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Leadership changes at Miami University come to multiple departments

Provost Elizabeth Mullenix is part of recent changes that continue to happen at Miami.
Provost Elizabeth Mullenix is part of recent changes that continue to happen at Miami.

Recently, Miami University has undergone a significant number of deanship changes within various departments, with a search still underway in the College of Arts and Science (CAS). The hiring process for these positions is extensive to ensure that the best candidates are selected.

The Board of Trustees initiated this process, incorporating committees and a national search through the firm Storbeck Search. These committees are chaired by a dean appointed by Miami’s Provost Elizabeth Mullenix and consist of five faculty members. Mullenix said each committee includes four members selected by the college, and one appointed by her. One undergraduate student selected by Associated Student Government, one graduate student selected by the Graduate Student Association and one representative from the Alumni Advisory Board are also involved in the process.

The committee and the search firm are involved in the recruitment efforts, ensuring it is as thorough and successful as possible. Choosing who to hire for a dean position is an important decision, as the dean is the leader of his or her respective college.

“[The deans] work with their colleagues to set a vision for that college, and then they implement that vision,” Mullenix said. “They are expected to be a fundraiser for their college, and we are currently in a comprehensive funding campaign, so the deans all have fundraising goals as part of that campaign.”

The deans also have roles related to hiring within their colleges, including being in charge of any issues relating to promotion or tenure.

“They preside over the hiring of new faculty,” Mullenix said. “They are also responsible for strategic planning in their divisions and also they have fiduciary responsibility so they’re responsible for overseeing the budget of the colleges.”

Amity Noltemeyer recently stepped into the role of interim Dean of the College of Education, Health and Society (CEHS), temporarily replacing Jason Lane until the university finds a permanent replacement to take over in July 2025.

Noltemeyer has various goals she hopes to accomplish during her time in this role and is meeting with different people and groups to make these goals a reality.

“Student success and offering the best opportunities for our students to have success is clearly, first and foremost, something that’s really important to CEHS and important to me,” Noltemeyer said. “I feel like we’re already doing a really good job in that area, but how can we do even better in terms of making sure that students have the right opportunities, the right support, the right experiences and instruction?”

John Weigand was interim dean of the College of Creative Arts until the position was filled by Ryan Fisher. Weigand took over after Mullenix took on the provost role in 2022. Coming from a background in the Department of Architecture and Interior Design, Weigand is a big supporter of the arts, despite many of these fields being under fire.

“I’m very optimistic that arts and creativity are going to survive and flourish into the future,” Weigand said.

Weigand will return to teaching upon leaving this position.

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“I will miss a lot of this,” Weigand said. “It’s a little bit difficult for me, but I am really looking forward to being able to be in the classroom and to work with students more. I really miss that.”

Bethany Perkins is serving as interim vice president for enrollment management and student success after Brent Shock stepped down. Perkins will remain in the position until the new vice president, Rachel Beech, begins her tenure. Perkins originally agreed to an interview, but did not respond to follow-up requests to coordinate a time. 

The search for the CAS Dean is still underway, with four finalists selected: Melissa Gregory, Renée Baernstein, Matthew Smith and David Hemmer. 

Baernstein currently serves as Senior Associate Dean of the CAS at Miami. She said whoever takes over for current Dean Chris Makaroff has a lot to look forward to.

“It has been a great honor to work with him,” Baernstein said. “I think anyone who follows him is going to be challenged to match his devotion and his dedication to the college. We’ve been very lucky to have him so far.”

The  open forums will begin on Feb. 5 in Kreger Hall room 319 for the four finalists for the CAS dean position.