Hendrickson named interim dean of Graduate School 

Stephanie Markham, Editor-in-Chief

Political science professor Ryan Hendrickson will start in July as the interim dean of the Graduate School.

Hendrickson is taking over for current dean Robert Augustine, who is set to leave Eastern for a position on the national Council of Graduate Schools beginning in August.

Hendrickson’s new position will also require him to oversee the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the Office of International Students and Scholars, the Study Abroad Office, the English Language Center and the Life Center.

Hendrickson said he applied for the job because it fit his previous and ongoing interests, as he was graduate coordinator for the political science department for 14 years, teaches international relations and has background in research.

Augustine’s two-year appointment as vice president of the Council of Graduate Schools will require him to relocate to Washington, D.C. after having been dean for 15 years.

Blair Lord, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, said there was no way to search beyond campus for candidates because of the timing of Augustine’s departure.

Lord said he set up a screening committee consisting of Allen Lanham, the dean of library sciences, and a member of the Council on Graduate Studies from each of the four colleges.

From there, 12 people applied for the position, and the screening committee interviewed some of them, held an open interview session for the campus and recommended two finalists to Lord.

He said the process went quickly as they were rushing to find someone by the end of the semester.

“I was stunned that there was interest of 12 people on campus for the dean’s position,” Lord said. “It speaks highly to how the graduate dean is viewed on campus, the role it plays in the administrative processes and the impact it has on our graduate education.”

Lord said he still has to talk with incoming president David Glassman about when to begin the search for an “ongoing appointment,” or someone who would fill the position indefinitely.

He said interim positions are meant to last a year but sometimes are extended to two years to give the university more planning time.

“The timing of that (hire) Dr. Glassman and I will work out,” he said. “Could be as early as the start of the academic year to open a search.”

Hendrickson said his main goals are to make sure Eastern’s Graduate School stays competitive and to continue promoting departments through the First Choice graduate program.

Augustine started First Choice to highlight departments that meet certain standards of graduate education.

“When I was graduate coordinator, our department achieved First Choice status twice,” Hendrickson said. “I’ll take that experience to the Graduate School to help encourage other programs to do it too.”

Lord said administrators do occasionally teach classes; however, the demands of Hendrickson’s new position will not likely afford him the time.

“The graduate dean is a fulltime job and I just cannot see teaching classes right now,” Hendrickson said.

Lord said many departments are not as stressed as they once were because of Eastern’s enrollment decline, though he has begun to analyze how political science might be set back by Hendrickson’s absence.

“It always puts a strain on the department that loses somebody, and there will be discussions with political science and with the dean of the College of Sciences as to the extent if any of coverage that we need to acquire,” he said.

Faculty members who move to interim administrative positions go from a nine-month contract to a 12-month contract, and an additional monthly stipend for administrative duties is negotiated, Lord said.


Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]