Timothy Walston was selected as the dean of the School of Science and Mathematics after serving as interim for the past two years.
Truman State University began an internal search for a dean of the school after two external searches over four years failed. Walston had been serving as interim dean of the School of Science and Mathematics since July 2017.
There are seven departments in the School of Science and Mathematics: agricultural sciences, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science and statistics. The seven departments employ about 100 faculty members.
Janet Gooch, vice president for academic affairs, said the search committee was comprised of people both in and outside the School of Science and Mathematics. She said Walston went through the typical process of an on-campus interview, meeting different constituents on campus and participating in an open forum. Gooch said the committee made the recommendation, and she approved it. Walston officially started Oct. 1.
Gooch said Walston had the leadership experience the committee was looking for because he had been serving as interim dean and served as interim associate dean before that.
Gooch said Walston was the only applicant in the internal search.
Walston said he met with University President Sue Thomas, Gooch, members of the search committee, other school deans and the other science and mathematics chairs. He said he met with more people at the open forum as well.
Walston said the deans of Truman created a document that details their responsibilities and how to be a leader in each school. He said these responsibilities include leading the faculty, setting priorities for how students are educated, hiring faculty, helping to raise funding, evaluating faculty and ensuring safety of facilities.
“In general, the dean is not just the leader of their school, though, but a leader of the University, too,” Walston said. “As a member of the dean’s council and a member of the president’s advisory council … we are deciding policy and making decisions that impact the entire University.”
The dean position requires a Ph.D. in a field related to science and mathematics, and Walston said the committee was looking for applicants with leadership experience.
Walston said he is excited for the opportunities in the School of Science and Mathematics and for the future.
“I think that there’s some really exciting stuff happening in science and math right now,” Walston said. “We have two new undergraduate degree programs and a graduate certificate program that either has just been launched or will be launched soon, and a whole bunch of new, young faculty that are doing some outstanding things.”