College of Health and Human Services interim dean talks about new position

Brooke Schwartz, News Editor

In an empty room in Klehm Hall, Jeanne Lord sat surrounded by empty walls and empty offices.

When the Board of Trustees approved the college restructuring plan over the summer, they named Lord, who was located at the old College of Business and Technology Sciences for 10 years, as the interim dean of the newly approved College of Health and Human Services.

Lord was assigned to a building, Klehm Hall, and associate deans and department chairs started being chosen as Lord went out and bought office supplies and business cards and the building started to populate.

“It really was starting from the ground up,” Lord said, as everyone came together and tried to figure out college committees, budgets and policies for this new college.

The new college has three main missions, which were decided on by Lord and the various department chairs and directors.

“The first is creating visibility,” Lord said. “We want to create, first of all, an on-campus visibility and identity, letting people know who we are. Creating visibility on campus, but also creating visibility in the community and creating regional visibility.”

To achieve this, a “Taste of the College of Health and Human Services” event is being planned for Sept. 4 in the Library Quad, where music, food and giveaways will be set up and students can learn more about the new college and its mission.

“The second goal is undergraduate research and really making that a top priority for the college, and then (our third goal) is student mentoring,” Lord said. “We know that those two things really lead to retention and to student success.”

Student mentoring is something Lord said she has always found an important part of an education, as she found through her own time as a student at Eastern.

“I can still point to two, three key people that served as mentors (to me), and people that I’m still in touch with. I have a mentor here in Charleston, I was a student here in Klehm Hall and I remember sitting in (her) classroom. She is still my mentor,” she said. “Even just this summer, sitting here in my office in my new role and I thought, ‘I need to pick up my phone and call her’ because I just needed some advice. Those relationships are so important I think for students.”

Lord said she thinks it gives students an advantage to graduate from a health college, as well as giving students the ability to be surrounded by people with similar learning paths with whom they can debate and grow.

Jake Emmett, the interim associate dean of the college, said he likes all the other experiences students are offered, such as food labs, the autism center, the adult fitness program and others.

“We are obviously the College of Health and Human Services, but within that college there we have a lot of practical, hands-on experiences for the students.”

Lord said she was very excited about how all the transitions were going so far and about the trajectory of her college.

“Some of (creating the college) has been very challenging, but also exciting and really, really positive,” she said.

Brooke Schwartz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].