New Provost and Dean of Faculty Nominated
At the beginning of the Spring 2016 Semester, Provost Steven Sullivan and Dean of Faculty Lucia Miree announced that they are stepping down from their current positions and are going back to teaching in the next academic year. Their decision necessitated the search for new candidates to take over their duties and responsibilities.
For the Provost position, the AUBG administration nominated Professor Emilia Zankina, Chair of Department of Politics and European Studies. As for the position of Dean of Faculty, the univeristy proposed Professor Robert White, Chair of the Business Department. The final decision will be taken during the Board Meeting on May 19-21, 2016.
If elected as Provost, Zankina commented that she will continue the work of the previous Provost, but would also like to focus on the quality of education the university provides. She is considering several initiatives to create incentives for current faculty and to attract new ones. As for students, a study is currently being conducted to help identify strategies that could be undertaken to make the university more successful in terms of attracting new students.
Looking at the challenges that lie ahead, Zankina plans to improve the visibility of the university and to establish linkages with government institutions, companies, and NGO’s. This way she hopes to “build partnerships that will increase our visibility and reputation that is proven by our quality.” After the nomination of Prof. Zankina for Provost, Professor Ivelin Sardamov became the new Chair of Department of Politics and European Studies.
Prof. White, who is nominated for the position of Dean of Faculty, said that it is too early to comment on his future plans at this stage. However, he assured that if elected, he would like to focus on improving efficiency. Following White’s nomination, Professor Marenglen Berisha was appointed as the new Chair of the Business Department.
Zankina and White will not be teaching in the following Fall 2016 Semester. Most probably, starting from Spring 2017, they will be teaching one course per semester depending on the needs of their departments.
Regarding the nomination of Prof. Zankina for Provost and of Prof. White for Dean of Faculty, the AUBG students take different views. Some prefer to withold comments, since they do not know the professors. Others are more concerned with the changes their future election will bring to the departments they are currently part of.
“I think those are great choices. However I am a little concerned about who will be teaching the classes that professor Zankina was teaching these past semesters,’’ said Jetmira Allushi, a third-year student majoring in Business Administration and Political Science.
The same question asks also Noel Ceta, a second-year student and Student Government senator. “I believe they are extremely qualified professors,” he said. “Most probably, they will do an amazing job in their new positions, but AUBG loses academic power in terms of the teaching and learning experience, because they will not be able to teach more than one course per semester.’’ However, Ceta believes that their nomination has a financial advantage as “the external search has been only draining money with no apparent results.”
The students who have opinion on the topic are supportive and have positive expectations.
“Some change was both needed and expected, and I think that Prof. Zankina and Prof. White are two excellent nominations,’’ said Akri Cipa, a graduating student majoring in Political Science and Business Administration. “My expectation is that they will try to shake some things up. At the same time, I hope and I believe that they will be quite responsive and that the students, faculty and university as a whole will benefit from their commitment and openness to communication.’’
“I am confident in Professor White’s leadership abilities. He has proven himself during his term as the chair of the Business Department. He is professional and intelligent,’’ said Artem Eremin, a fourth-year AUBG student. “I do not have any doubts he will be doing well on the new position.”
Some professors showed similar support for the new appointees, whereas others avoided prematurely commenting on the future prospects, nevertheless wishing them success.
“Zankina has a very impressive CV from her studies and her jobs in the US prior to joining AUBG, and she has won the respect and trust of AUBG faculty as an articulate and efficient Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees,’’ said history professor Evelina Kelbetcheva. “I am more than confident that she will be an excellent Provost and will be engaged in true innovation of the academic curriculum and the diversification of the out-reach activities of AUBG.’’
“Tough times such as these are also exciting times. And while it was a pleasure working with the old leadership I look forward to collaborating with the new Dean and Provost on making the AUBG stronger and fitter for the modern challenges and the place of choice for the brightest students in the region,” said Andrey Gurov, business professor.
“My own impression is that professors Sullivan and Miree have been doing a very effective job and for their own reasons they decided to step down,’’ said economics professor Jeffrey Nilsen. “I have great faith in both Prof. Zankina and Prof. White, so we’ll still be ‘in good hands’. As with any new post, there may be a learning curve and I’m sure the faculty will be cooperative.’’
This article is a joint effort of the AUBG Daily Owls Diana Petkova and Sonja Methoxha.