‘We’re feeling really good about where the leadership team is right now’

Elliott named new Vice President of Academic Affairs


Photo by Laura Robinett

Dr. Steve Elliot is named new Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Derek Pufahl, Staff Writer

Applause filled the Ley Theater in Brandenburg as President Marysz Rames introduced Dr. Steve Elliott as Wayne State College’s new vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) to a number of faculty members yesterday.

Elliott earned his master of fine arts in studio art at the University of Maryland and his bachelor of fine arts in sculpture at the University of Kansas. He has served as dean of the School of Arts and Humanities and director of the Nordstrand Visual Arts Gallery at WSC for the past three years.

“Thanks, everyone, for your support. We’ve been through quite a bit. Three years has gone by quickly. My e-mail has exploded since the announcement was sent out. I feel really strong and good about this decision,” Elliott said.

Elliott will begin his duties as VPAA on July 1, leaving a hole in the arts and humanities department. An interim dean will need to be chosen by July 1, while a search committee is put together to find a permanent dean to replace Elliott.

“Start thinking about a chair for the search committee and start thinking about possible interims, and let us know,”Rames told the faculty members who were present in Ley Theater.

Rames said that she hopes to have a search committee to have chosen a new dean for the School of Arts and Humanities by summer 2017.

“I have a question,” said one concerned faculty member. “We’ve seen a change of president, and change of dean. What are your thoughts as to the stability of the college?”

“It’s not unusual when a president shows up on the scene to see some change in leadership,” Rames assured faculty. “We’re feeling really good about where the leadership team is right now.”

“There is a lot of change,” Elliott acknowledged. “Which offers us an opportunity to shape and mold where we’re going. A lot of synergy and really good energy here. We’re very healthy on the national level. [WSC] is sort of a hidden gem.”

One approach in which Elliott is striving to create that positive change is through the Strategic Enrollment Planning Council, co-chaired by himself and director of admissions Kevin Halle, which was started up last fall.

Elliott is in involved with a number of committees on campus. He said that the Enrollment Planning Council differs from committees like the Enrollment Management committee, which focuses on the day to day.

“It’s more of a big -picture approach to how we’re managing resources to meet the needs of today. This is a strong group of leaders on campus,” Elliott said.

“We’re still in the early stages, but the council is headed in a good direction. In the fall, we started looking at processes. There was discussion on how to put a plan together to share information so we can work on improvements and adjustments so we can be the best campus we can be and also be willing to change.”

He praised Rames’s Greater Siouxland Task Force recruitment plan which took off ground last semester.

“I think it’s great considering our location. We’re here for students of course, and this opens up a communication to the region. It’s a smart and pragmatic, big-picture approach,” Elliot said.

“I know Steve will do an excellent job providing leadership to the academic units,” Rames said. “I hope you will join me in congratulating him on his appointment.”

“I want to also take this opportunity to thank the search committee for their outstanding work in identifying a slate of highly qualified candidates,” Rames added. “The strength of the pool is indicative of our dedicated and committed community of scholars.”