By GELSEY PLAZA
Lewis & Clark (LC) has a new face on campus: Catherine Gunther Kodat is the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Kodat began her new position on July 6, 2015, which led to former interim College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell to move back into her faculty position as professor of psychology.
After working as the director of the American Studies Program at Hamilton College, a small liberal arts college in New York, Kodat moved into greater administration roles. Serving as first the Dean, and then the Provost, at The University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, Kodat brings years of academic administrative experience to LC.
After working for three years at UArts, Kodat desired to get back to a liberal arts college. “I like being at a place where exploration and discovery are as important to students and faculty as professional preparation,” she said.
The intensive selection process for the Dean began in the summer of 2014, when President Glassner appointed a ten-member search committee. Associate professor of Mathematics, Naiomi Cameron, chaired the committee, and Brenda Barnum (’15), acted as the student representative. Beginning in the fall of 2015, the committee reviewed a multitude of applicants from across the nation. Then, in late February and early March, four candidates were invited to campus for in-person interviews with administration and were invited to attend public forums to meet faculty, staff, and students.
The selection process was marked with poor participation from students due to inopportune forum times, lack of communication, and little interest from students. Despite the lack of attendance, the students who did show up to the informational sessions asked the prospective Deans about variety of questions topics ranging from retention, to policy, to social justice issues.
After months of applicant review and the arduous process of decision- making, the selection committee picked Dr. Gunther Kodat to represent Lewis & Clark College at which point President Glassner appointed her to the new position.
“[Kodat] has hit the ground running with great energy and strong leadership,” President Glassner said. “She has a deep commitment to the liberal arts and great appreciation for the full range of academic disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences.” President Glasner hopes students will learn a great deal from her and will enjoy getting to know her.
Kodat asserts that she enjoys working with the faculty and students and strives to support their intellectual and artistic interests. “I learn something new every day, which is one of the chief pleasures of the job,” Kodat said.
“Right now my plan is to look and listen so I can learn what the members of the LC community themselves hope to accomplish for the college and then do what I can to support that.”