notre Dame University of Maryland. She is very dedicated to the university and a natural leader. I remember the smile on her face when she heard how happy I was to leave another school in the area to teach the women of Ursuline. She continues our commitment to women’s education.

I don’t anticipate that these changes in leadership will have much effect on my day to day activities; they will probably have nothing new to say about how I teach Statistics or Calculus, or even about where my office is located. However, it is always refreshing to gain people in leadership roles who can find new ways to look at the school we call “home.” Best of luck to everyone, and welcome home, Sister Chris!

     Drs. Stano and Podis: wishing you all the best in your retirement. Thank you for many years of dedicated service. We will miss you!


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